Peace at Borobudur - Nate Bennett '16

The alarm rang at 5:30. My father and I climbed out of our small small beds. We took just a minute to change and then we were out of the door that almost seemed to be constructed out of balsa wood. The sky was dark and the morning air thick. Our guide met us outside of our room and provided us each a flash light. In the distance you could hear the chilling yet unmistakable chants of buddhist monks. The night closed around us as we made our way through a series of paths. With gravel under our feet and our surroundings almost completely indistinguishable our guide said we had reached Borobudur. Using the small amount of light provided by our flashlights we started to climb up ancient stone steps. Every surface the light shone on were intricate carvings that depicted moments in the Buddha's life. The steps were steep and in great numbers. At each landing the option of taking a left or right and walking around the temple presented itself. The stone carvings wrapped around every aspect of the structure.

    Once we were at the top we sat on the edge of a massive stone sculpture of a bell. The sun lay below a distant mountain. Its silhouette was visible due to the pink and orange glow starting to protrude from behind. As the sun rose the steep peak of the mountain became more visible. More of the temples features were revealed. Stone bells that concealed sculptures of the buda lined each level of the temple. I leaned against the largest bell that was perched at the top of the temple. From there I was above the surrounding jungle. A thick fog lay below with the trees. The sun’s orange light began to peek out from behind the mountain. The impeccable beauty of the landscape became more clear. When the sun fully revealed itself from behind the steep mountain, chills rolled over my skin. The land’s awe inspiring beauty hit me. The man made structure integrated perfectly with the wild jungle. With the seemingly constant chants in the background I felt a profound peace.