Spiritual Silat

Discussion in 'Silat' started by sulaiman, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. sulaiman

    sulaiman Valued Member

    Salaams ,
    Hoping that this thread can unite what was essentially becoming one discussion over many topics, also hope we can keep it out of reach of the destructiveness of our egos and that we can all learn something from each other that helps us in a common understanding and respect and deepens our practise .

    Spirituality in silat is like the soul in the body , it gives it its uniquness , is eternal and cross denominational.

    Often confused in the west with things better termed " higher energy practises " ( like not being cut , not burning - all supernatural feats ) spiritual in my book is something that must be universal and applicable to all human beings at all times.

    In Silat Gayong the spiritual oath is taken at the time of acceptance into the family of Gayong, it constitutes 4 vows which are
    1) not to disobey God or his Messenger
    2) not to Mundur Haka ( spelling ? ?) -turn traitor to those with authority over you - eg teacher , parents , sultan
    3)To respect all pesilat
    4) never to misuse the art for personal or ego related causes.

    These appear simple but contain oceans of knowledge - time & interest allowing I can discuss these later.

    The Spiritual values / characteristics to be developed by the pesilat following the principles of Sufism are
    forbearance / patience ,
    good naturedness
    high mindedness

    these can only be achieved in the totality by ridding oneself of the bad / negative characteristics of the ego, the main ones being
    love of the world
    love of rank , fame & repute
    pride & vanity
    rancor & enmity
    debauchery & corruption
    avarice & ambition
    doubt and illusion
    forgetful of death & the last day

    In Islam the struggle against these characteristics is called JIHAD , which means literally - the struggle.
    The Jihad an nafs , struggle against the ego is the greatest one and the only one which is obligatory upon all believers.
    If and only if this struggle is won , may one engage in external jihad , or struggle against evil and wrongness in the world - for if one engages in external struggle without having first won the internal battle he will only recreate & perpetrate his internal faults externally .
    The one who has conquered his negative characteristics has entered on the first level of wilayat . sainthood and has reached the first rank of Waliullah or friend of God.

    These are the people who can engage in fighting injustice in the world not the kalashnikov brigade, because they fight hatred with love , evil with goodness and ignorance with understanding.

    The spiritual practises start with muraqabah and consist in self accounting - get a book and at the end of the day re- examine every moment and write down what you have done wrong & which bad characteristic it stems from .
    ask Gods pardon and try not to repeat it.
    After a week you can cross reference the days and build a picture of your weaknesses - stuggle against them - not to repeat them , that is the first meaning of Jihad - spiritual warfare .

    Thats all for now before this post becomes a too large for anyone to bother reading
  2. RedBagani

    RedBagani Valued Member

    Yes, I say AMEN to everything sulaiman has written. Praise the Lord!
  3. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Thank you Sulaiman for sharing the oath of your school. The spelling should be not to MENDURHAKA, from the word DURHAKA. Thank you also for sharing the knowledge on the real Jihad. As a Muslim it upsets me when the meaning of Jihad is defined by the media industry blowing up 'spiritual tossers' blowing up themselves. In real life in the West now Jihad has become a bad word.

    Are you aware of any simpler categorizing of the nafs is Sufism? I am interested to know because the names in Jawa kebatinan sound Arabic. The word mutmainah is actually in the Holy Qur'an.

    The way you explain the spiritual in silat reminded me of the practise and the sayings attributed to the Walisongo in Jawa. Like my (Catholic?) brother RedBagani the warrior with a big stick I too must say alhamdulillah for your post. Thank you.


  4. amirul_tekpi79

    amirul_tekpi79 Valued Member


    Assalamu'alaikum and peace to all,

    In Silat Kuntau Tekpi, our oath are:

    To not 'menderhaka' to:

    1) Kedua ibu-bapa (Both our parents)
    2) Sebarang guru (any teachers)
    3) Abang yang tua (older siblings/older person)
    4) Adik yang muda (younger siblings/younger person)
    5) Saudara seperguruan (silat brothers/sisters)
    6) Tidak boleh mencaci segala rupabentuk silat (cannot disrespect any silat styles/schools)

    In Malaysian Silat (i'm not sure if Indonesian styles does the same), the opening and closing of training sessions are called Buka Gelanggang and Tutup Gelanggang respectively. Each style have their own ways but in general they will sit in a circle with someone who leads sit in the middle, recite surahs from Al-Quran and make Doa together.

    My few cents.
  5. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Our Oath

    Assalaamu'alaikum and peace to all,

    Oath of the school I am conected too:

    I promise to:

    1. Guard my character.
    2. Guard my honesty.
    3. Progress.
    4. Guard civility.
    5. Control my self.

    Nothing about durhaka (derhaka) at all.

    When apprentising to learn the art of the jawa poet (kapujanggan) I took the oath:

    1. I belong to God and am slave only to God.
    2. I am loyal to nature.
    3. I live upholding the values of culture.
    4. I never want to own more than I need if ever I have more I give it back to God through nature and culture.
    5. I am loyal to my concience.

    Thanks again Amriul and Sulaiman for sharing.

    Warm salaams,
  6. Sekaralas

    Sekaralas New Member

    Initially the primary function of silat was to provide the practicioner with the skill to defend themselves, and also to attack. It was used in both offensive and defensive situations.
    Even the various ilmu kebatinan that I am aware of, was essentially used as a tool for survival.
    Allied to this primary focus was the additional and important understanding that one must not annoy the gods. So the practice must also be with the blessings of the gods or specific spirits to location.
    In my opinion, since the arrival of Islam in Java (initially through the political support of the Kingdom of Demak) under the guidance of the Wali Sanga (Sanga = Sembilan = Nine ---> The Nine Wali's), the pantheon of local gods, spirits and the like have largely (but not completely) been transformed into the singular focus on Allah. An even more radical belief, a form of Sufi Islam was propagated by one of the Wali's Syek Siti Jenar, whose ideas were considered taboo by the rest of the Wali's (resulting in the Siti Jenar being condemned to death), because it undermined the political spectrum of Islam and it's attempt to propagate outwards under the protection of Demak.
    What I understand so far, is that Siti Jenar taught that form was not a necessary requirement to fulfil function. We are already with God, with Allah, there is no need to do anything else but to realise that truth.
    Allah, the truth is closer to us than our jugular. All we need to do is open our eyes, our hearts and souls, because in essence we are already enlightened beings, we just need to remove the veil of ignorance.
    To my heart, spirituality is not separate from the physical aspect of silat. Everytime I perform silat, everytime I eat, talk, write or anything, I am performing my spiritual function as well, and I am already one with Allah, God, the Tao, or at the very least I am trying to remove the veil which obstructs the vision of my soul, my Self.
    Initially performing silat was my devotion. Now every time I become aware, I am participating in my devotion, everything I do is silat ... through silat I become aware.
    There is no other truth of which I am aware.

    I do not practice any established religion, although my spiritual tendencies align with the principles of philosophical Taoism. My silat is entirely practical and is based on same and its nature is strongly influenced by Xing Yi and Bagua.

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2005
  7. sulaiman

    sulaiman Valued Member

  8. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned


    Thank you for this knowledge brother Sulaiman... it seems that the Ramayana version of nafs is closer to the Sufi explaination, as in the Ramayana diagram, the nafs Mutmainah is meant to win and the other nafs are meant to be killed.
    The Mahabharata interpretation wants all the nafs controlled but powerfull, not any killed. One other thing is that there seems to be no nafs Supiyah in your categories, I wonder if this is a Jawa addition? I am also very interested to hear what you know about the four enemies you mentioned, so when you have time, please, Sir!

    As to the question about what the wali did to the Jawa wayang I can give a short reply. The Wali used the wayang for dakwah, and as the stories of the wayang were from the Mahabharata or the Ramayana, they used these stories too. However they modified the stories to avoid syirik.

    Technically they did alot to wayang which formerly was an art form for a small audience. Before the Walisanga the wayang kulit in Jawa were more or less three-dimensional and rather realistic. The wali stylised the figures more so that they did not depict human forms rather human characters. Also the new form of the Jawa wayang was suitable for larger audiences as they were wider and bigger. The form of wayang before the Wali was like Bali wayang today. In Jawa the Wali also introduced the rule of law (in Demak) where the Sultan answered to the Council of Wali. After Demak the Sultans once more took the law into their own hands and this seemed to be the norm till May 20 1998 when students overthrew the dictator $uharto.

    Jawa also learned to make and use terracotta tiles for roofing, buttons and sleeves for shirts and pants, make tofu and soy-sauce and much more, as the time of the Wali was also the time of the great sea expeditions by Admiral Zeng He of the Ming Dinasty. I would imagine that there was alot of silat innovation and cross-polination at this time.

    Sekaralas mentioned Syech Siti Jenar. He is the most mystical Wali of all as like Al Hallaj who was hung and quartered by the powers in Baghdad, Syech Sitiu Jenar also preached (amongst other things) the doctrine of Anna Al Haqq - I am the Supreme Truth. There are two main stories relating to his death by Sunan Kudus, the leader of the council of Wali.

    Syech Siti Jenar was a Guru and in his school he accepted Buddhsits, Hindus and Muslims alike and all studied together. He refused to begin his teachings by teaching the Syariah (Islamic Law) and the reading of the Holy Qur'an. Rather he taught the reading of the Qur'an in the heart because in his opinion it was useless to read the physical Qur'an without the light of truth in the heart shining. His approach upset Demak and the authoroties so they sent for him to come and explain.

    He came to Demak and after a debate with the Wali he was found to be in the right and in the wrong at the same time and was condemned to death. However none of the Wali could kill him, every time Sunan Kudus plunged his keris into Jenar's chest he just smiled and the keris would enter his body and come out again without leavung a wound.

    After a while Jenar asked if the Wali's wanted his death, which they did. He answered that if they wanted his blood they should just ask and he would give it to them as he knew that life doesn't end with death and he had been right in his life and did not fear death. He asked the Wali if they would care to part this life with him, as they were so sure that their knowledge was correct they should not fear death either.

    No Wali wanted to die for their convictions so Jenar gave a speach about spiritual leaders being corrupted by politics and further infuriuated Sunan Kudus. With Jenar's permission Sunan Kudus killed him with his keris. Here the story parts in two.

    First story says that the corpse transformed in to a dog. Second story says that the blood spurted all over the mosques walls and every drop began to chant 'anna al haqq!' and all Jenar's students cried in dismay as they saw his body dissapearing leaving only the chant of 'Anna al Haqq!' behind.

    Salams and peace to all,
    Kiai Carita.
  9. sulaiman

    sulaiman Valued Member

  10. Sekaralas

    Sekaralas New Member

    Matur nuwun, 'Dik Kiai.
    Thank you for providing some detail regarding Siti Jenar.
    He has been a figure that I am curious about. My feeling is that the Syekh was an enlightened being.

    Mas Suleiman, thank you for this thread. It was a good move!

    To be honest I never initially approached my silat from any particular spiritual perspective, it was purely functional, and the practical application of it was foremost. It still is as I use to protect myself in my line of work.
    However my personal spirituality is indivisible from my everyday living. I am not separate from the Tao. That is how spirituality has entered into my silat.
    I don't have any written rules on paper ... they are ingrained into the person that I am, and I pass that knowledge to my sons by way of my fathering and teaching them my way of living.

    I can really appreciate the concept of keeping the Tiger rapacious but under control.

    On the topic of sufi's ... in my reading on Sufi-ism, it is supposed to be a living, organic and current form of achieveing Oneness. Is this still the case with modern sufi orders? Or have they become a series of static and dogmatic teachings? I ask not to provoke (KC will vouch for me), but because I am genuinely interested in the idea of the Sufi way to enlightenment.

    Dengan hormat,
  11. Ular Sawa

    Ular Sawa Valued Member

    Welcome to MAP Serakalas. I have enjoyed your posts. I hope you will honor us with your insight in the future. Selamat. Cheers.
  12. Sekaralas

    Sekaralas New Member

    Thank you for your kind reception Ular Sawa.
    I'm not sure that my 'insight' is anything special! I am just a simple man, one of life's slower pupils :).

  13. sulaiman

    sulaiman Valued Member

  14. Sekaralas

    Sekaralas New Member

    Mas Sulaiman, you have written very wisely, however your last piece of advice is a gem. It is difficult to convey on a forum, but you have imbued me with faith and hope!

    Thank you for your answer.

  15. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Sami-sami, Kakang Mas Sekaralas,

    I love Siti Jenar and agree with what he taught. The world famous (in poetry circles) Rendra wrote an essay in the 1970's about how the killing of Jenar killed freedom of expression. E-mail me with an address (yes moderators' we are friends Mas Sekaralas and I) and I will ask my wife in Indonesia to send you a copy of the book ... 'Mempertimbangkan Tradisi'... a gem (great word to describe Sulaiman's ending) of a collection of essays 'Kegagahan Dalam Kemiskinan' and 'Latihan-Latihan Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana I Di Masa Remaja' contain the basics of the path of the Jawa poet.

    I have just come back from a kembangan session and it was great. Bang Ariffin was there, he is a Chegu in his Gayong Silat school. We set out the gamelan instruments and began to try and 'tabuh' not 'thuthuk', you know in gamelan hitting and hitting as an offering to God, are differentiated by 'nuthuk' and 'nabuh'.

    Bang Ariffin ( I won't call him Chegu because I am not a student of his school and it would be taking the mickey to pretend I was by calling him Chegu) is a teacher of Traditional Silat Melayu I think in particular Silat Gayong which is a world cultural heritage. I call him Abang, older brother. He moved with such grace that you hardly saw when everything happened and were left with a feeling of .... I don't know what word to use as happiness is, like meeting a brother you have missed for a long period. He is a very good kendhang player too but calls the instrument gendang not kendhang.

    We played on till past midnight. I am tired now so for now I will ask to be excused. Abdullah1881 came too as he said he would and his silat became better and better as the night went on. On the cobble stones barefoot with the moon still fat in the sky it felt like silat in London.

    This Saturday there is a huge non-formal Malay do from all Malaydom, Suriname, Cocos Islands, everywhere. Bang Ariffin invited us all to come so Friday we are going to see the stage / arena where it is going to happen. Saturday we will do a performance just 15 minutes of silat and maybe some other stuff as well. Wish you could all come and know all the Malays from the diaspora. I wonder if there will be alot of good free food like proper adat Malay?

    Warm Salam to everyone,
    Aku Cinta Padamu,

    Kiai Carita from Majapahit in London.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2005
  16. amirul_tekpi79

    amirul_tekpi79 Valued Member

    Excellent stuff

    Assalamu'alaikum and peace to all,

    I'm glad that the two of you have met! I myself haven't the opportunity to meet Cikgu Ariffin (i'm also not his student, but i respect him for what he does).

    I'm guessing our brother Sulaiman is itching to join you right now :D

  17. sulaiman

    sulaiman Valued Member

    Salaams Amirul - you know it ¡¡¡ :cry:
  18. amirul_tekpi79

    amirul_tekpi79 Valued Member

    How about Lian Padukan practioners?

    Assalamu'alaikum and peace to all,

    Dear Pak Kiai,

    There's another Malaysian silat style that is gaining popularity in both Malaysia and UK, Silat Lian Padukan.

    It is a blend of Buah Pukul Mersing, Silat Sunting, Silat Sendeng and Tomoi. I believe Sifu/Cikgu Nigel Sutton is in charge of Silat Lian Padukan in UK (he's also a Sifu in Tai Chi). If i'm not mistaken, one of his student is pete_e who posts once in a while here.

    I think you should give them a call Pak Kiai. I think Cikgu Ariffin knows their contact number. If not you can visit them at this website.

    http://lianpadukan.tripod.com/historical_modern_bg.htm or



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