Dayak Kaharingan in Facing World Religion Paradigm

A. Background

Modernization is not merely influencing economy, politics, government, cultural but also religion in the world. Modernization is in the globalization era which is a long-process in the human life history. Each people expect changes and development in their life. By the changes and development, their life will be meaningful, not merely as an object of technology changes or development. This is probably happened if the people are lost a value being their life principles. The value meant is the cultural and religion values which are able to construct the pattern of human life and direct it to be better.  However, a culture is not only stopped on the human self, but the culture should develop as era demanding.

Religion is revealed by God to be the main paradigm of human life. Religion is a historical term like all other terms and phenomena. In academic programs and recent publications, ‘Indigenous Religions’ as a separate category is increasingly being fitted neatly into a ‘world religions’ paradigm (James L. Cox, 2007, p. 33).[1] In the journal of paradigms behind (and before) the modern concept of religion, Catherine Bell (2006), identifies five paradigms that are basic to understanding the historical emergence and uses of the generic idea of “religion” in the Christian cultures of Europe and America.[2] Modernization as the key paradigms discussed Christianity as the prototype; religion as the opposite of reason; the modern formulation of “world religions”; the cultural necessity of religion; and critical analysis of the Western “construction” of religion. Shortly, Bell’s storyline is to explore a handful of key paradigms that have been and still are to academic understandings of religion in a number of fields (p. 28).

Tomoko Masuzawa (2005: 2–3) identifies that the world’s religion is classified according to geography, and those religions consist of the originated in the Ancient Near East (primarily Judaism, Christianity and Islam); the religions of South Asia (almost always including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, but sometimes adding Zoroastrianism); and religions that developed in the Far East (Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto).[3] Those religions are acknowledged by the world with many populations, including in Indonesia as multicultural state.

Indonesia as multicultural state has Islam as major religion instead threre are other religions enlisted officially in Indonesia, namely Christian, Catolic, Hindhu, Budha Confucianism. However, there are still many religions and beliefs followed by Indonesia society which are still not accommodated and aknolwedge by the Indonesian government, one of the religions is Dayak kaharingan in Kalimantan.

Interestingly, as happened to the local religion namely the people’s religion of Dayak Kaharingan, the government through the ministry of religion, socialize and approaches as well as the negotiations for them to want to move and be labeled to one of the religions recognized by the government of Indonesia. In the case of Dayak Kaharingan, the government labels them as part of the Hindu religion. So Dayak Kaharingan changed its name to the Hindu Kaharingan religion in order to be recognized by the Indonesian government.

This is part of the politicization of religion in Indonesia, which cannot be separated from the role of a great missionary religions or world religion, which considers matters relating to animism, a belief that is considered a “folk tradition” and not as a religion. This is an effect of the theory raised by Taylor on animism which is the beginning of the origin of religion, so that in this era of modern, animism is no longer a part of religion, but the religion of monotheism is what is modern today.

In this paper, I will explain how Dayak society’s belief so that it can be regarded as part of animism, and then I will explain the effect of the separation of animism and religion, as happened in Indonesia, especially kaharinggan were not considered by the Indonesian government as part of a legitimate religion, so they must be willing to move to one of the religions recognized by the Indonesian government.

B. Research Question

There are two research questions that will be answet in this paper, namely:

  1. How is the belief of Dayak society so that can be said as part of animism?
  2. Is there any chance to Kaharingan becomes part of legally religion in Indonesia?

C. Discussion

1. Paradigm of World Religion in Indonesia

In Gellner’s view, the definition of religion comes from the Judeo-Christian culture. For centuries there was a misunderstanding about religion Asia due to the Western view of religion.[4] Category ‘world religion’ was denounced as a fabricated idea. Trying to understand the Asian religions like Hindu, Shinto and Buddhism with glasses ‘world religion’ is derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition is a step in the wrong. Values, scriptures, prophet, religious ceremonies and rituals Asia should be allowed to grow without pressure from the religious sense arising from the Christian-Yahudi

World religion is defined as the religions with the largest population of the countless adherents of the whole population in the world. For many parts of the world, the information about religious affiliation is available from consensus and surveys, for other parts of the world there is little reliable information. The popularity of world religion paradigm rests on many factors, primarily promotion by the discipline in order to solve the many problems of emphasis, logic, and cultural-centrism, when multiple religions are introduced. Yet the paradigm always involves one major problem that readily generates resistance by some of the included traditions, namely, the “leveling” implied in making one’s religion just another in a group of comparable items (Bell, 2006, p. 34).[5]

Indonesia as a state defines religion more than political aspect tough in the reality Indonesia never defines the religion formallu and only profides indicator on the real religion. However, the existing indicator becomes the resource problem relating to the multiplicity religion in Indonesia. Some indicators of religion in Indonesia are namely their international affiliates, have followers, have the concept of prophethood, have a holy book, and have an area of origin.

One of the incongruities from the Indonesian government towards the freedom of religion is that the government only recognizes six religions (Islam, Protestanism, Catolicissm, Hindhuism, Buddhism, and Konghucu). Each Indonesian people in Indonensia is obliged to embrace one religion which is the personal data mentioned in official documents such as passports and other identity cards. Atheism and animism is not an option if the religion in Indonesia and society devoted to one such belief are considered blasphemous and state.

Statistik Demografi Agama – Agama di Indonesia tahun 2010[6]

In Indonesia, religion is defined as a “religion” that I think just a change of words from English to Indonesian. Since both religion and “religion” is the same as having specific requirements to be part of it. Something that could be categorized as a religion to be divine revelation is recorded by a prophet in a holy book, a system of law for the community of believers, congregational worship, and a belief in the One and Only Go[7]. One example of cults that are not recognized because the country does not meet recognized religions indicator is the case with the indigenous Dayak people who hold beliefs Kaharingan.

2. Dayak Kaharingan, religion or animism

Kaharingan is the indigeneous religion of Dayak. The title is taken from the word Danum Kaharingan Kaharingan, which means “water of life”. The term is used after World War II as an awareness of their own cultural identity and a strong desire to revive the original Dayak culture. In general, the Dayaks who still embraced Kaharingan still called the Dayaks, but some were converted to Islam calls itself Malays. It is based on the opinion of Ch. F. H. Dumont in his book published in 1924 which said:[8]

“The Dayaks are the true inhabitants of Borneo Island; they used to have inhabited the island of Borneo, baikpun beaches baikpun west. But when the Malays of Sumatra and Peninsular Land Melaka come over there terdesaklah Dayaks then retreated. Grow old; grow deep into the ground next to the island of Borneo. Other than the Malays had again Bugis and Makassar inhabits the east coast and the west coast of the island of Borneo. Similarly, Java people have come during the Majapahit Empire. And the stranger who comes in west Kalimantan, namely the Chinese. “

In expressing his conviction found expression in various ways, but the principle is the same with worshiping God the creator, just a different way and it is called. This may be due to stay away from one tribe to another and also the difficulty of communication. In addition, also due to the absence of a written grip that can be used as a guideline in carrying out the duties and obligations as faiths that believed. Kaharingan have a place of worship called Basarah Hall or Hall Kaharingan with their scriptures are Panaturan and books of other religions, such as Talatah Basarah (set Prayer), Tawar (manual procedure of asking for God’s help with the ceremony sowing rice).

Kaharingan is a formal label for the belief system of luangan, maanyan, ngaju and otdanum, [9]which is a group of Dayak in Kalimantan. Kaharingan comes from the root “herring”, which means self-existence, source or vitality. There is also a saying comes from herring is Parey herring, which means “rice (rice) which grows spontaneously”.[10] There also are found Kaharingan means “living”, a source of life stemming from god.[11] Kaharingan is a belief shared by many Dayak community, sometimes each group or region Kaharingan dayak have their own way, but Kaharingan in northern Borneo can not be separated by Kaharingan in southern Borneo, but also can not be equated.

As a belief, Kaharingan is a way of life for the Dayak community, but for anthropologists, Kaharingan categorized as animism. Because of the beliefs and rituals performed by adherents Kaharingan, is something that was conceptualized by Taylor E.B as animism which is the belief of the people lower race which is the origin of today’s modern religion. Thought animism is derived from Taylor thoughts about death and dream, in the one case, the life within a person Appears to separate from the physical body, in the other, a kind of phantom, or images Appears Able to do the same. Both reviews can be accounted for if we make a next and natural step in logic and combine them into one, into the idea of a personal soul that mirrors the body and animates it from within.[12]

Taylor categorizes animism into two forms, the first concerning souls of individual creatures, capable of continued existence after the death or destruction of the body, the second concerning other spirits upward to the rank of powerful Deities. Spiritual beings are held to effect or control the events of the material world, and man’s life here and hereafter and it being Considered that the hold intercourse with men, and receive pleasure and displeasure from human actions, the belief in their existence leads naturally, and it MIGHT be said almost inevitably, sooner or later to active Reverence and propitiation.[13]

The belief of Kaharingan can be said as monotheism, but also polytheism simultaneously,[14] because Kaharingan believe in god almighty one, the god who created the universe and all living things called Hatala langih, infinite tuning and so forth, but there are spirits and gods organize human life in each field. As in agriculture, every adherent Kaharingan want to start the process of farming, they ask for the blessing of god farmer, or wish to clear land by burning, and then they ask for the blessing of the god of fire.

In addition, Kaharingan that also believes in the spirits of the deceased are still influential to their lives, because they believe that the spirits of the dead do not go straight up into the sky, but still to be around them, therefore, they are still doing homage to the spirit of who had died. Moreover, if the individual is the one responsible for or have a high position in society, could be the spirit of the person will be regarded as one of the gods, a god who categorized derived from humans, such as the legend is very well known in the Dayak community Kaharingan the god commander birds formerly when life is a great commander in the battle for the Dayak community.

Kaharingan tradition is a form of respect for local knowledge. Kaharingan religion was born from the tradition of growing and developing the march of daily life Dayak tribe, from birth, marriage and death. All the rituals were upheld by generations and until now still practiced and adhered to its adherents. Chairman of the Society Uud Danum, Rafael Syamsuddin said, in West Kalimantan Kaharingan faiths has been significantly reduced. This is different in Central Kalimantan, where religion Kaharingan embraced about 330,000 residents Ngaju Dayak tribe. Religion Kaharingan in Central Kalimantan is one of the tribal religion in the world that still survive in the midst of development and globalization. While in West Kalimantan, Kaharingan religion is “suppressed” under various pretexts.

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