Home Institution

University of Oregon

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change


I came to the island of Bali hoping to learn about the local people's spirituality, to witness how they practice faith, and to see if local wisdom could be brought back to America. Here, I became intrigued by the mysterious power of Taksu and the worldwide practice of meditation. For this Independent Study Project, I aim to examine the relationship between meditation and Taksu, and see if the combined wisdoms can be cross-culturally applicable to foreigners in the west.

Balinese Hindus place an important emphasis upon frequent, elaborate ceremonies, but this practice is too place/time/context specific to adapt into American religious norm. Offerings are not part of the American lifestyle, nor are sacrifices a regular American religious practice. Thus, my quest to bring spiritual wisdom back to America would have to work through a cross-cultural medium.

I came across the concept of Taksu, a word without an adequate English translation. Some call it charisma, others call it spiritual power. There is no doubt as to the respect Taksu wields in Balinese culture; dancers with Taksu capture the eyes of the audience, Balians with Taksu heal their patients with mysterious power, speakers with Taksu become fascinating and inspirational. The purpose of this study is to find out exactly what Taksu is, how it works, how it is attained, if it can be translated into other cultural contexts. While Taksu can be applicable to both secular and non-secular circumstances, the focus of this particular study is to examine the existence and practical implications of Taksu in a spiritual setting.

If the focus of this project is upon Taksu, the lens from which it is viewed is through meditation. Meditation has been a widely used spiritual practice because of its simplicity and immeasurable power. While meditation is not a primary focus in the life of the average Balinese Hindu, it is nevertheless practiced among local Buddhist monks, Hindu priests, and Balians (local healers). For this project, I hope to practice and learn about several types of meditation from the above stated religious traditions. I plan to examine each style of meditations' means, aims, potential, and relationship to the term Taksu.

Religion has shown its face through every culture in humanity. I came to Bali to examine how the mystery of global spirituality expresses itself through the Balinese people; Taksu and Meditation have shown up as its representation. I am tremendously excited to plunge into this culture's religious life and see how growth can develop. I believe we have plenty to learn from each others' wisdoms, and I believe Taksu and meditation are the perfect mediums through which American and Balinese spirituality can connect. The following month will tell exactly how strong that connection can be.


Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Religion