ASEAN was preceded by an organisation called the Association of Southeast Asia, commonly called ASA, which is an alliance consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand that was shaped in 1961. However, the bloc itself, was established on 8 August 1967, after foreign ministers of five countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand – met at the Thai Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkok and signed the ASEAN Declaration which is commonly known as the Bangkok Declaration. The five foreign ministers – Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand – are considered the organisation's Founding Fathers.

The spur for the birth of ASEAN were that its members’ governing elite could concentrate on nation building, the common fear of communism, abridged faith in or distrust of external powers in the 1960s, along with an aspiration for economic development;  worth mentioning about  Indonesia’s  aspiration to become a regional hegemon through regional cooperation and the hope on the part of Malaysia and Singapore to restrain Indonesia and bring it into a more cooperative framework.

Association of South East Asia began with the month of July 1961 by Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines have jointly established a Volunteer Association or the Association of South East Asia to cooperate in economic, social and cultural. But action is only two years to a halt. Because of the shift in international politics. Indonesia and Malaysia.

Until the restoration of the relationship between the countries. Exploration has established the Economic Cooperation Organization in the region. Association of Southeast Asian nations, and Col. (special) Dr. dominant Khoman former Minister of Foreign Affairs during the government Thanom Kittikachorn, with the signing. "Bangkok Declaration" that entail Palace on 8 August 1967 Declaration of ASEAN Signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country's founding members include all 10 countries in Southeast Asia except East Timor - Leste. 

The purpose of the establishment of ASEAN in the environment caused by demand for external security. (To the parents of the member countries will focus on creating the country), fear of the spread of communism Faith or belief outside the powers deteriorated during the decade in 1957, including Buddhist demand in developing economies. ASEAN aims to establish different organizational EU. Since ASEAN was created to support the nationalistic.

Larik dancers from Indonesia swayed with kathak dancers from India, dudang dudang dancers from Brunei joined rhythm with India's famed kuchipudi artists while the Myanmarese did a cultural synthesis with Laotians. Various song and dance traditions representing 10 ASEAN countries fused in a rich cultural medley to celebrate the common cultural space and civilisation they have shared for over two millennia.

The occasion was the ASEAN-India Special Commemorative Summit to celebrate 20 years of their relationship and present at the magnificent Ashoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan, India's presidential palace whose red and cream sandstone glowed in soft blue hues Thursday night, were heads of state and government of each of 10 of these countries.

"The cultural collaboration aimed to bring out the similarities of the common origin shared by Indian performing arts with the existing traditions in the Southeast Asian nations," said Suresh K. Goel, director general of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) that mounted the hour-long show.

The idea was to bring out the similarities and the common origin shared by Indian performing arts with the traditions in the Southeast Asian nations, represented by the ASEAN grouping.

There were in all 10 groups from each of these groups and 10 groups of dancers and musicians from various parts of India - from Shyopat Julia's mesmerising performance with the bagpipe, known as the mashak in Rajasthan, and the deft, foot-tapping bamboo dancers of Mizoram to the haunting voice of Sufi singer Renee Singh and the Ramayana dance drama of Thailand. There was also the tinkling dance of Phillipines and the grasshopper dance of Cambodia.

And the grand finale at the end, where all 20 troupes, from across the geographies of this vast Indo-ASEAN region, danced on stage to a common rhythm brought the elite audience to its feet. In the audience were Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his cabinet colleagues, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and presidents, prime ministers, a vice president and a sultan from Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

"Given our cultural affinity, an example of which we witnessed here, physical proximity and shared priorities, the ASEAN-India relationship is showing increasing evidence of becoming more comprehensive and strategic in nature," said India's President Pranab Mukherjee at the grand banquet he gave later for the guests.

"A closer integration between ASEAN and India will be to the mutual benefit of the nations that we represent this historic evening," he said.

Buddhism is the second oldest religion in Indonesia, just after Hinduism. Before the arrival of these two religions, people believed that nature had supernormal power. Trees and stones were worshipped as sacred object, where beings with supernormal power reside.

Hinduism came to Indonesia at around the second century. The first two major kingdoms (Tarumanegara in Western Java and Kutai in Western Borneo) were based on Hinduism. Buddhism came to Indonesia a few hundred years after Hinduism. It reached its peak at the time of the Sriwijaya's dynasty rule, which was once the largest Buddhist kingdom in South East Asia, from around the 7th century until the 14th century. During that time, many Buddhist colleges and monasteries were built, and famous Buddhist scholars, such as Dharmapala and Sakyakirti, were teaching there. Another major Buddhist kingdom was the Mataram kingdom, which was ruled by the Sailendra clan during the eight and ninth century in Central Java. Many Buddhist temples were built and Buddhist texts were inscribed on the stones tablets (called prasasti) during this time.

The best known of these temples is Borobudur one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Borobudur represents three views of the universe according to the Indian Vajrayana tradition. The apex of the structure is a stupa, which represents the concept of Emptiness or Sunnata. Every year on the full moon in May, the Vesak celebration (called Tri Suci Waisak in Bahasa Indonesian), commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of the Buddha is held at Borobudur.

During the rule of the Majapahit kingdom between 13th to 15th century, Buddhism and Hinduism coexisted peacefully. After the fall of Majapahit, Islam was brought to Indonesia by traders from Gujarat, India. The influence of Buddhism started to decrease substantially after that, and was mainly confined to the areas of Eastern Java and Bali.

The Revival of Buddhism

In 1934, Venerable Narada Thera, a famous missionary monk from Sri Lanka, visited Indonesia for the first time as part of his journey to spread the Dhamma in Southeast Asia. This opportunity was used by a few local Buddhists to revive Buddhism in Indonesia. A Bodhi tree planting ceremony was held in front of Borobudur on 10th March 1934 under the blessing of Narada Thera, and some Upasakas were ordained as monks.

In about 1955, Buddhism started to make a comeback in Indonesia when a monk called Ashin Jinarakkhita started a tour across various regions in Indonesia to spread the Dharma. Since that time there has been a revival of Theravada Buddhism in Indonesia led by indigenous monks trained in Thailand, although the Mahayana tradition is still well represented.

 Buddhism is one of five religions recognized by the Indonesian government, besides Islam, Catholic, Protestant, and Hinduism. According to a census conducted in 1990, the majority of the population is Moslem (around 87%). About 1.8 million people (which was slightly more than 1% of the population) are Buddhism. The breakdown of followers of different religions in Indonesia is shown in the table below:


Percentage of followers


87 %


10 %


2 %


1 %

Provinces with relatively high percentage of Buddhists are Jakarta, Riau, North Sumatra, and West Borneo. The majority of Buddhists now practice in the Theravadin tradition. Two of the large Buddhist monasteries are located in North Jakarta (Sunter) and West Java (Pacet). Unfortunately, because Confucianism and Taoism are not recognized in the Constitution, followers from these two religions also call themselves “Buddhist” (therefore, the actual numbers of Buddhists are believed to be less than the official figure).