Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Nowruz (New Year), Persepolis!

Wisdom Quarterly

If it is true as we suspect that the Buddha was born in Baluchistan/Gandhara (Lumbini on the ancient Indian border in what is now a tri-national hinterland or province of Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan) not Nepal, more of his early life near Bamiyan (ancient Kapilavastu, near Kabul, modern Afghanistan) will make sense shedding new light on his career in India proper.

He traveled to the largest metropolitan areas of the day, taking up residence in Rajgir, Magadha. The famous Vulture's Peak and Jeta's Grove are there in and outside of the ancient city walls respectively.

Nowruz or something like it would have been what was celebrated in the land -- later to become part of the ancient Persian empire -- that would eventually give rise to Zoroastrianism (the Parsis in India) and many of the original traditions that were incorporated into missionary Christianity, which is an amalgam of beliefs and practices heavy on re-purposed Mahayana Buddhist Messiah (Maitreya) beliefs (which impacted early Judaism first through Kashmir, as research by H. Kersten has established).

The more we know of any culture, the closer we feel to it. And Iran is nearly a black box to us even in Los Angeles. But our hearts were drawn in, even to Iran's view of "God," through the heartwarming work of Marjane Satrapi and her graphic novel Persepolis. We re-watch it every year (appreciating the English version more than squinting to read subtitles). Thank you, Persepolis, and happy Nowruz!

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