Last weekend, myself, Paul and seven other interns went to visit the famous Giant Buddha in Leshan city which nears Chengdu. The Leshan Giant Buddha was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Undoubtedly, we were all impressed by the Giant Buddha and the story behind it.
The massive Leshan Giant Buddha is a stone statue of Buddha carved directly into a cliff. It is also the tallest statue of its kind in the world. Located in the southern part of the Sichuan province of China, near the city of Chengdu. The statue depicts a Maitreya Buddha sitting with his hands on his knees. According to the Buddhist faith, Maitreya is the future Buddha who will come to remind people about dharma after the teachings of Gautama Buddha have been forgotten. Absolutely awe-inspiring, the Leshan Giant Buddha towers over the confluence of the rivers Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi and faces Mount Emei.
Also known as the Lèshān Dàfó (乐山大佛), the construction of the Leshan Giant Buddha began in the year 713AD under the rule of the Tang Dynasty (Tang Chao, 唐朝) and took 90 years to be completed. The idea behind the construction of this grand statue was that of a Chinese monk called Haitong, who hoped that the construction of this statue would calm the choppy waters of the rivers. This eventually helped as the large amounts of rubble that was chiseled away from the cliff ultimately ended up in the river, which finally calmed the currents of the river. However, Haitong did not live to see the statue completed. His work was continued by the monks Zangchou and Weigao, who implemented the successful secret drainage system that protects the statue from erosion—and clothed and wigged the Buddha too. While, the statue has begun to show its age and has developed a layer of moss.
The Chinese have a saying that “the mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a mountain.” At 71 m (233 ft) tall—and that is seated—ears 6.72 m (22 ft) long, nose 5.33 m (17.5 ft), and eyes 3.3 m (11 ft) wide, this great sculpture is certainly the biggest of its kind in the world. There are numerous perspectives of the Buddha, the most impressive of which is the view from the ferry as you cross the river.
According to some records, Giant Buddha had closed his eyes and cried for several times, and every time it is related to famous historical tragic events. Since the Giant Buddha was originally built for protecting human beings. People believes the Giant Buddha closed his eyes is because he could not bear to see the occurrence of miseries during those years.
Want to explore Chinese ancient Buddhism culture? Apply now for an internship in Chengdu, Qingdao and Zhuhai!