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Located about 20kms from Singaraja in Banjar, Buleleng, Brahma Vihara is a Buddhist monastery featuring libraries, mini gardens and meditation rooms. Lined with pine trees and flower gardens, the complex is famous for its replica of the Borobudur. Some of the rooms have Gautama Buddha's trials depicted on their walls, and the complex exudes an aura of serenity and peace.
Brahma Vihara Arama, also referred to as Banjar Buddhist Temple was opened in 1970 and is the largest monastery in Bali. It covers a hectare of hillside and is considered a mini replica of the largest Buddhist archaeological site, Borobudur. Influenced by Hindu, Balinese as well as Nepalese culture and architecture, Brahma Vihara Arama is one of the holiest places of Buddhist pilgrimage, which takes place on the holy day of Vesak or Asada.
The name “Brahma Vihara Arama” translates to the words “a place for self-cultivation,'' referring to self-training, peace and glory, forging noble behaviour, and this monastery holds great significance for Buddhists as well as Hindus in Bali. This building is one of the special tourists' attractions in this area and is definitely worth a visit.
There a plethora of things to see in this monastery. To begin with, there is a bell tower housing a metal bell instead of a wooden kul-kul. At the entrance office, visitors can see a number of posters, Buddhist calendars and printed shirts that depict the landmark and visitors can purchase these in exchange for donations. There is also a flight of stairs that are lined with Buddha’s “eightfold path of enlightenment”.
Visitors can have a look at the plantation area as well as paddy fields, flower gardens and trimmed lawns. In addition to being a temple, this place is also a meditation centre for Hindus and Buddhists alike. There is a meditation room where visitors can spend some peaceful and quiet time. It is the main area called Uposatha Gara, where the walls depict the Gautam Buddha’s birth and his statue representing the state of Nirvana.
The rooms also serve as the new Bhikhu or Buddhist monk initiations. What’s more, visitors can take a look at the Dharamshala, located towards the east of this temple, where Bhikus conduct solemn activities such as prayers and lectures. The architecture of this temple signifies Buddha’s teachings of self-training, peace and noble behaviour.