Thudong is a ritual performed by bhantes (Buddhist monks) which involves walking long distances, often up to a thousand kilometers, to emulate the Buddha.
"As conveyed by all bhantes who joined the Thudong ritual, they said that tolerance in Indonesia is the highest compared to the other countries that they have crossed," Wawan, a bhante from Cirebon who joined the Thudong ritual, said here on Thursday.
The 32 Buddhist monks performing the Thudong pilgrimage rested in Cirebon, West Java, before continuing their pilgrimage by foot to their final destination, Borobudur Temple.
Wawan said that when he asked the bhantes one by one about religious tolerance in Indonesia, they answered positively by pointing to their fingers and toes as if attempting to make a thumbs-up gesture with their digits.
After their long journey from Thailand to Indonesia via Malaysia, the monks were most impressed by Indonesia because of the warm welcome extended by residents to them, he added.
"We have crossed Thailand, Malaysia, and now crossing Indonesia. I am actually reluctant to convey this, but that is what all the bhantes feel," the monk said.
Meanwhile, Bhante Maha Or, a monk from Malaysia, concurred with Wawan's statement about their experience.
Maha Or lauded the Indonesian people, saying they exhibited higher tolerance for the Buddhist faith compared to the other countries he passed on the journey.
"Indonesia is the best. Its residents are tolerant; they wait for our arrival and welcome us. The Indonesian people are outstanding in the matter of tolerance. They welcomed us as they welcome their own relatives," he added.
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