Between 2 and 7 September 2015 I was in Manado for AICIS, the great Annual International Conference on Islamic Studies. I met again many former students and colleagues among the more than 1000 participants. One of them was Muhsinin Cholish, who with six colleagues from STITNU Al Hikmah (an NU related Theological Academy in Mojokerto) published his research about the majority Muslim village of Bejijong, close to Trowulan/Mojokerto. It is believed that close to the old centre of the Kingdom of Majapahit here the largest Buddhist temple must have been. A small Vihara was opened (the book mentions three monks), with a huge sleeping Buddha, 22 metre. Among the 3.874 citizens of this village there are 18 Protestants, one Hindu and 8 Buddhists. Musinin and friends published a very interesting book about the relations between the Buddhists and the Muslims.
The monks also stimulated a dancing and a gamelan group that has already won prices and holds exercises in the monastery. Villagers are now proud of the new attraction. Especially a Waisak (here interpreted as one day for three events: birth, illumination and death of Siddharta Gautama) thousands will come.
The monks are keen in visiting sick in their neighbourhood. They also divide food, oil, sugar, basic elements in the kitchen to the poor, material they receive from their guests.
Also the Buddhist rituals and other activities are described in much detail.
The villagers know when Buddhist festivals and prayers start and therefore will stop their loudspeakers (a mosque is very close to the Vihara) when the Buddhist start their prayers.
There is some pullition of noise (pollusi suara) but no open confrontation. The book is very well written, full with facts and in a nearly rosy positive way. Thank you Muhsinin for giving this tome. I turned happy while reading this during the long flight from Singapore to Amsterdam.