Last cave family in Bamiyan Buddha Mountain

Xinhuanet, July 25, 2005

KABUL, Afghanistan -- "All other families lived in caves have moved to houses at the mountain foot except us who still live here because there are not enough houses for us," the 70-year old Hamid Hussein said.

"Although Taliban has collapsed for more than three years, we didn't feel any improvement in our life. Bamiyan is a famous travel place, and many tourists come here to see the Buddha and the beautiful Bandimere Lake. However, the tourism development did not bring any good for us," the old man told Xinhua.

Hussein and 11 of his family members including his daughter, son-in-law, grandson and granddaughter-in-law, and seven other children lived in one of the caves in Buddha Mountain near Bamiyancity. The 12 people share two so-called rooms of about 15 square meters each, and all of their valuables are two sheep, two chickens and some simple cooking instruments.

Wearing colorful but dirty and ragged clothes, the children play in the rugged mountain all the time.

"I am happy when someone travels here as no other family lives in the same place with us, and we often feel boring and lonely," Hussein's granddaughter, the 7-year old Fatima, said.

Before Taliban regime, Hussein worked as a farmer and his family lived in a rented house. "Almost all residents fled away when Taliban occupied Bamiyan city, setting fire and even killing people in the city," Hussein said.

"We lost everything we had at that time, and even our oxen and sheep were donated to the soldiers who were fighting against Taliban. The life was very hard and the food we ate was only potato," Hussein noted.

Hussein went to the city regularly to buy something from bazaar, he never had the mood or chance to see the famous Buddha. "Every time I came to the bazaar just at the foot of the mountain, I was thinking of finishing shopping as soon as possible and returning home safely. I have never thought of visiting the famous Buddha, and it's a pity that the Buddha was destroyed."

Fortunately, Hussein's family got through the hardship during Taliban regime. No sooner then they returned to Bamiyan city, they came to live the caves again.

About two years ago, in order to protect the remains of the Buddha, the Ministry of Culture and Information asked people living in the Buddha Mountain to leave, and provided some houses or tents for them. All families moved into houses in or near the city except Hussein's family because there was not enough houses for them.

"Our life was very hard over the past two years. My son-in-law and grandson are the main labor force of our 12-member family and working for a French excavating company, which is in operation for two months every year. Therefore, they have to find job on the labor market in the rest of the year. They get about 6 US dollars a day and can hardly support our big family," the old man said with sadness.

"We have to do everything in the cave including living and cooking. Summer is better for us because of the cool weather, and winter is hard to tolerate as it's too cold. We have to make a fire to warm up before we go to sleep," Hussein noted.

When asked what they want mostly now, the old man said they just wanted a house to live in and a small land to work on.

"We don't expect much from the government, but we have to live and my children should go to school. According to our current condition, it's impossible for us to realize," the old man said.

The Buddha Mountain looks more solemn and serious as the sun set, but the smoke rises in the cave making it unharmonious with the whole scene. The last cave family in the mountain still strives for the life and looks forward to moving out of the mountain as soon as possible.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: