Leshan Giant Buddha History & Buddhism Facts
The remarkable Leshan Giant Buddha (Da Fo) was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site together with Mount Emei in 1996. The stone Buddha was carved in the 8th century AD out of the hillside of Xijuo Peak. Facing the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi Rivers, Leshan Giant Buddha is the tallest Buddha sculpture in the world with a height of 71 meters. Leshan Giant Buddha is 18 meters taller than Bamyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. Also, it is much taller than the famous the tall Buddha of Yungang Grottoes and Vairocana Buddha of Longmen Grottoes.
Leshan Giant Buddha History
The construction of Big Buddha was the idea of a Chinese monk called Haitong, who hoped that Buddha would calm the turbulent waters (Min River, Qingyi River and Dudu River) that plagued the shipping vessels traveling down the river. His plans were not just supernatural – the enormous amount rubble carved away from the cliff would be deposited in the river, altering the currents and calming the waters. He want to many places to raise the money and when he got back to begin the construction, the local government came and threatened. Haitong is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. Hence, Leshan Giant Buddha was first constructed in the year of 713 AD in Tang Dynasty. Haitong passed away when the Big Buddha was cultivated to shoulders and the construction was stuck due to insufficient funding. Many years later, a Sichuan Jiedushi sponsored and Haitong’s disciple began to continue. In the year of 803 in Tang Dynasty, Leshan Giant Buddha was finally finished under the hard work by three generation of craftsmen for 90 years. Till now, this engineering masterpiece has a history over 1300 years.
Leshan Giant Buddha Buddhism Facts
Fact 1: Largest Stone Buddha
“The Mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a Mountain”. The solemn Leshan Giant Buddha is calmly sitting on the cliff of Xijiao Hill, putting his hands on his knees, with the rivers flowing below his feet…Standing 71 meters tall, Da Fo is the tallest Buddha statue in the world. His head is 14.7 meters in height and 10 meters in width. The Buddha’s hair is arranged in special spiraled curls with 1,021 twists that have been skillfully embedded in the head. He has 7-meter long ears which is capable of holding two people inside, 5.6-meter long nose, 5.6-meter long eyebrow. While, the width of mouth and eye is 3.3 meters. His neck is 3 meters tall, shoulder is 24 meters wide, finger is 8.3 meters long. It is 28 meters from his knees to his instep. Moreover, his instep is about 8.5 meters in width where can accommodate about a hundred people and even his smallest toenail can accommodate a seated person.
Fact 2: Maitreya Buddha
According to Buddhist tradition, Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor to the present Buddha – Gautama Buddha (also known as Śākyamuni Buddha).
The statue of Leshan Buddha is believed to be Maitreya Buddha. It was popular to construct the statue of Maitreya before Song Dynasty. But, it was reduced in Tang Dynasty for the political reason. In Sichuan, the earliest Maitreya Statue was Thousand-Buddha Cliff in Guangyuan which was built in 706. There are many other Maitreya Buddha in Sichuan, including Thousand-Buddha Cliff in Jiajiang, Thousand-Buddha Village and Sleeping Buddha Valley in Anyue, etc. Leshan Giant Buddha is the mark of popularity of Maitreya Buddha in Chinese Buddhism history.
Fact 3: Sleeping Buddha
A few years ago, it was discovered that Wuyou Mountain, Lingyun Moutain and Guicheng Mountain behind the Giant Buddha had composed a shape of sleep Buddha, thus this was called the Giant Sleeping Buddha. The head of the Giant Sleep Buddha is Wuyou Mountain, while the stone, bamboo forest and temple on the mountain have composed the five senses organs on the head. The body of the Sleeping Buddha is the Lingyun Mountain, and Guicheng Mountain is the foot. The whole Sleeping Buddha is over 4000 meters from south to north, with its head in the south direction.
After having a basic understanding about the Leshan Giant Buddha history and Buddhism facts, you can go ahead to Leshan Giant Buddha Travel Guide for more attraction info, how to get there and travel tips.
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