Monday, May 24, 2010

The Water Temple Tirta Empul at Tampaksiring

Today we went to the Water Temple, Tirta Empaul, and also visited the healing waters there. This was very special, again outside my comfort zone in the sense that it challenged my simplistic dismissal of all things spiritual. The temple is located at a spring. The water from this spring is channeled (the Balinese really know how to manage water) into a series of pools fed by multiple water spouts.
We entered the pool area in just our sarongs and sandals, and prayed in the Balinese manner. Men cross legged, women kneeling. Each with a small bowl containing flowers, a bouquet, and an incense stick. After wafting the incense over us we extinguished the stick and prayed with hands clasped in front of our foreheads, then we prayed again with a frangipani flower between our hands, then with the small bouquet, and with two petals, and finally with empty hands one more time.
Then we entered the left hand pool, walked to the first spigot, clasped our hands in prayer one more time and ritually washed our heads five times. Then proceeded to the next spigot and so on. Each spigot was labeled in Sanskrit and Balinese with the particular power, so some we avoided (cremation etc.) The repetition, the rain, the constant falling water, the communal nature of the act, the coolness of the water, the echo of the pool enclosure, all added up to a quite remarkable experience.
From Bali Photos

As Hoyt reminds us, Balinese Hinduism is a religion of orthopraxy (correct ritual practice and behavior), unlike Christianity's orthodoxy (correct belief or thought.) The ritual is important, not the thought, which is why a bunch of westerners like us can be so accepted, as long as we
do the right thing.

1 comment:

Charlene said...

You expressed so well major aspects my love of Bali - the water temples and Balinese Hindu orthopraxy. After all, love is a verb, not a belief, right?