From the perspective of Wayan Benot, 35, a tour-group manager from Peliatan, Ubud
What are we here for?
For our religion and to take care of our parents like they took care of theirs and our children will look after us.
Do you believe in the Big Bang theory that the circa-13.7-billion-year-old universe and all that’s in it was created by a massive explosion of enormously dense matter at what may have been the beginning of time?
Yes, but I believe God created the explosion.
If there is a God, where is this entity?
He is everywhere. I can’t see him but I feel his presence.
Is there a mystery to life?
I accept what God gives me, so everything is a mystery.
Do you think we’re alone in the universe?
I believe there are other things, but we can’t see them. I believe every rock, tree and any other “thing” has a spirit and is a being, which isn’t necessarily human.
There’s a theory that there may be parallel universes with exact copies of us – doppelgangers – doing exactly the same thing as us right now. What do you think about that?
Not in another universe, but perhaps there is someone in another part of the world leading the same life as me.
What do you think happens to people when they die?
It depends on the karma they generated during their lifetime. If your karma is good, God will accept you and make you a good place. After cremation it is decided where you are to go; so it’s hard for a family to be at peace before they cremate a loved one. Your soul is then reincarnated into a new form when God finds the right place for you.
Where is your soul and what is it?
It is my connection to God. It is also the karma you receive from your past lives, which you must work to balance – sort of spiritual credit you must pay back.
Science says that all matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Therefore, will our energy, in the form of our soul, live on for infinity?
Your soul dies with your body, but is then reborn when God finds the right time and place for it.
Do you know your place in the universe?
Right now it is right here, but maybe in the future I’ll visit a balian (Balinese seer) to find out where I should be next.
Are we being observed?
Yes, by God.
If there is a God, why does he allow such colossal suffering of people on earth, either through war, disease or natural disasters?
When you forget to do something, like perform a certain ceremony, something may happen to you to remind you. Perhaps you will crash your bike or get ill. If your life becomes too unbalanced, you may die. That’s why suicide is so wrong because you take your own life before God thinks it’s time.