“Tri Hita Karana” Three Balinese Wisdom Concept

In Bali, the outlook and philosophy on life is called Tri Hita Karana, which literally translates as the Three Causes to Prosperity, bringing about harmonious relationships. This universal concept ties together the relationship of a person with God (Parahyangan), their Surroundings (Palemahan) and humanity (Pawongan).

This harmonious lifestyle includes maintaining the balance of the spiritual and physical worlds. It helps take ownership and responsibility for our: life, relationships, community and environment.

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.

By applying the steadfast philosophy of Tri Hita Karana, a creative and dynamic realization will make the harmonious human being whose devotion to God, love for the environment and harmony and peace with each other realized.

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