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Interaction between Indonesian Society with the new Hindu-Buddhist tradition Part #2

Updated on April 21, 2013
Ship Relief in Borobudur Temple.
Ship Relief in Borobudur Temple. | Source


This article is the 2nd part of the Main Article. After we read about Interaction between Indonesian Society with the new Hindu-Buddhist tradition Part #1, we learn about five aspect that show how Hindu-Buddhist cultural influences Indonesian People

  1. Hindu-Buddhist cultural influences on the building art
  2. Hindu-Buddhist cultural influences on art
  3. Hindu-Buddhist cultural influences on literary arts
  4. Hindu-Buddhist cultural influence on government system
  5. Hindu-Buddhist cultural influences on belief systems

Now, it is time for us to understand the rest of it, which is:

  1. Trade and transportation system
  2. Land tenure systems
  3. Tax system
  4. Labor
  5. Development of Hindu-Buddhist tradition

I suggest for you who just got here, to read the 1st part 1st to understand more about the article.

6. Trade and transportation system

Wealth of the Indonesian has been known since long ago. Frankincense, sandalwood and camphor from Indonesia has been known in China to compete with other fragrant materials from West Asia. Similarly, various types of spices, such as pepper and cloves, as well as the results of various types of animal crafts and unique characteristic. Initially, traders from India who stopped in Indonesia bring these items to China.

Along with the development of international trade, trade relations between Indonesia - India - China is growing. Wolters opinion say that these developments is the result of Indonesian being open and friendly to foreigners as well as an appreciating the merchandise brought by the foreigners. This attitude also allowing Hindu-Buddhist religion can flourish in Indonesia.

In various inscriptions that are found, it is mentioned that in the 5th century AD, the Indonesian people have been able to take part in the Asian international maritime trade. This development was triggered also by the development of the shipping transportation technology.

I-Tsing ( Yijing ), a traveler and Buddhist monk from China who come to Indonesia in the 7th century on his way to India by ship belonging to Srivijaya, said that initially the Indonesian nation is already familiar with the world of shipping, although only limited to the islands adjacent. Transportation that are used is a small outrigger boats. Along with the emergence of large empires, such as Srivijaya, Singasari, and Majapahit, shipbuilding technology start develop larger ships and shipping were done to reach longer distances. Indonesian people can be more active in international trade by sail alone to countries that usually trade with Indonesia. This is reflected in the reliefs of Borobudur. Three types of ships are depicted in the reliefs are canoes, non bercadik ship, and bercadik ship.

Philip Beale, Briton sailor previously served for British Royal Navy, already reconstructed the ship based on the Borobudur Ship Relief. With only 5 stone carvings as the data source, Beale lead an expedition team in reconstructing the ship and sailing it from Jakarta in Indonesia to Madagascar and then around the Cape of Good Hope to the west coast of Africa.

Extensive research and design work preceded the building of the ship by a team of experienced Indonesian ship builders. Nick Burningham, an acknowledged expert on Indonesian watercraft and maritime archaeology, supervised the building of the vessel. The ship was built by Assad Abdullah al-Madani, a seasoned Indonesian traditional ship builder and his men, with little more than a balsa wood model that Nick Burningham had created to help him.

The Resulted Ship then named Samudra Raksa or defender of the seasin English. The expedition of the ship than took place from August 2003 until February 2004. It started in Tanjung Priok harbour, Jakarta on 30 August 2003, and arrived in the port of Tema, Accra, Ghana on 23 February 2004. The epic voyage demonstrated ancient trading links between Indonesia and Africa (in particular East Africa and Madagascar). The treacherous Cinnamon shipping route took vessels from Indonesian waters across the Indian Ocean past the Seychelles, Madagascar, and South Africa to Ghana.

Today the Samudra Raksa ship is housed and displayed in Samudra Raksa Museum, located just a few hundred meters north of Borobudur temple within the complex of Borobudur Archaeological Park.

Yijing Picture

Yijing a monk that praised the high level of Buddhist scholarship in Srivijaya and advised Chinese monks to study there prior to making the journey to Nālandā in India.
Yijing a monk that praised the high level of Buddhist scholarship in Srivijaya and advised Chinese monks to study there prior to making the journey to Nālandā in India. | Source


Yijing's travel map of 7th century.
Yijing's travel map of 7th century. | Source

Samudra Raksa (defender of seas)

The full scale reconstruction of ancient vessel depicted on 8th century Borobudur bas reliefs.
The full scale reconstruction of ancient vessel depicted on 8th century Borobudur bas reliefs. | Source

7. Land tenure systems

Land within the kingdom in general became a royal property. However, processing or utilization handed over to the people who live in the royal sphere. Land use rights is called anggaduh rights, meaning that people just loaned land by the king. Arable land that can be transferable to other people within the same kingdom and anggaduh rights can be used for generations. However, if at any time the king asked the land, for example, for the purposes of establishment of a temple or building a property for the empire or for other public interests, people can not resist and must give the land back.

This anggaduh Land Tenure System will be use for a long time. Even in the time of Islamic sultanate. When Dutch East India Company ( Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie / VOC ), a chartered company that granted a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia, destroy Indonesian Kingdom one after another. the anggaduh system still active with VOC and not the king, become the owner of the land.

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, a British statesman, best known for his founding of the city of Singapore, whose govern Java from 1811-1816, change this system. During his governorship, Raffles introduced partial self-government, stopped the slave trade, became an early opponent of the Opium trade by placing strict limitations upon its importation, led an expedition to rediscover and restore Borobudur and other ancient monuments, and replaced the Dutch forced agriculture system with a land tenure system of land management.

Stamford Raffles

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, (6 July 1781 – 5 July 1826)
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, (6 July 1781 – 5 July 1826) | Source

8. Tax system

Development and security of an empire would require a fee. This fee is taken from the results of trade, agriculture, and levies taxes to the people. Taxes levied by the authorities at the regional level from the villages in their area. After each harvest, such tax shall be handed over to the kingdom. At the central level, there is a special officer in charge of land records in the kingdom to be used as the basis for calculating the tax assessment that will be collected. The people are required to pay taxes on time.

9. Labor

Labor comes from the people. In this case, a servant of the King and they should obey all of his orders. This is because at that time, the king's power is supreme and absolute because the king was regarded as the incarnation of god on earth and rule in the name of god. Therefore, people are required to be loyal to the king.

The statue of Harihara, the half Shiva and half Vishnu god.

This statue is the mortuary deified potrayal of King Kertarajasa (Raden Wijaya), the first king of Majapahit (rule 1293-1309).
This statue is the mortuary deified potrayal of King Kertarajasa (Raden Wijaya), the first king of Majapahit (rule 1293-1309). | Source

10. Development of Hindu-Buddhist tradition

At the time of the development of Hindu-Buddhist religion in Indonesia, the Hindu-Buddhist tradition has developed quite rapidly in the Indonesia in many various sectors. The sector are as follows

  • System of social structures
  • government
  • art
  • technological developments
  • educational development

System of social structures

Entry and development of Hinduism in Indonesia affect many sectors of Indonesian society, including social community systems and structures. Its influence can be seen through the caste system implementation in Indonesian society. Caste system in Indonesia is not like the one in India, but of a system of grouping people through the stages of people's lives and hereditary effect. This is to indicate social status in Indonesian society. Meanwhile, the difference caste system in India is very fundamental because it function is to distinguish social status between Aryan and Dravidian groups.

Indonesian people that under the influence of Buddhism, emerged division of communities of monks and nuns, a group of people living in the monasteries and only concerned of spiritual life, their earthly life began to be abandoned. Other groups are groups of the general public, a group of people who are still concerned with worldly life. System and the structure of Indonesian society are influenced by Hindu-Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya which flourished in the time and the Kingdom of Mataram. Srivijaya kingdom is a Maritime kingdom of where many people's lives depend on the sea. Sriwijaya mastered many paths and trading center then the kingdom of Srivijaya became large and important, thus become the first national kingdoms in the Indonesia

Hindu Mataram kingdom consists of a central area known as the capital of the kingdom (royal residence, the son of the king, the king's close relatives, as well as high officials of the kingdom) and the character of the area, the area controlled by the rakai or pamgat which serves as a high Official and served empire based on hereditary.

Indonesian Monks

Indonesian Monks doing Pindapatta, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia
Indonesian Monks doing Pindapatta, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia | Source


Before the influence of Hinduism in Indonesian, the Indonesian people already familiar with the government system, which is known in the form of tribal chiefs, a chief in the office choice based on their capabilities, then the leader of the tribe were chosen democratically by the group. They are the most able person in the group.

The Entry and development of Hinduism and Buddhism in Indonesia took effect in the government system. The birth of the Kingdom System is one of them. The first Hindu kingdoms in Indonesia is the Kutai kingdom with its king, King Mulawarman. Hereditary kings ruling so that the royal family had the honor society in the country. The king has the sole power, there is no institution that can match the power of the king.

Hayam Wuruk Illustration

Hayam Wuruk, The 4th king of Majapahit
Hayam Wuruk, The 4th king of Majapahit | Source


The development of the arts appears the building arts, visual arts, and literary arts.

  1. The art of building a Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple are found in Nusantara ( Indonesia ). Basic construction of the temple dates back to the megalithic temples that exist in Indonesia in the form of a magnificent building and punden Berundak ( Step pyramid ) as it appears on the Borobudur temple.
  2. Fine arts, art that went into Nusantara ( Indonesia ) is developing, this marked by the discovery of a statue of Buddha with Gandara symbol in Bangun City Kutai, and Buddha statue with Amarawati symbol found in Sulawesi, Boat decoration shows progress of fine art in Indonesia at the time and on the walls of Prambanan temple Ramayana reliefs encountered.
  3. In the field of literature, Hindu art literature may be seen on inscriptions and literary books. Many inscriptions in the archipelago using Sanskrit scriptures even Hindu dominant literary era using the language and Pallava.

inscriptions using Sanskrit

 A Yupa with inscription in the National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta
A Yupa with inscription in the National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta

technological developments

Advances in technology have very large influence on the social and cultural life of the community in Indonesia. Before the Hindu influence entered Nusantara, nation of Indonesia already has a high-tech tool especially in the manufacture of good made ​​of stone or metal.

After the Hindu influence, Indonesian understand more advanced technology, such as the manufacture of a temple. When compared with the temples in India the temple in Indonesia is much more majestic and sturdy like Borobudur, Prambanan temple. Thus, Indonesia has been have a high technology knowledge.

Borobudur Temple

Borobudur temple, Central Java, Indonesia. It show how advanced Indonesian Technology at the time.
Borobudur temple, Central Java, Indonesia. It show how advanced Indonesian Technology at the time. | Source

Prambanan Temple

Prambanan temple, located on the border between Yogyakarta and Central Java province.
Prambanan temple, located on the border between Yogyakarta and Central Java province. | Source

educational development

Education developed rapidly after the Hindu influence, such as the people who do get education from Hindu and Buddhist priests. Those who studied go to the Brahmins homes or special places like monasteries. Brahmans provide education and teaching Hinduism to the community in the areas. They open education places known as pasraman. In this pasraman, Indonesian people get a wide range of knowledge from the Brahmins.

Until now, pasraman name still use as Hinduism Educational institutions name. Pasraman word derived from the word "Asrama" ( dorm ) (often written and read ashram) which means the place where the process of learning or education.

Pasraman in Modern Time

Teens in Jembrana, Bali, Indonesia. They learning in pasraman Hindu, Berangbang village, subdistrict Negara.
Teens in Jembrana, Bali, Indonesia. They learning in pasraman Hindu, Berangbang village, subdistrict Negara. | Source

Ok that's All

Okay, it was faster then i thought it would be. It seems i already getting the hang of it. Even though i spent most of my time in Business trip this week, i still able to finish this.

With this article over, i think it is time for me to cover the Kingdom. I actually looking forward to this. But for now, i think i will rest for a while.

Thanks for reading and give your comment for anything.


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