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final_paper_EVER!!!1!![1] - Art in Afghan Society Patrick...

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Art in Afghan Society Patrick Mooney Period 6 English Lit.
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Mooney 2 During the third century, Buddhist monks in the northern part of Afghanistan, called Bamiyan, decided to carve out two giant sculptures of the Buddha, where the Buddha on the East side of the mountain stood thirty-eight meters high while the Buddha on the west stood at an astounding fifty-five meters high. Today, they are, or were, known as the Bamiyan Buddhas, relics of a distant Buddhist past in the modern Islamic state of Afghanistan. In Khaled Hosseini’s novel A Thousand Splendid Suns , Afghan intellectuals, such as Laila’s father, who is a high school teacher, believe that the Bamiyan Buddhas should be preserved for the preservation of Afghanistan’s diverse history. The Taliban, a radical terrorist group that supports fundamentalist Islam, destroys the Bamiyan Buddhas because of their non-Islamic nature. The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, as seen in Hosseini’s novel, can be seen as a symbol of the religious intolerance and the cultural indifference the Taliban has for Afghanistan when it tries to uphold its own agenda of fundamentalist Islam. Despite international protests, the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas, which shows its indifference to Afghan culture and history. For instance, the Bamiyan Buddhas show that “the missionaries of Buddhism spread northward” from India and that Buddhism did exist in Afghanistan (Dupree 13). In today’s world, Buddhism only exists in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and parts of India. However, Buddhism began in India, and one can surmise that missionaries went to Southeast Asia and then East Asia to preach the teachings of Buddhism. Without the Bamiyan Buddhas, people would not have known that Buddhism flourished west of India without any other primary sources because Islam flourishes in the Middle East and most of Central Asia.
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Mooney 3 Also, people know that Buddhism thrived in Bamiyan in the third and fourth centuries even though “Zoroastrianism was revived by the Sassanians,” the empire that ruled over Bamiyan, because of the Buddhas (Dupree 14). Only one written account, written by a Chinese pilgrim, displays the devout Buddhism that is displayed at Bamiyan during the fourth century. Because of this, only that journal and the two grand Buddhas are evidence that Buddhism was the main religion of a region of a country whose main
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final_paper_EVER!!!1!![1] - Art in Afghan Society Patrick...

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