One thousand years ago in the early 11th century, the great Master Buddhist Teacher Atisha is said to have spent 11 years studying the Buddha Mahayana Tantrayana teachings at Muara Jambi in Sumatra from where he then continued on a pilgrimage to the magnificent Borobudur temple in Central Java.
Muara Jambi on Sumatra, then known as Svarnadwipa - the Golden Island - was the center of Buddhist learning in the kingdom of Srivijaya, where Bhiksus from China and India and the region came to study the religion and seek enlightenment. The wellknown Chinese Master Teacher I Ching also studied here from the year 671 on. During his stay he also wrote the first dictionary translating Malay into Mandarin.
To retrace the footsteps of Master Teacher Atisha one thousand years on, 7 bhiksus from Bhutan, india, and Nepal are spending a week in Indonesia from 23rd September. Their first stop was a visit to witness and meditate at the Muara Jambi temple in the Jambi province. From there they continued their journey to Yogyakarta to the Borobudur temple in Central Java.
Believed to have been the center of learning in the 10th to early 11th century, towards the fall of the powerful Srivijaya kingdom, Muara Jambi, or sometimes spelled Muaro Jambi , is a huge complex covering 260 hectares and stretching 12 km along the Batanghari River. Only rediscovered in 1920, today only 8 temple structures have been restored, that were apparently built later in the 14th century. Here archaeologists unearthed a bronze gong with Chinese inscriptions, old ceramics, beads, gemstones and Chinese coins.
According to history, after his stay at Svarnadwipa and Java, Master Teacher Atisha returned to North India where he spread his teachings to Tibet, which then spread to Mongolia, Nepal and Cambodia, where until today the Mahayana Tantrayana Buddhism still thrives.
The 7 visiting monks whose travel was supported by the Ministry of Tourism aim to bring more pilgrims to trace back the footsteps of the great Master and visit the Muara Jambi temple in Sumatra then continue and end their journey on Borobudur, just as done by the great monk, Atisha.