Tarim Basin
Vase planted by Petra Mudie, June, 2002

“This vase planting journey was prompted by a trip to see the 4,000-yr old mummies of the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang Province, Northwest China.  It was a lonely and tricky one.  The Tarim Basin is the eastern end of the Silk Road which crosses Xinjiang Province south of  the Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountains), about 50 km west of Turpan.  I saw this trip as an exciting chance to see the land and archaeological remains of an ancient pre-Buddhist Kingdom that some Tibetans believe may have lived in the Bön Kingdom of Shambhala. And of course, it was a chance to take a Treasure Vase to China..and hopefully place the first one near this ancient kingdom.

The flatness of the landscape in this area coupled with the fact I had no one to help me, made it difficult to locate a safe place for the Treasure Vase. Lake Aiding or Moon Lake stretches for about 200 miles across the bleakest part of the Tarim Basin, at a depth of 160 meters below sea level.  After two weeks of traveling through the Tian Shan and seeing countless mummies and graves, I almost gave up the idea of placing the vase in the Tarim Basin, no site or opportunity had become clear and I thought perhaps I should leave the vase at a Buddhist monastery in Beijing.  Then, one day, out of the dust at the Thousand Buddhas Cave tourist site, four Tibetan monks appeared – and I knew this was an auspicious sign! Indeed, the next day, when I returned Moon Lake, I saw that some of the shoreline was cratered by efforts of the local Uyghur farmers to harvest nitrate salts. When I saw the chance, I quietly disappeared into one of the craters near the shore of the Moon Lake and quickly buried the Treasure peace vase.  During this time in the crater, I recited some prayers to wish great happiness to the beautiful people who live in this part of China and are descendants of Mahayana Buddhists who later became Muslims when the Mongols invaded about 1000 years ago.”