Dharma Wacana (Speech of Virtue)
Dharma Wacana or the speech of virtue is a kind of religious preaching which its topic mainly on the implementation of religious values in everyday life. This Dharma Wacana (speech of virtue) is given by the Pedanda (High Priest) to the Walaka (Laymen). This speech is usually delivered to celebrate the temple ceremony, birthday of an institution, ritual ceremony and holyday.
Since 2001, the Dharma Wacana has swept Bali in rapid escalation, the Dharma Wacana is held almost everyday, and attracts hundreds of local laymen. The popularity of Dharma Wacana is greatly influenced by the Ajeg Bali (Preserve Bali) movement. The aim of this movement is to revive the Balinese Hindu tradition and to minimize the culture deterioration and Dharma Wacana is the avant garde of this movement since this preaching gives the laymen a better knowledge of Balinese Hindu.
The serious economic crisis and massive drawback of tourism put many Balinese in the clutch of stress and despair. Many of them run to the religion for a way out and Dharma Wacana fills this need of guidance and comfort, and injects a new strength to the Balinese so they can survive in the turbulence situation.
The great exponent of the Dharma Wacana rapid escalation is Ida Peranda Made Gunung, the high priest from Griya Purnawati Blahbatuh. His mastery on the religious subject, light and humorous approach to the tough religious questions and charming and sometimes ribald (Balinese love ribaldry to some extent) way of speaking make hundreds of laymen flock to his Dharma Wacana.
The Dharma Wacana not just offers a preaching on religious values, but also a dialogue on religious topic known as Dharma Tula (question and answer on virtue). The Dharma Tula is usually held after the Dharma Wacana. A long and serious question and answer between the Pedanda (High Priest) with the Walaka (Laymen) often occur. This question and answer session satisfy the need of guidance and the curiosity of the laymen on religious subject.
The implementation of religious values in everyday life and the meaning of a religious ceremony and offering are the favorite questions. Balinese are a practical people for thousands of year, many Balinese do not have any idea why they perform a religious ceremony or making a certain offering. They perform the ceremony or make the offering because it has been a tradition for along time and it is dangerous to deviate from the tradition. This ignorance is the great enemy of Dharma Wacana movement and the Pedanda (High Priest) always gives extra time to give a better understanding to the Walaka (Laymen) on the meaning behind the religious ceremony or offering and why they have to perform or make it.