|Mes Aynak, "Copper Well," located 25 miles (40 km) east of Kabul, is a yet to be excavated town with a Buddhist monastic complex (Jerome Starkey/livescience.com)|
|Panoramic view of the ancient ruins of Persepolis, modern Iran (wiki)|
|New stele from Mes Aynak, Afghanistan, depicts Prince Siddhartha and a wandering ascetic possibly one of the four signs that inspired him to renounce (Jaroslav Poncar/livescience.com)|
Baluchistan was until 1948 (when Pakistan was created) on the western frontier of Gandhara, India. The province is surrounded by Afghanistan to the north and Iran to the west.
|Sufi story of the Buddha (The Morgan)|
The Birth of the Buddha (Lalitavistara biography) that all of the buddhas are born in Kapilavastu is echoed in the name Prophthasia (modern Farah, Afghanistan).
Later, Babylon (Babil) gained ascendancy. The fantastic find of more than ancient Buddhist fragments at Bamiyan (site of the destruction of the world's tallest Buddha statue) shows that Bamiyan was near Kapilavastu, birthplace of the Buddha. A portion of those fragments are now part of the Schøyen Collection. This is where Buddhism was born.
The names Tissa (Moggaliputta-Tissa), Siddhartha (the Buddha), and Suddhodana (the Buddha's father) mentioned in the Persepolis Fortification Tablets (administrative archives) show conclusively that Siddhartha Gautama, who became the historical Buddha, was from Seistan-Baluchistan.
|Nebuchadnezzar II stele (Schøyen)|
Gregory Schopen also writes about "A cult tied to a cycle of festivals celebrating four moments, not in the biography of the Buddha but in the pre-enlightenment period of the life of Siddhartha."
But neither he nor Fussman recognizes the need to integrate the Mes Aynak findings with the priceless inscriptions in the Persepolis Fortification Tablets (PDF) which mention Tissa, Sedda Saramana (Siddhartha), Sudda Yauda Saramana (Suddodhana), and Saman. Prof. Schopen's article and video enlitled "Buddha as a Businessman" is largely based on faulty Nepalese data.
Revisionist Wikipedia keeps placing the Buddha Gautama in Nepal rather than in Central Asia where he grew up before traveling east on a quest for enlightenment and teaching in India.
Sufism, Rumi, and more
|Buddhist Rumi (FA)|
Sufism derives from a universal form of wisdom with roots more ancient than Islam. The fana ("extinction of self") spoken of by Sufi mystics is nearly identical to what the Buddha described as nirvāņa in Buddhism.
The common "ultimate goal" of moksha ("liberation") within India's dharma traditions (Buddhism, Brahmanism, Hinduism, Jainism) and traditions in adjacent countries -- the goal of the Manichaeans, the kaivalya of Hindus, the nirvana of Jains -- is due to their common origin in Indo-Iran.
A very large number of Sufi "saints" were from Khorasan and Kerman-Baluchistan where Buddhism once flourished.
W. Ball realized that the caves at Chehel Mani and Heydari are linked to Buddhism. In fact these may also be linked to Mithraism and Zoroastrianism.
The poignant story of Ibrahim ibn Adham of Balkh, one of the earliest Sufis, closely parallels the life life story of the Buddha, which was immortalized in the legend of Baarlam and Josaphat (the Buddha as Catholic saint). It is a great religious theme highlighting piety, marking in many cultures the beginning of literature.