Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Khotan (600 AD)

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"Hotan, Xinjiang, China.... Also called Khotan Hetian.....Hotan is an oasis town lying in the Tarim Basin, just north of the Kunlun Mountains, which are crossed by the Sanju Pass, and the Hindu-tagh, and Ilchi passes. The town, located southeast of Yarkand and populated almost exclusively by Uyghurs, is a minor agricultural center. An important station on the southern branch of the historic Silk Road, Hotan has always depended on two strong rivers - the Karakash River and the Yurungkash River, the Black and White Jade rivers."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotan

The Kingdom of Khotan was an ancient Buddhist kingdom that was located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the southern edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim basin. (The area lies in present day Xinjiang, China.) The ancient city of Khotan, the kingdom's capital, was originally located to the west of modern day Khotan at Yotkan. The Chinese (pinyin) name is Hetian (Chinese: 和田). The name Hotan is also used. From the Han Dynasty until at least the Tang Dynasty it was known in Chinese as Yutian (Chinese: 于闐, 于窴, or 於闐). The kingdom existed for over a thousand years until it was ended by Muslim invaders in 1006.

According to legend, the foundation of Khotan occurred when Kushtana, said to be a son of Asoka, the Mauryan emperor, settled there about 224 BCE.

644 AD... Chinese pilgrim monk, Xuanzang, stays 7–8 months in Khotan and writes a detailed account of the kingdom.

670: Tibet invades and conquers Khotan (now known as one of the "four garrisons").... the Tibetans under Khri srong lde btsan (r. 755-96) started to expand towards the east, and by 763 they captured the eastern part of the present-day Gansu, effectively isolating the Chinese garrisons in the Tarim basin from the central government. From 763 until the eventual occupation by the Tibetans, the Chinese administration in Khotan continued, as the documents bearing the dates in this period show. After fending off aggressions for more than thirty years, Khotan succumbed to Tibet in 798 or shortly after that, but before 801 (Zhang and Rong, 1997, pp. 348-50)."....http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/khotan-i-pre-islamic-history

670-673: Khotan governed by Tibetan Mgar minister.

Ancient City of Melikawat...Melikawat is a large site that was of significance in the ancient Kingdom of Khotan, with large government buildings and monasteries.....(Chinese: 玛利克瓦特古城;pinyin: mǎlìkèwǎtè gǔchéng): Melikawat is a large site that was of significance in the ancient Kingdom of Khotan, with large government buildings and monasteries. The site is buried under several meters of silt, built up over centuries from the Yorungkash / White Jade River. All that remains of this city once are significant Buddhist center with crumbling walls, and shards of glass and pottery. What we can see today is only the tops of the largest buildings.

"Another piece of information on Khotan, equally difficult to locate chronologically, comes from the Kharoṣṭhī document No. 661 (Boyer et al., p. 249). This document, found by Aurel Stein in Endere between Khotan and Niya to the east, is unique in both script and dialect (Burrow, 1936, p. 430). It may or may not belong to the 3rd century CE, as do other numerous datable Kharoṣṭhī documents from Niya and Kroraina. This document, a contract of the purchase of a camel written in Prākrit, is dated to the third year of the reign of the Khotanese king Vijita-siṃha (Burrow, 1940, p. 137). In addition to the earliest local form of the king’s name, it gives an Iranian epithet hīnāza (army leader) as well as a few other, clearly Iranian, personal names. Thus it shows that the royal family, as well as a substantial part of the population, was Iranian at that time."......http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/khotan-i-pre-islamic-history

"Tocharians lived in this region over 2000 years ago. Several of the Tarim mummies were found in the region. At Sampul, to the east of the city of Hotan, there is an extensive series of cemeteries scattered over an area about a kilometre wide and 23 km (14 mi) long. The excavated sites range from about 300 BCE - 100 CE. The excavated graves have produced a number of fabrics of felt, wool, silk and cotton and even a fine bit of tapestry showing the face of Caucasoid man which was made of threads of 24 shades of colour. The tapestry had been cut up and fashioned into trousers worn by one of the deceased. Anthropological studies 56 individuals studied show a primarily Caucasoid population "similar to the Saka burials of the southern Pamirs".Recent DNA testing on the mummies found in the Tarim basin showed that they were an admixture of Western Europeans and East Asian."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotan

"The ancient Kingdom of Khotan was one of the earliest Buddhist states in the world and a cultural bridge across which Buddhist culture and learning were transmitted from India to China. Its capital was located to the west of the modern city of Hotan. The inhabitants of the Kingdom of Khotan, like those of early Kashgar and Yarkand, spoke the Iranian Saka tongue. Khotan's indigenous dynasty (all of whose royal names are Indian in origin) governed a fervently Buddhist city-state boasting some 400 temples in the late 9th/early 10th century—four times the number recorded by Xuan Zang around the year 630."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotan

The Tarim River (Mandarin Tǎlǐmù Hé, 塔里木河; Uyghur: تارىم دەرياسى) is the principal river of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China. It gives its name to the great Tarim Basin between the Tian Shan and Kunlun Mountains systems (the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau) of Central Asia.

"Of the three pilgrims who visited Khotan roughly 120 years apart, Faxian gives an elaborate description of Mahāyāna temples and Buddhist rituals in Khotan (Legge, pp. 16-20; Beal, 1888, pp. 8-12; Giles, pp. 4-6), but otherwise he hardly provides any historical information. Songyun (Chavannes, 1903b, pp. 395-97) reports on a legend of the conversion of a Khotanese king to Buddhism. He also states that the power of the Hephthalites in the west reaches Khotan. Xuanzang’s account (Beal, 1884, II, pp. 309-22; Watters, II, pp. 295-302) on Khotan is by far the longest. His remarks on the name of Khotan have been much discussed (Pelliot, pp. 408-18; Hambis, p. 37). According to Xuanzang, the country’s official name was Kustana (meaning ‘Earth-breast’ in Sanskrit), while the local population called it Huanna (which exactly reflects the Late Khotanese form hvaṃna- as opposed to the Old Khotanese form hvatäna-). The traditional Chinese name Yutian and/or forms similar to it are, according to him, either foreign or non-standard. The official name is justified in the foundation legend, which he tells at length. In the version of the Travels, it is the ministers of the son of King Aśoka (ca. 272-31 BCE) who fled India and founded Khotan, where the earth rose in the form of a breast. In the Life (Beal, 1888, p. 203) and in the Tibetan Prophecy of the Li (that is, Khotan) Country (Thomas, pt. 1, pp. 100 f.; Emmerick, 1967, pp. 19-21), it is the banished prince himself who, having been fed by the breast from the earth, later founded the kingdom. Although found in two independent sources, which shows that the story was widespread, it is a legend devised to claim a noble origin of the lineage and should not be confused with historical data (against this see Emmerick, 1979, p. 167; Idem, 1983, p. 263). No colonialization of Khotan by India in the 3rd century BCE is to be considered seriously. The same is true of the Tibetan Prophecy, which narrates the stories of fifty-six kings and one regent of Khotan (Emmerick, 1969, pp. 76-77) who founded monasteries. The purpose of the work being the commemoration of the pious foundation of each king, no exact dates are given in it, and there is also no guarantee that all the kings are listed. Even though the names of the kings and their sequence may mostly be accurate, it is difficult to use this text as historical data unless it is otherwise independently corroborated (cf. Pulleyblank, apud Emmerick 1969, p. 100).".....http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/khotan-i-pre-islamic-history

"Nicholas Roerich.......On October 14, 1925 they reached Khotan, where the Chinese governor would retain them under virtual house arrest for the next four months. Even here in Khotan they heard of Shambhala and far off Mongolia. Roerich Senior says: The pilgrims are passing on their way bringing new messages. In Urga [Ulaan Baatar] will be set a place for the temple of Shambhala. When the image of Rigden-japo (presumably the 25th Kalkin King of Shambhala] will reach Urga, then will flash the first light of the New Era—Truth. Then will the renaissance of Mongolia arrive. In Kucha [oasis town on the northern rim of the Tarim Basin], in the bazaars, recently two arriving lamas distributed images and a prayer of Shambhala. Here, also, the nuclei of revivified Buddhism have found shelter. The celebrated Suburgan near Khotan must be the place of one of the manifestations of the New Era. Khotan is the path of Buddha. . "......http://www.shambhala.mn/China/Rawak/rawak.html

"In his book Heart of Asia Roerich adds......Not far from Khotan are many ruins of old Buddhist temples and stupas. One of these stupas is identified with the legend: That in the time of Shambhala, a mysterious light wll shine from it. It is said this light has already been seen......mentions by name only the Rawak Stupa, then as now the most conspicuous stupa in the area. I assumed that the “celebrated Suburgan” mentioned by Roerich Sr. was in fact the Rawak Stupa."......http://www.shambhala.mn/China/Rawak/rawak.html

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2012

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