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Friday, January 1, 2016

Bamiyan Buddha reborn - laser show lights Buddha !

Rebirth in Buddhism is the doctrine that the evolving consciousness upon death – the  consciousness in the new person is neither identical nor entirely different from that in the deceased but the two form a causal continuum or stream ! Rebirth is conditioned by the karmas (actions of body, speech and mind) of previous lives.

Sujatha was a genius and raised the level of those who read him.  His rationale and thoughts were clearly ahead of his times.  In a Sci-fi thriller of early 1980s  that came in Kumudam[we looked forward to reading every issue of Kumudau for that] -   the storyline was about a guardian of an innocent good looking girl named Leena ~ the knot was whether the events are attributed to evil spirits or science – spirit or illusion – at one point Vasanth frustratingly calls it ‘thundu wire’ [a piece of wire] as all assumptions of Science collapse ….. that was ‘KolaiyuthirKalam’ -[Autumn of murders] as it has many deaths befalling like leaves falling from tree.

The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6thcentury monumental statues of standingbuddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,200 feet). Built in 507 AD (smaller) and 554 AD (larger), these statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.  They are no longer there – destroyed by Taliban in Mar 2001,  on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols.

Later to those visiting Bamiyan, the void left by the two destroyed Buddha figures has been appalling, rousing  an emotion almost more powerful than their once tranquil presence did for centuries. The decision to destroy the two monumental Buddha figures at Bamiyan was just part of the drive to destroy all the country’s pre-Islamic “icons”, an act of defiance to the outside world.Demolition work at Bamiyan started at the beginning of March 2001 and lasted several weeks, the two figures – 58 and 38 metres tall – proved remarkably solid. Anti-aircraft guns had little effect, so the engineers placed anti-tank mines between their feet, then bored holes into their heads and packed them with dynamite. The world watched this symbolic violence in impotent horror.

Now almost 14 years on, reconstruction work is  yet to start as archaeologists and UNESCO policy-makers argue. According to West, the two cavities resemble open wounds, a blemish on the long history ofAfghanistan, which experienced the fervour of Buddhism long before the arrival of Islam.  Earlier, monks came from China to worship here. Others meditated in nearby caves.An incident in 2013 demonstrated the sensitivity of the subject. A decade ago Unesco authorised archaeologists and engineers to consolidate the two niches, with props and grouting. But nothing else. Almost two years ago someone noticed that, on the site of the small Buddha, a team from the German branch of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) was beginning to rebuild the feet. This was contrary to Unesco policy, based on the 1964 Venice charter for the conservation and restoration of monuments and sites, which requires the use of “original material”. If work on the Bamiyan remains disregarded this rule, then the site would be struck off the World Heritage list. The Afghan authorities ordered the Icomos team to down tools, leaving the remains even less sightly than they were before.

There is also a practical side: any attempt at reconstruction would be extremely complex. The original material, as required by the Venice charter, would be a major obstacle. The 2001 demolition left a heap of scattered fragments.  Some say that local residents are in favour of leaving the larger niche empty but rebuilding the smaller Buddha appeals to them, particularly as they take little interest in quarrels about original material. They are more concerned about boosting tourism in a relatively isolated area in desperate need of revenue.

Now comes the news of ‘rebirth of Bamiyan Buddha’ – not real, not unreal too – as Chinese millionaires create amazing 175ft hologram of iconic statue deliberately destroyed by the Taliban.A Chinese couple who have explored the world together have used a 3D laser light show to restore one of the two sacred Buddha statues that were destroyed by the Taliban.Zhang Xinyu and Liang Hong, a millionaire couple and full-time adventurers from Beijing, were so moved on hearing about the destruction of the ancient relics that they took it upon themselves to resurrect the statues.The couple used 3D light projections to recreate the taller statue in the place it once stood in a stunning show earlier this month, reported the People's Daily Online. They gained permission from UNESCO, who have marked the Bamiyan Valley as a world heritage site, and the Afghan authorities to put on the display over the weekend.

MailOnline reports that about 150 spectators watched the light show, which took place after sunset on June 6 and 7, dancing to the music in front of the holographic Buddha into the night.  It is a great show by affluent Zhang Xinyu, 38, and Liang Hong, 36, hailed as the ultimate travellers in their home country.After reportedly earning their fortune of nearly £1 million through a series of small businesses, including inventing a special machine to make fresh tofu, the two decided to pursue their dreams by travelling around the world.The couple even have their own travel show called 'On the Road' to document their journeys to some of the most dangerous parts of the world, ranging from Chernobyl to Somalia. They embarked on a 41,500 mile journey in 2013, visiting more than 30 cities in 24 countries, and got married in Antarctica in March 2014.

In an interview with Xinhua News Agency, Mr Zhang said: 'We knew very little about Afghanistan before we came here. 'Our entire image of this strife-torn nation was merely about poverty and suicide attacks,'In the same interview, Ms Liang said: 'When I saw the smile on the people's faces in Bamiyan, I knew what we have done is quite meaningful, not only for the Bamiyan people, but also for ourselves. 'We wanted to find a way to help the people there and showing the Buddha by image projection was the best we could do.' In 2005, a Japanese artist proposed a laser projection of the Buddhas but the plan was never realised.

Mr Zhang and Ms Liang then decided to take on the project and add the Bamiyan Valley as another destination on the long list of places they have visited across the world.The spectacular resurrection project is part of their multi-nation tour along the ancient Silk Road. Both fans of photography and advanced technology, the two developed a £77,500 projector especially for the light show and perfected the projections on a mountainside in China.

So light falls on Bamiyan Buddha through a laser light show !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

19th June 2015.


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