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Balinese Culture, Reading The Message From Nature  

by on Thursday, 13 April 2006No Comment | 2,084 views

Balinese culture is always interacting with the surrounding environment. Their way of thinking, in order to fulfill the necessities ofthe physical and spiritual aspects of life, is based on the integration of intuitive intellect with the potential in their immediate environment. For example, if we look at their architecture, the habitat of the population living in the mountain ranges of Kintamani will not be the same as the houses of the Balinese living in the flatlands of Gianyar, or the coastal area of Kuta, even if the climate and weather is not drastically different.

Sirap (shingle) of bamboo is more often used as material for the roofs of buildings in the mountainous areas of Kintamani because, aside from the fact that it functions as a shield from the cold air, there are many bamboo bushes to be found around Kintamani. On the other hand, in lowland and coastal areas, people choose alang-alang (dry grasses) for their roofing, because this is the easiest material to be found in their surrounding environment.

It is not only in architecture that variations can be observed within Balinese culture. The people living in the different regions of this island have characteristics of their own in carrying out their daily lives. Their manner of speech, language, dialect, and attitudes in communication, very cleany shows their place of origin. It is also in their conduct of religion and art that local characteristics, which vary from region to region in Bali, are very cleany observable as well.

Desa-kala-patra, or place-time-situation, is a three fold concept which function as the basis upon which diversity in the conduct of the people of Bali exists in carrying out daily life. However, even if their culture differs from area to area, the goal is always the same, homage. As stated in a verse in a work of classical literature: ‘bhineka tunggal ika tan hana dharma mangruwa‘, which can be explained as ‘different but one, there is not two, but one truth’. The people find justification in the existence of diversity, directed towards one ultimate goal. For the Balinese homage, based on sincerity, is the realization of truth, or dharma, and it is here that Hinduism provides its followers with a path to cultivate their karma.

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