Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bamiyan Afghanistan Buddhism

Bamiyan Afghanistan Buddhism Image
Research Dharmachari Seven (Wisdom Quarterly), travel notes Frankly1984, geopolitical history Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald (

Buddha sculpture, Gandhara style, from India's Northwest Frontier

Anybody who has been in Afghanistan and experienced this beautiful and wonder filled country will never forget the mystery surrounding this part of the world where devoted artisans built the fantastic Bamiyan Buddha statues 100 miles northwest of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

PART I: Bamiyan Buddha Statues

Afghans are beautiful, freedom-loving, mountain people. Unfortunately, they live under the influence of divisive political forces as the victims of colonial rule in the United States longest-running war. That war did not begin a decade ago but much earlier when, according to Gould and Fitzgerald ( the US destabilized the country by having criminals released in provincial Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan.

* Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of the American Empire

* Afghan Buddha province hopes to attract skiers (Himalayan Times)

Almost everything we believe about Afghan and Pashtun culture is meant to deliberately undermine our view of them -- eternally warring tribal factions, barbaric and unreasonable warlords, US-opposing, Sharia Law-loving, women-hating Taliban lunatics. In fact, Afghanistan itself has no history of this prior to anti-Soviet US intervention. But what has been created, what we have been made to believe is now indelible.

Map showing northwestern frontier of ancient Buddhist India. Until recently "Pakistan" was India. It was partitioned by the departing British as an ethnic homeland for Indian Muslims. Kashmir is still very much in dispute inflamed by China and the CIA.

I was in Kabul in 1977. From there I made the long journey to the small village of Bamiyan in the great Bamiyan Valley. I traveled there because Thesophy's famous Russian mystic H.P. Blavatsky (1883-1886) had mentioned the imposing figures in The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy. I wanted to see them with my own eyes -- and they were fantastic.

US military propaganda: the US War on Afghanistan, the longest running in our history

The colossal Buddha statues are mentioned in The Secret Doctrine (pp. 337-340, Vol. II). They are said to illustrate the hidden or occult history of the decline in stature as human form consolidated into gross physical matter. The five statues represent this decrease in size -- a decline mentioned in Buddhist texts -- of the average human frame beginning over a million years ago.

Blavatsky traces this decrease as egos were reborn into forms from the First Race on "Globe D" to our present Fifth Race. The statues would have been built by the Fourth Race.

It is also interesting to point out that the surrounding Bamiyan cave complex resembles in size the famous Allora and Ajanta (aka Ellora) caves in India. Both are said to have been built by the "builders" or initiates [Secret Doctrine, Vol. II: 221, 345]. The Buddhist art style is different and not as well preserved as that of ancient Vedic Brahminism now Hinduism.

Another interesting piece of information is found in The Secret Doctrine (Vol. II, p. 750), where it speaks of post-Atlantean initiates of the second "Aryan" sub-race traveling throughout the world to establish monuments to preserve aspects of the great and immemorial truths.

PART II: Bamiyan Buddha Statues

In Blavatsky's book "From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan" (pp. 609-610), there is more information about "Bamian" (part of the Paropamisos or Hindu Kush mountain range once called Afghania). It is said that these mountains were inhabited by "earthly gods" (devas, actually demigods, hybrid nymph-human entities, from the mating of space or heavenly and earthly beings) called Paranassus by the brahmins.

Rama and Krishna are mentioned as having lived on Mount Paranassus. The word Paranassus occurs frequently in both the ancient Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. There are also hints of a mysterious connection with Buddhism's Mount Meru (Sumeru) well worth further investigation.

"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" (Terry Gilliam honoring ancient English lore)What I discovered about the statues when I was there was that there were not five large statues visible or known, but only three. The two largest (174 feet/53 meter and 115 feet/35 meters high) are the ones most often mentioned by travelers and writers. They are situated in the same massive rock formation within walking distance of each other.

What Kapilavastu, the Buddha's home town and Shakyan capital, probably looked like. Note alcoves on left and right housing massive stone figures prior to Taliban destruction.

Bamiyan caves and colossal statue (Lament for Bamian)

It was possible to climb up alongside the head of the largest statue for a magnificent view of the valley by clambering through a labyrinth of caves [shown in next video, minute 2:55], rock chapels, and large halls. They were built on several levels accessible by steps inside the mountain where the statue was carved out of living rock protected by overhanging niches.

An early tourist trip to Bamiyan, Afghanistan staying in yurts oblivious to the tumultuous wars to later envelop the region from the USSR and US-backed Taliban aggression meant to push out the Soviets so American corporations could enjoy the spoils of war.

There are hundreds of caves in the area. Beside the head (which was already damaged) on the side walls were paintings of devas, bodhisattvas, buddhas, and a Greek Buddhist philosopher-king [Menander recorded in Indian Buddhist texts as King Milinda] placed sitting in the lines of ancient Buddhas listed by T.W. Rhys Davids (translator) in Buddhist Birth-Stories: Jataka Tales (commentary to the Nidana-Katha or "Story of the Lineage").

The "thousand Buddhas" sitting in a line is typical for Buddhist paintings, but not with a Greek dressed in a toga with a beard. These are remains in the world famous Gandhara style (early Greco-Buddhist art from Bactria and Roman-Buddhist art from Syria) or possibly a reproduction of Mahayana Buddhist art that developed later in northern Asia.

Buddhism extended northeast as Mahayana Buddhism, northwest as Christianity (BBC)

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