Two suspects arrested for damaging Buddhist statues, special police security for Mawanella

Dec 26, Colombo: Mawanella Police have arrested two individuals suspected of damaging several Buddha statues in the area last few days.

Area residents have captured the two youths when they arrived on a motorbike early Wednesday morning (Dec 26) and attempted to damage a Buddha statue at a road junction in Mawanella and handed them over to the police.

One of the youth has attempted to flee but he was later arrested, the police said.

The villagers have assaulted the other suspect named M. Ashfar, and handed over to the police.

The two youths are suspected of a spate of attacks on Buddha statues recently in the Mawanella area, a police officer told the BBC Sinhala Service.

He said these acts of sabotage were committed with the intention of creating religious tensions among Sinhalese and Muslims.

It has been reported that the security has been beefed up in the Mawanella area and the Special Task Force (STF) police have been deployed in some areas.

Minister Kabir Hashim, who represents Mawanella area in parliament, has issued a statement on his Facebook page saying that the law should be strictly enforced against individuals connected to these incidents.

“I condemn the recent acts of violence committed against places of worship in Mawanella. As soon as I heard about the recent attacks I instructed the police to investigate and arrest those responsible. The two suspects have since been apprehended by the authorities and will be subject to the full extent of the law,” Minister Hashim said.

The White Horse Temple: China’s Very First Buddhist Temple

The White Horse Temple is a Buddhist temple located not far from Luoyang, Henan, in China. This temple is reputed to be the first Buddhist temple in China, as, according to tradition, it was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty. The temple has survived for almost 2000 years. Over this period of time new buildings were added to the temple complex, whilst reconstructions and restorations were made on the older ones.
The Arrival of Buddhist Monks in Luoyang

The White Horse Temple is situated about 12 km (7.5 mi) to the east of Luoyang, in the central-eastern Chinese province of Henan. Tradition has it that the temple was established in 68 AD, during the reign of Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty. For years prior to the temple’s founding, the emperor had sent two ambassadors to the Western Regions to collect Buddhist sutras . When the ambassadors returned to Luoyang, the Eastern Han capital, four years later, they brought with them not only Buddhist sutras, but also many Buddhist statues , and even two Buddhist monks. The emperor was extremely delighted, and ordered a temple to be built to house the monks, and to store the sutras and statues.

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The magnificent ancient Buddhist Temple of Borobudur
Bodhisattvas – Selfless Saviors of Mahayana Buddhism

Since the sutras and statues were transported on the back of white horses, the emperor decided to honour the animal by naming the temple the White Horse Temple. A pair of stone horses can be seen at the entrance of the temple. The statues are actually from a much later period known as the Northern Song Dynasty, which ruled China about a millennium after the White Horse Temple was founded. The pair of stone horses most likely represent the white horses who brought the sacred Buddhist objects back to China. It has been noted that the statues display a sad countenance, perhaps due to the solemnity associated with the task they were given.

The White Horse Temple faces south and can be divided into three parts: the main temple, the western area of the temple complex, and its eastern area. Naturally, the main temple is the central attraction of the White Horse Temple, and is consists of five separate halls. Unlike most of the other parts of the temple complex, the structures in the western area were built in more recent times. This area is known also as the Foreign Temple Complex or the International Zone, where several foreign Buddhist temples can be seen. As for the temple’s eastern area, its highlight is the Qiyun Pagoda, which dates to the 12th century.
The Five Halls of the White Horse Temple

The five halls of the main temple are the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, the Hall of the Great Buddha, the Hall of Mahavira, the Hall of Guidance, and the Clear Cool Terrace. The Hall of the Great Buddha is the White Horse Temple’s main hall. This hall was built during the Ming Dynasty, and the primary Buddha worshipped in this hall is the Sakyamuni Buddha, whose statue is flanked by those of his disciples, Kasyapa and Ananda. Additionally, two bodhisattvas – Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, and Samantabhadra, the Bodhisattva of Universal Benevolence – are worshipped in this hall.

Although the Hall of the Great Buddha is the temple’s main hall, the largest and grandest of the White Horse Temple’s halls is the Hall of Mahavira, which covers an area of 22.8 m (74.8 ft) by 14.2 m (46.6 ft). The ceiling of the hall is adorned with colourful lotus patterns, under which is a two-storey shrine covered in carvings of dragons and birds. This shrine is also surrounded by 10,000 small Buddha carvings on the walls. Although there are many statues in the Hall of Mahavira, the three most prominent ones are those of the Sakyamuni Buddha, the Amitabha Buddha, and the Medicine Buddha. These three Buddhas are the central figures of the altar and they are surrounded by the 18 arhats. These statues, which are made of silk and hemp, date to the Yuan Dynasty, and are considered to be invaluable treasures.

By contrast, the smallest hall in the White Horse Temple is the Hall of Guidance. The main buddha worshipped here is the Amitabha Buddha, who is believed to lead his devotees to the Western Paradise after their deaths. The statue of the Amitabha Buddha is flanked by the Bodhisattva of Moonlight and the Goddess of Mercy, both of whom are also associated with the Western Paradise . These two statues are made of clay and date to the Qing Dynasty.

Like the statues of the 18 arhats in the Hall of Mahavira, the Hall of the Heavenly Kings also dates to the Yuan Dynasty . The main focus of this hall is the statue of Maitreya, known also as the Laughing Buddha in China. According to a legend, this buddha was once incarnated as a beggar monk who possessed a purse that contained all the treasures of the world. Indeed, in Chinese culture, Maitreya is closely connected with contentment and abundance. Although the hall was built during the Yuan Dynasty, additions were made during the Qing Dynasty. This is seen, for instance, in the shrine above the statue of Maitreya. This is a large, gilded wooden shrine, with 50 dragons carved onto it. The statues of the Four Heavenly Kings, from whom the hall acquired its name, were also made during the Qing Dynasty.

The last of these five halls is the Cool Clear Terrace, which is a brick terrace located in the yard at the rear of the main temple. In spite of its location, this is arguably the most significant hall in the temple, as it was here that the Buddhist sutras and statues were first stored when they brought back from the Western Regions. Additionally, it was here that the two monks translated the sutras into the Chinese language, and hence may be considered as the birthplace of Chinese Buddhism.

As mentioned earlier, the western area of the White Horse Temple is known as the Foreign Temple Complex or the International Zone, and was built in more recent times. This area contains three “foreign” temples – the India Temple, the Myanmar Temple , and the Thailand Temple. Each of these temples contains distinctive architectural features of Buddhist buildings from their respective countries. For example, the Great Buddha Hall, which is the main building of the India Temple, was modelled after the Great Stupa at Sanchi , whilst the main building of the Myanmar Temple was inspired by the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.

Finally, in contrast to the modern buildings in the Foreign Temple Complex, the Qiyun Pagoda in the eastern area of the White Horse Temple was constructed in 69 AD. The original, Eastern Han pagoda, however, was destroyed at some point of time, and was subsequently rebuilt. The pagoda that visitors to the temple would see today dates to the Jin Dynasty, and was built in 1175. The Qiyun Pagoda is reputed to be the oldest pagoda in China. Despite this claim to fame, however, the pagoda does not receive as many visitors as the main temple, making it an ideal spot for those who wish to enjoy some peace and quiet. Lastly, there is a curious phenomenon that can be experienced at the Qiyun Pagoda. If one were to clap one’s hands whilst standing 20 m (66 ft) to the back of the pagoda, the resulting echo would sound like a croaking frog.

By Wu Mingren

The Hindu gods of Buddhist Thailand

Bramha, Vishnu and Ganesh rub shoulders with the Buddha in Thailand’s multi-layered culture

Visitors from Nepal and India at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport are surprised to see a 15m long depiction of Hindu gods and demons churning the ocean to squeeze out the अमृत Elixir.

In another section of the terminal building is an ornate figure of Thotsakan almost touching the glass ceiling. This is the Thai name of Ravana, the King of Lanka in the Ramayana. The name of the airport itself, सुवर्णभूमि, means ‘The Golden Land’ in Sanskrit.

Across Thailand, the many wat abound with images of Hindu deities even within Buddhist shrines. The architectural grammar and ornate structures hark back to the temples of the subcontinent, hinting at cultural influences that can be traced to the past millennium.

Thailand’s current King Vajiralongkorn is also known as Rama X, and the Chakri Dynasty’s coronations are still conducted by Hindu Brahmin priests. Some historians have linked the monarchy to southern India’s Chola Dynasty, which during its heydays in the 11th century had spread to southeast Asia.

There are many reminders of Thailand’s Hindu antecedents in place names and religious terms. The Thai Ramayana รามเกียรติ์ (Ramakien) is derived from the Hindu epic. Bangkok’s many shrines are dedicated to Hindu gods, like Wat Khaek, Wat Witsanu for Vishnu the protector, the Erawan Shrine for Brahma, the creator. There are also shrines for Laxmi, Trimurti and Ganesh side-by-side with the Buddhist wat.

The script of the scriptures, Sewa Bhattarai
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, also known as Maha Uma Devi Temple or Wat Khaek in Silom, Bangkok is dedicated to Shiva.

Thailand is the largest Buddhist country in the world, with 95% of its 69 million population following the religion. Those who consider themselves of the Hindu faith constitute just 0.03% percent of Thais (22,100 people) according to the 2015 census.

Despite the very small number of Hindus here, elements of Hinduism permeate Thailand’s socio-cultural life. Even as the group is a minority, various Hindu elements remain deeply embedded in the traditional culture and social life of the Thai people.

Hinduism arrived in Thailand partly along the land route from India via Burma, but also traversed the Bay of Bengal to Indonesia and was instrumental in the establishment of the maritime Sri Vijaya Empire. It is from Java that Hinduism also spread to Cambodia, and what is now Vietnam and northwards to Thailand – absorbing local cultural elements along the way.

Waves of invasions, and especially the Khmer rule, left the residue of Hinduism in the Thai culture. And as is often the case with external influences, the elements have been absorbed and overlaid with Buddhist rituals seamlessly, giving them Thai characteristics.

Alongside their Buddhist beliefs, many Thais worship Hindu deities. One of them is the Brahma (Phra Phrom) at the famous Erawan Shrine in Bangkok. People in deep anguish are known to go to this shrine, and when a wish has been granted, devotees hire dancers to perform Ram Kae Bon, to thank the god.

Statues of Ganesh, Indra (Phra In), and Shiva (Phra Isuan) can be found across Thailand. Ganesh is known as Phra Phikanet in Thai and is worshipped as the remover of obstacles. He is the deity Thai Buddhists often pray to before they start an important venture — just as Hindus in Nepal and India do at Ganesh temples.

Buddhist relics in western Nepal, Sewa Bhattarai
Thai Buddhists praying at a Hindu temples in Bangkok.

It is not uncommon to see offerings being placed before the shrines of Ganesh, in the form of miniature elephants, garlands of fresh flowers, bananas or other fruits. Ganesh becomes a deity of significance, also because elephants are viewed as the national animal and mascot.

Numerous relics on temple walls, such as at Prasat Hin Phima in Korat, describe the episode of Krishna hunting wild boars. The temple, one of the biggest Hindu temples in Thailand, also carries evidence of Buddhist and animist influences, like many other historical monuments in Thailand do.

The influence of Hinduism can also be seen on Thai art and literature. Ancient theatrical practices are based on the epic Ramkien รามเกียรติ์, which is based on the Ramayana. Thailand’s former capital Ayutthaya has its name derived from Ayodhya, the birthplace of Ram in India, close to the Nepal border. Streets in different parts of Thailand also bear the name Rama, named after the deity.

There are Thai variations on a lot of other names from the Ramayana. Tosarot is Dasarath, Lord Ram’s father. Sita is also revered in Thailand as Sida สีดา .

It is believed that the hills that stretch across some parts of northern Thailand are the eastern tail-end of the Himalaya. And so, Shiva has a temple dedicated to him in the Issan province in northern Thailand on the Laos border. The word Issan itself comes from the Thai name for Shiva, Isuan อิซวน, which could be derived from the Sanskrit इष्वर.

U Thant, Kenzō Tange and the Buddha’s birthplace, Kunda Dixit
Thai epic Ramkien, which is based on the Ramayana, has inspired Thai art and literature.

The royal household of Thailand has given continuity to the Hindu traditions that have been in their families for centuries. Thai Royal emblem depicts Garuda, the vahana of Vishnu (Phra Narai), while Brahm Luang (Royal Brahmins) continue to be assigned the duty of engaging with the royalty to lead funerals, weddings and state ceremonies. This includes the Royal Ploughing Ceremony to ensure a bountiful harvest.

The late Thai monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was an ardent reader of the Buddhist and Hindu scriptures. He also recreated some of the stories through his own research. He was particularly enthused by the life of King Janak and his benign ways as the leader of a country. He is known to have sent his researchers to Janakpur, Nepal, for their own reading of the ancient kingdom of Vidhea, part of which is now known as Janakpur.

King Bhumibol wrote the book The Story of Mahajanaka, which has been translated into English and Nepali. His daughter, Princess Maha Chakkri Sirindhorn, is herself a Sankritist and shares her father’s interest in the King Janak and the Mithila Kingdom that once straddled India and Nepal.

The Hindu roots of Thai culture are also evident at the temple of Devasathan, which was established in 1784 in the Pra Nakhon district of Bangkok by King Rama I. The temple with its Sanskrit name which means ‘abode of god’, is also known as the ‘Brahmin temple’. It is believed to be home to the descendants of priests who came from India’s Tamil Nadu during the Chola period 1,000 years ago, who still perform ceremonies for the royalty every year.

The right path, Nepali Times
The depiction of the account in the Hindu scriptures of the churning of the ocean to extract the elixir of immortality at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Photo: @jaya_nayagam

Historically, numerous theories have been offered to account for the spread of Hinduism in Thailand, but it is generally agreed that the religion infiltrated the region in a series of waves affecting different places at different times. Between the 1st and 5th centuries the northeast was strongly influenced by the Hinduised kingdom of Nokor Phnom (or Funan as it was known to the Chinese).

From 802–1431 CE, Hinduism was further absorbed through the expansion of the hybrid Hindu-Buddhist Khmer Empire. Meanwhile the northern and central regions were heavily influenced by Hinduism during the Dvarvati period between the 6th and 11th centuries. While Buddhism was the major religion at the time, the presence of Hinduism shows prominently in the presence of statues of Hindu deities that scattered across the region during the time.

In the central plains of Thailand, it is thought that Hinduism may have arrived even earlier, directly from Amravati in India or through the Mon people based in Burma. The Mon people were responsible for exporting their influence in terms of language and culture to much of Southeast Asia.

The south, too, seems to have been directly linked to India, with evidence of trade and migration as early as the 1st century CE, but the region was particularly influenced by the Pallava cultures of Southeast Asia, with numerous traits of the Hinduised Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya in Java and Kalimantan appearing in the area from the 6th century onward.

Just as we see statues of Buddha, and Buddhist shrines next to Hindu temples in Nepal, it is fairly common to see figures of Hindu gods at the many wat in Thailand. And this quiet understanding of co-existence of religion and beliefs among a largely Buddhist people speaks for the name the country bears: the land of freedom.

Over 900-yr-old Buddhist cliff carvings found in North China

SHIJIAZHUANG — A group of Buddhist cliff carvings created during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) have been discovered in North China’s Hebei province, according to local archaeologists.

Found near Cejing village in the city of Shahe, the carvings are on the north side of a mountain. A total of 23 Buddha figures were carved, with the largest one standing 1.5 meters tall in the center.

Archaeologists believe the largest figure dates back to 1078, based on the inscriptions on two carved stone tablets flanking the Buddha figures.

The carvings are of high historical and artistic values, and the finding will provide new materials for research on Buddhism in the area, said Han Zhigang, director of the cultural relics preservation institute of Shahe.

Han added that the inscriptions on the stone tablets also bear significant research value for understanding calligraphy in the Song Dynasty.

Buddha head, copper coins found in ancient mound

Lucknow: Residents of Mahpur village in Gondhwakot area of Mau district were taken in for a surprise on the misty morning of December 13 when they came across terracotta artifacts including pottery, a Buddha head and a coin hoard which surfaced from a mound being dug up for the ongoing Purvanchal Expressway construction work.

The expressway is barely at a stone’s throw away from the mound. While initial estimates were that the material belongs to the Kushan period, state archaeology directorate’s regional officer for Varanasi, Subhash Chandra paid a visit to the spot on Thursday.

“Upon inspecting the site and after taking a look at the material unearthed including pottery, terracotta pieces, bricks and coins, the antiquity can be pegged from third Century BC to 12 Century AD. This means that the historical landscape of the place covers layers of Maurya, Sunga, Kushan, Gupta and subsequent rulers,” Chandra told TOI.

In his report to the state culture department, Chandra has recommended that the material be handed over to a museum while a part of it may be used for scientifically establishing its age. He has also urged the government to commission a detailed project for the area.

A locally significant Buddhist committee, Buddhankur Bhimjyoti Samiti has also written to the state government and Archaeological Survey of India to save the place.

“Some coins and figurines were recovered from another side of the mound about 15 years ago. Our elders had then raised a demand for its protection but nothing happened. Now this second incident has strengthened the belief that the place is archaeologically important. Thus, we have reiterated our demand,” said a faculty member in sanskrit department at the Government PG College, Rakesh Kumar, who is also associated with the society.

Asked to comment on the antiquity of the place, Chandra said: “the place has been excavated several times. The initial work was undertaken by the British. Thereafter, Rahul Sankrityayan drew inspiration from the site. Several research papers and doctorates may also be linked to the place. In short, yes the place is an archaeologically rich site.”

Meanwhile, district magistrate Amit Bansal stopped the digging work, besides telling the local officers to demarcate the place. He also instructed preparation of an inventory of the material obtained and placed it into safe custody.

The Buddha Museum and Stupa near Vaishali is gonna be ready by 2021

How many of you know that a museum called Buddha Samyak Darshan and a Stupa called Buddha Memorial Stupa is constructed near Vaishali, Bihar?

Well, those of you who don’t know, to promote tourism, the state government is constructing this museum and stupa near 60 km north of Vaishali, Bihar.

While inspecting the construction works, the state chief minister, Nitish Kumar said, Vaishali has its own historical and religious importance as it is directly related to Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira. Also, to promote tourism we thought to build a museum and stupa here so that Buddha followers who every year visit Bodh Gaya and Rajgir should also visit this museum and stupa.

This place will be unique in the sense that, After Mahaparinirvana of Lord Budda, his mortal remains were distributed into eight parts and the Memorial Stupa is gonna house one of the Mortal remains of Lord Buddha.

During an archaeological excavation back in 1958 and 1960, the mortal remains of lord buddha was recovered which was earlier kept in the mud stupa in Vaishali by the then Lichchhavi King of Vaishali Republic. But later the mud stupa was protected as an archaeological site and the same mortal remains of lord buddha were kept safely at Patna Museum which is not planned to be kept at this ongoing newly made Memorial Stupa.

The State Government has said, to construct the museum and stupa, the government has already acquired 72 acres of land in Vaishali and the cost to construct this project is estimated to be Rs 315 crores.

The Bihar Chief Minister has reportedly said, this Museum and Stupa will be completed by 2021.

Usuki, Japan These medieval stone-cut Buddhist statues may protect visitors from being fired.

Usuki Stone Buddhas

The city of Usuki in Oita Prefecture is noted for its Stone Buddhas believed to date back to the 12th-century. Their origins are quite unclear, as no historical records of them have survived. According to local folklore, they were created in memory of a princess who died young, but according to archaeological evidence, this seems unlikely.

There are about sixty of these Stone Buddhas, which are divided into four groups and located within the grounds of Mangetsu Temple. Carved into the cliff walls, they depict a variety of Buddhist figures such as Vairocana and Amitābha, known in Japanese as Nyorai. A total of 59 of them were designated as National Cultural Properties in 1995.

Having been abandoned for centuries, the Usuki Stone Buddhas were gradually shaved by the rain and wind, as well as the pilgrim’s path that is often flooded. Many of the statues underwent restoration work in 1993, which was met with mixed reactions from locals. They argued that one decapitated Buddha should remain as it had been for some time, but they eventually accepted the changes.

A replica of the pre-restoration Buddha can be found on Usuki Station’s platform, as well as a replica of a post-restoration statue outside the station. Local superstition states that praying to this Buddha will prevent one from losing their job.

Huge headless Buddha statue found propping up block of flats in China

A huge headless statue of Buddha has been discovered propping up an apartment block in China.

Many residents only discovered their building was being held up by divine intervention when some vegetation was cleared, revealing the ‘thousand-year-old’ relic.

Measuring nine metres high, the Buddha was uncovered in a residential complex in Chongqing in southwest China.

It was surrounded by tall buildings and covered in greenery.

At some point an entire residential apartment block had been built on top of it.

The trees were removed during a reconstruction of the building’s external wall and residents were amazed to see what was beneath.

The headless statue is in a sitting position with two hands on its abdomen and a badly damaged left foot, according to the news site.

‘The statue was here when I was young,’ said a 60-year-old resident.

‘There was a head on it but was later damaged.’

Another resident with the surname Yang, who has lived in the complex for several years, told the website there was also a temple near the statue many years ago, but it was demolished when residential buildings were built there in the 1980s.

‘I heard the Buddha statue was built nearly a thousand year ago,’ said Yang. The local authority of cultural relics has launched an investigation.

The Burmese harp and the tales of the Buddha’s previous lives

The earliest description of the music instrument in Buddhist literature, ‘Jātaka’ stories, can be traced back to the 8th century.

The British Library’s collection of digitised Burmese manuscripts, dating mainly from the 19th century, has many depictions of the Burmese harp or Saung. The Saung appears often in certain Jātaka stories, or tales of the previous lives of the Buddha, which have seduction and pleasure as one of the prevailing themes.

The Mandhātu Jātaka tells the story of Mandhātā, a powerful king who had everything he could ever desire. Although he ended up ruling even the heavenly realms, he still remained dissatisfied. Shown below is a detail from an illustrated manuscript of the Mandhātu Jātaka. It gives us a peek into Mandhātā’s court, which included beautiful musicians. The Saung player is turning curiously to see who is entering the palace.

Women of the court, including a musician holding the Burmese harp or Saung, Mandhātu Jātaka, 19th century. Photo credit: British Library, Or 4542/B, f.57r

The Saung is a unique musical instrument with a continuous history that stretches over a thousand years. It is known for its soothing, melodious sound and can be recognised by its horizontal boat-shaped body and its long, inwardly arched neck. The ends of the strings, which used to be made from silk, are decorated with red cotton tassels. The harp is held on the lap and the strings are plucked with one hand, while the other is used for damping and staccato notes. The Saung usually accompanies a singer, who also controls the tempo with a bell (Si) and a clapper (Wa).

The earliest description of the Saung comes from a temple relief at Bawbawkyi in Sri Ksetra from the 8th century. It depicts a dancer with an accompanying harpist and a rhythm keeper. Tang chronicles from the 9th century also describe a delegation from the kingdom with thirty-five musicians and dancers that enchanted the court with their elaborate music performance.

The orchestra included two harps and it performed twelve songs on Buddhist texts. These harps were tuned with pegs rather than strings, and interestingly peg-tuned harps are still used in Mon and Karen traditions. A later 10th-century Tang chronicle confirms that the music from these two geographic areas (from the present-day lower Myanmar) was the same.

Another of the Jātaka stories, the Telapatta Jātaka recounts the story of the Bodhisatta as a prince who had to travel through a dangerous, enchanted forest inhabited by ogresses. His five brothers accompany him but are eaten one by one by the ogresses who seduce them with different sensory pleasures.

In this manuscript illustration, the Boddhisatta (on the right in gold) has arrived to the ogresses’ magical pavilion of music. By this time he has already lost one brother in the pavilion of beauty. One of his remaining brothers, the lover of music, is raising the curtain in order to be fully immersed by the entertainment and is just about to become the next victim. The harpist is here accompanied by a flute and a singer.
Temiya’s last temptation. ‘Temiya Jātaka’, 19th century. Photo credit: British Library, Or 3676, f. 7r

The famous Temiya Jātaka is one of the ten last lives of the Buddha. He was a much wished-for son of the king of Benares. However, as soon as he discovered that his future kingly duties would involve inflicting punishment, he stopped speaking and sat motionless, as he did not want to inherit the throne.

The king tried to budge him in many different ways, from tempting him with cakes to scaring him with snakes and loose elephants, but with no success. When Temiya turned sixteen he was put to the final test with beautiful women, song and dance. Although this illustration actually shows him quite tempted, he did in fact hold firm and ended up not having to inherit the kingdom.

The Bodhisatta hears beautiful music through his window and slowly falls in love with the harpist. ‘Culla Palobhana Jātaka’a, 19th century. Photo credit: British Library, Or 4542/B, f. 89r

A somewhat similar story is recounted in the Culla Palobhana Jātaka. In this story as well, the Bodhisatta was born as a much-wanted prince, but from his earliest days as a baby he did not like to be nursed by women and was only attended by male members of the court. The king grew worried about his son’s lack of desire for pleasure, for surely this would also include ruling the kingdom.

A young dancing girl, accomplished in music and song, was therefore asked to seduce him. In return, she would become his queen. When morning came she played and sang outside the place where the prince was meditating. Little by little he fell in love with her and they became closer.
The Boddhisatta and his lover are banished from the kingdom after a fit of jealousy. ‘Culla Palobhana Jātaka’, 19th century. Photo credit: British Library, Or 4542/B, f. 89r

Unfortunately, the Bodhisatta became so enamoured with her that he ran amok the town in a fit of jealousy. As punishment for this bad behaviour both of them were banished from the kingdom and went on to live together in the forest.

The author is a Curator for Burmes.

This article first appeared on the British Library’s Asian and African Studies blog.

1,300-year-old Temple discovered by Pakistani and Italian archaeologists in Northwest Pakistan, was built in Hindu Shahi period

The Hindu Shahis or Kabul Shahis, a Hindu dynasty which ruled the Kabul Valley (eastern Afghanistan), Gandhara (modern-day Pakistan), and present-day northwestern India from 850-1026 CE may have built the Hindu temple in the region.

A Hindu temple, estimated to have been constructed around 1,300 years ago, has been unearthed by Pakistani and Italian archaeological experts at a mountain in Swat district of northwest Pakistan.

According to the reports, the archaeologist excavated a Hindu temple at Barikot Ghundai in Northwest Pakistan. Fazle Khaliq of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Department of Archaeology said that the temple discovered is of God Vishnu.

The temple is estimated to have been built the Hindus 1,300 years ago during the Hindu Shahi period, the archaeologist said.

The Hindu Shahis or Kabul Shahis, a Hindu dynasty which ruled the Kabul Valley (eastern Afghanistan), Gandhara (modern-day Pakistan), and present-day northwestern India from 850-1026 CE may have built the Hindu temple in the region.