At the millennial cusp, the Taliban is blowing up images of the Buddha that have endured for centuries.

At first this looks like a tragedy. A loss to art, to culture, to Buddhism. But, in truth, it is to be welcomed.

Buddhism is all about letting go, releasing the things that attach your ego to yourself and your soul to this world. Let go, breathe in, breathe out, and remember that the Buddha said "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."

If you see the Buddha carved on the side of the mountain, blow him up with dynamite.

Breathe, smile.

See that although they can destroy the images,
they cannot destroy the meaning.

originally titled Blowing Up The Buddhas

Addendum: 9-14-2001 -- Would that they had stopped with the Buhddas...

Addendum: 9-22-2003 -- Does it make any substantive difference if they were blown up by religious fanatics, or if they were destroyed by "friendly fire"?

The act is a tragedy, the detachment of Buddhism notwithstanding.

The act was not motivated by the detachment of the Buddha. It was motivated by fanaticism. It was motivated by intolerance. It was motivated by dogmatism.

And that is a tragedy.

Massive stone Buddhas carved from a cliff overlooking the Afghan desert, Pakistan, in the third and fifth centuries A.D. At 53 meters (175 feet) and 36 meters (120 feet), the statues were the tallest standing Buddhas in the world. The Taleban ordered their destruction in March 2001 as part of a campaign to destroy pre-Islamic artifacts considered an assault on Islam.

Futurebird has touched upon a common philosophical quandry. What is more important? An action, or the motivations behind an action? The cynic in me would say that neither is particularly important, but the tragedy is only in the minds of those who perceive it. True, priceless artifacts of incalculable worth were destroyed in the name of hate and ignorance (and social control), but the spirit that those artifacts embodied embraces by letting go.

Of course, I'm not attacking Futurebird's assertion that the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan was a tragedy, I'm merely pointing out that there's a more relaxing way of looking at it. They wasted their ammunition on something that couldn't be destroyed given unlimited firepower and time.

Things that exist only have worth because of things that do not exist.

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