Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pre-Hispanic Mexico's Buddhist past

Rick Fields; Pfc. Sandoval, Dhr. Seven, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly WIKI; FAMSI
Mexico's Pyramid of the Sun is small compared to world's largest: Mexico's Cholula Pyramid
Mexican meditation figurine: shaft tomb figurine from Jalisco, Mexico, in the Ameca-style, dated by the Art Institute from AD 100-800, height: 22 in or 56 cm (Madman2001).
Narrative History of Buddhism in America
(How the Swans Came to the Lake)
[American historian Rick Field's amazing scholarship explains how Buddhism first landed in North America.

Buddhist missionaries were blown off course and across the sea to a new land (California and other parts of Mexico), where they taught advancements in philosophy, pottery, art, building, and spirituality via the Dharma.

Place names in Mesoamerica (the stretch of land between North- and South America) bear this out, such as Guatemala from Gautama (the Buddha's surname). It would be easy to dismiss, but this is a book -- a historical account -- that reports research.

How Buddhism was brought to America
The earliest Dharma seekers were looking for mystics, miracles, magic and trustworthy teachers who had experienced the heights of bliss, compassion, and wisdom from diligently practicing Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path.

The original language of Buddhism's "Threefold Collection" (Tri-pitaka) of sacred texts  was either Pali or Sanskrit.

Pali was the common language spoken in the region of north and northwestern "India" (Bharat) -- or at least Magadhi from the Kingdom of Magadha -- at the time of the Buddha, whereas Sanskrit was the liturgical language of arrogant upper-caste, temple-bound Brahmin priests loyal to the ancient Vedic texts, which the Buddha rejected in favor of shamanic direct experience (as part of the shramana or "wandering ascetic" movement, which is the source of our English word "shaman"). More
Western Mexico's Shaft Tomb Culture
Reconstruction of excavated shaft tomb Museo Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (Maunus)
A fraction of staircase on one side of Mexico's Great Pyramid of Cholula has been restored
Mexico has wealth beyond measure (Pena Nieto)
(Wiki) The Western Mexico shaft tomb tradition or "shaft tomb culture" refers to a set of interlocked cultural traits found in the western Mexican states.

These are Jalisco, Nayarit and, to a lesser extent, Colima to its south, roughly dating to the period between 300 BCE and 400 CE, although there is not wide agreement on this end-date.

Mexico is full of amazing treasures!
Nearly all of the artifacts associated with this shaft tomb tradition have been discovered by looters and are without provenance, making dating problematic.

The International Council of Museum (ICOM) estimates that 90% of the clay figurines come from illegal excavations.

The first major undisturbed shaft tomb associated with the tradition was not discovered until 1993, at Huitzilapa, Jalisco (Eduardo Williams, Classic Period page* below, as well as Danien, p. 23).
Underwater cave archeology of Mexico
There is evidence (Meighan & Nicholson, p. 42) that many tombs were looted in ancient times.
Originally regarded as being of Purépecha origin (Judy Sund, p. 13), contemporary with the Aztecs, it became apparent in the middle of the 20th century, as a result of further research, that the artifacts and tombs were instead over 1,000 years older.

Until recently, the looted artifacts were all that was known of the people and culture or cultures that created the shaft tombs. So little was known, in fact, that a major 1998 exhibition highlighting these artifacts was subtitled: "Art and Archaeology of the Unknown Past."
  • See Townsend, Richard (1998) Ancient West Mexico: Art and Archaeology of the Unknown Past (Thames & Hudson). Also, in the fourth edition of his Mexico: from the Olmecs to the Aztecs, Michael Coe talks about "our abysmal ignorance of the prehistory of the area," p. 56.
World's biggest pyramid hidden by Catholics
It is now thought that, although shaft tombs are widely diffused across the area, the region was not a unified cultural area.
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures says, for example, that "At no time in the pre-Hispanic era did any political or cultural entity impose itself on the whole region, even though certain cultural patterns (such as the building of shaft-and-chamber tombs) have in fact been widely diffused" (Michelet, p. 328). Beekman (2000, p. 393) makes the same argument.
Archaeologists, however, still struggle with identifying and naming the ancient western Mexico cultures of this period. More
The world's largest pyramid, hidden by Catholics, is in Cholula, Mexico (Getty Images)

Pre-Hispanic West México: Mesoamerica

*Eduardo Williams (FAMSI.org), The Classic Period (circa A.D. 300-900)

The location of Cholula (red) south of USA
Until recently, there was very little knowledge about this period in the Occident, compared with central and southern Mesoamerica.

Recent research, however, is slowly shedding more light on this area's cultural developments during the Classic Period.

Among recent projects is the excavation of the sites known as Las Lomas ["The Hills"] in the marshland and lake area around Zacapu, Michoacán (Figures 15, 16, and 17).

US news: border-crossing cave system
These sites were occupied approximately during the first eight centuries of this era (Protoclassic-Classic periods) and were permanently abandoned afterwards.

The abundance of funerary evidence in the area has led some scholars to believe that the populations that lived here reserved the Las Lomas sites for funerary purposes and other ritual activities, although it is possible that the people who went there to honor the dead would have also taken advantage of the plentiful lake and marsh resources (Arnauld et al. 1993:208; Carot 1994). More

Chocolate (Theobroma cacao), the "Food of the devas/gods" grows on trees in Mexico.

No comments: