Saturday, August 30, 2014

Miss Tibet winner is from Wisconsin (video)

Amber Larson, Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; The World (
"Miss Tibet" Tenzing Lhamo was the only contestant in the war-torn region, not that she's ever been to the war-torn region. She lives in Madison, WI (Lobsang Wangyal/
"Nowhere to Call Home" a film by Joceyln Ford: a new perspective on Tibet (Forbes Asia)
When most people think of Tibet, they think of peaceful "Free Tibet" demonstrations, violent Chinese crackdowns, vocal protests abroad, shocking self-immolations, and Buddhist monks emerging from holy monasteries to join in the anti-Han Chinese resistance. People do not think of beauty pageants. But this summer, the Miss Tibet pageant crowned its twelfth winner. Miss Tibet No. 11 is from Wisconsin and, like many of the contestants, has never been to Tibet.

Shocking sexism: The name for "female" in Tibetan
translates as "inferior birth."

Sexism in Tibet: "Nowhere to Call Home"

A new documentary shows the hidden, sexism-ridden lives of Tibetan women
American reporter Jocelyn Ford only set out to snag some contact in inaccessible Tibet. Instead, when she sat down to talk to a Tibetan woman named Zanta, she ended up as part of her own story, experiencing Zanta's struggles and the deeply-ingrained sexism of Tibetan society.
The Story of "Miss Tibet"
The world's most magnificent pueblo is Potala Palace, Tibet's "Vatican" (Adam Lai/flickr)
Shocking monastic self-immolation suicide
(PRI AUDIO) How does we have a national beauty pageant when, according to some officials, we do not even have a nation? Or when the core identity of the nation might not really welcome a beauty pageant at all?

This Tibetan gompa is actually a pueblo in NM.
China considers Tibet to be part of China [a massive empire extending into the Himalayan plateau], not an independent country. And there are those who say the very idea of a beauty pageant betrays Tibet’s [animist Bon and monastic] Buddhist roots. In 2004, the prime minister of the government-in-exile declared it to be “un-Tibetan.” 

Though the [current] Dalai Lama does not seem to mind. He would just like to see the pageant be a little more equal in gender. [Young men in bathing suits? Some former baby novices or tulkus like that shocking scene in Unmistaken Child no one in the West talks about?]

"If more people want that, go ahead. I think it should not be only female, but male also," the Dalai Lama said.
Are these the sort of "contestants" the 14th Dalai Lama has in mind? (Groobo/flickr)
[Now why would a man in a men's monastic system, where only men can gain political prestige and power, not unlike the inner workings of the Vatican with its cardinals and bishops like the Tibetan rinpoches and lamas, which shares tastes in hats and ceremony, want to see handsome men in a pageant on display to be admired for their looks and nominal talents? Odd that.]
You going to sign up? - I'm thinking about it.
The Miss Tibet pageant was founded in 2002 by a journalist and event producer named Lobsang Wangyal. He started it, in his words, to give Tibetan women a platform to showcase their aspirations and [nominal] talents” -- and [of course] to bring international attention to Tibet. Tenzing Lhamo is Miss Tibet 2013.

Filmmaker Jocelyn Ford (Nowhere to Call Home) and Zanta, a Tibetan woman (
She’s never actually been there [to the country of Tibet or, perhaps, even the once-walled empire of China] though. And very few of the Miss Tibet contestants have. They have grown up scattered around the world  -- in India, Australia, Switzerland, and the U.S.
Tenzing spent her childhood in a Tibetan settlement in Southern India [where many Tibetans live in more or less permanent exile waiting for the right of return to a place they have never been. But not having been there, they nevertheless have recreated it in Himalayan India, particularly in Ladakh].

Do I think the young stars are mailed, your holiness? - No, are they males? (VSauce)
"I knew about the Miss India contest, and I always thought that was so cool. But we were, like, 'We’re not Indians; we can’t participate in all that,'" Lhamo said.
She first heard about the Miss Tibet pagent in 2002 after she moved to Madison, Wisconsin. "The Tibetan community is so small, nothing really gets around without everybody knowing about it."

You're Tibetan? Well, I'm Chinese!
Beauty pageant contestants will give lots of reasons why they’re competing: for the money, for their modeling career, for world peace [or at least an end to police brutality in racist parts of the U.S. and Chinese Tibet]. Tenzing Lhamo wanted to bring attention to the Tibetan people. And she thought the sash and crown could do it:
"If I go around saying, 'Hey! My name is Tenzing. Do you want to learn about Tibet?' People wouldn’t pay as much attention as if I say, 'Hey, I’m 'Miss Tibet,' and I want to talk about Tibet.'"
"Tibet Burning: Enough China"!
Last winter, she mustered the courage to apply [for the pageant] online. But when the organizer got in touch with her, she found out it wouldn’t be a typical pageant, with disco balls and dance numbers [There might be bathing suits, however, at least sexy dresses].
"He kind of hinted, 'You might not have any competition,'" she said. More (from PRI's The World with support from the BBC).

Hidden, sexism-ridden lives of Tibetan women

How terrible are sexism and misogyny
Veteran radio journalist Jocelyn Ford admits she had an ulterior motive when she sat down on a Beijing sidewalk to chat with a Tibetan woman selling jewelry. (This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.) Ford was trying to report about life in Tibetan areas of southwest China, which are generally off-limits to foreign reporters. She hoped the woman might have contacts who could help her out, so Ford bought a bracelet as an excuse to make conversation. But Zanta, a widowed migrant who had traveled to Beijing from a remote Tibetan village, had a very different understanding of that first meeting. “She concluded that since I was the first foreigner to stoop down and talk to her...that we must have been related in a past life," Ford says. More

Tibet was once a beautiful place, then the Han Chinese arrive (AP/Xinhua/Chogo)

Made in America Fest (Los Angeles)

Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly; Randall Roberts (
Kanye West, Chance the Rapper and Iggy Azalea
Made in America lineup is a vivid look at rap's competing interests (LAT)
"We Need a Revolution." What we get instead is a corporate rap concert (Bhakti Omwoods).
Summer night in city that sometimes sleeps
Going to #MadeinAmerica in L.A.? Catch Chance the Rapper, the most promising young artist in hip-hop.

Will Kanye tease new music at #MadeinAmerica? And what will the topic of his requisite spoken rant be [fatherhood, his wife gaining weight, shopping at Target]?
Iggy Azalea is playing #MadeinAmerica in L.A. How will she [an Aussie and a model] fare in a town that takes hip-hop very seriously?
Would a Pussy Riot be better than a Rap Fest?
What L.A. needs is a Pussy Riot
When it was first announced, the lineup for this weekend's Made in America festival in downtown L.A. seemed an unfocused commercial mix-and-match of mass-market rock, electronic dance, and hip-hop.
On second and third glances, it mostly is, at least at the top of the bill.

The first West Coast installment of a music gathering born in Philadelphia two years ago, the two-day, multi-stage concert feels like a stab at pleasing all of the people all of the time, filled with acts who are regulars on the festival circuit, many of whom have gigged in L.A. a few times already this year.

Did someone say "riot"? Occupy and Ferguson ain't seen nothing yet. The LAPD has a paramilitary riot squad to rival forces operating in Kiev, Ukraine (Sergei L. Loiko/LAT)
It is co-presented by two big [corporate] brands, [alcohol distributor] B*dweiser and [concert promoter] LiveNation, and as a result feels as much a branding opportunity as a curated look at the best in popular music. As [one] plots the musical weekend, restock the [toxic, cancer-causing chemical] sunblock, and scour Spotify for tips, here's hoping the assumptions are wrong.
Made in America was co-founded by Jay Z and will be the biggest gathering so far at Grand Park, where on Saturday and Sunday the blocks at the foot of the Civic Center will hold three stages and more than 40 acts.
The best of them will be rapping, and that's what [people are] most anticipating as the newest of Southern California's many music festivals debuts. More

How to die of cancer

First things first: In order to die of cancer, you have to contract or develop cancer. That shouldn't be too hard in this contaminated environment. But maybe you've been chelated. Have you cleansed? Juicing, eating good greens, it all helps. Avoid the very things that lead to the cells going out of harmony. The body is a symphony, and we sing the body electric. Stay away from disruptive energy fields. But things are in mind before they're in body.

"Fighting" it? "Fight" cancer? Fighting is no way to be well again. Our very thoughts do much to disrupt our health, to lose motivation to do anything about it, to make healthy choices. And is the mainstream media helping or harming? Are doctors obligated by law to offer only three "treatment" options? Cutting, irradiating, and poisoning. Next year they may bring back leeches and drowning, amputations, and drilling small holes in the head to release bad spirits. (They still do amputations when so many body parts can be saved?)

Will there ever be an alternative cancer CURE? There are many. There have been for years. You weren't told? Oh what a surprise. You mean someone is making money hand over fist from selling ineffective "treatments" that usually kill cancer patients who would have lived otherwise? Fear is the major problem leading to rash treatment decisions? Helplessness sets in and then we do whatever the Medicine Doctor suggests -- chemicals, surgical amputations, or exposure to carcinogenic radiation?

Enter the CANCER CONTROL SOCIETY. It is having it's annual convention. It's the place to visit since most of us will face cancer in our lifetime -- by design. It's no accident people come down with the C-word and opt for the treatments that kill.
We don't pay doctors to keep us well. Maybe we should. We pay them to act like they know best, to treat us like impersonal projects, and to never mention nutrition, vitamins, supplements, and inexpensive alternatives. And they pay a large government organization to make sure no "cures" are ever legally offered in this country. Look into it. Or die of cancer and watch others succumb.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Greek King's Questions (Milindapanha)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; John Kelly (trans.), Questions of King Milinda (excerpt, Miln 3, PTS: Miln 71-72; 82-83; 84BUDDHISM IN ANCIENT AFGHANISTAN
Kapilavastu, capital of Shakya-land, was beyond the northwest frontier of ancient India, which later became an ancient Greek empire, the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom of King Milinda.

Questions on Distinguishing Characteristics
Miln III.5.5: Transmigration and Rebirth {Miln 71}
Afghan Buddha (Gandhara)
KING MENANDER'S PALACE, Bactria (Afghanistan) - The king asked: "Venerable Nagasena, is it so that one does not transmigrate [sankamati, to transmigrate, pass over; go, cross over] yet one is reborn?" [patisandahati: to be reborn, rebirth, undergo reunion, relinking.]
"Yes, your majesty, one does not transmigrate yet one is reborn."
"How, Venerable Nagasena, is it that one does not transmigrate yet one is reborn? Give me an analogy."
"Just as, your majesty, if someone kindled one lamp from another, is it indeed so that the lamp would transmigrate from the other lamp?"

Shakyan/Bactrian princess, gold
[In other words, Would the flame die from the first candle, transmigrate, and be "reincarnated" in the new candle?]
"Certainly not, venerable sir."
"Indeed, your majesty, just so; one does not transmigrate yet one is reborn."

"Give me another analogy."
"Do you remember, your majesty, when you were a boy learning some verse [lesson] from a teacher?"
"Yes, venerable sir."
"Your majesty, did this verse transmigrate from the teacher?" [Did it go from the teacher to be reincarnated in the student?]
Hindu Kush is part of Himalayan range
"Certainly not, venerable sir."
"Indeed, your majesty, just so; one does not transmigrate yet one is reborn."
"You are clever, Venerable Nagasena."

[Is there a "soul"?]
Miln III.5.6: Soul {Miln 71}
"Soul" of Tibet is Hindu (
The king asked: "Venerable Nagasena, is a soul [vedagu, a "knower," a permanent subject of experience, a permanent self or soul] to be found?"
The elder Buddhist monk replied: "According to ultimate reality, your majesty, no soul is to be found."
"You are clever, Venerable Nagasena."
 [One may make an argument for it in conventional reality, and it indeed exists in normal terms of our experience. But what in the ultimate sense is being referred to?
Afghan monks discovered America
[That is what prevents liberating insight, "sainthood" (arhatship), enlightenment, and nirvana -- clinging to notions of a self. And what is the self in conventional terms? The Buddha talked about it the atta (a idea central to the concept of anatta, not-self), in terms of the Five Aggregates of Clinging.

These are the five composite categories of something regarded as unitive, unitary, noncomposite: form, feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousnesses. Whereas form is the physical, the remaining four aggregates or heaps are mental or psychological, matter and mind, body and "soul," self as these four invisible processes.]

Vedagu is an interesting word, originally a Brahminical term related to mastery of the Vedas [the ancient sacred texts inherited by India and Central Asia from the much more ancient Indus Valley Civilization].

The Buddha appropriated the word to mean, "one who has attained highest knowledge," that is, synonymous with "arhat" [fully enlightened, accomplished disciple of the Buddha]. However, as the PED notes: "A peculiar meaning of vedagu is that of "soul" (lit. attainer of wisdom) at Miln 54 & 71."

Remembering Past Lives; American Monsters

Pat Macpherson, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly;host George Noory, guests Dr. Brian Weiss, Linda Godfrey (, 8-27-14)
Vajrayana: Tibetan Buddhist Master Simon Wong conducts a "Padmasambhava Hindrance-Removal Blessing and Soul Delivery Ceremony" (mastersimonwong/flickr)
Dr. Brian L. Weiss, M.D., does past-life regression therapy. With it he has seen cases of people -- more than 4,000 so far -- who were healed of psychological or physical problems when they recalled their past lives and thereby resolved issues from those previous experiences.
The "soul" (that part of us that seems to go from life to life, the gandharva and atman in Buddhism, the consciousness that does not travel but nevertheless relinks past and present, the ongoing process of consciousness/knowing) has a multidimensional quality.

It may exist as one level or one energy (as a concept of an "oversoul" of co-migrating group), but in our plane it is perceived of individually. That is what is reborn, or in conventional terms "reincarnates" (enters a new body, new flesh, new carne) in a new body after a person dies, Dr. Weiss notes.
  • Miracles Happen: The Transformational Healing Power of Past-Life Memories
  • Same Soul, Many Bodies
  • In his revolutionary book Miracles Happen, Brian Weiss M.D., the New York Times bestselling author of Many Lives, Many Masters, examines the physical, emotional, and spiritual healing that is possible when you freely accept and embrace the reality of reincarnation. Trained as a traditional psychotherapist, Dr. Weiss began to explore how reincarnation and past life regression can lead us to our higher selves after a startling encounter with a patient. Now a leading proponent of past-life therapy, Dr. Weiss shows us that, indeed, Miracles Happen, with seemingly incredible but true stories that demonstrate how, by getting in touch with and understanding our past lives, we can dramatically improve the present.
As for accounting for the increasing population of Earth, one explanation the doctor has repeatedly heard from patients during their hypnotic regressions is that, "This is not the only place where there are souls. The Earth is just one school of many, many schools." That is, there are many places in the solar system, the universe, other universes, other "dimensions" to be reborn. The Buddha spoke of 31 general "Planes of Existence" where one might be reborn. The "Human Plane" is one, but that is not limited to Earth; they are not the same. Earth is one place where "humans" (manussya) are.
Dr. Weiss uses hypnosis -- relaxed concentration -- as the method to bring out the memory and information, regressing into past lives. This method serves his patients, helping them access recall of their past lives.
"Go through the door, and tell me what you find on the other side," he suggests to them. And sometimes the person comes up with very specific and verifiable experiences: "They're using all of their senses -- visual, smell, sounds, feelings, emotions, and taste, and...describe these scenes in great detail that seem to come from other times," he shared. (Dr. Weiss offers a set of CDs with techniques for meditation, healing, relaxation, and past life regression).
"I'm finding that we're here to learn, teach, and help others, and that's what we take with us when we die. We don't take our houses and our cars and our bank accounts; we take our knowledge and our wisdom, and how we've lived," Dr. Weiss observes. (See more at

American Monsters
americanmonsterscoverAuthor and investigator Linda Godfrey investigates and writes about the history, sightings, and lore surrounding the most mysterious "monsters" in America. What is a "monster"?

They are the strange creatures that people have witnessed on land, air, and water. A number of gigantic (pterodactyl) birds have been seen. Some have the appearance of raptors, like some kind of mutated eagle or vulture, Godfrey explained.

There was a sighting by a 6 foot man a few years ago in northern Wisconsin in very tall weeds. The somewhat stork-like appearing bird must have been around 11 feet tall since it was so far above the weeds. Its wings had an immense rolling motion, and he estimated its wingspan to be around 18 to 20 feet.

Godfrey revealed that there are various types of sea monsters and lake creatures, including "drowned-sters," her term for bizarre looking corpses that wash up on beaches. Sometimes it turns out these odd looking bodies are known creatures, such as raccoons that lose their hair or undergo changes while underwater, she explained. But sometimes they are inexplicable cryptids.

Speaking of the legendary Native American Windigo, often portrayed as a Dogman, Wolfman, or Bigfoot-type creature, Godfrey explains that tribes vary in their descriptions combining human, animal, and demon or dimensional-spirit qualities.

She also touched on the Jasper County Ear Eater, a baffling case involving a large predator that was never seen. The creature attacked hog pens and was known for tearing the ears off hogs and killing wantonly. (See more at

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

World's Largest Buddha: Afghanistan (video)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; National Geographic; Rhys Davids
"The Buddhas of Mes Aynak" (Copper Well, Afghanistan) by Prof. Brent E. Huffman
(National Geographic) "Lost Treasures of Afghanistan," where the Buddha was really raised.
This is the Land of the Shakyas (Indo-Scythians, Central Asians, Gandharans), called from ancient times not the Middle East as we label it now but the "Middle Country" (Majjhima-desa, see Rhys Davids' translation of The Story of the Lineage). Follow the story of Afghan-American archeologist Nadia Tarzi (Nado Gamazin), who was raised in Europe, as she visits Afghanistan for the first time to uncover its ancient Buddhist past. 
The world's largest Buddha -- reclining at nearly 1,000 feet -- is in Afghanistan (AFP/TBC)
Wander in nomadic Scythia, the ancestral range
The original "Middle Country" (Majjhima-desa) as nomadic/wandering Central Asia or Scythia touching India, which means Gandhara, Kamboja, the land of the Asavakas, the West beyond. All of this amounts to more evidence that the Buddha was certainly from Afghanistan/Indo-Scythia, Central Asia NOT Nepal or India -- and that the Future Buddha will be, too, at least according to The Story of the Lineage, which systematically states all buddhas come from here.
Central Asia of the "Aryans" (Iranians, nobles)
[See Part 1]. But an interesting thing is said by Shakyamuni Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) at the conclusion of this sutra about Metteyya/Maitreya the "Future Buddha":
"Monastics, I do not see (envision) any other single strength so hard to overcome as this, the strength of Mara."
This last passage is related to the opening passage of the sutra, in which the Buddha declares:
"Wander, monastics, in your proper range, your own ancestral territory. When one wanders in one's proper range, one's own ancestral territory, Mara finds no opening, Mara gains no foothold. And it is because of adopting skillful actions that this merit increases." (See also SN 47.6-7). "And the adopting of skillful actions is what causes this merit to increase."
This is the refrain repeated with each stage in the account of how human life will improve in the aftermath of the sword-interval. Here, "merit" seems to have the meaning it has in Iti 22:
"Do not be afraid of acts of merit." This is another way of saying what is welcome, blissful, desirable, pleasing, endearing, charming -- that is, acts of merit (punya), of profitable karma (kusala kamma), of good deeds.

The CIA/Taliban did not succeed in destroying the largest Buddha in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, even after detonating the tallest ones built into the cliffs of what is likely the real Kapilavastu near Kabul and Mes Aynak (Boys with bicycles in Bamiyan, 2012, wiki)

The world's largest Buddha is underground in Afghanistan
SAFE (Saving Antiquities for Everyone)/archeologist Nadia Tarzi (
Kapilavastu as Bamiyan, Afghanistan
We see, however, not only in populist Mahayana Buddhism, but also in Protestant Christianity and reformed Judaism how much people fear and condemn "good works," good deeds, in favor of mysterious "grace" (a debatable and fuzzy term that seems to mean "results that have nothing to do with your own deeds") or some higher good of pretentious complete unselfishness.
Achieve actual unselfishness by becoming a stream enterer -- one who directly knows-and-sees anatta -- rather than patting yourself on the back going around condemning merit/good deeds. If one feels good for doing a good deed, do it again and again; this is the historical Buddha's advice. The sutra concludes, "That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monastics delighted in the Blessed One's words."

"New Bamiyan Buddha find amid destruction"

Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; "New Bamiyan Buddha find amid destruction" (AFP, Nov. 9, 2014) via the Buddhist Channel (
Discoveries keep being made in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, the real Kapilavastu (AFP)

(Brent E. Huffman) "Saving Mes Aynak" teaser trailer
Bamiyan (afghantreasures)
BAMIYAN, Afghanistan - "We got him!" screamed Afghan archaeologist Anwar Khan Fayez as he leapt from the pit beneath the towering sandstone cliffs, where the Bamiyan Buddhas once stood.

Seven years after Taliban militants blew up the two 1,500-year-old statues in a fit of Islamist zealotry, a French-Afghan team in September uncovered a new, 19-metre (62-foot) "Sleeping Buddha" buried in the earth.

The largest is known but still in the ground. Will the CIA's "Taliban" blow it up, too?
Mes Aynak, Bamiyan, Kabul, Afghanistan
The news that a third Buddha escaped the Taliban's wrath has caused excitement in this scenic valley, where the caverns that housed the ruined statues are an eerie reminder of Afghanistan's past and present woes.

"It was a happy moment for all of us when the first signs appeared. Our years-long efforts had somehow paid off," Fayez told AFP.

The team, led by France-based archaeologist Zemaryalai Tarzi, made the find while hunting for a lost 300-metre reclining Buddha mentioned in an account by seventh-century Chinese monk Xuan Zang.

Scratching out an existence on sacred ground
The Afghan-born Tarzi began mapping the site nearly 30 years ago, but decades of conflict and the rise of the [CIA-sponsored, Pakistan-collaborated] 1996-2001 Taliban regime put the search on hold.

Then in March 2001 came the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, until then the world's largest standing Buddha statues.

The Buddhas of Bamiyan
The 300 meter (1,000 ft) reclining Buddha was buried, covered in earth by age or invaders.
World suddenly outraged: send in the troops!
Hewn into the cliffs in the sixth century by Buddhist pilgrims [or more likely the Shakyan-Scythians proud of their heroic son, Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha] on the famed Silk Route, the statues had survived attacks by several Muslim emperors down the ages, while even Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan had spared them.

But with the backing of Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda movement, [someone with the CIA convinced] Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar [who] declared that they were idols that were against Islamic law.
  • [In this way worldwide anger was engendered at "the Taliban," serving as a pretext for the U.S. to illegally invade and occupy Afghanistan, commit war crimes and atrocities, and engage in the U.S. longest running war in history. What the U.S. did not know or believe was that "Afghanistan is where empires go to die," just like the Russian, British, and other invaders before them. But soon we will leave, and the reemerging Chinese Empire will step in to try to strip this long contested strategic land of rare earth minerals, gold, copper, and more. Why? It is necessary to the geopolitical reasons as a crossroads between the Middle East and Asia, and we already have our military bases established there and all around Central Asia.]
Defying international appeals, the Taliban spent a month using first anti-aircraft guns and then dynamite to obliterate them.

Saddened but with renewed determination, Tarzi and his team returned soon after US-led forces and the Northern Alliance ousted the Taliban in late 2001 to renew their search for the giant missing Buddha.

What they found instead, in September this year, were parts of a previously unknown, smaller Buddha figure, including a thumb, forefinger, palm, parts of its arm, body and the bed on which it lay.

"This is the most significant find since we started here," Abdul Hameed Jalia, the director of monuments and historical sites for Bamiyan province, told AFP at the excavation site of the new 19-metre Buddha.

"At first they found part of the leg but they weren't sure what it was," said Jalia. "But when they found more, Mr Fayez screamed out of happiness and ran to our office to find Mr Tarzi."

Amazing stupa where part of the Buddha's remains are interred, Mes Aynak, Shakya-stan

Fayez said the head and other parts were largely destroyed, possibly by Arab invaders in the ninth century.

"We have not found the whole statue. But we can tell from other parts that it appears to be 19-metres long," Fayez said.

The site has now been covered with earth to protect the Buddha from both the ravages of the harsh Afghan winter and from the attention of antiquities thieves.

Tarzi told AFP in an e-mail that he and a number of French colleagues aimed to return next summer to dig out the rest of the statue.

Meanwhile, there are fresh clues about the 300-metre Buddha, officials say.

What appear to be the remnants of a gate complex that may have led to the statue have been discovered under an apparently collapsed section of cliff between the two holes left by the Taliban.

"Mr Tarzi's team has found signs that indicate that the big lying Buddha is there and has 70 percent hopes that they will find it," said Najibullah Harar, head of Bamiyan's information and culture department.

Amid hopes that they could one day be rebuilt, Afghan, Japanese and German teams are also stabilising the sites of the destroyed statues -- the bigger 55-metre figure known as Salsal and the 38-metre statue known as Shahmama.

Boulder-sized chunks of the Buddhas still lie where they fell, each individually labelled. Ghostly outlines of the two figures are still etched in the rockface and twisted metal shell casings litter the ground.

Archaeologists' efforts have been helped by the fact that Bamiyan -- inhabited by Shia Muslims from the Hazara ethnic minority that was once persecuted by the Taliban -- has been a relative oasis of calm.

But ongoing debate over whether to reconstruct the Buddhas reflects the uncertainties that haunt post-Taliban Afghanistan.

"It is the desire and the wish of the Bamiyan people to see, if not both, then at least one rebuilt," Habiba Sorabi, the governor of Bamiyan province, told AFP in an interview at her office overlooking the statues.

The amazing Afghan-Buddhist treasures of Mes Aynak being excavated before China's MCC mining concern destroys them. However, there has recently been a possible reprieve.
Rebuilding the Buddhas could help foster a tourist industry in the desperately poor region, which lies 200 kilometres (124 miles) northwest of the relatively prosperous capital Kabul, she said.

UNESCO declared Bamiyan a World Heritage Site in 2003 and there have been discussions with international partners about using the process of anastylosis, by which ruined monuments are reassembled from old fragments and new materials.

"But unfortunately the central government does not want to work on it," added Sorabi, who is the only female provincial governor in Afghanistan. "It is a shame."