In Indonesia, the term puasa (fast) is related to Islam; bearing hunger and thirst and controlling emotion for one month in Ramadhan Holy Month. In fact, according to Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia, puasa means to avoid eating, drinking, etc. on purpose.
The fast itself had been done by various prominent figures, including Jesus. After Jesus was baptized, he was taken to a desert and he survived without eating and drinking for 40 days. In the story, Jesus fasted to show his love to God. Jesus was tempted by Satan to cancel his fast but he denied and continued the fast.
Meanwhile, Christians themselves do fasting ritual in the form of restraining worldly desire and desire of flesh (human) as written on Holy Bible; The fast can be in the form of avoiding eating and drinking and avoiding activities that they like very much such as watching TV, playing computer, etc.
In Buddhism, bhikkhu who do vinaya (bhikkhu rules) will start to fast (avoiding eating) after noon. They fast not only at certain period but also every day as long as they are still a bhikkhu. This ritual is intended to be a form of self-training for bhikkhu and therefore they will be prepared to face their life.
Amongst the kinds of fast mentioned above, there are some kinds of unique fast such as mutih fast fromKejawen tradition. When you do mutih fast, you can’t eat or drink any food or drink except white rice and water. In addition, in Kejawen tradition there are also patigeni fast (avoiding eating, drinking, and sleeping), ngrowot fast (avoiding rice and eating fruits and vegetables only), etc. These kinds of fast are conducted at certain periods such as pasa weton, pasa wulan, etc.
From various history, backgrounds, and the kinds of fast conducted in beliefs and religions mentioned above, it can be said that those who fast want the same thing: to get closer to God who exists in each of us. By improving the quality of ourselves and firmness of our hearts, we can get closer to God and create peacefulness in our life. Thus we can hear God’s voice more clearly and feel closer to Him.
After reading the benefits, kinds, and periods of fast mentioned above, do you want to try to fast? Don’t worry, you can start from simple fast such as avoiding consuming meat, avoiding using single-use plastic bag, or avoiding using smartphone. Those kinds of fast can help you improving the quality of yourself,make your heart calmer and more peaceful, and make you closer to God in each of ourselves.