Sunday, January 19, 2003

The media is having a field day with this Hulegu and the New Mongols thing. From the Arab outlet Gulf News see Letter from Baghdad: The New Mongols and Suicide on the Walls of Baghdad. The relevant quote here is: "President Saddam did not refer to Bush by name but alluded to him as Hulegu, the Mongol chief who destroyed Baghdad in 1258. His speech was remarkably laden with historical allusions." And everyone thought I was crazy when I compared George Bush to Hulegu . . .
Now, the Microsoft mouthpiece, has weighted in on the Hulegu issue with a news wrap-up entitled Khan You Believe It?

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Is George W. Bush the Reincarnation of the 13th Century Mongol Khan Hulegu?

Ever since last November, when I reread the 13th century Persian historian Juvaini’s book The History of the World Conqueror I have been entertaining the notion that George W. Bush is the reincarnation or at least the emanation of Khan Hulegu, the son of Chingis Khan’s son Tolui and the brother of Qubalai Khan who founded the Yuan Dynasty in China. I mentioned this to several people, but as they had never heard of Hulegu in the first place and could not understand his connection with George Bush my comments were met with blank stares. It was Hulegu, you students of Mongolian history will recall, who in the 1250s wiped out the terrorist group known as the Assassins (our English word “assassin” comes from the name of this group) which had been founded by Hassan Sabbah, the 12th century equivalent of Osama bin Laden.

Now it appears that Saddam Hussein himself agrees with me! For starters see the CNN article Saddam: 'New Mongols' Face Defeat. Saddam’s blustering about the New Mongols (Americans led by George W. Bush) even spooked Wall Street: for this see the Wall Street Journal. See the Full Text of Saddam’s Speech. Also, it was Hulegu and his army who laid waste to Baghdad in 1258, an event from which in the opinion of some observors the city has never recovered. See for instance the comments of the famous Sufi Idries Shah (aka Rafael Lefort), writing in The Teachers of Gurdieff. "Baghdad is not the gem of the desert as it was described in the book of Muqadass the Arabian geographer that I had read. Admittedly he wrote in the thirteenth century, before the advent of Genghis Khan, who paid the city a visit from which it never recovered. It has had plenty of time to recover, but seemingly lacks the energy." Shah got his khans confused; Genghis died in 1227; his grandson Hulegu sacked Baghdad in 1258, but his point stands.

Note that in his speech Saddam mentions Hulegu no less than twelve times.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

I recently had the great honor of being initiated in the Golden Order of Buuts by Buutsiyn Khatun Oyuna (May Her Name be always Exalted!), shown here with her perfect buuts.

Oyuna (May Her Luster never Fade!) is widely recognized in Mongolia as a high-ranking Buuts Adept.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Photos from my recent Tibet trip: On January 1 we visited Drak Yerpa, a cave and temple complex 28 miles by jeep from Lhasa. There are over 80 caves here (108 by traditional count), some of them currently being used by meditators on extended retreats. Although the temples were badly damaged during the 60s upheavals some have been restored.

Temples at Drak Yerpa

Looking down the valley from the entrance of the main temple

Saturday, January 11, 2003

More photos from 9200 foot Emei Shan in south China:

This is the temple at the summit in the near white-out conditions that prevailed on Christmas Day. For this same photo with much of the fog removed by the wonders of digital photo-editing see Here.

Arguably the world's largest incense sticks. These babies are six feet long and five inches in diameter.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

The Potala in Lhasa

Finally made it back to Ulaan Baatar after my wanderjahr in south China (Emei Shan) and Tibet. More updates to follow . . .

Pint-sized Pilgrim on the Summit of Emei Shan

Sunday, January 05, 2003

I am now in back in Chengdu, China. I have just returned from six days in Tibet. Spent New Year's Eve in Lhasa, but I admit I did not celebrate much; in fact, I was asleep at midnight. Lhasa was warm in the afternoons and cool in the evenings. I visited the Potala, Drak Yerpa, a complex of temples about thirty miles outside of town, Drepung, Sera, the Naga Temple behind the Potala, the Gomang Temple, the Jokhang Temple, and did the Kora around the Jokhaing about a dozen times. Great time, details to follow . . .