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Rural Ashram, a Center for Cultural-Spiritual Education

pasraman BuratwangiCreating an intelligent, culture-based and manageable community milieu is not adequate through formal education at school only. However, people should also equip themselves with the education of the art and moral to make them mentally strong. Considering studying Balinese art and culture poses a basic education of Hinduism, such learning is very important for younger generation. Departing from such a desire, the ashram then appears in numbers. Some are managed by customary village, while others by individuals or groups. Sekar Jepun Ashram, for instance, is managed by Ole customary village, while Buratwangi Ashram established on August 23, 2005 is managed by community group caring for culture. Both ashrams provide the education on culture to the younger generation.

Arguably, the presence of Buratwangi ashram is very simple, namely being established in a house yard that is not too fancy. The students are kindergarten and elementary school level from local Ole hamlet and even outside Marga. They learn on Saturdays and Sunday as well as additional lessons on holidays. It provides free tuition as a social works of all the tutors. Nevertheless, the programs are carefully designed in harmony with the development of the time. In other words, it also provides English lesson, painting, theater, music, dance as well as modern dance aside from local subjects.

On that account, the Buratwangi Ashram has various divisions such as dance, gamelan music, plaiting activities, oblation making, chants and English. Each division has a coordinator. And the schedule is flexible and adapted to the chance owned by each teacher.
As a first step, this ashram has a total of 75 students with different backgrounds. Though being held in short time, it can establish a full family togetherness. Even, it is able to show off their identity. On temple anniversary at local temple, the ashram students always pay devotional work or ngayah by presenting Rejang and Baris Gede Dance.

Such devotional work is commonly performed in the individual or temple ritual activities at other village. In addition, the students are also involved to grace the anniversary of customary youth club (dance and music), wedding (rindik gamelan music) and tooth filling (gender gamelan music). Besides, they are also believed to present welcoming performance for important guests of the Tabanan government.
They are only wearing a very simple attire, kebaya and fabrics because lack of funding. Nevertheless, the presence of these creative children causes the Buratwangi ashram to be more widely known and gain the confidence to fill in more important events.

In addition, the ashram members also gained the confidence to make performance in the extravagant Bali Arts Festival (BAF) presenting Barong Bangkung as the envoy of Tabanan. It got the opportunity to participate in the art parade of BAF 2008 at Renon Denpasar and ngelawang parade in the BAF 2009. In 2011, the individual member also supported the Kid Gong Kebyar troupe and gender gamelan envoy of Tabanan.
These children are also active in performing street dance or ngelawang Bangkung Barong every six months, namely on Galungan and Kuningan. However, money is not the main target, but rather fosters the sense of togetherness as the spirit of Buratwangi Ashram. Although without funding, this ashram resumes its cultural mission as a means to roam around the world. (BTN/015)

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015
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