Rebuild the Buddhas of Bamiyan?

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Jan. 18 2002 11:04 AM

Wonders Never Cease

Destruction was the luckiest thing to happen to the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

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Just this month, Raheen Makhdoom met to discuss the Buddhas' future with UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura; Makhdoom had an even more surprising plan to announce. On Jan. 12, Matsuura told reporters what they'd talked about. "The minister of culture prefers ... reconstructing the same Buddhas in the same area but not in the same place—on another mountain nearby," he said.

How will "reconstructing" the statues "not in the same place" result in the "same Buddhas"? That's not just a preservation question, nor is it a history riddle. That is, rather appropriately, a koan.

Charles Paul Freund is a senior editor forReasonmagazine, where a different version of this piece appeared. 

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