Prayer For Ancestors – ranting

I’ve been told to pray for the ancestors, overall those in the family tree who have been deceased. We will trace back from my late father to his parents to his parents’ parents, up above to the very first regardless traceable or not and trace back from my mother’s parents to her parents’ parents, up above to the very first regardless traceable or not.

In old Javanese tradition people will do the prayer for ancestors in a simple yet sacred ritual – while some people will go to the graveyard or monument to do it, many are doing it at home. No altar, put thing on your table and pray.

However, four components shall be thoughtfully prepared: the day, the prayer, the food, drink, and (sometimes) cigarettes, and the flowers. Each of those has meaning.

As a reminder, here is the meaning. Please don’t quote me as my knowledge is the result of my personal contemplation mixed with very limited knowledge that I read and hear from many sources.

Chosen Days
All days are good, all time is precious. We are the one giving them meaning by putting some more attention and creating the moment on particular days. So choosing the day is a decision to give meaning to particular time so that it becomes a beautiful moment that boost our mood to connect with our beloved and respected members “above”. The day you are born must be your favourite day.

People will do it at night; many choose to do it at Thursday night before Friday morning breaks, others choose to do it on the day they are born (Sunday to Saturday combined with one of the Javanese 5 days. which is Paing, Pon, Wage, Kliwon and Legi — so if you combine, it can be Thursday Kliwon, Tuesday Legi, etc which are astrologically calculated in a very complicated system. Don’t ask me further about Javanese astrology – I’m zero!

By the way, people traditionally do the ritual ancestor prayer once in 35-40 days or on special dates/occasions but nowadays most people do it twice in a year: around Ramadan and in Javanese new year (lunar calendar). Me? Don’t ask…. 😂

To me chanted prayer is a set of (poetic and romantic) line to synchronise the emotions through all senses with the inner self by focusing on what are uttered or sung. Chanted prayer improves concentration. It helps achieve the oneness within self. So, make sure you understand what you are saying in the prayer. Otherwise, you become a talking parrot.

In Javanese old tradition people recite some “tembang” the Javanese songs which reflect wishes and philosophical thought. Young Javanese used to be taught how to sing those songs in elementary school but now that lesson has gone from the formal education and replaced by popular music lesson as a result of modern culture massively affecting and marginalising the local potential.

While Dhandhanggula verses are commonly chosen to be sung softly by those who are good enough to be heard by the wind and human beings — oh please excuse my out of tune; other Javanese songs (Mocopat) can be the alternatives. People can only use the tembang’s tones or tones and verses. There is no rigid rule for that.

Some others will use Quranic verses containing universal prayers — Javanese culture has been merged and amalgamated with many different religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and strongly with Islam) and so Quranic verses are inserted or substituting some items in the culture. Many will choose QS Yaasiin allegedly the “heart of Quran” or QS Arrahman that contains a lot of heavenly joy to reflect our prayers that all ancestors’ souls are living in heaven. Many people also use QS Alfatihah allegedly the “mother of the Book” or the “mother of Quran” which is much shorter than the other two.

Why Quran is used in many aspects of Javanese? There is a lot of synchronicity between Javanese thinking tradition (Kejawen) with the Islam spirituality (Sufi) and that has developed mutual functionality between those traditions.

If you live in Java island especially central to eastern part of the island for just a while (one week maybe), ou will shift understanding about the Islam which you might have perceived as a rigid teaching originated from Arab land. Islam in Java is different at an almost extreme level of characteristics from Arabian culture. No, no I don’t hate Arab or the “Arabian Islam”, I just don’t want people to wrongly think that all muslims are rigid and narrow minded just by some wrongly-defined teaching or hatred-based perception made by some irresponsible Orientalists. Please don’t judge my language. I don’t mean anything but “Islam isn’t like what you think it is, You should travel more to know more.” Ok, I rest my case.

The other group will just say nothing at all, their prayers are uttered silently in the secret language that can only be understood by those praying.

What do we pray for? We pray for the joy of ancestors’ soul — I myself like to whisper in English “Dear beloved and respected Ancestors, may you be living peacefully in the heart of green birds in heaven. May you be blessed with good sight of seeing us remembering and praying for you. May you be greeting us too when we realise that we exist after and through you.” Then we pray for our own selves — whatever good prayer we want to chant. What is good prayer? My goodness, any prayer for your happiness and success! 😊

Semar – a character in Javanese shadow puppet whose prayer is always “thank you” for all given by Life. Many Javanese idolise him for his humble yet respected life.

Preparation of Drink and Food
If you know ancestors’ favourite drink and food, prepare them. If not, take your most favourite and remember to always prepare the best ones.

I never know what my ancestors’ favourite food but I know my father loved “kue lapis” – that with layers of coloured rice cake. So kue lapis is always there accompanied by others.

And the beverage is always kopi tubruk and teh tubruk because those two types are the favourite of all in Javanese tradition. Kopi tubruk is plain brewed ground coffee – we don’t filter it, no strainer no no, some people let the coffee powder settle at the bottom of the cup but some will drink the black black coffee with some coffee paste in it, and don’t forget sugar! Teh tubruk is the other one: you just throw dried tea leaves into a cup, pour boiled water, let the leaves drown down, then sip it up with or no sugar!

Cigarettes? I am sorry, dear Ancestors. Smoking isn’t healthy as cigarettes nowadays are made of those hazardous chemicals that will harm your health. So, please excuse this decision. 😁

Yummy! My mother said I am not supposed to eat it after the prayer, but I do….
Good “kopi tubruk” and “teh tubruk” for the beloved and respected ancestors

What flowers are used? The key is always “what’s you ancestors’ favourite?” As I am not sure what my ancestors’ favourite flowers, I just refer to what flowers are commonly used in the tradition. Jasmine, rose, ylangylang and magnolia alba are the ones. As I could only find rose then rose it is! I plan to use sunflower, lily or orchid next time as they re my fave!

Why flower? Flower is always associated with fragrance. Fragrance symbolises the good deeds that were dedicated by our ancestors in their life time that will be eternally carved as a sacred key to connect with their bloodline. It also symbolises our good deeds to connect with ancestors. Only when we do our good deed and preserve ancestors’ good deeds, will we connect strongly with the powerful blessings from ancestors.

Being a modern human being should not stop me from remembering that I can only exist with “the good heart and help” of those up above the branches and trunk in a family tree. Hey, we might be a part of a giant family tree – Homo Sapiens whose ancestors are the same. So, next time I’ll probably pray for everyone’s ancestors.

May all beings be happy.

Temasek, Oct. 29, 2020 / 00:44

Arid Land, His Heart

I never want to hurt myself, I just didn’t know who you are.
I got hurt by a cactus in a desert
Who pricks little fingers,
Who just want to touch this life softly,
Not hurting, not taking anything away.

Wounded, I decided to blame stupidity:
Why did I have to have to have to have to have to just touch cacti? I should have left that arid land long before I touched a prickly spirit.

A delayed regret is less important than a lesson learned but it always gives a story the most significant pivot.

I’ll just admire from here
From where I stand
With millions of prayers
For a secret journey.
Yet I know you are a ghost days and nights.

Someday when I pour down the rain,
You’ll know.
Love is as sweet as water in drought—
If it is not late....

May all beings be happy.


It’s been quite long I haven’t posted anything in this site. Too busy? Or not able to manage the time? Oh my goodness, how life lasts long yet runs so fast that it rolls in like a useless scroll.

What will I give to Life?
Ya, nothing as I have nothing.
Yet, I still do things with my nothing.

Please guide me through my nothingness to the Light at the end of the scroll.

No, not at the end. It is along the scroll…

Glad to be here again….

The Estuary, Temasek – Nov. 30, 2018 – 9:47pm


Diving – haiku

In a rough dark sea
She is diving all alone.
Tridacnas await.

Are you ready? At the end of an abyss you’ll see a beauty beyond description.


Picture borrowed from this link, you can also learn what is Tridacna in it. Thank you!


Or, watch below video

Temasek – April 1, 2017 – 22:35

Circle – haiku

Moving a circle,
Connecting two dots: She is
Making a Zen Art.



I am the one holding Zen Art T-shirt and Zen Art painting. The smiling lady is the artist – the one making the Zen Art.

Chiang Mai, Thailand – September 16, 2016 – 00:30am

Lark Is Singing For Moppy

I met Moppy last Monday in Jakarta. Hugging him for about 10 minutes at one time plus several minutes after that…. The sensation was he was saying “I am ok, never mind. It’s all right now.”

I felt that it would be my last time seeing him. The coming weeks would be a very hectic time and won’t probably good space to fly in to Jakarta again. That’s why I forced myself to meet him this week; whatever it takes to do…. But if he still wants to spare some time to be hugged, I’ll take his lead.

I feel a lark lingering around. She is singing songs telling me a handsome boy named Moppy is the messenger who brings messages to each of warriors around him – to keep striving for perfection in life. The songs are like flowing river, going to the ocean – ocean of growing love.

The lark is singing while perching, while flying – it’s a sign that the messages are constantly delivered – never stop even the warriors are focusing on something else.


Moppy, if it’s your time, please don’t wait until the warriors are stopping to sit with you. Please take the lead and the warriors are following your way. The warriors are here to stay, deciphering the messages you have brought to them. Even some messages you bring are now not read, those unread would be found in time.

Moppy, throw away your little worry. The warriors have made their pledge that they would be faithful to their missions. That they would be on the right path until they meet you in the other side.

It’s a beautiful chance to be with you in life for just several hours. Been a precious time to hug you and to sing some songs for you….

My heart is filled with love and gratitude and forgiveness that may lead our way to the Light.

Sending my love, blessings and forgiveness to a handsome boy named, Moppy. Be comfortable…..

Singapura – June 3, 2015 – 10:29pm

Free – haiku

Pearls are sliding through
A long thread; falling down to
The floor — to be free.


Free falling, I want to be free.
Free from others’ eyes…. from others’ ears….
Can I do, oh can I do?

If I can, then what should I do?
Dancing in the dark space like this moment?
So, why do I need to be free?

Let me travel in the space, dark space of Light,
Spiralling to and meeting you.


Singapura – April 12, 2015 – 9:42pm

Prayer – To Beloved Moppy

Prayer is a bunch of energy circulating through words, imaginations, deeds to materialise. So, when we’re praying we are changing the energy into materials which can be seen, heard, tasted, smelt, touched with our physical senses.

But is it only physical that gives the sensation? No, there is something un-seen, un-heard, un-tasted, un-smelt, un-touched but still can be felt…That’s why 6th sense exists.

After six, then there is 7, 8, etc? For sure…. But I want to say that that 6 covers all above 5.

So, if our prayer won’t materialise the energy into those five physical sensations, it means the energy is lingering as the 6th sensation. You still can feel it.

Pray. Even if it doesn’t happen as the eyes want to sense, ears want to sense, tongue wants to sense, nose wants to smell, hands want to sense; your heart never fails to sense it.



Dedicating this prayer to Moppy, the dog that is traveling from Palembang to Jakarta to be cured. I love you, Moppy…. Cured, cured, cured….


Singapore – April 8, 2015 – 9:06pm

Exchanging Blessings With The Gentle Giants

I went to Oslob, Cebu, Philippines — for whale shark watching last week. Butanding is the local language for whale shark (Rhincodon Typus). I wanted to exchange blessings with them.

With Michelle and Jerry – a tour guide and a driver – I left Mactan at 5am.


Deciding not to plunge in to the water, I didn’t bring any swimsuit. Ok, a boat was rented….


The boatman is part of the conservation team…. See the T-shirt worn.


Many people already swam around something…. A group of butanding enjoying their breakfast


The gentle giant was peeping below my boat. Please let me offer you my love, dear butanding….


Look at the spots on the body….


…. on the tail


He is deeply, seriously giving his blessings…. Or her blessings….


Blessings to the feeder on the boat….


To the onlookers on and beneath the water…..


And, to me….

Before I finally left the site, I put both my feet into the water and prayed in my heart, telling huge blessings then leaving them into the sea. Thank you, butanding…. For the blessings we exchange.

Singapore – February 15, 2015 – 4:48am

For more information about whale shark, please go to:




Bertahun lalu saya membaca cerita seri Lupus karya Hilman Hariwijaya. Ceritanya lucu bener dan sangat menarik untuk orang “daerah” seperti saya yang hanya bisa membayangkan kehidupan para remaja Jakarta. Saya masih ingat saya bertanya-tanya pada diri sendiri apa arti lupus. Saya sempat berpikir apakah lupus artinya permen karet ya? Ya maklum lah waktu itu saya masih SMP, akses pada informasi sangat terbatas – ndeso, bow – dan terutama internet belum terjangkau.

Sampai akhirnya saya menginjak usia SMA. Saya mulai berkenalan dengan ensiklopedia milik sekolah saya yang saya buka kapanpun ada kesempatan ke perpustakaan. Ternyata lupus itu artinya srigala. Ada juga sih arti lain tapi yang paling pas dengan yang saya harapkan adalah srigala itu.


Istilah ini saya kenal ketika saya kuliah. Artinya sih katanya “manusia adalah srigala bagi manusia lain” atau “manusia memangsa manusia lain”. Sangat mengenaskan kalau memang istilah ini sudah ada sejak jaman dahulu kala; indikasi “istilah lama” ini karena pertama kali diucapkan oleh Plautus dalam karyanya Asinaria pada tahun 195 SM yang tepatnya berbunyi “lupus est homo homini”.

Yang dialami teman saya ini mungkin semacam “homo homini lupus”, dia dimangsa oleh teman yang lainnya.

Seorang karyawan kontrak di sebuah pabrik – sebut saja namanya si Gopel – menjalani kerja sampingan sebagai tenaga harian lepas di pabrik lain. Di pabrik siang dia bekerja sebagai tenaga di bagian pengemasan (packing) dan di pabrik dengan shift malam dia bekerja sebagai tenaga kuli angkut di bagian gudang bahan dan kadang diperbantukan di bagian pengemasan (packing).

Suatu hari, teman-temannya merasa bahwa si Gopel ini hidup lebih makmur daripada dia. Gopel bisa tetap bertahan hidup: membayar kontrakan dan ada indikasi akan mencicil rumah di pinggiran kota tangerang, mencicil motor lewat koperasi perusahaan, membeli sembako di koperasi dan juga menyekolahkan dua anaknya di sekolah negeri yang berlokasi di dekat alun-alun Kota Tangerang. Gopel tidak pernah menyadari bahwa ada sekelompok orang yang menginginkan kemakmurannya. Gopel hanya menjalani hidupnya secara polos tanpa aturan main kecuali norma kesetiaan kepada keluarga dan kesholehan sosial dalam pergaulan.

Tanpa piker panjang, teman-teman itu melaporkan pada pabrik siang dan pabrik malam tentang apa yang dilakukan oleh Gopel. Mereka memprotes apa yang dilakukan Gopel berdasarkan peraturan ini dan itu yang intinya adalah Gopel telah menyalahi hokum karena memiliki 2 pekerjaan yang sama di 2 tempat yang berbeda.

Gopel hanya bisa menarik napas panjang, sepanjang usus dan seluruh otot di tubuhnya jika disambungkan menjadi satu. Gopel kemudian teringat pada gajinya yang selalu hanya bersisa Rp.100.000 karena sisanya telah dipotong hutang koperasi. Dengan bekerja di malam hari sebagai harian lepas maka dia akan mendapatkan tambahan Rp.700.000 per bulan, jumlah yang cukup untuk membayar uang sekolah dua anaknya dan biaya hidup sehari-hari. Seringkali istrinya dan dia harus berpuasa; dia berucap syukur karena anak-anaknya juga ikut berpuasa jika orangtuanya berpuasa.


Istri Gopel bermaksud menjual lupis, makanan yang menjadi kesukaan keluarga. Maka dengan modal kecil dia membeli beras ketan, kelapa, daun pandan dan keperluan lain. Maka di hari itu, di hari Gopel kehilangan pekerjaan sebagai tenaga packing di pabrik tempat dia bekerja sebagai karyawan kontrak karena HRD di pabrik itu mengatakan bahwa itu tidak etis. Gopel hanya pasrah maka dia hanya bisa menjadi karyawan harian lepas di shift malam. Dia memutuskan untuk membantu sang istri di pagi dan siang hari termasuk membuat kue lupis dan menjualnya. Laris juga tapi tetap saja belum cukup untuk menutup kebutuhan keluarga.


Tiba saatnya Gopel mendapat panggilan untuk menerima gaji di pabrik tempat dia bekerja di shift malam. Hati tenangnya mengatakan bahwa Rp.700.000 akan masuk ke kantongnya. Hati galaunya mengusiknya bahwa bulan depan dia akan mengalami krisis keuangan karena tabungan mereka hanya cukup untuk satu bulan ke depan. Dua bulan yang akan datang dia terancam tak bisa membayar kontrakan, cicilan motor dan kehilangan hak mengutang pada koperasi untuk kebutuhan sembako.

Setelah memarir motor, Gopel langsung menuju ADM (petugas administrasi) di bagian packing yang biasanya bertugas membagikan gaji pada karyawan harian lepas.

“Gopel.” Gopel mendengar namanya dipanggil. Dengan langkah tegap dia menghampiri petugas ADM.

“Dipanggil HRD sekarang.”

Gopel merasa tulangnya dilucuti dari tubuhnya; lemas. Dia tahu apa yang akan terjadi padanya. Dia akan kehilangan pekerjaan sampingan yang sekarang telah menjadi pekerjaan utamanya. Kepasrahan memenuhi relung hatinya. Wolo-wolo kuwato, kata orang Jawa.

“Gopel ya?”

“Iya, Pak. Saya mau ngambil gaji tadi trus disuruh ke sini.”

“Iya. Kamu tahu nggak kenapa dipanggil?”

“Mau dipecat ya, Pak?”

“Enggak, siapa yang bilang kamu dipecat.”

“Saya sudah dipecat dari pabrik siang, Pak.”

“Iya, saya tahu kok.”

Gopel diam seribu bahasa.

“Gini Gopel, kamu pernah jadi operator genset ya?”

“Pernah, Pak tapi sudah lama. Sebelum saya pindah ke packing di pabrik siang.”

“Operator genset kita pindah ke Sukabumi, nggak ada lagi yang bisa ngoperasiin genset. Kamu mau nggak jadi operator genset?”

Gopel bengong.

“Beneran ini, Pak?”

“Bener lah masak saya main-main. Tuh orangnya tanyain aja, mulai minggu depan udah keluar. Mau nggak?”

“Mau, mau, Pak. Saya mau banget.”

Manager HRD tersenyum-senyum lega, pekerjaannya tuntas sudah.

“Gini, Gopel. Kamu nanti probation dulu 3 bulan trus habis itu langsung diangkat jadi karyawan tetap ya. Nanti ada training dulu ya.”

Gopel makin bengong karena dia tidak paham arti probation. Tapi kata-kata karyawan tetap membuatnya tersenyum bahagia.

Gopel menyambut tangan Manager HRD yang memberikannya selamat.

Hari itu juga Gopel dan keluarga lepas dari himpitan mangsaan srigala yang bernama manusia.

Jatiuwung, 14 November 2012 – 1:34 siang

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