Hastho Bramantyo: His Thoughts and New Book

The activities of Hastho Bramanto, CRCS 2002 alumnus, are increasing because he has been launching a new book which he translated into Indonesia, “Kakawin Sutasoma”. This man, known as “Bram” to many, has visited several places in Java and Bali for the launching. “This book describes how during Majapahit era the people with all their differences lived together with their own local wisdom,” said Bram.


As the Head of Syailendra Buddhist College, Kopeng, Semarang regency, Bram sees that dialogue and respect for differences are really needed by us. This is in line with the ideas expressed in the new book. He thinks that his experiences studying at CRCS have helped shape his way in thinking and his work as a lecturer and writer.


For Bram, there are two points of interest at CRCS. “First, methodologically CRCS provides psychoanalytical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives, etc,” Bram emphasized. “Second, materially, we meet people with different religious backgrounds directly, and that is so helpful to break our stereotypes when the encounter is in process,” Bram continued.


The two things influence him in teaching Mahayana, Philosophy and Religions in Indonesia, at his campus. “We use many subjects that are also CRCS subjects. We adapt those subjects at Syailendra, and they become new learning content for my students. The students are more critical, and they better understand people outside of Buddhists,” Bram emphasized.


This man, who wrote his thesis on “The Dalai Lama’s Response to Religious Diversity”, feels happy that he was exposed to interesting classes from several well-known thinkers, such as Paul F. Knitter. In addition, his experience making friends with other students in his batch has been unforgettable. With those friends, he attended religious events, as Id and breaking of the fast, experiences that they shared together.


His activities now also require him to engage in dialogue with his friends from NGOs and scholars that have different religious backgrounds, especially in Salatiga. “In dialogue I already appeared prepared physically and mentally to engage in dialogue on account of my study at CRCS,” Bram said.


When asked about evaluations and recommendation for CRCS, Bram said there are at least two things that should be developed. “First, CRCS has been enriched by its cross-religious encounters, but there should also be dialogue about ethics and problems of structural poverty. Second, CRCS needs to consider a philosophical thing, a difficult thing, about truth claims or theodicy. It needs to be facilitated by special meeting,” Bram emphasized. (JMI)

This post is also available in: Indonesian


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