Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya*

The business of Buddha
News from Karnataka

Buddhism is a growth industry. In India, where most people are Buddhist for business purposes (catering mainly to foreign Buddhists), an astonishing
number of new structures, complexes and facilities are always going up in the name of the Tathagata.

I think it's mostly great; all the statue-carving (shilpas) and icon-painting gives employment to traditional artisans. And though religious conversion (even from Hinduism to Buddhism) is still a fiery topic in India, it definitely promotes good will toward the Dharma and its exponents.

One of the latest is Gulbarga, Karnataka, according to this Deccan Herald report. Hey, even HHDL will be there on January 19!

I think Gulbarga is better known for some Sufi Muslim tombs, and a fort. But Buddhist remains and relics and ruins are all over India, and continue to be revealed and revitalized.

Gulbarga offers a rich history of the earliest Buddhist settlement of Satavahana period, [2000 or so years ago]. One of the ancient sites here is in Kanaganahalli near Sannati, a famous Buddhist heritage site on the banks of river Bhima in Chitapur taluk.

The remains of stupas, major rock edicts of King Ashoka, mounds, slab inscriptions and statues are all found scattered in a small area within the revenue limits of Kanaganahalli. About five to six stupa remains are found in and around Sannati.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch
In the meantime, in case there was any doubt, Nepal now officially sucks. We only have power for 8 (eight) hours A DAY.

With all the chaos facing the nation, the dominant political party has occupied itself invading the Inner Sanctum of the nation's holiest shrine and trying to replace the 260-year-old traditional priests, who as per tradition came from south India, with Nepalis. One of whom just happens to have the same surname as the Prime Minister himself!

Lighting oil lamps is no longer a charming Hindu and Buddhist's a necessity.

*Sanskrit slok that means "Lead me from the darkness into the light"

Related reading:  
Buddhist Goddesses of India 

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