World’s largest Muslim-majority nation restores Buddhist pilgrimage at UNESCO World Heritage Site

“We pray that Buddhists from across the world will visit Borobudur for pilgrimage and worship”
~ Minister of Religious Affairs H. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas

Bhante Sri Pannavaro Mahathera, Vice President of the World Theravada Sangha and head of Vihara Mendut, a Buddhist monastery 3 kilometers from Borobudur Temple

Borobudur, Indonesia, 12 December 2022 — The government of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation and democracy is encouraging year-round Buddhist worship at Borobudur Temple, inviting pilgrims from throughout the world to visit one of the religion’s most sacred and historic sites.

The 9th century Buddhist temple — the largest on earth — is located on the heavily populated island of Java, which constitutes the geographic, political, cultural, and economic center of Indonesia, and is the heartland of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).

Borobudur Temple (above), and organizations sponsoring a film promoting its restoration as an active worship center (below)

The Chairman of Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, NU’s 7-million-member young adults movement and Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs, the Honorable Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, played a key role in the decision to re-open Borobudur Temple to Buddhist worship. The initiative is linked to a wider effort by leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama and the Center for Shared Civilizational Values — which serves as the Permanent Secretariat for the G20 Religion Forum (R20) — to advance reform across confessional lines and thereby help ensure that religion functions as a genuine and dynamic source of solutions, rather than problems, in the 21st century.

A 16-minute government-sponsored video encouraging pilgrimage to Borobudur Temple, with Chinese and English subtitles, may be viewed below.

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