“Nyepi” means quiet and peaceful

“Nyepi” means quiet and peaceful Bali’s new year celebration, usually in March or sometimes April – in silence. Nyepi is a word derived from the word Sepi that means quiet or peaceful. Balinese celebrate it on a dark moon “Tilem Kesanga”, annually in March or April. The rituals and celebrations span about a week and have a sequence: Read more

Wayang - 6 puppets

Wayang = Shadow Puppets by Sang Tu our Balinese Cultural Liaison

Wayang or Shadow puppet performance is classic Drama Theater of the 8th century and is a significant aspect of cultural heritage from Indonesia, possibly from a man named Wayang Kulit born at that time in history, making the tradition popular in Java and Bali. There was little else for entertainment.

The Wayang puppet is made from Leather and symbolizes the creator of art which includes the imagination of gods, monsters, plants, animals and the interactions between them all.

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Offering/Canang = The Beauty of Destiny; a meditation of culture

by Sangtu, our Balinese cultural advisor.

Offerings, every day, everywhere in Bali: This spiritual practice is how each individual Balinese person connects to God, Spirit, Ancestors and Nature. We call it Balinese-Hindu.

These are the components of the Canang:

  1. The holder, on the bottom, is a square or triangle or circle made of coconut leaf.
  2. On top of that is called ‘Porosan’, which is considered the igniter or like a spark plug in a car.
    • It’s a combination of piper betle leaf, limestone powder and beetle nut.
    • It symbolizes ‘Tri-Premana’ in the body; Bayu (deeds), Word (word) and Eyelash (mind).
    • It symbolizes ‘Trimurti’ in the larger macro-cosmos, where each item symbolizes something special: Shiva (limestone powder), Vishnu (piper betle leaf) and Brahma (betel nut).
    • Porosan’s  meaning is that every community has a heart full of love and compassion and deep gratitude to a deity of ‘The Big Picture’ (Ida Sang Hyang Widhi). The offerings also include incense-fire for Brahma, Holy water for Wisnu, and flowers for Shiva.
  3. On top of the porosan is pile of flowers.
  4. On the very top layer of the canang is the pandan leaf, which smells good and is calming.

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Black and white fabric

The Wisdom of ‘Kain Poleng’ (Black and White) by Sang Tu, our Balinese cultural liaison for Bali Silent Retreat.

If you are either Indonesian or a westerner you may have a question; Why, in Bali, are there so many shrines or big trees, as well as, people with Black and White fabric.

This is simple message but so very deep. The name of this Balinese-Hindu tradition is ‘kain poleng’; Fabric Black and White. In life, there is always Positive and Negative; same as Black and White. And we can not separate one from the other. But we can transform these energies to be in living harmony, for both the macro-cosmos of the universe and the micro-cosmos of the human. Read more

Walking on ricefields

Planting a new Banyan tree at Odalan

Gamelan, the brass vibrational music which seems to be deposited into the very marrow of the bones of the Balinese people.

Gamelan, the brass vibrational music which seems to be deposited into the very marrow of the bones of the Balinese people.

One of the most regularly observed ceremonies in Bali is ‘Odalan’. Generally speaking, Odalan is a festival/ceremony to observe a temple’s anniversary or birthday, every 210 days on the Balinese Saka calendar, but it’s intent is to honor the birthing and arising from God Essence. It is spiritual, social, and part of the Balinese-Hindu tradition. With  around 4,500 temples around the island, Odalan rituals happen every day.  Read more

Mohawk duck

Duck Wisdom

Stories of rural Bali by Sang Tu, advisor for Balinese culture and herbal medicines

If we spend long enough time out in nature, there is lots to learn, either from the animals, from the trees, from the insects and so on. Their language is not spoken or written but if we watch, it is telling us something. We like to watch nature at Bali silent Retreat including ‘the way of ducks’. Read more

Buffalo harvest

Bali as a child farmer by Sangtu

I remember Bali as a child farmer and I smile.

I saw this farmer last week-it pulled my memory back to the Bali of my youth, 30 years ago in the 70s & 80s where we would all see farmers everywhere in the countryside tilling the land after harvest with their helper, the precious cow or buffalo. I remember following my dad and our cow as a boy, collecting abundant eels and snails.

Leading and riding the cow when ‘Melasah’ (cultivation) was lots of fun even though my butt would be sore at the end of the day. We would buy a baby cow and when it was one and a half years old, my uncle or father would teach the cow how to help cultivate the soil. In that time, the cost was almost free because farmers and families would partner and share and every one would help feed the cows, who helped cultivate. We would bring ‘nasi bungkus’ (rice meal ‘take-away’) to the farmer with cooked eels and snails we caught while he tilled the soil. Each farmer in that time was very important. Read more

Walking on ricefields

Ashram Born Twice

Yet another ceremony. But this one snuggles up to close to our hearts, because it’s near and dear to where King of Tabanan’s son was healed, 5 centuries ago and why Bali Silent Retreat ended up in surrender to the spiritual powers that be. You can read below, in brief, about how 525 years ago there was an ashram in exactly the same place as the meditation octagon and the labyrinth at Bali Silent Retreat . . . and how we had no clue.

Or read a comprehensive version on web site’s History page.

The family and village are walking past the Bali Silent Retreat Lodge to the holy beji (spring water) to collect holy water for ceremony for renovation of another holy beji (down the road) where the King’s son was healed of insanity, 525 years ago. Read more