Culture |

Understanding God and Nature at the 8th Borobudur Writers and Cultural Festival

Culture | 8 December 2019
Sunrise at Borobudur Temple
With all of its historical and cultiral values, Borobudur Temple is the perfect place to celebrate the annual Borobudur Writers and Cultural Festival (BWCF). Photo courtesy of iStock/NOWJAKARTA

The eighth Borobudur Writers and Cultural Festival (BWCF) commemorated the scientific traces of Father Zoetmulder, one of Indonesia’s historic landmarks.

BWCF is a meeting place for fiction and non-fiction writers, creative workers, cultural and cross-faith religious activists. Held on 21 to 23 November in various venues, which were Hotel Tentren Yogyakarta, Borobudur temple area, Hotel Manohara Borobudur and Chicken Church, (Rumah Doa Bukit Rhema), the event brought the theme “God and Nature” (Rereading Pantheism –Tantrayana in Kakawin or Old Javanese Long Narrative Poems and Archipelago Ancient Manuscripts), aimed to commemorate the scientific works of Petrus Josephus Zoetmulder or well-known as Father Zoetmulder.

Explained by the Chairman of the BWCF, Seno Joko Suryono, Pantheism was a theme that was frequently reviewed by Father Zoetmulder. When he died in Yogyakarta, he inherited many old Javanese study papers, translation scripts KakawinParwa (ancient Javanese prose), poems in Javanese language and many more.

Pantheism is a philosophical and theological understanding that believe that God and nature are inseparable, where such ideas are not only known in ancient Javanese Hindu-Buddhist thought, however, it came to the thought of Muslim Sufism which later developed in the Archipelago. Zoetmulder’s services for cultural, literary and ancient Java religious research are extraordinary.

The event invited many prominent speakers to peel Pantheism and Tantrayana in Indonesia, starting from Prof. Dr. Wilem Van Der Molen (University of Leiden, Netherlands), Prof. Dr. Toru Aoyoma (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies), Prof. Peter Worsley (The University of Sydney, Australia), Prof. Dr. Abdul Kadir Riyadi (State of Islamic University Sunan Ampel, Surabaya), Dr. Tommy Christomy (University of Indonesia), Dr. Lydia Kieven (Friedrich-Wilhelm-Universitat Bonn, Germany) and many more.

The two-night event also presented various performances, such as poetry reading, monologue, dance and theater, collaboration works of Jefriandi Usman and Otto Sidharta, Yudhi Widdyantoro, Isdaryanto, etc.

The opening ceremony began with the awarding of the Sang Hyang Kamahayanikan Award to Prof. Dr. Achadiati Ikram, mother of many Indonesian philologists, for her dedication in carrying out inventory, preservation, cataloging, research and publication of Nusantara manuscripts. The highlight of the Opening ceremony was the Cultural Speech by the Philologist Dr. Andrea Acri from Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, France about Tantrayana in Ancient Java.

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