Skip to comments.2,300-Year-Old Artefacts May Change Ashoka-Buddhist History
Posted on 07/04/2006 3:25:30 PM PDT by blam
2,300-year-old artefacts may change Ashoka-Buddhist history
BHUBANESWAR: Orissa Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies (OIMSEAS) has unearthed some 2,300-year-old artefacts at Jajpur district in Orissa, which, it claimed, could change some historical narratives on the Ashokan period.
The description of Chinese pilgrim Hieun-Tsang about Ashoka that he had constructed 10 stupas in Odra country where Buddha had preached may come true.
Earlier, historians refused to accept the narrative. We have already analysed five stupas and found three more similar structures, OIMSEAS Director Debaraj Pradhan told mediapersons here. He said a huge inscribed monolithic stupa along with other remnants of Buddhist establishments had been detected on top of Panturi hill in Jajpur district.
The current explorations and excavations are unique since nowhere in India will you find old artefacts in such a small area, Pradhan said. The stupas were found at Langudi, Tarapur, Deuli Kayama hills, Neulipur, Bajragiri, Kantigadia and Panturi.
The organisation had extensively surveyed the Brahmani-Kelua river valley since 1996 to explore and excavate Buddhist sites. It had excavated Langudi hill site and discovered ancient Pushpagiri Vihara, an Ashokan stupa, two rare statues believed to be that of Emperor Ashoka himself, besides 54 rock-cut votive stupas, five Dhyani Buddha statues and remains of two monasteries.
The excavation of the fort of Radhanagar indicated that it could be the ancient capital of Kalinga, Pradhan, also the curator of state archaeology, said.
Either it could be Dantapura mentioned in Ceylonese literature Datha-Ddhatu-Vamsa or Tosali mentioned in special Dhauli rock edict of Ashoka, he said.
The artefacts discovered from last years excavation established that Radhanagar or Tosali was a fort city. But interesting findings of this year indicated that it could be a port city.
The discovery of Roman Bullae (an earthen ornament) and Roman Rowlletted pottery suggested that the place had connections with Rome. And it could not have happened, had Tosali not been a port city, Pradhan said. He, however, made it clear that only around five per cent of the total excavation had been completed.
Once we excavate the entire archaeologically-rich area in Jajpur district, we would be able to come to a concrete conclusion, he said. Besides discovery of Ashokan period artefacts, archaeologists have also stumbled upon many antiques, which implies that the whole area could have been a hub of religious activities.
The current excavation also threw up broken Buddhist images, votive stupas and collection of pottery remains from the surface near Vajragiri.
Pradhan said Vajragiri could have had close cultural relations with Japan because the highest temple of Japan was the Vajragiri temple (Kongobu-Ji) at Kuito, the ancient capital of that country.
Interestingly, at the foot of the present Vajragiri a big ancient village Kotpur was situated, he said and added that more research is necessary to establish the connection.
The Vajragiri excavation had yielded one piece of stone trident, designed religious lamps 12 pieces of heavy iron rods and two pieces of conch in good condition.
Pradhan said most of the inscriptional evidence and its photographs have been sent to Dr K.V. Ramesh, retired director of epigraphy at Mysore, for deciphering.
The present inscriptional evidence may prove the association of Buddha with Kayama hill in Kalinga country in his lifetime, he said.
Meanwhile, Orissa Culture Minister Suryanarayan Patro has directed Jajpur District Collector Aurobindo Padhi to visit all hills identified by OIMSEAS and involve eminent historians in the research work.
Perfect Zen answer. BTW, where is your tagline from?
I have read "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" also. But that was written by Sogyal Rimpoche wasn't it? A very good book.
My tagline is just a random thought I had a few weeks ago. Ego with a leash and a muzzle on it you might say. I'll replace it with another mind dropping I thought of about the same time.
Well, I thought it was so cool I copied it and added it my list of great quotes. It must blow people's minds when they see that someone so steeped in Buddhist precepts is a non-liberal. Though not a Buddhist, I'm sympathetic to its teachings and I've often tried to reconcile them with some of my political views. You've shown it can be done.
What's an "Artefacts?"
What kind of Buddhist are you?
"I spent two years with an English lady. It forever affected my behaviour."
As they say, it coloured your world.
One of my closest friends, who is dead now, married a 'lady' from bloody ole' England.
Thin, demure, very pleasant, wonderful hostess, beautifully kept house.
But give her a bottle of de ole' vino.
Very 'colourful' language flowed like a river from that lady's mouth, until she passed out.
Only the minds of the ignorant. Buddhism is very socially conservative, and IMHO Buddhism and government-solving-all-your-problems-ism are mutually exclusive philosophies.
| Isn't it one of
those monkey-things that attacked
Paris Hilton's face?
There are many kinds
of Buddhists. Like Protestants,
they come in flavors . . .
Thank you very much. I am very pleased that you like it that much.
It must blow people's minds when they see that someone so steeped in Buddhist precepts is a non-liberal.
Sometimes it does. I don't usually preface my views with "I'm a Buddhist" so most probably don't know. I'm also a bit hermitish and on top of that I avoid talking to liberals if I can help it. I still have a ways to go when it comes to devoloping patience and pacifying anger in myself and not much can set me off more than an anti-life, anti-American, anti-common sense leftist of today.
AFAIC the Constitution and Buddhist precepts go hand in hand. Both are about liberty. One of action the other of mind. Actually both encompass both. I'm not just a non-liberal either. I'm a hardcore radical right-wing conservative IMO. Heh heh.
Recently my teacher was telling me that it is impossible to be a Buddhist and a liberal. "PCness and the Dharma are completely incompatible" he said. (Not the first time we've discussed it.) "You can't be a victim and be a Buddhist." It goes hand and hand with the view that enlightenment cannot occur as long as there is the slightest neurosis left in the mind. Of course there are many levels of realization before ultimate enlightenment but you can see where that would leave the typical la-de-da New Age leftist.
How is that possible you ask? Why is it that Buddhists have come to be known as lefty, New Agey and flaky? A lot of them are to be sure. One reason is that Western Buddhism is a bunch of New Age baloney. Another part of the answer is that those who are connected with authentic lineages aren't all as flaky as most of us have perceived them to be. In fact you've probably never heard much about them and if you've met one you likely didn't know it. I think the vast majority of New Age types aren't connected with anything real. In any sense.
There is a more basic answer though that I heard some time ago. In classic teaching style the Buddha is compared to a doctor, the Dharma the medicine and the student the patient. With that in mind the answer is "if a person had it all together he wouldn't need Buddhism." So we can generally assume that Buddhists are people who need help. And, on some level of course, know it. ; )
Buddhism isn't taught or practised (except in the Theraveda tradition) by suppressing thoughts and emotions. In the Vajrayana even improper behavior is not suppressed or even stressed much. At the Vajrayana level it is a given that a person ready to practice it is of sufficient intelligence to know right and wrong (if they really look at what they are doing and consider the consequences) and are fully ready to accept personal responsibility for every experience no matter how unconnected it may seem to one's self.
It is recognized that knowing/not knowing right and wrong aren't the problem so there is no need to hammer that in or even bring up another's faults. Thus, there are Buddhists who think and act in a lot of different ways, sometimes very unconventionally, and no one will say anything about it. If you want to know what a teacher thinks about you you have to ask. Not surprisingly a lot of people don't really want to know. ;)
But if a person does their practice properly it is impossible to ignore one's own negative behaviors. Having it put in your face, over and over, with no one to blame and a teacher to keep you straight on why it's happening and what to do, has the effect of dissolving any desire to continue in it. As I was told time and again in the beginning "Practice. There isn't anything else."
I have a couple of poems, if you want to call them that, on my profile page that are ... OK I guess. They're ostensibly Buddhist in nature although I'm only a student and not a poet at all. But if you want to read a political/cultural thesis born completely out of my practice scroll to the bottom and read the piece on fanaticism. My teacher loved it. Said I nailed it. May it be of value!
Crazy!!! Just kidding. Sort of. I practice Tibetan Buddhism.
Ohhhhh, you'll like my post to drew.
ping to #33. You might be interested in yet another opinion on the subject.
Buddhism isn't taught or practised (except in the Theraveda tradition) by suppressing thoughts and emotions. In the Vajrayana even improper behavior is not suppressed or even stressed much.
Oooooh, maybe I should switch....(just kidding -- happy with Theravada)
I feel somewhat embarrassed. I do not know much about Theraveda Buddhism and I hope I have not mischaracterised it. I have been told that the emphasis is quite different than in Mahayana and Vajrayana. I have also been told that the apparent contradictions due to that difference are not in fact contradictions.
The way Vajrayana is taught and practiced it may seem that I am free to do whatever I want to do. I am certainly free to think whatever I want to. (I'm struggling for an analogy here because it is so foreign to western thought.) It's like I can go out and drive like a maniac and wreck all the cars I want to if that's my desire. No one will call it 'bad.' But I have to work as a paramedic every single day as my practice. And, unless I want to extend my practice further, (and thus the analogy) I have to pay all of my fines, damages and jail time. But the paramedic thing is mandatory. (very rough analogy)
There are many approaches (and I'm not familiar with any but the one) but I think I can safely say that the one thing in common is 'mindfulness.' I think every approach is centered on that.
I'm free to not study the Dharma if I like as well but as soon as I choose to pick up a book I am faced with endless admonitions against negative behaviors with reminders of the inevitable consequences of even the slightest downfall. Like all the Buddha's teachings the doctrine is free of condemnations but chock full of what works and what won't.
Some think that Tantra is a license to licentiousness but it's not. It's hard to explain. Once you begin the path every downfall makes life difficult while you're practicing and if you stop practice it gets even worse even if you act well. There is no turning back and that's as it should be.
I don't think of it so much as restrictive as it is conditioning. I had suffered from clinical depression for many years, and much of my thinking had to be re-routed. The dharma is quite similar to a treatment for depression called "cognitive behavioral therapy." After a while it's not a struggle and it becomes natural.
I know I'm not going to be perfect and I'm willing to take the personal consequences of my actions. But I'm also aware that every sin I commit is the spiritual equivalent of sticking my hand in a fire. It's not something I often find worthwhile.
| In the overcast,
the looping seagull, wings still,
humbles the flat clouds.