The desire to build a temple
The desire to build a temple
Out of the blue, in 2005, the desire to build a temple came into my heart when I was working as a marketing manager in a software company near Munich. It happened during a seminar called Profession-Vocation-Life Fulfillment. Days later, I was back at my desk, and while looking out at the view of the meadows next to my office building, and seeing the two engineers sitting opposite me, it all felt very unreal.
Even though I wanted to change my life, building a temple was about as likely as cultivating organic bananas in Latin America. So I kept this strange dream to myself while I considered the practicalities. Where would the temple be built and what kind of architecture was it to be? What should the temple be used for? Is my mission over once the temple is completed, and if so, who will take care of the energies in the temple? Also the question of financing was unresolved.
In the beginning I actively searched for floor plans, locations, and possibilities and then finally gave all that up. Yet, the dream did not disappear. When I went to Bali in 2013, initially for one year, I was sure that this would not be the place to build the temple. After all, there are estimated to be more than 20,000 temples already on this small island!
A year in Bali
…with no plans for building a temple.
I came to Bali with a list of spiritual questions about life and death that I wanted to ask a Balinese priest – as soon as the opportunity arose. Back home I had tried to find the answers in books, in new age spirituality, from meditation teachers, and in conversations with German clergymen. But there were no satisfactory answers.
Arriving in Bali I immediately enrolled in Indonesian language classes in order to be able to interview a Balinese priest. But fortunately, I happened to find a Balinese priest whose native language was English. He was able to answer my questions, and more, in just one afternoon. And I hadn’t even voiced my questions out loud.
From then on, I attended the classes of this priest and Buddhist teacher Jero Mangku Budhi Dharma. To this day, these classes take place in the pasraman (ashram) where Jero Budhi lives and serves the community.
One more temple in Bali
There was a certain area in the pasraman that had long been recognized as a sacred place. People had been visiting this spot for many years to meditate. When I first came there to ask my questions, there were only two simple bamboo shrines. After I had learned for more than a year from Jero Budhi on meditation, I had an accident in the pasraman just after a Sunday meditation class. This misfortunate fall down a flight of stairs could have ended deathly. I was reminded on the fact that death comes without warning. Consequently I decided that the place for “my” temple to be build is at the pasraman and to better start rather soon. With my initial donation and the donations of other students we took up the project.
By 2016 half of the temple had been built, in 2019 a few elements were added. Although not complete, the temple is now “prayable” and ceremonies are held here.
The temple is the closest of all village temples in Bona to the Gunung Agung volcano. Thus, the temple maintains the connection to the holiest place in Bali, Gunung Agung, for the whole village. As the temple priest, Jero Mangku Budhi takes care of balancing the energies. He also holds the traditional ceremonies that are celebrated in each temple during the Balinese Year.
And something that is very important to me, people of all religious faiths are welcome in the temple for prayer, meditation and ceremonies.
Now all that is left is the question of financing the completion.
In the end it is not about the temple
… but about a healing place for prayer, ceremony and community.
In Bali I experienced wonderful temple ceremonies. The feeling of being flooded and held in the presence of well-meaning energies is one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. It is a coming home, a foretaste of what it could be like to be truly free in spirit.
Since 2019 I have been translating the experience of the temple ceremonies, the experience of praying in the temple, and the experience of freedom gained from spiritual teachings, into images to share with people who are interested in spirituality in Bali. These images are also for those who may wish to bring more peace and serenity into their own lives.
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