The Wisdom of The Three Concept
Tri Hita Karana: A trinity that cannot be separated one from one another. This ‘three concept’ is divine wisdom that regards the life of every being on Earth.
Spiritualist Anand Krisna found an interesting fact in the use of the number “Three”; that most religions in this world use the number three as an important factor in their beliefs. Christians symbolize the trinity as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Sufi believes in Murshid (spiritual mentor), Rasul (the prophet), and Allah (God). In modern times, we now recognize the most popular ‘trinity’ is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. This ‘three concept’ is also familiar among scientists with the electron, proton and neutron (the scientific trinity) consisting in all physical matter.
Among the Balinese, this ‘three concept’ is known as Tri Hita Karana. This concept is believed to have been applied since centuries ago. This universal concept ties together the relationship of a person with God (Parahyangan), their Surroundings (Palemahan) and humanity (Pawongan).
The term Tri Hita Karana itself appeared in 1966, developed by Bali’s Hindu Society. Tri means three, Hita means prosperity, and Karana means the causes. In Sanskrit terminology, Tri Hita Karana is the three elements that manifest happiness, or three factors that create physical and spiritual prosperity. It is a universal strategy to preserve the balance, compatibility and the harmony of life on Mother Earth.
The Tri Hita Karana concept consists of three major wisdoms: Parhyangan or the wisdom of the harmony of life between humans with God, Palemahan or the wisdom of the harmony of life between humans and their natural surroundings, and Pawongan or the wisdom of the harmony of life between humans with each other. It is believed that the harmony among these three aspects can generate a maximum benefit to the spiritual, mental and physical well being of humans.
Some people interpret Parahyangan as the way to build a good relationship with God. Others believe that God will be angry if we forget about him. But actually the concept of Parahyangan does not label God like human who can get angry if His creatures do something wrong. But it is beyond that, as the Parahyangan concept tries to create the awareness that each individual in this planet has to believe that they are part of God, and God is inside them, in a hope that people will be able to control their minds and emotions towards their spiritual living on Earth.
The Balinese Hindu has a unique way to apply the Parahyangan Wisdom, in that they always have to remember the fact that humans are a part of the Mother Universe. They symbolize each power of God in a certain form known as the Pura (temple). The statues and other creations placed in a pura become as the media to focus on certain wisdoms of the universe. The Balinese believe that there is only one God, but that God has limitless wisdom.
The Palemahan wisdom represents a harmonic relationship between the human and the natural sphere. And how should we do that? Humans should follow the wisdom of this “Trinity”: to having a thought that we are part of Mother Nature, to remember that we live on this planet; that we breath, we get income, able to drive a fancy car and enjoy the luxury seven-star hotels. You can name all the good things we enjoy, which until now have been supported unconditionally by the earth, and the last thing is to remember that if we continually take every single part of nature without giving back, it will be drained and will affect to our life
in the future.
The last wisdom is to create a harmonious relationship among human beings, as the essence of humans is as social creatures. As an individual, we will not be able to live a real life without others. The Pawongan Wisdom directs people to start believing that they all are one; if we hurt someone, it means that we are hurting our self. Moreover, Pawongan is reflecting the existence of the appreciation of humanity, mutual value, respect and off course human rights.
TRI HITA KARANA ON BALI’S TOURISM INDUSTRY
The wisdom of Tri Hita Karana is not only applied in Balinese daily life but also becomes the philosophy in the tourism industry on this Island. They believe that the spirit of Bali’s tourism depends on the island’s unspoiled environment and the strong unique cultural heritage that tourists find so different compared to any other holiday destination. A better living standard and quality of life for the Balinese people will ensure the future of Bali’s hospitality industry.
To fully implement this philosophy, a foundation called the Tri Hita Karana Bali Foundation, which also gets full support from the Government, dedicates itself to emphasize the commitment of hotels and other tourism related organizations in maintaining the culture of Bali as well as every aspect of the wisdom in relation with the Tri Hita Karana concept. Every year various awards are given for the organizations that achieve the standard of THK implementation. The highest awards are the Emerald and Platinum Awards given to three-time Gold Award winner in consecutive years, while The Gold Award is given as the organization’s high achievement. And the lesser awards are Silver and Bronze Awards given to show the rigorous review and evaluation process of the organizations.
One of the reputable Tri Hita Karana recognitions is Meliá Bali. Honored three times with an Emerald Award, the hotel received its first Emerald in 2004, the second in 2008 and had its most recent honor awarded in 2011. It is also recognized internationally, and was recently named as the first hotel in Asia and one of only five hotels in the world to be awarded the EarthCheck Platinum.
For the past couple of years, many hotels in Bali have applied the concept of Tri Hita Karana and focused on sustainability in their daily operations. Jim Boyles, the General Manager of Meliá Bali, explained in the ASEAN Tourism Conference Manado 2012 that Meliá Bali has reduced its energy consumption by 757,146 kWh and achieved over US $63,949 in savings with during a period of less than 1 year. This amount was derived by reducing equipment operational hours (6-10 p.m.), switching off televisions, optimizing equipment by reducing the capacity of the fountain and heat reclaim pump and by combining pumping requirements of chiller water, retrofitting equipment to operate more efficiently by installing a variable speed drive to the cold water and chiller water pump, and reducing operational hours of the laundry by 4 hours if occupancy rates are less than 70%.
Meanwhile another hotel known for its commitment in maintaining sustainability is the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, which has been recognized as the pioneer five-star hotel in Bali that started to operate its Starfish Water Purification in November last year. It also has the first large scale Solar Hot Water System with a 144 solar panel Solar Thermal System, owned and operated by PT Contained Energy Bali.
The Starfish drinking water purification system provides a quantum leap over current water treatment and purification processes and technologies. Its processes work together to synergistically break down, remove or kill contaminants from water waste and use the water for daily operations while saving about 40% from their total water consumption, while the Solar Thermal System saves energy costs of approximately US $48,000 per year.
The green hotel movement as part of Tri Hita Karana concept can also motivate hotels in Bali to start taking part in implementing the philosophy, especially to reduce power consumption costs. With the upcoming increase in price of fuel, which will be implemented by the Government on April 1, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu hopes that this can be a trigger for all tourism operators to start implementing the Green Hotel concept by doing energy conservation and maintaining water and waste recycling. She also hoped that hotel management will ask the guests to take part by choosing not to change towels or sheets if it’s not necessary in order to save water and detergent.
Another example of the trinity implementation is shown by The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa. The management shows their strong commitment in taking care of the staff very well. Not only raising wages and using bonus plans as work stimulus, the staff are also given full medical coverage and entertained by staff parties celebrating special events including the hotel’s anniversary to maintain good relationships between all levels of staff. It is believed that a happy and satisfied staff will deliver the best service to the guests, and they meant to do it from their heart, not just do it as a job.
Harmony is not only achieved by being concerned about the environment, but also by creating a harmonious environment among people with the same level. The concept of hospitality in Bali reflects the concept of Tri Hita Karana by creating a balanced relationship between all levels of staff, between superior and staff, employers and customers, the government and the people with the ultimate goal to get win-win relationships, and it happens in the culture of Bali. But as the purpose of life is to get happiness, it can be created by understanding and respecting all aspects in our lives in this Universe, no matter what they are.
Text by Gede Bayu Rahanatha
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Posted by » Bali and Beyond Magazine