also called
Ekayana or Original   Buddhism

Big Womb Borobudur

Watching Buddha-Guard

Goddess Hariti

* Javanese mysticism (Kebatinan) & Traditional Javanese religious tolerance: a model to the world?
*The Yogya Kraton Myth
*Taman Sari 
*The Gunungan 
*Tutup Ngisor
*Java: Land of Kala, its Candi's (Temples):
Borobudur 1
*Borobudur 2

*Borobudur 3
*Borobudur 4

*Borobudur 5
*Borobudur 6
*Candi Mendut

*Candi Pawon
*Candi Ngawen
*Candi Sari
*Candi Kalasan
*Candi Sambisari
*Candi Prambanan
*Candi Lumbung
*Candi Bubrah

*Candi Sewu
*Candi Plaosan
*Candi Gebang
*Candi Ijo
*Candi Banyunibo






Borobudur: World Holy Site
The Cosmic Womb


In October 2011 I arrived in Java, Indonesia to visit its temples ("Candi"). I had been at Borobudur before. Although deeply impressed I resonated only with its Buddhist heritage. In recent years my view on Java and the Borobudur was enriched by deepest insights, emerging from my Great 1977 Experiences. Regularly deep intuitions about Borobudur popped up, together with the desire to visit it, once again. Deep within I knew that my inner Being and Borobudur would be the selfsame thing. And yes, immediately after getting the first glimpse it shouted for joy: Borobudur, that's Me. Now, one could argue that this is true for every devout Buddhist. I dare to say, that this is (probably) not the case. Because being a Buddhist doesn't mean, that one has realized its Ultimate Truth. More likely, being a Buddhist means, that one isn't a Buddha (yet), after all. Going through the (Buddhist) literature about Borobudur it strikes me, that it is ignorant about its own teachings. Applied to Borobudur it means that key questions have not been answered. While writing this down I realize, that this cannot be without the obligation to explain what I mean. Well, let me take you on a journey with many unexpected new insights.

Borobudur: A Tumulus

There are some findings suggesting that Borobudur is a Tomb or Grave. De Vink, a Dutchman, excavated a number of funerary stupa's near Borobudur. Moreover, it isn't a secret, that Stupa's in general go back to ancient times. In pre-history people believed in a Omnipotent Cosmic Womb, giving birth to the universe, the latter continuously returing to its Origin. That's why graves from those times often contain bodies in foetus position, proof for the idea that one returned into Mother's Womb.In pre-historic Indonesia people built "punden berundak" or mounds, pyramid-shaped hills with various levels. The Borobudur hill with its galleries is created exactly the same way. Buddhist Stupa's might not have been Tombs in the literal sense of the word, they certainly evolved from them. They represent the Origin after all, Emptiness that is containing all forms.

Borobudur: A Sacred Mountain

The dynasty of the Sailendra's - the ones who built the Borobudur - called themselves "Lords of the Mountain". It connects to one of the oldest mythologies of mankind: that of a God/King as mediator between the Divine and mankind. The Ziggurat's of Sumeria were built according to that idea. In the beginning the Divine was considered a Cosmic (Dark) Womb, incarnated into a earthly MotherGoddess. Inanna is a striking example of this. The God/King didn't rule by himself, but "in the name of the Mother". He was considered Her "Son/Lover". The interesting thing is that the construction of the Borobudur was inspired by a Queen: Sri Kahulunnan (Pramodhawardhani), strongly suggesting that some of the old belief was still existing. She in turn could have been inspired by Queen Srimala, wh in the third century (in India) had a huge influence on the development of Buddhism. The Yogacara School was inspired by her, the former in turn influenced Java at that time. Surprisingly, this School central idea was the "Tathagatagarbha" or the Womb of the Buddha's, meaning Emptiness as Ultimate Reality*. Together with this the concept of the "Sacred Mountain" had moved from the Middle East to Hinduism (Mt Meru), finally reaching Java (Mt Merapi). This was supported by the fact, that Java - contrary to India - had never established a strict distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism. It means, that in Java there has been always a continuuum between ancient times and later developments. Borobudur as sacred mountain, abode of God/Kings who still revered the Divine Feminine has a thus very real foundation.

* See also section "The Cosmic Womb"

Borobudur: A Mandala

Researchers generally agree that the location of the Borobudur - in the middle of Java - has been consciously chosen. It is therefore called the "Navel of Java". Where they got this idea from? Certainly, a dynasty might have had its own power politics. But was that all? Ancient people relied heavily on astrology. The Milky Way e.g. was studied in detail by the Sumerians and Egyptians. Temples (Ziggurats/Pyramids) were also observatories. A tradition that can be found in (pre)Hindu times in India, as well. Surprisingly, the Maya's of Meso-America revere the "Dark Rift" in the Milky Way as "Cosmic Womb". In the center of this Rift the Sun has to die (while being reborn) in DEcember of the year 2012 (very soon thus). Did the Maya's invented this themselves or did they still had memories of times long ago, when their ancestors were still living in Asia? Astonishingly, the shape of Java resembles the Dark Rift of the Milky Way! Projected on the land the location of the Borobudur is exactly in the Center, in the Cosmic Womb. Was this just accidental?

Mandala's reflect the universe. Their central idea is that Macrocosm and Microcosm are mirroring each other. It explains why the Borbudur consists of Emptiness (the Ultimate) containing all forms. The former symbolized by the three upper levels with its Buddha's and Big Central Stupa, the latter manifesting itself in various layers of the visible world (the lower four levels). Together they have the shape of a Lotus.....The Lotus, in its turn, embodies the Cosmic Womb! The famous Buddhist! mantra "Jewel in the Lotus" confirms this. It says that the "Jewel" (Enlightenment) is born out of the "Womb". Later, this insight was turned upside down. Buddhas are sitting on the Lotus, instead of being born out of them. This is called "patriarchal reversion". Its purpose is clear. Instead of the Cosmic Womb being the Ultimate Reality, the Buddha's or Buddhahood are it. In Reality "Light is born out of Darkness", though, restoring the original hierarchy. In the case of Borobudur, it means that the latter is not a Buddha-sanctuary....To the contrary, the Buddha appears as a mediator on the Path to the Ultimate Reality: the Cosmic Womb. Rather than being the ultimate authority, he once again has to follow his ancient predecessors. This is materialized in the Chinese Pao Chen literature. Here Maitreya Buddha is sent to the Eternal save all beings. In Indonesia there are several centers, where this belief is practised.

Borobudur: The Cosmic Womb

Dear friends,

This is the moment of Truth. You may therefore quit or read the most essential part of my insights. First of all, in ancient times there was a turning point, in which men refused to "play the role" of "Son of the Mother" anymore and started a "career of their own". Gilgamesh (Babylon) was the protagonist. He refused to become the Son/Lover of Ishtar. Some time later the God Marduk killed MotherGoddess Tiamat. Buddhism has expressed this through "escaping from the cycle of birth and death". Man's! search for "immortality" started. The Mother, though, wasn't amused. She turned sour. While in a balanced Cosmos She includes the two Cosmic Forces of creation and destruction equally, the latter got the upper hand. She manifested Herself as war-Goddess (e.g. Anat in Canaan) or as blood-thirsty destruction-Goddess (Kali in India). Moreover, the men - triumphant about their victory - degraded Her to a demon. Some used as deterrence against "evil spirits", others were "promoted" to guardians. The uglier a demon, the more important She was in pre-patriarchal times. This is how the Great Destructive Mother appeared on the stage of world's mythology. She was usually called "The Dark One". In the West She manifested Herself in the Black Madonna's very much revered until today. In the East She took the form of Mahakala (Kala), which has the same meaning. Because the image of this Feminine Power was too threatening, men! very soon turned Her into a God. As the "God of Time" he entered various systems of belief: e.g. of Hinduism, the Bon religion, Tibetan Buddhism, Khmer culture and....Java. Religions come and go, the Mother (Kala) remains the same. The many Hindu temples (Candi's) of Java (e.g. Prambanan) contain exactly the same Kala's as Borobudur*.

* See "Candi Prambanan"

Why going into these details? Because, from the first moment you enter Borobudur, you will find "demons" all over the place. Typically, Her innumerable images are diametrically opposed to the mentioning in the various books and articles. Almost all researchers simply ignore Her. What a lucky guy I am. Because the opening to new steps in evolution is often made possible by the neglect of others. First of all, there are these huge "monstrous" heads on top of almost all gates leading to the next level. Pilgrims had to go through these gates. The Kala's function was to destroy the ego-tendencies of the people. Her destructive aspect turning into a very positive one. Her Emptiness was considered so essential, that worshippers brought Her flowers and fruits. In fact, without Kala people had no chance to be purified. This awareness of the benefial effect of destruction is totally missing in the West. We have identified ourselves with the "good God" only, with repression of "His" destructive part. Hence our obsession with evil. "If God is good, how evil has come into this world?" The East doesn't have this problem. It embraces the Divine (the Original Mother) as keeping balance between death and rebirth. But this isn't all. That "common people" have the need to be purified, that one can accept. In Borobudur all several hundred Dyana-Buddha's (the Buddha's on the four lower levels) have a Kala on top of their niches, as well, the latter being cave-womb symbols. It means that even Buddha's cannot entirely rely on their self-reliance. Even they have to recognize the Cosmic Mother as Supreme Principle. Not surprisingly thus, that I subsequently found more Kala's on Borobudur: from the first level, guarding Gods and Kings to the fourth where the next Buddha (Maitreya) and the ultimate Buddha (Samantabhadra) reside.

On every level the Kala's are helping you to "die to the old" while being reborn on a new level. In the same way Buddhahood (Enlightenment) is disappearing into the Cosmic Womb. It is the final step from the three upper levels into the last. The secret is this. The destructive aspect of the Cosmic Mother leads people to Her Highest Realm, that of the Great Stupa. The latter is the materialization of her Cosmic Womb: Emptiness beyond Emptiness. Something that is confirmed by modern science (Vacuum physics/Cosmology). It proves that Buddhahood is NOT the highest Realization. Rather than being the "ultimate authority" Buddha's are Mother's helpers and guardians*. They do this by showing people their Way to the Mother. It is the transition from patriarchy to a "feminine" world view. This makes the Borobudur unique in the world. It confirms my earlier hypothesis that Borobudur is a Cosmic Mother Sanctuary.... It is THE reason why I had this great homecoming experience at the beginning of my journey. To be united with the Truth is the most exalted Realization possible. "Those who have died in the Mother will forever live", was a favourite saying of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. Now that I have brought East and West together, my joy is limitless. Indeed, the Cosmic Mother is everywhere.  

* See "Borobudur 1" 

Borobudur: A Monumental Truth

The Ultimate Truth is "Emptiness beyond Emptiness" or "Nirvana". In its Bottomlessness even Buddhahood disappears. All mandala's with Buddha's in their centre therefore miss the point. All sects revering Buddha's Enlightenment as the "Ultimate" have been stuck. Enlightenment is NOT the Origin, but an emanation, coming out of Absolute Emptiness. Light is coming out of  Darkness. To go beyond the Light is the Truth of true (and rare....) spiritual Realization. The mind disappears into the Light, the Light in its turn disappears into Darkness, while simultaneaously being "born" out of it. Science too has proven that the universe is continuously being born out of the Cosmic Vacuum. The surprise: this was already known in pre-historic times. People called the latter "The Great Night", "Cosmic Womb" or "Great Mother". Everything without exception is born out of Her, while continuously returning to Her Origin. In 1977 the Mother revealed Herself to me. It started with a Moment of Absolute Nothingness (Blackness), destroying my whole Being, after which "I" dissolved into the Eternal Light. Which lasted the whole day. That same night "I" was confronted by "an Ocean of Horror" or the destructive aspect of the Mother. Therefore I know that the Ultimate consists of the Cosmic Womb, together with Her two Cosmic Forces: Creation (the Light) and Destruction (Death). The latter constituting a dynamic balance, thus making life possible. Applied to religion: "God", Buddhahood or the Light are "Sons" of the Cosmic Mother. However, many ages of male dominance (patriarchy) have pushed this Original Insight to the margins. Instead, it emphasizes the Light, Buddha, God as the origin of all.

The Great Stupa of Borobudur - an object of ongoing speculation - cannot be defined through Buddhist literature. Every identification with Sun*, Moon, Brahma, Adi-Buddha or Dharmakaya fail. In Ultimate Emptiness all concepts disappear.  Strange, isn't it, because "Nirvana" has been the outcome of Buddhist practice (one assumes....)..... Why nobody connects Borobudur to it? Right, because even Buddhists feel unconfortable with it. Even they seek something they can cling to. The absence of images , of Tantric texts, of "hints" that could "bring one further" to an "unravelling of the secret" of Borobudur is considered to be an obstacle, rather than a hint in the right direction.....So, this is the reason why only the Mother Herself could end this centuries-old going astray. She rectified religion, bringing it back to its Original Truth! Thus, in Borobudur the Dark Cosmic Womb is at the centre**. In Her Bottomlessness the Light is born. This Her Light is Her first emanation, also called God, the Divine or Buddhahood. The latter embodied by the 72 Buddha's of the upper platforms. They are the Light Bearers, carrying the Truth into the world. The Truth being "Light born out of Darkness". Therefore, the Buddha's don't act as last authorities but as "Messengers" of the Mother***. That's why in the lower galleries, where the Buddha's have direct contact with the world.... they are all - without exception - portrayed sitting in a cave (womb), with a Kala Head - the destructive aspect of the Mother - on top. Expressing their Ultimate Truth as Sons of the Mother. Some writers have come closer to this Truth. Like Stella Kramrisch. "This is the Dark Source of all Light". Adding "located beyond all times". The latter weakening her first statement, though, because it should be "located even beyond all timelessness". The same is true for the concept of Prajnaparamita. There "Womb" is NOT the Absolute Womb, but only the Relative "Womb" of Enlightenment. LINK "The Womb of All Buddha's". Needless to say, that Borobudur, on the other hand, is a Monumental Truth, breaking through all limits of human conceptualizations.

* The scholar Lokesh Chandra assumes Iranian influence (Sun worship) on Borobudur. Would he have gone one step more westwards he would (?) have found the (Sumerian, Babylonian) Cosmic Mother as the true Origin 

** In (Tibetan) Buddhist art the Mahakala's - the Great Black Ones - are closest to the Truth.

*** In Chinese Pao Chen literature Maitreya Buddha is "sent to earth by the Eternal Mother" (WuSheng LaoMu) to save Her children....

Borobudur: An Initiation


The big question is: did the people in those times had a notion of this all? Realists would say, that people of the 9th century didn't have an awareness of their "matriarchal" past anymore and that they indeed considered Kala to be the "God of Time". This is certainly possible. On the other hand, why a "God of Time" would occupy such a central position not only in Borobudur, but on Java as a whole. There isn't any logic to find them on the gates between various levels of spiritual attainment. These magnificent gates between various levrels are the gates of "Death and Rebirth", a central Moment in Initiation. A reminder of the transitoriness of life won't suffice there. Add the overwhelming power of the Numenous radiated by the Kala's to it and it will be clear that the Kala's represent the Primordial Origin of the Cosmos. Moreover, a "God of Time" would not occupy such a central position. It is unbelievable that none of the (famous) commentators of Borobudur have ever noticed the fact that the Kala's are everywhere. Indeed a "Mountain of Kala". As said above Kala's are also on top of every meditating Buddha. A "God of Time" dominating the timelessness of BuddhaNature? This is totally contradictory. Buddha's have overcome time, their Nature is Timeless, that's why they are Buddha's. So the Kala's on top of Rulers, Kings, Gods and Buddha's represent something much more archaic. The only possibility left is that they represent a Truth deeper than Buddhahood (Emptiness). And that can only be "Emptiness beyound Emptiness". Again, were the people of those times aware of it? We can only guess.

First of all the Kala's are on and in almost every temple on Java and Bali. They are portrayed as Kalamaka's, that is in unity with their male aspect (Makara). This is corresponding with the ancient notion of the Great Mother and Her Son/Lover as two sides of the same coin. The Kala is the Beyond of the Beyond, while the Makara's (usually dragon-like heads) are Her active aspects. A juicy detail. On the outer reliefs of the first level countless images of women are portrayed. These images are carved in a very gentle way. No trace of any condemnation of a "lustful e.g. greedy" life. On the contrary they express the joys of living in harmony with nature. Either the females are portayed as standing on their own, or two females on both sides of a God or King. One interpretation could be that it is bearing witness of a change in times. That of "independent" Goddesses (some call them "Forest Nymphs") to the times men got the upper hand. The Goddesses are degraded to playgirls to "superior" males. But... not without resistance. Most of the Gods and Kings, while playing with their concubines have a Kala head above them. It means, that even at the beginning of patriarchy men had to recognize the authority of the Cosmic Mother. So, even Gods and Kings couldn't escape Her. Neither could the later Buddha's as elaborated above. Then, certainly, common people couldn't escape Her either. As the carvings prove, the latter on the contrary worship and revere Her.

So, where was this initiation of pilgrims all about. Most authors talk about the illuminating effect of the reliefs on the first lower levels. By gazing at them one will be uplifted to a higher stage, they say. This goes against the reality of meditation. Images can stir one's pious feelings, certainly, but are in fact obstacles to freeing the mind. Why then this effort to produce this infinite sequence of tales and images? Because it is not the images you have to concentrate on. Remember, on the same levels there are these meditating Buddha's. They symbolize awakening. By following them you learn to be the observer of your thoughts, emotions and desires. The selfsame Buddha's having a Kala on top of their niches. It means there is an awareness of the Cosmic Mother right from the start. The reliefs help you in NOT becoming distracted by them. Just as a Tibetan Mahakala ceremony, where the meditational challenge is not to be distracted by the very loud noise of drums, cymbals, flutes and trumpets (which were by the way the instruments of the ancient Great Mother Kybele)*. So, the first stage of the Borobudur (Cosmic Mother) Initiation is that of becoming aware, to realize your inner observer. The second stage is to acquire wisdom. It is portayed in the series on levels three and four, where the common man Sudhana is departing on the Road towards Enlightenment. Which is revolutionary in itself. For in these early centuries only monks were entitled to follow this Path. It is another proof of the fact, that Borobudur wasn't a center of orthodox Buddhism. Sudhana took refuge in countless sages and teachers. In the end he even leaves Buddha Sakyamuni behind and seeks advice from Maitreya and Samantabhadra. The latter being known as incarnation of a Goddess.....

* The Kybele cult came - via the Bon religion - to Tibetan Buddhism (northern route). The southern route reached Tibet from the Middle East through India.

Once awakening is firmly established the conditions for Enlightenment are being created. It is symbolized by the upper three round platforms. Here Buddha's have a small stupa's around them. It is proof of their Enlightened State. Contrary to awakening, where Consciousness is still within the bodily sphere, Enlightenment is transcending body and mind. Hence, the egg-shape structures, showing the limitlessness of the Transcendence. This State is called Emptiness. Why? Because, from the Moment of its Realization one's ego has disappeared into it. To the ego Enlightenment is Empty. In itself, however, Enlightenment is "Full",. It is the unwavering, limitless and timeless Light. Here in Holland we have a wonderful word for it: "Vol-Ledigheid", a state that is at the same time full and empty. That's why these stupa's have holes! A phenomenon that until now wasn't understood (like so many other things of the Borobudur). However, at this stage the trouble begins. Because Buddhists constantly talk about "Emptiness" or "Nothingness". In the Prajnaparamita Sutra it is even called "Womb of all Buddha's"*. The confusion is almost complete, for "Womb" suggests the Essence of the Cosmic Mother. It cannot be the Cosmic Mother, though, because there is still one final Step to make: from the three empty platforms with the small stupa's to the Great Stupa in the center. So, Enlightenment - realized by the Buddha's - cannot be the final step.... The puzzle: what can there be beyond Enlightenment, Buddhahood and Emptiness (all descriptions for the same thing), Right, it is the Buddhist! concept of "Emptiness beyond Emptiness", the state in which Buddhahood or (relative) Emptiness disappears (while continuously reborn!). This Absolute Emptiness is the Bottomless Abyss of the Cosmic Mother, the total annihilation of Consciousness by Her Absolute Blackness. The Great Stupa, the crown of Borobudur is nothing less but the Cosmic Womb! Something the Buddha could only guess about. He gave it a word: Nirvana.

* See "the Womb of all Buddha's"

The Buddha experienced Nirvana only at last, as part of his physical dying process, I on the other hand, was incredibly priviledged to "experience" it in this life*. After more than 33 years of hesitation and preparation I now dare to come to the open with it. My "motto":

"The Buddha ended with Nirvana;
I started with it"

It proves that the tradition has found a new way. Its continuation is guaranteed. The Buddha, who had only the faintest idea about the Cosmic Mother can be reassured. Through Her Revelation (1977) mankind has the opportunity of entering a new stage in evolution*. Buddhists have only a few bridges to this new Reality. One of them is Borobudur. To make this story complete: after dissolving into Mother's Womb the Eternal Light is (re)born. This Eternal Light - You - will subsequently descend to the world, once again. As a new Being you will embrace the whole of existence. An existence characterized by ongoing "death and rebirth" and the interconnectedness of all "beings", based on a holistic "feminine" world view. In the Borobudur this is symbolized by going down the same steps that you once had to ascend. It emphasizes the necessity of re-incarnating, a necessity often "forgotten" by Buddhists.... The future Buddha's will embrace the world rather than denouncing it! This makes Borobudur double unique. While Buddhism as a whole is slowly decaying Borobudur could give them (and the "rest" of mankind) a new chance. Taking refuge in the Borobodur - the unity of Cosmic Mother, the Eternal Light, this universal teaching, while embracing the world - is the best thing you can do to save yourself and the earth. The Borobudur sharing its uniqueness with only a few other (potential) witnesses of Truth: the Ka'aba, the Black Madonna's and Maya Cosmic Insight.

* See "Threefold Realization"

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Borobudur sits in its enigmatic depth, engulfed in vaporous illusions, waiting for someone to find the base simplicity of its Truth....

Lokesh Chandra