Stephanie Hegarty, BBC: The destruction of Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001 led to global condemnation of the Taliban regime. But the decision by Unesco not to rebuild them has not put an end to the debate about their future.
When the Taliban were at the height of their power in Afghanistan, leader Mullah Omar waged a war against idolatry.
His biggest victims, in size as well as symbolism, were two standing stone Buddhist statues. Once the largest in the world – one measured 55 metres in height – they were carved into the sandstone cliff face of the Bamiyan valley in central Afghanistan during the 6th Century …
Decision on whether or not rebuilding the statues is only significant as heritage. Buddhism does not worship idols as many misinterpret. Statues are there just to remind us of Buddha’s life and his teachings. Understanding impermanence is one of the most important insights in Buddhism. Building a our own characters, loving kindness and spiritual purity is much more important than building statues.
Why rebuild? When the Taliban return to power after the war, misbegotten as it was, they will just blow them up again. Then again, this could be a planned lesson in impermance for the rest of us.
Rebuilding merely to circumvent impermanence is probably not Dharma practice. If the rebuilding can be experienced as a practice of the Dharma, however, let it be so. If no practice of the Dharma can be realized through rebuilding, engage in some other practice.