The Buddhas of Bamiyan by Llewelyn Morgan

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Interesting history of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, tracing their story and people’s reaction to them from the Buddhist period, through the Islamic period, and into the 19th and 20th centuries, and even beyond their infamous destruction by the Taliban. It is well-researched and authoritative, with a good selection of illustrations and quotes from different encounters with the Buddhas. The early history particularly interested me, with some really interesting descriptions from the travelling Chinese monk Xuanzang in the 7th century. It was then interesting to read of the tolerance, and indeed a certain amount of appropriation of the Buddhas, in the early Islamic period.

He discusses the gradual transition from Buddhism to Islam in the area of Bamiyan, showing that it wasn’t a sudden conversion, and explaining that it was most likely due to commercial interests (which had been central to Buddhist Bamiyan too).

The next cultural encounter with the Buddhas at Bamiyan that Morgan goes into in depth is that of the British, and a series of British imperial adventurers in the 19th century left interesting accounts of Bamiyan, and they seemed very obsessed with identifying links to Alexander the Great and Greek civilization. The final chapter then covers more modern archaeological efforts (principally French and Japanese) to investigate the site at Bamiyan, before concluding on what the future of the (now destroyed) Buddhas of Bamiyan should be, including a discussion of the tensions between the Hazaras of Bamiyan and the Pashtuns dominant in the rest of Afghanistan. Whilst an interesting read, I felt the somewhat verbose style knocked a star off for me – I’m slightly turned off by paragraphs that run over several pages, for instance.

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2 thoughts on “The Buddhas of Bamiyan by Llewelyn Morgan

  1. WHO REJECTS THE TRUTH? BY STEVE FINNELL
    WHO FIRST REJECTED THE TRUTH ABOUT JESUS AND THE DOCTRINES OF GOD? THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS WERE AT THE FOREFRONT WHEN IT CAME TO REJECTING JESUS. IS IT NOT THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF TODAY WHO PROMOTE REJECTING THE DOCTRINES OF GOD?

    JOHN 7:40-48 SOME OF THE PEOPLE THEREFORE, WHEN THEY HEARD THESE WORDS, WERE SAYING, “THIS CERTAINLY IS THE PROPHET.” 41 OTHERS WERE SAYING , “THIS IS THE CHRIST.” STILL OTHERS WERE SAYING, “SURELY THE CHRIST IS NOT GOING TO COME FROM GALILEE, IS HE?……47 THE PHARISEES THEN ANSWERED THEM, “YOU HAVE NOT ALSO BEEN LED ASTRAY, HAVE YOU? 48 NO ONE OF THE RULERS OR PHARISEES HAS BELIEVED IN HIM, HAS HE?

    The religious leaders were remaining steadfast in rejecting the truth about Jesus.

    John 12:42- Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

    Are there not many religious leaders, today, who refuse to preach the truth concerning the doctrines of God for fear of losing their position in the church? Do some contemporary church leaders covet the praises men more than approval of God?

    John 9:13-22….22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.

    Men were intimated by the Jewish rulers. There are many in the church today who will not speak the truth because they fear the church leaders. Men do not want to be ostracized or be forced to leave their life long denominational church.

    REJECTING THE TRUTH!

    Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord God, and serve Him only!”

    To pray to someone, is worship, however, church leaders tell men to pray to the Virgin Mary and to other dead saints. Leaders rejecting the truth.

    Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Some preachers today say that water baptism is not essential to have sins forgiven. Leaders rejecting the truth.

    Luke 8:13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.

    Some leaders assert that once you are a believer, you are always saved. Leaders rejecting the truth.

    Acts 4:10-12…by the name of Jesus Christ…12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

    Religious leaders proclaim there are many and various ways, besides Jesus as Savior, that men may be saved. Leaders rejecting the truth.

    Galatians 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarned you, just as I forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Church leaders teach that repentance is not necessary. They say practicing a sinful lifestyle will not keep you from entering the kingdom of God. Why? Because they say we are saved by grace alone, because we are saved by faith only, and because all Christians sin. Leaders rejecting the truth. ( There is a difference between becoming saved and remaining faithful. Repentance does not stop the minute you are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.)

    Mark 1:1-9……..9 He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your traditions.

    Religious leaders, today, are rejecting the truth in order to keep their traditions.

    (All Scripture from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)

    Posted by Steve Finnell at 2:57 AM 2 comments:
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