The secret of the Balinese smile

Senin, Desember 03, 2018

It took me a while to finish this article that started a little before the eruption of Mount Agung, which the media keeps talking about it and creating panic while in Bali everyone is calm. The weather has slowed back to normal. I took advantage of a moment in the soft breeze of occupations and Gods to tell me that I had to finish this article, everything that I write is not for me or you who read this article, but for all those displaced from Mount Agung

It is nice to say that a natural disaster is common in Bali. I cannot help but be admiring the Balinese people never get angry with the gods, instead, they held the ceremonies and praying more than they did before. In Bali, there is no place for angry to the God, everything that happens to us often has a reason which allows us to accept it better.

In Bali, the cremations ceremony seem almost like a festival, like we celebrate it, why? Because it is our way to feel grateful to the God for the life that has been given to us and we know that the dead person does not really leave us, his spirit becoming an ancestor who will reincarnate one day. We are not afraid of death which for us is just the sign of a completed life cycle to start a new one.

Despite what is happening right now in Bali, the smile is still there. Of course, it’s not easy, but Balinese people often tend to take things as they come and adapt to situations because being in the community helps to support oneself, to help one another, to give ourselves bravery.

In Bali we do not have a lot of terms to distinguish very specific moments, what matters for us is to draw the best of the moment in life, well for that, moreover, we trying to never get back to the past memories and making a plan, we take life as it comes, it is God who carries us. We are not pessimistic even if we have nothing, we are always grateful to the gods, nature etc for what we have, for us it is like gifts of life that must be cherished. We prefer to see what we have rather than focus on what we do not have for us it has little value to complain about our living conditions, it does not bring anything to live in stress and to pollute our mind of negative thoughts.

The Balinese actually have a secret that avoids frustration, disappointment and that could strongly approach the definition of happiness. We have what is called “Tri Hita Karana” which is actually a philosophy that means “The three causes of prosperity” or the three causes of happiness. It is about creating 3 harmonies: humans with gods, humans with their fellow humans, humans with nature, so we form a kind of triangle. As the human who in the middle of these 3 relations, we have to make the harmonious life. This may explain why we are doing so many religious ceremonies to thank for really a lot of things. This philosophy of life allows the balance of the physical and spiritual world and allows us to take control of our lives and be responsible for it.


Some Balinese people think that it is important to build a good relationship with the gods, but the others think that if we forget the gods they will be angry with us.

For example, in my family there is a man of about sixty years old who never going to the temple for years, we do not really know why, while his wife and the rest of the family go there. It has been a year since he has a problem with his health until now he is very ill. So they went to see a traditional medium who said that the gods are angry that he no longer prays and no longer participates in any ceremony and that as long as he does not change his behavior and asks for forgiveness he will continue to be sick and his children will also suffer. As a result, a purification ceremony was made for him and since then he has invested more in religious life.

But in fact the concept of Parahyangan is more than that, it is about raising awareness of each individual so that he believes to be part of the gods and that he is in us. We hope that people can control their minds, emotions for their spiritual life during their passage on Earth.


Palemahan represents the harmony between humans and nature. The human tries to keep this harmony by thinking that they owe everything to nature. It’s like give and take theory, they must give something to nature as they took, because if they do not give back to nature, one day nature will stop to give to human and he will be angry. For example, the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 was perceived as such; we saw there was a symbol of the punishment from Gods towards us. And with the eruption of Mount Agung recently, we know that the reason why it happened is we are punished by the God, he warned us to change our behavior, to treat the Earth better, be humble by learning to content ourselves and appreciate what nature gives us rather than sell it at any price. On October 5, 2017, moreover, a large part of the Balinese prayed at the same time at noon to apologize to the gods and to try to appease the anger of the Mount Agung. It shows us how small is human for nature, human and gods are all connected and why it is important for us to keep the harmony that unites us

This harmony transmitted very well with the ceremony that we did: it is tumpek uduh which is a reverence to the plants, the trees that give fruit etc. A good example of how much we are trying to be really grateful for the world around us.


Having good relations with the neighbors is the basis of the Balinese’s life, which is often represented by banjars. Social harmony is really important because it makes society work. If we have a state of positive mind we will do activities such as helping each other during the ceremonies when there is a family member is sick, everyone will visit him by making a donation and cheering them so they can get well soon. Clearly in Bali life is never lonely. At the end of the day what matters is the interaction with the people around us, never locking ourselves from the world, it just will make us so far away from the happiness.

This is why when we look at the world we do not have to look at it just from our point of view, not only thinking about our interests but also having a look at the community. For example, religious activities have this role of bringing the community together. From an early age, Balinese have learned not to assert their own individuality at the expense of group peace. In fact, the desire to push personal emotions and opinions on others does not show for us any emotional intelligence as do the control of his impulses and empathy.

Often you will see the Balinese sitting, laughing chatting and relaxed. They spend a lot of time raising children together, walking, preparing ceremonies, praying or making offers together. Psychologists refer to this behavior as “on the formation of the task” which is actually a practice of mindfulness that we practice daily. Taking time is actually a positive emotion that we try to maximize and that allows us to

For us the gods are at the top, we are in the middle and nature is at the bottom and we must respect these 3 aspects. Respect is thus vertical and horizontal is thus preserves the harmony that allows happiness or at least makes it possible to approach it.


When a person has been very successful in life and prosperity is achieved it is important to keep one’s humility intact and become like rice paddies in the fields that are full of grain and it leans on the side. Great wisdom results from people who are learning from who the rice paddies life. When the rice paddies sprouts are ripe and ready to be harvested a wise person will become like this whole rice paddies, acting with humility and happiness, quietly, without saying much, and without being boastful of his accomplishments or successes.

If a person comes on the road of boasting of his success, symbolically it becomes like the upright seed of rice, stretching to the sky, empty with a great ego and no humility.

In Bali, the teachings of rice paddies are expressed at a young age and the Balinese say it is better to be rather “humble rice paddies” falling on the side and full “than rice paddies with the big ego” extending to sky up, backward and empty


Made the guide of Bali Lost Adventure said “For us Balinese it’s all about harmony and enjoying everything we own, even if it’s not much, for us everything is a gift from the gods and we have to be respectful of what they give us and must pay attention to our karma” and Putu guides Bali Lost Adventure add “We must try to keep our spirit pure, as deep as our heart.

Sumber: Bali Lost Adventure 

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