Learn to Care for the Earth Through a Tour of Houses of Worship

Description: The Dialogue during the Tour of Houses of Worship at Hok Tek Tjeng Sin Temple on Sunday, June 9, 2024 (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

GreenFaith Indonesia collaborates with Eco Bhinneka Muhammadiyah to carry out House of Worship Tour activities by visiting and holding dialogue at the Houses of Worship of six religions in Indonesia. Apart from celebrating World Environment Day, June 5 2024, this tour aims to present models and innovations on how religions in Indonesia contribute to the climate crisis with real action.

Hening Parlan, Director of Eco Bhinneka Muhammadiyah, explained that a house of worship is a portrait of a religion which is not only used as a house to communicate with God through worship rituals, but also as a center or source of knowledge and a good example of religious action in carrying out God’s commands.

“Through this Tour, I hope that participants can exchange knowledge about how religion teaches to love the environment and glorify the earth, as well as providing knowledge for its people to take action to save the earth,” said Hening, who is currently also active as the National Coordinator of GreenFaith Indonesia.

Description: The Tour of Houses of Worship at Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation on Saturday, June 8, 2024 (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

The Tour of Houses of Worship activities will be held for 2 days on Saturday-Sunday, 8-9 June 2024. The first day of this tour visit location, starting with a visit to Adhitya Jaya Temple – Rawamangun, then to GIPB Paulus Church – Taman Sunda Kelapa, and ending with a visit to Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation – Pantai Indah Kapuk. The second day, the tour route started with a visit to the Muhammadiyah Central Board Office – Menteng Raya, then to the Istiqlal Mosque – Central Jakarta, then closed in the Hok Tek Tjeng Sin Temple – South Jakarta.

Pinandita Pengayah Pura Adhitya Jaya, I Gde Wiyadnya, said that for Hindus, the universe is a reflection of humans themselves. “Everything in the universe consists of 5 elements or what we call Panca Mahabhuta. The elements are mother nature, air, liquid, space, and heat. If these five elements in the universe are disturbed, it will affect us, and vice versa,” he said. To maintain the balance of the Panca Mahabhuta elements, explained Gde, Tri Hita Karana is needed, where humans need to maintain good relationships with God, with fellow humans, and with nature.

Description: Pinandita Pengayah Pura Adhitya Jaya, I Gde Wiyadnya, said that for Hindus, the universe is a reflection of humans themselves. (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

Tri Hita Karana was then adopted when building a house of worship. “We keep our places of worship as close to the universe as possible. “Because of that, the temple building is open, we plant trees, and generally it has a water source,” he added. The temple building, explained Gde, consists of 3 zones, Nista or terrace outside, Madya or central room, and Utama or special room for worship. Apart from being used vertically, or only for worshiping God, the temple can also function horizontally or for social activities between people. “Like the GreenFaith visit, we are currently using the temple in the middle zone,” he explained.

At GPIB Paulus Church, Rommi Matheos as Pastor of the Church, explained that the Christian faith believes that this world is God’s creation, which was created for 6 days, where on the 7th day humans were asked to rest, or not work, or called the Sabbath. “God wants humans not only to work but also to rest and pay attention to the earth. This is where awareness grows for us to save the environment,” he said. Regarding the concept of the teachings of salvation itself, continued Pastor Mattheos, God orders efforts to care for His creation, for the safety of the world and nature.

Description: At GPIB Paulus Church, Rommi Matheos as Pastor of the Church, explained that the Christian faith, God wants humans not only to work but also to rest and pay attention to the earth. (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

As a concrete step from the teachings of the Christian Faith, the GPIB Paulus Church carries out the Community and Environmental Movement or Germasa service program as decided at the Synod session held every year. “At GPIB Paulus Church, when we worship, we no longer use paper, but are starting to go paperless, and we provide waste sorting bins so that the congregation can sort waste according to type,” said Pastor Mattheos.

At the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation Building, Juny Leong Min Wu, Tzu Chi Buddhist volunteer, told the history, teaching values ​​and progress of the Tzu Chi School in Indonesia in the fields of education, social, humanitarian and environmental issues. The driving force of the Tzu Chi School, Master Cheng Yen, is a Bhikkhuni or female Buddhist religious leader from Taiwan. The inspiration of ‘Living side by side with the earth’ is the value of Master Cheng Yen’s teachings regarding environmental conservation.

Description: Tzu Chi people have been sorting and managing waste into useful items. (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

Since 1990, Tzu Chi people have been sorting and managing waste into useful items. “Turning trash into gold, and gold into love, is the spirit taught by Master Cheng Yen,” said Juny. The waste problem must be addressed together and is everyone’s responsibility and Tzu Chi volunteers actively educate the public to sort waste and recycle at the Tzu Chi Environmental Conservation Education Depot.

On the second day of the House of Worship Tour activity, participants learned about real action to realize climate justice through renewable energy at the Muhammadiyah Central Board Da’wah Building which already uses rooftop solar as an alternative energy source. “This concrete step can reduce the cost of using fossil electricity. If the solar panels function optimally, monthly electricity costs can be saved by Rp. 15 million, compared to usually more than Rp. 40 million per month,” said Hening, Deputy Chair of the Muhammadiyah Central Board of the Environmental Council (MLH).

Description: Muhammadiyah Central Board Da’wah Building already uses rooftop solar as an alternative energy source. (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

The Muhammadiyah movement is based on the spirit of Al Maun, including the movement to preserve the environment. “Al Maun is one of the letters in the Qur’an which is the spirit of the Muhammadiyah movement to pay attention to and support our brothers and sisters who are indigent, poor and orphaned. Now it has developed into ‘Green Al Maun’, where Muhammadiyah sees the needy, poor and orphans affected by the climate crisis,” said Hening. Muhammadiyah has had an Environmental Council since 18 years ago, with the hope that Muhammadiyah will contribute to making its people aware to care more about the environment. Not only rooftop solar, this building also has a waste water management channel that is reused for watering plants and vehicles.

Description: Director of Eco Bhinneka Muhammadiyah, Hening Parlan, siad that the Muhammadiyah movement is based on the spirit of Al Maun, including the movement to preserve the environment. (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

Participant’s knowledge about the renewable energy increased from the visit to the Istiqlal Mosque. The largest mosque in Southeast Asia is equipped with rooftop solar with a power of more than 15 kilowatts peak which supplies 16% of the mosque’s electricity needs. The use of rooftop solar in the Istiqlal Mosque building has been going on since 2019 with an on grid system or connected to electricity lines from PLN.

Description: Istiqlal Mosque is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia is equipped with rooftop solar with a power of more than 15 kilowatts peak which supplies 16% of the mosque’s electricity needs. (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

Saparwadi, Head of Public Relations and Protocol for the Istiqlal Mosque Management Agency, said that in 2022, the Istiqlal Mosque has receive the world’s first Green Mosque award from the International Finance Corporation (IFC). “The Istiqlal Mosque building in Jakarta, which has an area of ​​4 hectares and 9.6 hectares of land, now uses 504 solar panels which, thank God, has helped save the budget of up to 100 million rupiah from the average total of 200 million rupiah per month,” said Saparwadi. Apart from utilizing solar energy, the Istiqlal Mosque also conserves water by saving the amount of ablution water that comes out and processing it again to be used for watering trees and plants in the mosque area.

Description: The Istiqlal Mosque has receive the world’s first Green Mosque award from the International Finance Corporation (IFC). (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

From the Istiqlal Mosque, participants met Romo Pandita Mettiko, at the Hok Tek Tjeng Sin Temple / Vihara Amarvabhumi. This temple, which is more than 100 years old, survives amidst the skyscrapers in the center of Jakarta. A clear proof of how worldly life must be balanced by humans’ relationship with God and the constantly changing nature around them. “Man who takes care of the earth, he provides the way to heaven. A clean and sustainable environment will be comfortable to live in for all, but if it is damaged then we are all affected,” said Romo Pandita Mettiko. “If we are not brothers in faith, we can still be brothers in humanity, let’s care for our environment together,” he asked.

Description: Hok Tek Tjeng Sin Temple is more than 100 years old, survives amidst the skyscrapers in the center of Jakarta. (Photo by Bima Artoko/ @greenfaith.id)

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