Home Blogs Balinese beliefs and its history
Balinese Hinduism, a combination of Indian Shivaistic, Buddhist
traditions and local customs dominates the daily lives of Balinese.
Those many aspects involved during its one-millennium long evolution
from the fifth till the sixteenth century make Hinduism of Bali
tremendously different from that of India. Hinduism and Buddhism are
believed to arrive in Indonesia from India around the 4th century, known
from a Yupa stone ancient inscription found in Kalimantan. Both faiths
bonded with local culture to form what it is known today as
Hinduism-Buddhism flourished all across the archipelago in the eighth
century especially under the patronage of the Sriwijaya Kingdom in
South Sumatra. The golden age continued until the Java’s Majapahit
Empire sovereign from the beginning of the fourteenth century till the
turn of the sixteenth century when Islam arrived and pushed the Hindu
aristocrat family to migrate to Bali. Thus, current Hindu Dharma is a
well-balanced mixture of the Indian values and the Java’s tradition well
preserved on the island of Bali.
Cycles of Life in Balinese Belief
Existence, according Balinese Hinduism, is a continuous cycle of birth,
life, death, and rebirth until one’s soul is purified and thus unified
with the God. You won’t be surprised to hear a Balinese says “My nephew
is my grand mother reborn” and et cetera. Rebirth or incarnation, called
Punarbhawa/Samsara, is one of the five chief principles of Hinduism,
aiming to get Moksa the perfection and holiness of the soul so that it
can be accepted in the realm of the God.
Balinese believe Moksa can be reached through four corridors,
Brahmacari, Grehasta, Wanaprehasta, and Bhiksuka. Those steps have their
own purposes. Brahmacari is the period for gaining knowledge as much as
one can, then continued by Grehasta; period for building a good
marriage without leaving knowledge, Wanaprehasta is the period for
starting to leave the secular world, and finally Bhiksuka is time when
one has succeed in leaving secular world and using his knowledge to help
others. Before someone reaches the fourth step, s/he won’t be able to
reach the perfection and holiness, and instead would go through the
first step again.
Balinese people believe in the paternal system. When a woman delivers a
baby, most Balinese believe that it is the reincarnation of the male
ancestral. Some also believe that the baby can be from an reincarnation
of the female line or even an animal. Because when an animal is
sacrificed for a ritual ceremony, its soul is uplifted to be a human’s.