The Buddhas Smile

'...the Buddhas can never be injured.'
- Shantideva, from the Bodhisattvacharyavatara



March, 2001 saw ruin of the massive Buddhas of ancient Kushan, sadly part of present Afghanistan. These stood for almost 2,000 years, surviving the torches of Genghis Khan's Mongols and Mughal cannon fire. Now they've been blasted off the cliff face and smashed to rubble by the Taliban, despite UN and Arab protests. In the name of "pure" Islam, this sect famed for brutalizing its citizens, particularly women, is effacing all art of human or animal form. Yet the Buddhas speak:

Like Hitlerís, what you took
is your sole legacy
and monuments will rise
to your demise, as when
a plague leaves town.

Like three-headed sheep, youíre
a freak show. Disease
implies health, so you arenít
sick; youíre a mutation
an invasion

and when youíre dead, youíre gone.
You canít tick on, even
as a demon - not with
heaven missing from your

Theyíre dancing on your grave
already: houris and
hamadryads, monks in
saffron, girls in silk. You
fell; we didnít.

Endless spirits feel the
whip or drill bit, not its
grip, and populate a
realm youíll never see.
Youíre history

entirely. Tyrants and
torturers always are.
Khanís done, but our hands
burn forever; these knees
lead-blasted outlasted
Aurangzeb, too.

Our hollows are solid:
more real than all Mongols
Mughals, Mullahs. While we
toppled, stars screamed. Veils dropped.
Time stopped. For you.

©2001, 2011 Katherine Anne Harris.
 All Rights Reserved.

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