Skip to comments.What Will Happen to Ancient Art in the Taliban's Swat?
Posted on 03/02/2009 4:38:57 PM PST by SunkenCiv
For centuries, the Swat River valley was a Buddhist haven. According to tradition, Buddha himself journeyed to Swat during his last reincarnation, and preached to the local villagers. And by the 6th-century A.D, Buddhist pilgrims from as far away as China flocked to the Swat valley, a beautiful lush land of orchards and rushing mountain streams. One early Chinese account describes as many as 1400 Buddhist monasteries perched along the valley walls in the 7th century.
Devout Buddhist artists left an incredibly rich legacy in Swat. Since the valley lay along a major route of the Silk Road -- which stretched from China to the Mediterranean -- they were greatly influenced by ideas from elsewhere, and gracefully blended foreign styles in their art. They chiseled beautiful, haunting statues of Buddha into the cliffsides, and left many stupas and other Buddhist relics scattered across the countryside.
The region's new Taliban rulers regard this legacy, and particularly the images of Buddha, as an affront to Islam, and they have already taken action against them. In 2008, they set off dynamite charges to erase the face of a 23-foot-high Buddha carved into a cliff near Jehanabad in the Swat River valley, an act of terrible vandalism that recalled the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by Afghanistan's Taliban. In a separate attack, they badly damaged parts of the Swat Museum -- which which holds an important collection of Buddhist art -- and issued threats to the staff of the museum.
(Excerpt) Read more at archaeology.org ...
Three guesses. But wait! I forgot! The Hope and Change President will sit down face to face and negotiate without preconditions, that should solve the problem once and for all. And if not, this is all just a bunch of rocks, carved long ago by some dead Buddhists, so who cares? I mean, it's not like the war criminal Bush portrayed in all the media (including Archaeology magazine) as the culprit behind the looting of the Baghdad museum.
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
I suppose The One thinks he can drop in for tea and a chat-up and persuade the Taliban to stop this.
They've only started in their Philistine hatred and destruction of all of Western civilization and culture.
They hate America and they hate the Jews and Israel. They want us all dead.
Islam is the end of civilization.
Wait till they take over Europe. They will dynamite the Sistine Chapel, take a sledgehammer to Michelangelo’s David and burn the Louvre to the ground.
Savages, barbarians. The most worthless scum of the earth. Just wait until they get a nuke.
Why don’t you tell us how you really feel? :-)
I’m with you 1000%.
I grok that.
On the gripping hand...
Bugs, Mr. Rico!!!! Zillions of them!!!!
Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. Fahrenheit 451
The loss of these cultural and historical artifacts is disgusting. But, as one comment on the site says, they are only material objects. What the world has yet to really wrap its mind around is that these jihadi nutballs consider all non-muslims to be as abhorrent and worthless as a sculpture.
Pathetic. The Muslims are all iconoclasts. Its a miracle that the antiquities of Egypt still exist. Perhaps the dollar effect has saved them.
Doing okay, thanks.
Though my computer/browser is on the fritz and I can’t get my IT girl to look at it. Oy, vey!
“What the world has yet to really wrap its mind around,...”
I’m not sure what it is going to take.
Personally, I consider folks who are passive, indifferent and uninformed to be as great a threat to my family as the 13th century goons who spread and foment jihad!
In that same vein, here’s one of my favorite tunes/lyrics by Bela Fleck and The Flecktones. A little “eastern flavored” food for thought.
“The Sojourn of Arjuna”
So Arjuna and Krishna you know they’re hanging out on the battlefield
Arjuna is like tired of war, he’s trying to get out of this battle
so Krishna drops a little science on him, he says you know it’s the way of
a man must go forth from where he stands
he cannot jump to the absolute, he must evolve toward it (can you hear that)
Krishna says at any given moment in time we are what we are
Arjuna we have to accept the consequences of being ourselves
and only through this acceptance can we begin to evolve further
we may select the battleground but we cannot avoid the battle
so Krishna tells Arjuna it follows therefore that every action under certain
circumstances and for certain people may actually be a stepping stone to
Arjuna is to do the best he knows
in order to pass beyond that best to better
how can we prescribe our neighbors to be perfect
when it is so hard to know our own heart
the pacifist must respect Arjuna
Arjuna must respect the pacifist.
both are going toward the same goal
if they are really sincere
there’s an underlying solidarity between them
which can be expressed
each one follows without compromise the path upon which he finds himself
for we can only help others to do their duty
by doing what we ourselves believe to be right
it is the one supremely social act.
so Kirshna’s reply to Arjuna occupies the rest of the story
it deals not only with Arjuna’s immediate personal problem
but the whole nature of action
the meaning of life
and the aims for which man must struggle here on earth
at the end of the conversation Arjuna has changed his mind
he’s ready to fight, he’s ready to go ahead on
it is the way of spiritual growth
a man must go forward from where he stands
he cannot jump to the absolute
and the battle begins...”
And to clarify, so as not to contradict myself; I do not believe that today’s liberal peaceniks are true pacifists.
They use this mindset to portray themselves as above or “better” than those who do NOT share this worldview, which is actually a form of coercive aggression.
In some sense, I think I’m lucky because I believe in Satan, the devil, Lucifer, an evil and invisible presence which has been set upon this world.
For me anyway, it explains a lot.
The Sojourn of Arjuna Is that really a song set to music? It's interesting but I have a hard time imagining a melody for it. I recognize the philosophical/spiritual theme though.
I don't consider leftist secular humanists to be true pacifists either. Or true anything other than communists or anarchists. And they have no idea what real anarchy would be either. The Tibetan Buddhist POV isn't pacifist either though. Buddhism is a way of non-aggression not pacifism. There is a very big difference between the two mindsets.
A real pacifist won't defend himself or others. A Buddhist seeks to do no harm to others but not at the cost of ignoring reality. From the Buddhist POV a pacifist is a coward. To allow one's life, or the lives of others, to be taken when there is something you could do about it is cowardly. And more importantly to a Buddhist it is ignorant of reality.
While your view of how evil comes to manifest itself in the world may be different than mine it is definitely better, from my perspective, that you recognize evil to exist than to think there is no such thing. The moral relativism of the secular humanist is more of a poison to the mind than the twisted world view of a fundamentalist Muslim AFAIC.
The jihadi mindset may warp views of good and evil into ridiculous forms but the secular humanist view that there is no good or evil is a far greater denial of reality. Radical Muzzies may be doing most of the murdering in the world right now but the potential for destruction is much greater in the nihilist-narcissist POV of secular humanists. It is scary that their views have found so much acceptance in the west.
“That is a major frustration.”
It is , but I’m more concerned with the possibility of something really bad being in my OS ~ a virus.
I was raised MAC and have only gotten into PC as a matter of cost consideration this year. My IT girl is actually my wife, and, she is busy, but she wants me to learn this stuff myself, which is a nice idea, but NOT if there is some brain eating worm that could potentially destroy my side of the business. Aside from which, it’s making me crazy and I can’t FReep!
“The Sojourn of Arjuna” is sort of a wrap/spoken word piece. There is a live version on Youtube, but not quite as smooth as the original cut and with a little improv by the singer. Still, it’s pretty cool and you become “more cool” by virtue of listening to Bela Fleck. That is a little known fact.
I agree with your views on pacifism and moral relativism, I’d also include secular humanism; different name same kind of intellectual poison. There is a great quote by C.S.Lewis about pacifism. I’ll have to see if I can find it.
I sort of knew that Buddhists were not pacifists, but of course, that is NOT in line with how they are portrayed by the media.
I also have an acquaintance who claims to be a Buddhist, but I’m afraid the whole thing is just a kind of foil that he places over his personality to reflect his “humanistic spirituality”. You guessed, he’s a liberal!
The guy once told me that he had been on jury duty in a really heavy case, by which he had to put a man (whom he thought was guilty) in prison. It was all to heavy for him and the next time he was up for jury duty he told me he would opt out because he was a “Buddhist”.
First, I suppressed my urge to laugh, then counseled my friend that he had done the right thing if he had convicted a guilty man and that he shouldn’t feel responsible for what may happen to criminal in a court of law as long as he follows what is proscribed. I also mentioned that he had the opportunity of giving over his seat on a jury to someone who may either have a agenda with a accused person. This can go either way.
By the way, this was a very bad criminal. This wasn’t someone that got caught up in something or a matter of circumstance. From what I gather, the person was a violent offender. So, it’s probably good that people who lack the fortitude to do something difficult naturally remove themselves from the process.
In essence, my friend is a soft-headed liberal, and my esteem for him fell tremendously after this conversation and successive political discussions, which I will say were very polite and courteous, which is significantly different from many conversation that I have had with many left-wing.
Again, and per a previous discussion, another example of what I will now call “Romantic Buddhism”. i might have pointed out that he was not “really” a Buddhist, but this hardly something I argue with others.
Some members of my family were members of the pacifist Christian denomination of the Society of Friends (Quakers) back during WWII. They would not fight or kill others directly, essentially they were conscientious objectors, however they understood the value of opposing evil and they served in civilian medical positions. One of my great uncles submitted himself as a guinea pig for medical testing for vaccines for malaria back during the war.
My uncles were very gentle folk, very kindly. They were definitely pacifists in the sense that they would let others do them harm. I can’t get my head around such thinking. When I was younger I thought this was something of a romantic notion, after I had children and post-9/11 such nonsense went right out the door!
Can’t find the Lewis quote, but there are some good ones out there if you look and they’re all screaming the same thing!
I expect that most American Buddhists are liberals just as you describe your friend. There is a preconceived view in the west of what Buddhism is and that attracts people who think it will be a validation of their own views.
But religions of all flavors find themselves to be convenient decorations for those seeking self-validation. Thus there are a very large number of self-identified Christians who are liberals in spite of the fact that the core precepts don't align very well with liberal philosophy and policies.
If your friend had said he felt that he, personally, wasn't fit to sit on the jury to me that would have been a Buddhist way of looking at things. To say that he couldn't "because I am a Buddhist" sounds more like a cop out to avoid taking responsibility for his own feelings about it. Not a Buddhist way of dealing with things IMO.
There are no perfect followers of the Buddhist path though. If you already knew the way what need would you have for a guided path? As Krishna said to Arjuna in the story "you have to proceed from where you are." For the vast majority of people that starting point is "near hopelessly lost." ;^)
Yeah, it is very cool, but they cut the whole vocal off the back of that track.
BTW, I think the saxophonist in that bit has gone on to become the touring horn for Dave Matthews Band since their old guy passed away.
That looks like a guitar with a banjo body. I’m fairly certain it’s technically an electric banjo.
One can never be 100% sure, but I think the term “American Buddhists” says a lot! In the case of the few folks that I have met who speak of being Buddhist there is something of a romantic notion about it. In the same way many in the left seem to hold “pacifism” in some kind of high regard, as with many that I know on the left who are vegetarian. There is this image of nobility, for being or pretending to be Buddhist, for not eating animals, for being “pacifist” ~ an heir of superiority. I think there is a kind of elitism in it. Obviously, this ain’t Buddhism and exists in many worldviews and religions. Often, in contradiction to the tenets of such a faith or ideology.
People that I know who are on the right who are vegetarian may do so for a variety of reasons, but aside from a little good natured kidding around they really don’t care what others think and they don’t feel a compulsion to “convert” or convince others to come around to their way of seeing, or eating.
For this matter, I like to take something of a “Clintonian” spin on reality when addressing these unhappy herbivores; unless I actually have the flesh of an animal in my mouth, I am as good a vegetarian as anyone else. As I type to you right now, I am a vegetarian. So, I can not be diminished by such haughty plant-eaters.
My acquaintance was simply saying that he was going to use the matter of claiming to be a Buddhist, whether he actually considers himself to be one, to get out of jury duty. I have such low opinion of this notion that I am actually somewhat conflicted on the term that I use to describe this person; friend or acquaintance.
Certainly, and from what I have read and understand, this is not the Buddha Darhma either.
I still couldn’t find the quote on pacifism that I was looking for. Thought it was Lewis, maybe Chesterton? I did however see this one;
“Everyone’s a pacifist between wars. It’s like being a vegetarian between meals.” ~ Colman McCarthy
Whatever it's called I really like it. The film being so dark, at first I didn't see the guitar part of the body. He played it fantastically. Kind of lead guitar style but banjo sound. The "duel" with the sax was terrific!
I'm afraid there really is a form of Buddhism evolving that could be called American Buddhism or Western Buddhism and it's a cafeteria style spirituality. "New Age" probably pegs it pretty well but there's a plethora of cobbled together spiritual philosophies that fit under that banner.
Americans have a tendency to take anything they encounter and try to improve on it. That works out well for music, science, sports, art, food ... firearms and weapons designs. Business ie capitalism. (At least we were at the top of that game.) But, IMO, I think it's a mistake to take a religion or spiritual tradition and try to "fix it up." Especially by those who haven't truly understood or mastered the tradition in its original form.
I don't claim to have true understanding or mastery but I can certainly see that those who are "tinkering" with Buddhism don't either. Apart from my own opinion on that my teacher has been quite clear about his opinion and it isn't a happy opinion. Perhaps the true strains of practice will endure over time and the faddish ones will wither but there is a real risk that the authentic Buddha Dharma will not survive.
I am actually somewhat conflicted on the term that I use to describe this person; friend or acquaintance.
Maybe "a guy I know" would suffice. lol
But seriously; at least he associates himself with something that has positive values even if he hasn't fully appreciated what it's about. He could be out jacking cars, smuggling dope or running ponzi schemes and feeling just fine about himself. There are worse things to be than a Sunday Christian or a T-shirt Buddhist. ;^)
I like that “T-Shirt Buddhists”.
If I ever get another band together that will be among the names that I choose.
“The T-Shirt Buddhists”. It’s right up there with “Hathead” or “The Bloated Ticks”.
“it’s a cafeteria style spirituality” that’s funny. We have cafeteria Catholics, also three quarter Catholics, who are the congregants who make for the exits right after Eucharist, so as to get out of the parking lots first. We also have “C and E’s” which are members who attend services only at Christmas and Easter.
“A guy I know”
He’s a nice guy. A little full of himself.
I found the quote that I was originally looking for; I had to sig out my “olde MAC”. It was Patrick Henry.
“Pacifists are among the most immoral of men - they make no distinction between aggression and defense. Therefore, pacifism is one of the greatest allies an aggressor can have.”
If you dig the Flecktones and you have a half hour to kill you might really enjoy these shorts of a recent DVD that I saw on Youtube last night of their last CD.
This is the first installment, follow in successive order.
Very quirky and funny, I figure if you like Dennis Miller, you’ll probably get a kick out of the low key comedy.
Thank you very much. I just coined that. I'm afraid I wasn't being original with the "cafeteria spirituality" comment. I stole that directly from the infamous phrase "Cafeteria Catholics." Some people like to pick and choose within one tradition. Some want a slice of this and a spoonful of that from a variety of traditions. It's a great concept for a restaurant. lol
Pacifists are among the most immoral of men - they make no distinction between aggression and defense. Therefore, pacifism is one of the greatest allies an aggressor can have. - Patrick Henry.
That's it! That hits the nail on the head. My favorite Founder's quotes come from Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine. They had a way of bottom-lining things.
Thanks for the link. I'll check it out. Speaking of Dennis Miller; he did the best take on water boarding on BoR one night that I have ever heard. Something like; 'Why the controversy? To me water boarding is a golden gift. It does no physical harm and gets hardened terrorists to sell out their mothers in a few minutes.' That is exactly how I have thought about it since I first heard of it. I couldn't find a Youtube of it but maybe there is now. It was funny but absolutely true.
Dennis has done his bit on waterboarding on his program; he did a couple segments in the same day with discussion from callers. It was great!
I don’t call in radio shows, but I gave it a try that day ~ didn’t make it through.
I had a question, which I have even floated her at FR, with no significant results; whatever happened to sodium pentathol (truth serum)? I had been told some time ago that this does work. It’s reliable and there is nothing that individuals can do to impede giving out information.
My guess is that if this method were to be implemented that the left would have a fit because it would entail making terrorists give away information that was potentially damaging to their cause.
Yeah, Patrick Henry was alright. One of my favorites. Sort of on the edge. I had the opportunity to visit the old House of Burgess’s chambers in Williamsburg, VA and it’s pretty cool to be in that space, thinking about how the crown dissolved the colonial government.
Makes one wonder how long the taxpayers (suckers) in America will continue to take it. Hopefully, the new American Revolution will take place peacefully in November of 2010.