The fate of thousands of precious objects in the Kabul Museum, one of the most important collections in Asia, is unknown.
Among its treasures are the priceless Begram ivories, pocket-size carvings that in art-history terms have a weight as ponderous as the Bamiyan colossi.
For centuries, the Buddha was revered as a human figure, but with time he came to be seen as a transcendent being and icon.
These towering, transcendental images were key symbols in the rise of Mahayana Buddhist teachings, which emphasized the ability of everyone, not just monks, to achieve enlightenment.
Based on present practices using only hand labor and simple tools, the statues could have been craved in a few decades.
But the two massive Buddha statues have become casualties, destroyed by command of the Afghan Taliban in early March 2001 in a week time.
But while the Buddha had learned to accept impermanence, we mortals couldn’t ……
The New Findings After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In December 2004, Japanese researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings.
Pleaders included the Buddhist Thai monarchy and Sri Lanka, itself home to a set of giant Buddha statues. 26, 2001, the Taliban’s supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar with the backing of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda movement, declared that “these idols have been gods of the infidels” and ordered them destroyed.
Many Mullahs in Islamic countries condemned Mullah Omar’s interpretation as wrong-headed and damaging to the image of Islam.
It is fitting that in his previous lives, as recorded in Jakata Tales, the Buddha often sacrificed himself, becoming food for a tiger and her cubs, for instance, and for a hungry hawk chasing a pigeon.
Today those open, cold caves are used primarily by refugees from Afghanistan’s brutal, internal war.
The world community — from Russia to Malaysia, Germany to Sri Lanka, and, of course, UNESCO — has expressed horror at the Buddhas’ destruction.