Sunda Wiwitan: Religion of the last native Sundanese called Baduy

Sunda Wiwitan

Sunda Wiwitan: Religion of the last native Sundanese called Baduy
The religion of the Baduy is known as Agama Sunda Wiwitan, an ancestral teaching that is rooted in ancestral worship and honoring or worshiping spirits of natural forces (animism). According to kokolot (elder) of Cikeusik village, Kanekes people is not adherent of Hinduism or Buddhism, they follow animism, the belief that venerated and worshiped the spirit of ancestors. However, in its development this faith is influenced and incorporated Hindu, and to some extent, Islamic elements.
The form of respect for the spirit of the natural forces is carried out through the attitude of guarding and preserving the natural environment such as the mountains, hills, valleys, forests, gardens, springs, rivers, and all the ecosystems within them; and as well as giving their highest gratitude to nature, by treating and protecting the jungle as part of an effort to maintain the balance of the universe. The core of this belief is shown by the existence of pikukuh or the absolute customary provisions that is practiced in the daily lives of the Kanekes people. The most important principle from the Kanekes people’s pukukuh (adherence) is the concept of “no changes of whatsoever”, or the slightest change possible: Lojor heunteu beunang dipotong, pèndèk heunteu beunang disambung (meaning “What’s long cannot be cut (to shorten), and what’s short cannot be attached (to lengthen).

Mystical Taboos

Sunda Wiwitan: Religion of the last native Sundanese called Baduy
The Baduy also observe many mystical taboos. They are forbidden to kill, steal, lie, commit adultery, get drunk, eat food at night, take any form of conveyance, wear flowers or perfumes, accept gold or silver, touch money, or cut their hair. In agriculture, the form of pukukuh is by not changing the contour of the land for the fields, so much so that the way of farming is very simple, not cultivate the land with plowing or make any terracing, but only with hoe-farming method, that is with a sharpened bamboo. In construction of houses, the contouring of the soil surface are also left as is, therefore the poles of the Kanekes house are often not the same length. Words and actions of the Baduy people are deemed as honest, innocent, without beating around the bush, and even in trade they do not bargain. Other taboos relate to defending Baduy lands against invasion: they may not grow sawah (wet rice), use fertilizers, raise cash crops, use modern tools for working ladang soil, or keep large domestic animals.

Read also, Seba Baduy: A local tradition of Baduy Tribe in Banten Indonesia which similar to Camino De Santiago de Compostella in Spain

Most sacred place called Arca Domas

Sunda Wiwitan: Religion of the last native Sundanese called Baduy
The most important religious object for the Kanekes people is the Arca Domas, where its location is kept secret and is considered the most sacred. The Kanekes people visit the site to worship once a year in the month of Kalima; which in 2003, that month coincided with July. Only Pu’un or the highest customary chairman and several elected members of the community will follow the entourage to worship. Rain water is stored in a mortar container in the Arca Domas complex. If the rain water in the mortar container is found to be clear at the time of worship, then it is a sign for the Kanekes people that there will be plenty of rain in that year, and the harvest will be bountiful. Conversely, if the mortar container is dry or water is turbid, then it is a sign of crop failure.

Islam Influence

Sunda Wiwitan: Religion of the last native Sundanese called Baduy
A certain amount of Islamic influence has also penetrated into the religion of a few of the Baduy Luar in recent years (especially in Cicakal Girang village), with some original ideas thrown in for good measure. The ultimate authority is vested in Gusti Nu Maha Suci, who according to the Baduy sent Adam into the world to lead the life of a Baduy.

Read also, Baduy: Kabuyutan Jati Sunda, Sunda Wiwitan and Fatahillah Invasion

There is evidence that they were originally influenced by Hindu, but retain much of their native animism ancestral veneration beliefs. They have adopted this many centuries before foreign influence including Arab (Islam), European (Christianity) etc. However, due to lack of interaction with the outside world, their religion is more related to Kejawen Animism, though they still retain many elements of Hindu-Buddhist religion influences, like the terms they use to define things and objects, and the rituals in their religious activities. For some, in relation to the persistence of their people, the indigenous beliefs of the Kanekes people reflect the religious beliefs of Sundanese people in general before the arrival of Islam.

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