Monday, November 22, 2010

Buddhist temples in the weird news

The good...

A 2,600-year-old Buddhist monastery called Mes Aynak has been uncovered in Afghanistan along the Silk Road. The sprawling (3/4 mi.) ruins, which include domed shrines and ancient statues of Buddha (1st image), were found by the Chinese government-backed China Metallurgical Group Corp. while digging a copper mine. The mine may hold another 6 million tons of copper, worth tens of billions of dollars, so the mining will continue and may destroy the site. The Kabul government has given archaeologists 3 years to excavate, so - with a fraction of the time and the staff they need - they are scrambling to salvage what they can of the hallways, frescoed rooms, and more than 150 clay and stone statues of Buddha.

The bad...

Acting on a tip , officers from Wat Phraya Krai police station in Bangkok searched the Phai-nguern Chotinaram Buddhist temple and found more than 2,000 bags containing the remains of aborted fetuses. A staff member had traced the source of a strong odor to a compartment in the morgue, in front of which longtime neighbor Niphon Bopaethai (2nd image) stands. Temple undertaker Suthep Chabangbon confessed that he had been paid by illegal area abortion clinics to store 10 of the fetuses for cremation during an annual funeral rite, but disavowed knowledge of the rest. He and 2 others have been arrested. "We never thought that someone would commit such an evil act in the monastery compound," said one of the monks.

And the ugly

Buddhist monks at the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew complex in Khun Han, Thailand, began collecting bottles from their neighbors in 1984. When they had amassed nearly 1 million, they began to build with them. So far, they have constructed prayer rooms, pagodas, a temple, bungalows, a hall, a water tower, a crematorium, and public restrooms. They have even made mosaics of Buddha from the eco-friendly bottles and bottle caps . "The more bottles we get, the more buildings we make,' says Abbot San Kataboonyo. "Even though drinking is a sin in Buddhism, this still seems like a positive use of beer and lager bottles."

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