Traditional Balinese Concepts
TRI HITA KARANA
This Hindu concept, Tri Hita Karana, means to keep the harmonic balance of peace and happiness within three key relationships: between human to God, human to human, and human to environment. Palemahan, is a word that refers to the land environment. Based on this concept the Balinese treat the relationship between human and the environment with must respect as they believe that a healthy well maintained environment will give provision for a better life.
Tri Angga essentially means “three parts”; high, middle, and low, and can be represented in the human body, building structures, town planning and the environment in which the Balinese live amongst. The Tri Angga of Bali as a whole place are divided as follows: the high - sacred mountains which form ridge from East to West through the centre of the island, the middle - is where most of the Balinese live, the low - is the sea.
TRI KAYA PARISUDA
This concept articulates the simple ways to execute your actions in pursuit of Tri Hita Karana by conducting three actions: to think positive, to speak positive, and to conduct yourself in a positive manner.
A great example of the Balinese intimate connection with the natural environment is the Tumpek Bubuh ceremonial rituals for the plants and trees every 210 days. The Balinese give offerings to the trees with the purpose that trees have given them prosperity and have played a crucial role in continuing the harmony and balance with the environment.
The Balinese believe that they live in a paradise on earth, and they honour and respect the land they live on. Every dwelling has its own shrine, and offerings (Canangsari) of flowers, incense and holy water are made to the Gods three times every day, at dawn, at midday, and at dusk (Tri Angga, three parts of the day). They truly live in perfect harmony with their environment.
The Balinese live very close to the land. They like to smell the earth, hear the sounds of nature, be woken by the sound of cocks crowing and lulled to sleep by the sound crickets or frogs. Even in urban areas, they utilize every element of earth, air, fire and water to create a deep sense of connection to the place in which they live.
Life in Bali is constantly moving, they simply live in the Now. The people have an innate creativity and do not resist change in the way that western people do. This is one reason why their traditional way of life has survived, because they easily adapt and incorporate new influences arriving from the West into their own culture.
It will be interesting in the future to see if environmental issues will be adapted to with such acceptance.
According to these traditional beliefs the philosophy of conservation of natural resources as well as the environment are compatible with both traditional and modern Balinese lifestyles and modern concepts of sustainable development.
While these guiding social principles are firmly embedded in traditional culture and were succesful in maintaining the necessary ecological balances within the traditional realm of human activity in Bali, some say they have largely been lost as guiding principles in the modern Balinese/Indonesian context. More and more people are calling for the return of such principles and wisdom as mega-projects with their mega-impacts continue to change the human and physical shape of the island.