Monastery unearthed in Taxila

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Monastery unearthed in Taxila

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:40 am

From Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD:

The only Buddhist monastery in the Taxila valley was a thriving centre of learning at the end of the third century AD.

The monastery attracted so many students and monks from around greater India that its administration built an annex to house the seekers of enlightenment coming to meditate there, archaeologists at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) have discovered.

Another notable finding was that the main compound of the monastery, located in present-day Badal Pur, is at least 300 years older than archaeologists previously estimated. The main compound, which consists of 55 “monk cells”, was excavated between 2005 and 2012.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/527525/myst ... la-valley/

This is especially noteworthy:

Khan said pieces of charcoal found at the monastery were analysed in the US at the University of Wisonsin using carbon dating — a reliable scientific method for determining the age of certain materials.

The university’s report states the monastery was built somewhere around the third century BC, making it one of the oldest monasteries in the Gandhara region.


If that's true, this would have been built in Aśoka's time or thereabouts.
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Re: Monastery unearthed in Taxila

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:29 am

Neighbourhood has gone downhill since, I think......
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Re: Monastery unearthed in Taxila

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:54 pm

jeeprs wrote:Neighbourhood has gone downhill since, I think......


They are hoping for a tourism boost:

http://dawn.com/2013/03/20/pakistan-hop ... ism-boost/

Wealthier Pakistanis and Westerners stopped visiting, scared away by attacks and the threat of kidnap, but the provincial government is now trying to lure thousands of visitors from wealthy Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea.
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Re: Monastery unearthed in Taxila

Postby pemachophel » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:47 pm

"They are hoping for a tourism boost"

Good luck with that.

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Re: Monastery unearthed in Taxila

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:59 pm

I am curious about this:

Khan said he is trying to get the Buddhist community living in Pakistan to sponsor the excavations and the preservation of important artefacts.


Is there still a significant Buddhist community in Pakistan? What form of Buddhism do they practice?
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Re: Monastery unearthed in Taxila

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:49 am

pueraeternus wrote:I am curious about this:

Khan said he is trying to get the Buddhist community living in Pakistan to sponsor the excavations and the preservation of important artefacts.


Is there still a significant Buddhist community in Pakistan? What form of Buddhism do they practice?


From what I hear they're a small minority.

I imagine they'd be related to Ladakhi Buddhists.

I'll ask someone here and see if they know anything.
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Re: Monastery unearthed in Taxila

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:14 am

Huseng wrote:From what I hear they're a small minority.

I imagine they'd be related to Ladakhi Buddhists.

I'll ask someone here and see if they know anything.


Thanks Huseng!
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Re: Monastery unearthed in Taxila

Postby oldbob » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:16 am

:namaste:

Visited Taxila, and other sites, while I was working in Pakistan in 2002. The monastery was unearthed then, and had piles of sculpture parts heaped up in piles, in the open air, covered by corrugated metal roofs.

The Pakistanis protected the site with a single guard with a shotgun. Looked like there has been much looting over the millennium. There was a small flow of tourists, mostly Japanese. I was the only Westerner. The site is large and awesome.

Did not find any Pakistani Buddhists. Saw several Ashoka columns and texts carved on rocks.

Took a 2 day taxi ride up into the Swat Valley, from Peshawar, and found some small museums with world class relics, inducing charged ribu from Buddhist saints, and possibly Lord Buddha, and a very small exquisitely detailed, 24 caret gold leaf covered Vajrakilia statue, labeled, "Hindu Diety."

The Gandarvan art was impressive and interesting. Lots of saints with mustaches. My kind of folks.

The Pakistani museum system does have a workshop where they make very cheep, very fragile, plaster copies of some of the sculptures for sale to tourists. Don't remember where it was or how to contact them.

Brought home a Gandharvan Buddha head and a small "starving Guatauma under the Bodhi tree" statue, $2 each. You might be able to get plaster copies sent through the mail, if you can locate a POC.

Margarita, where I am now, is a walk in the park compared to the risks in Pakistan.

DO NOT GO TO PAKISTAN AS A TOURIST.

Trust me, no matter what their tourist board says. I was there under a Diplomatic passport and felt reasonably protected. They would send us out for shopping, in Karachi, with 3 armed guards in the car.

See the movie. Read the book. Not a bucket list place. :smile:

Wrong place, wrong time time, in Pakistan, and you die. Just like Margarita, but with many more wrong times and wrong places. Don't want to go there.

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Re: Monastery unearthed in Taxila

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:35 am

I have a Pakistani friend who insists travel in Pakistan would be safe.

I don't think so, but then at least he's being optimistic. :smile:

In the future if Pakistan settles down and it becomes safe to travel, then I'd happily go visit all the ancient sites.

Afghanistan is another location I'd like to visit.

We'll see if that ever happens.

Failing that, though, Xinjiang and China and the -stans in Central Asia are full of ancient Buddhist sites.
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