Watch the “Saving Mes Aynak” official trailer

June 12, 2015

I’ve talked here before about Brent E. Huffman’s film, Saving Mes Aynak, the making of which Wildmind helped sponsor. Mes Aynak is a unique archaeological site: an abandoned Buddhist city in Afghanistan, where priceless relics have been unearthed. Unfortunately a Chinese mining consortium plans to destroy the entire site in order to mine for copper. This is equivalent to Greece bulldozing classical buildings like the Parthenon.

Saving Mes Aynak follows archaeologist Qadir Temori as he races against time to save this 5,000-year-old Buddhist archeological site from imminent demolition. So far only 10% of Mes Aynak has been excavated, though, and some believe that future discoveries there have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan … Read more »

We can save a precious Buddhist archaeological site!

May 15, 2015

Brent Huffman, who travelled to Afghanistan to film the desperate efforts by archaeologists to document the ancient city of Mes Aynak before it turns into a Chinese-funded open-cast copper mine, wrote today to point out these new artifacts, which were recently unearthed:

The unheard-of level of preservation on discoveries just like this is one of the many reasons why Mes Aynak provides such a unique insight into Buddhism and Afghanistan’s past. This historical treasure must be protected and preserved!

Mes Aynak (“little copper well” in Pashto) is a mountainous site in the Taliban-controlled Logar Province, Afghanistan, 25 miles southeast of Kabul near the Pakistan border. Mes Aynak contains the ancient remains of a 2,000-year-old … Read more »

Mummified monk found inside Chinese buddha statue

February 22, 2015

wildmind meditation newsClick here to check out our online meditation store Irish Archaeology: A remarkable study carried out recently in the Netherlands has revealed that a Chinese’s Buddha statue actually contains the remains of a mummified monk. The statue dates from c. 1050-1150 AD and is believed to hold the body of a Chinese Buddhist master, Liuquan.

The study of the mummy was carried out under the supervision of Erik Bruijn, an expert in the field of Buddhist art and culture and guest curator at the World Museum in Rotterdam. He was aided by a team of medics including Reinoud Vermeijeden, a …

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“New” Buddha statues discovered in Afghanistan

February 4, 2015

buddha-mes-aynakThe Taliban may have destroyed the two historic Buddha statues of Bamiyan, but in a sort of compensation, three new statues have been excavated by Afghan archaeologists in the historic city of Mes Aynak. These aren’t giant sculptures, like the ones at Bamiyan were, but they’re still life size and one has escaped damage by looters.

The earliest Buddhist remains in the city are almost 2,000 years old. Mes Aynak, an important stop on the Silk Road, was at the peak of its prosperity between the fifth and seventh centuries. It went into decline in the eighth century and the settlement was finally abandoned 200 years later.

The Buddhist ruins were scheduled to be destroyed … Read more »

“Journeys on the Silk Road” by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters

March 15, 2013

journeys-on-the-silk-roadMarc Aurel Stein was a superstar of his time. When he returned from the Taklamakan and Gobi desert in central Asia after a successful expedition that lasted from 1906 to 1908, weighed down with treasure in the form of ancient documents, the newspapers in London were full of his exploits. Today, almost nobody has heard of him. I certainly hadn’t until I read Journeys on the Silk Road by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters. Morgan and Walters have travelled from their native Australia to England, Wales, India and China in order to retell Stein’s story and that of the document most associated with his explorations: the Diamond Sutra from the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas … Read more »

Temporary reprieve for the threatened ‘Buddhas of Mes Aynak’

January 7, 2013

We’ve had some great news from Brent Huffman, who ran a Kickstarter campaign, raising funds to finish a documentary on the Buddhas of Mes Aynak. Mes Aynak is an ancient Buddhist city in Afghanistan, which was scheduled to be destroyed about now in order to construct a copper mine that’s being built by the Chinese.

Here’s what Brent had to say:

Due to the success of our international campaign that reached out to the US including the Smithsonian and State Department, Thailand and other Asian countries, South American, Canada, Europe, etc., the Ministry of Mines in Afghanistan is FINALLY recognizing the importance of the ancient Buddhist site and is paying attention.

Archaeologists, who have been

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Ancient Buddhas, modern peril

December 24, 2012

Andrew Lawler, New York Times: When the Taliban blasted the famous Bamiyan Buddhas with artillery and dynamite in March 2001, leaders of many faiths and countries denounced the destruction as an act of cultural terrorism. But today, with the encouragement of the American government, Chinese engineers are preparing a similar act of desecration in Afghanistan: the demolition of a vast complex of richly decorated ancient Buddhist monasteries.

The offense of this Afghan monument is not idolatry. Its sin is to sit atop one of the world’s largest copper deposits.

The copper at the Mes Aynak mine, just an hour’s drive south of Kabul, is …

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Ancient site needs saving not destroying

November 4, 2012

Brent Huffman, CNN: Please bear with me as I ask you to briefly use your imagination. Close your eyes. Imagine Machu Picchu at dawn cloaked in fog. Now imagine the fog slowly lifting to reveal an enormous ancient city perched on the edge of a mountain.

Picture a sense of mystery being immersed in thousands of years of history as you walk between antiquated hewn stone structures. There is tranquility in the wind-blown stillness of the primeval site. You feel a renewed sense of kinship with the past and with your ancestors and feel a deep reverence for their lives and accomplishments …

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Pakistan struggles with smuggled Buddhist relics

October 7, 2012

Sebastian Abbot, AP: Lacking the necessary cash and manpower, Pakistan is struggling to stem the flow of millions of dollars in ancient Buddhist artifacts that looters dig up in the country’s northwest and smuggle to collectors around the world.

The black market trade in smuggled antiquities is a global problem that some experts estimate is worth billions of dollars per year. The main targets are poor countries like Pakistan that possess a rich cultural heritage but don’t have the resources to protect it.

The illicit excavations rob Pakistan of an important potential source of tourism revenue, as valuable icons are spirited out of …

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Buddhist statue with Nazi connections discovered to be made from a meteorite

September 26, 2012

It sounds like an artifact from an Indiana Jones film; a 1000 year-old ancient Buddhist statue which was first recovered by a Nazi expedition in 1938 has been analysed by scientists and has been found to be carved from a meteorite. The findings, published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, reveal the priceless statue to be a rare ataxite class of meteorite.

The statue, known as the Iron Man, weighs 10kg and is believed to represent a stylistic hybrid between the Buddhist and pre-Buddhist Bon culture that portrays the deity Vaiśravana, the Buddhist King of the North, also known as Kuberu, and as Jambhala in Tibet.

The statue was discovered in 1938 by an expedition of … Read more »