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Young Buddhist Association of Indonesia Celebrates Vesak with Record-Breaking Moving Sculpture

All images courtesy of the YBAI

The Young Buddhist Association of Indonesia (YBAI) celebrated Vesak in Surabaya City, presenting a record-breaking three-dimensional “Moving Buddha Rupang Diorama” on the occasion of Vesak Festival 2024. The record was officially acknowledged by the Indonesian World Record Museum (MURI) Book.

Vesak Festival 2024 chief organizer Anthony Orodiputro said on the sidelines of the event that MURI had recorded the record-breaking display under the category “Tallest Indoor Moving Buddha Rupang [Sculpture].”

“The overall height is 6.05 meters, which combines the height of the Buddha image alone at 3.65 meters, plus the height of the base at 2.4 meters,” Orodiputro said.

The Young Buddhist Association (YBA) is the leading Buddhist youth organization in Indonesia. Through a deeply held conviction in the Buddha’s message of compassion, growth, and liberation, the association promotes a positive lifestyle among the young in order to cultivate a society founded on wisdom, compassion, and gratitude. The association is involved in establishing Buddhist organizations nationwide, propagating the study of the Dharma among young people, and providing leadership training. 

The YBAI told BDG that the moving Buddha statue, presented in the form of a diorama, was the work of Balinese artist Dwi Aga Yogiswara, who spent a month preparing the artwork for Vesak Festival 2024.

The diorama depicts seven figures: the Buddha accompanied by several monks taking care of Venerable Bhikkhu Tissa, the Buddha’s paternal cousin, who is sick. Some parts of the sculpture are articulated and powered by a linear hydraulic electrical system.

“This artwork is in accordance with the festival’s theme this year, ‘Mindful Leadership for a Better Society,’” said Orodiputro. We have sought to convey this through our main diorama.”

Orodiputro added that through its participation each year for the Vesak festival, the YBAI had earned a reputation for coming up with innovative ways to celebrate the life of the Buddha.

“We want to present something new so that the event is more interesting,” Orodiputro emphasized. “Last year we achieved a MURI record with the largest indoor Buddha sculpture, and this year, for a second time, we beat the record.”

In addition to the moving Buddha sculpture, the Vesak Festival 2024 committee also screened a movie title Hakiki, Life as A Buddhist Monk, produced by Ven. Bhante Jayamedho.

“The movie expresses all of the Buddhist values of a good life,” Orodiputro explained.

Meanwhile, Orodiputro expressed hope that the festival would strengthen the unity of all Indonesian people in facing the challenges of modern times. “By prioritizing universal values, hopefully this can be an open learning tool for residents of Surabaya and foster leadership aimed at creating a better environment and a peaceful society,” he said.

Although officially a secular nation, Indonesia is home to a diversity of communities and religious and spiritual traditions. Islam is the most widespread religion, observed by 87 per cent of the population, according to national data for 2022. Christian traditions account for a combined 10.5 per cent, Hinduism 1.7 per cent, and Confucianism, folk, and other traditions account for a combined 0.07 per cent.

Buddhism, practiced by 0.73 per cent of the population—roughly two million people—is the second-oldest spiritual tradition in Indonesia after Hinduism. According to historical accounts, Buddhism first flourished on the archipelago around the sixth century, which was followed by ascent and decline of a number of powerful Buddhist empires, including the Shailendra dynasty (c. 8th–9th centuries), the Srivijaya empire (c. 7th–12th centuries), and the Mataram empire (c. 8th–11th centuries). Today, the majority of Indonesian Buddhists are affiliated with Mahayana schools of Buddhism, although communities of Theravada and Vajrayana practitioners also exist.

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Young Buddhist Association of Indonesia
Young Buddhist Association (YBA) of Indonesia (Instagram)
Young Buddhist Association of Indonesia (Facebook)
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