Jakarta, IO – In recent weeks, the Indonesian public has been amazed by the presence of more than two dozens of monks who stopped by a number of cities in their spiritual journey that began on March 23.
From Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, the are heading for Borobudur Temple in Central Java. They hope to arrive at their destination by end of May to celebrate the Vesak Day on June 4.
Religious Affairs Ministry’s Buddhist Community Development director general Supriyadi explained that there are 32 monks making the journey on foot, traversing thousands of kilometers as part of the Thudong ritual.
“Thudong is a spiritual or religious journey undertaken to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha during his lifetime. At that time, there were no monasteries or transportation,” said Supriadi, reported Kompas.tv, Tuesday (16/5).
During the journey, the monks will do contemplation to fulfill their dharma or duty. Before traveling, they must go through the ritual of meditation and fasting for four months.
They fast to shun worldly matters during the rainy season. Then, when dry season arrives, the walking ritual begins.
According to Supriyadi, there are no standard requirements for Thudong, meaning the ritual is not limited in terms of distance and route as well as age, as long as one has the stamina and spiritual will.
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While undertaking Thudong, the monks do not carry money with them. They will receive food or alms donations from Buddhists along the way or resting points. They also follow strict rules. They will only eat twice a day, at 7 am and 12 noon. After that, they are only allowed to drink.
They sleep not in hotels or inns, but places of worship, such as monasteries, temples, even Islamic boarding schools. In Indonesia, the monks stopped by the temples in a number of cities they passed through and they plan to stop by Habib Lutfi Islamic boarding school in Pekalongan, Central Java. (un)