Friday, August 2, 2019

The Buddha was born on the Border

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly Wiki edit
Buddha statue from Indo-Afghanistan/Pakistan, the NW frontier of India: Gandhara
The story (Sp.i.161; MA.i.103) goes that one day the Bodhisattva (reborn as Setaketu) looked down onto Earth from another world (Tusita). He saw a place -- a border, a frontier -- between East and West. It had the proper conditions to be reborn as a human with the body of a world-teacher (samma sam buddha) or world-monarch (chakra-varti). The time had come that humans and devas would be able to understand the Teaching he would realize if he attained full enlightenment. He was reborn unaware of his mission but pulled by it. The place he saw was what we now call Central Asia, the Majjhimadesa or "Middle Country," today's Afghanistan along the Silk Road, once at the center of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, between Persia and Mohenjo-daro, Iran and India, Ukraine and Harrapa, the Ariyan world and the Asian world. If Setaketu delayed a day or two, thousands of years would have elapsed on Earth.

Buddhism in Gandhara
Takht-i-Bahi, Buddhist monastery Mardan
Gandhāran Buddhism refers to the Buddhist culture of ancient Gandhāra, which was a major center of Buddhism on the subcontinent that later came to be called "India" (Maha Bharat).

Gandhara was prominent from the 3rd century BCE to approximately 1200 CE.

Ancient Gandhāra corresponds to modern-day North Pakistan, mainly the Peshawar Valley and Potohar Plateau as well as Afghanistan's Jalalabad Province.
"Shakya Land" (Sakastan, Indo-Scythia, Sakae) with one of three capitals in Kapilavastu
The region has yielded the Gandhāran Buddhist texts written in Gāndhārī Prakrit (a Pali-Sanskrit hybrid language) the oldest Buddhist manuscripts yet discovered (1st century CE).

Gandhāra was also home to a unique Buddhist artistic and architectural culture that blended elements from Indian, Hellenistic Greek, Roman, and Parthian art.

The Buddha was a Scythian (Shakyian, Saka) born in Central Asia (, who traveled to Magadha (which along with other kingdom later became India). Buddhist Gandhāra was also influential as the gateway through which Buddhism spread from Bihar back to Central Asia and into China. More

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