Brahma Vihara Arama is the biggest Buddhist monastery of Bali, situated up in the hilly land of Banjar village, only 1.5km from the so called Holy Hot Spring of Banjar. It was opened in 1970; Brahma Vihara Arama covers a hectare of hillside, with a number of meditation rooms, libraries, beautiful gardens, and an impressive miniature of the largest Buddhist archaeological site of the world, Borobudur, on its highest location.
The monastery is around 20 kilo meters drive from Singaraja town,the capital town of Buleleng, north Bali and around 10 kilo meters from the main beach resort of Lovina. It is only a few minutes’ drive from the main road. On the way from the main road, you will pass the village life and clear signposts that show you directions to the monastery.
Parking area of the monastery is located in front of the entrance. The entrance gate was designed in Balinese architecture with a rising Balinese-style bell tower housing a metal bell instead of the traditional wooden kul-kul bell. Inside the front office there are Buddhist calendars, posters, and printed shirts portraying the landmark, available for visitors. Another gate has stairs lined with guardian statues, where each step marked with aspects from Buddhist ‘eightfold path of enlightenment’. Its name, given by the late founding father of the monastery, Bhante Giri, consists of three words: Brahma, Vihara and Arama, which when the words are combined, they mean ‘a place for self-cultivation’.
There are some tall pine trees, trimmed lawns, well-maintained flower gardens that add up to the sense of peaceful atmosphere you can enjoy here. Several main sections include the Uposatha Gara, which is a restful and very quiet meditation room in the western section, with walls portraying Prince Siddhartha Gautama’s birth, and a statue of Buddha in his state of reaching Nirvana. The room also serves as a main venue for new “bikhu” or Buddhist monks initiations.
Another building which is called “Dharmasala”, is located in the eastern part of the monastery. It is sort of a study room where the “bhiku” conduct their prayers, lectures, and other hole-hearted activities. A short walk along a footpath in the western part of the complex leads you to a “Bodi tree” mini-garden in which there is a large tree with a sitting Buddha image underneath. There is also a mural that portrays Buddha’s path towards Nirvana. In all areas of the gardens, you will see various Buddha figures in different postures. The most prominent ones are two gold-plated bronze statues which were gifts from Thailand and Sri Lanka in 1977.
This Buddhist Monastery is also a meditation place for Buddhist pilgrims during the holy day of Vesak or Asada. The important Buddhist worship is when the monastery grounds and mini Borobudur are at its most interesting atmosphere with monks in spiritual procession.