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lashan giant buddha

 

 



the biggest buddha statue in china Leshan buddha
   

 

The Leshan Giant Buddha, 160 kilometers from Cnengdu, is
situated where the Minjiang River, the Qingyijiang River and the Daduhe River converge.

 

2. Status and Reputation
* It is the greatest stone statue of Maitreya Buddha in the
world.It was ratified as a China Key Cultural Relic Unit Under Protection by the State Council in 1982.
~ It was inscribed on the List of the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1996.
3. Scenic Features
The Leshan Giant Buddha, carved out of the cliff in the Tang
Dynasty (618-907), is globally recognized as the laureate of
Maitreya Buddha statues. Seated against the cliff with a solemn look,
the Buddha is equal in height to the mountaintop, and has water
rushing at its feet. The Statue is a well known tourist attraction of
China and the most magnificent scenic spot in Leshan. The local folks
"The hill unveils a Buddha, while the
describe the Statue with a line:
Buddha fades into a hill." When Mr. Sancerre, an expert from the
World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, took an inspection tour of
Leshan City, he exclaimed that the Leshan Giant Buddha is such a
fine masterpiece that it "can rival the best stone sculptures
everywhere, including the Sphinx in Egypt ". The
Leshan Giant Buddha boasts great historical significance and profound
cultural implications, in addition to its sightseeing value.

 


Commentary
The Leshan Giant Buddha is situated on the west side of the Xi-
luan Peak ( Phoenix-Perched Peak, ) of Mt. Lingyun , overlooking the
confluence of the Minjang, Daduhe and Qingyijiang rivers. Around it you

will find a huge cultural treasure trove: two China Key Cultural Relic Units

Under Protection; five Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relic Units Under Protection;

20 ancient buildings built over an extended period of time; and more than 30
stone sculptures and inscriptions carved on the precipices. The Mahao
Cliff Tombs , another China Key Cultural Relic Unit Under
Protection, disclose a myriad of unearthed antiques dated back nearly
two thousand years ago. Among these relics is a relief Buddha statue
which is claimed to be the earliest Buddha statue ever found in China,
an embodiment of the blend of Chinese culture and Hindu
Buddhist culture of early times. Moreover, you will be fascinated by
scenic spots such as the zigzag stone walkway hugging the cliff, the
towering Lingyun Temple , the erect Lingbao Pagoda (Deity
Pagoda, , the elegant and tranquil Dongpo Pavilion ,
and the lifelike Giant Sleeping Buddha. As the premiere stone statue of

its kind in the world, the LeshanGiant Buddha, 71 meters in height, facing

west, is located on the mountainside with its back to the east. Three rivers

rushing under its feet and 9 peaks standing behind it, the Giant Buddha overlooks Mt.
Emei and Leshan City proper. As a colossal statue, the Buddha has such an awe-inspiring aura and bearing that every pious Buddhist
believer feels compelled to fall to his knees and to pray for blessings
and for a long peaceful life.
Four dynasties experienced the hardships of carving the Giant
Buddha out of the mountain. According to certain ancient chronicles,
the huge project lasted 90 years, starting in the first year of Emperor
Xuanzong's reign (713) and completed in the nineteenth
year of Emperor Dezong's reign in the Tang Dynasty
(803). It is generally believed that the excavation of the statue was
commenced by the venerable monk Haitong of the Lingyun
Temple. The imposing statue was carved to the following specifications:
71 meters in height with a head measuring 14. 7 meters in length and 10
meters in width. On its head are clustered 1,021 hair curls, each of
which is as big as a huge round table. Each ear is 7 meters long, and
could accommodate 2 men; over 100 men could be seated on one of its
8. 5 meter-wide insteps. The colossal statue is three times higher than
the biggest Buddha in the Yungang Grottoes of Datong,
Shanxi Province. It is even higher than the standing Bamyan Buddha in
Afghanistan , which was formerly considered the
highest in the world. Standing in front of the Giant Buddha, no tourists
will not stand in awe of the unrivalled audacity of the ancient sculptors
for their contributions to such a magnificent masterpiece.
To the right of the Buddha is a precipitous passageway, with 250
steps downward, zigzagging with 9 turns. This is the famous Nine-
Turn Plank Walkway. As you descend it, you may be overwhelmed
with dizziness, feeling as if you perched on a perilous abyss. At the
top of the cliff, level with the head of the Buddha is a veranda where
tourists may relax. Alongside the paths of the cliffs are enshrined two
notable statuettes, engraved in the Tang Dynasty and still intact, the
best examples among thousands of statuettes on both sides. At the first
turn, tourists can see a host of rock sculptures suggestive of fairy
figures, pavilions and pagodas in meticulous detail and design. This
example illustrates the sophistication and skill of the building and
carving techniques of the Tang Dynasty.
Facing the confluence of the three rivers and backed by Mt.
Lingyun, the Leshan Giant Buddha towers above his awestruck
visitors. Even though it is the highest one among the nine peaks of the
mountains. Mt. Lingyun is no more than 140 meters high. It has
enjoyed the fame for centuries due to layer upon layer of rolling peaks
and ridges, luxuriant vegetation, and the many temples, from which
you can survey the rivers surging below your feet and view Mt. Emei
from a distance. Lingyun Temple on the Xiluan Peak and the Lingbao
Pagoda on the Lingbao Peak are the only remaining structures on the
nine peaks. Lingyun Temple is a complex on a grand scale, not far
from which stands the Giant Buddha. From the cliff nearby you can
see every detail of the Buddha's head. Descending the breathtaking
plank passageway you can walk to the feet of the Giant Buddha. Since
the Giant Buddha is located in front of Lingyun Temple, it is also
called the Giant Lingyun Buddha. The Temple is otherwise named the
Giant Buddha Temple because of its proximity to the Buddha.
The Dongpo Pavilion, a two-story wooden structure, another
scenic sight at the Xiluan Peak, is behind the statue and, named after
the celebrated poet Su Shi, with pen-name Su Dongpo. Built in the
Song Dynasty ( 960-1279 ), Dongpo Pavilion was originally named
ZaiJiu Hall (Wine-Storage Hall). Legend has it that the
Dragon King of the East Sea, inspired by Dongpo's erudition, pleaded
with the poet that his third son be permitted to study with him here
with a promise that a plot of vegetable field would be leased to
Dongpo. The land would not be returned to the Dragon King until the
fifth watch of the night . This field rented to Dongpo is no]ne
other than Leshan City proper today. From that time on, the local
folks never again heard the call of the fifth watch. Under the feet of
the Giant Buddha is a rock cave which leads to the river, the channel
for the third son of the Dragon King to come for his studies with the
poet and leave after the lecture was over. At the entrance to the Dongpo

Pavilion hangs a horizontal board inscribed with three Chinese characters ,

which are the handwriting of Huang Tingjian , who earned equal fame to
that of Su Shi for his calligraphy and literary works. On the walls of
the two sides are carved the four paintings of plum and chrysanthemum
blossoms by the poet, and also a portrait of him wearing a bamboo
fiber hat and wooden shoes. A more recent statue of Su Dongpo,
posing with a dignified air is erected in the middle of the ground floor.
In front of the Pavilion lies a pool, called the Ink-Washed Pool
, where Dongpo supposedly washed his writing brushes.
Adjacent to Lingyun Temple stands Mt. Wuyou which
is connected to Mt. Lingyun by a cable suspension bridge over a brook
;this is an indispensable link to the entire area. Wuyou Temple,
standing on Mt. Wuyou, was designed to conform to the rolling terrain
in an exquisite style. The Deity Pagoda is so named because of its
location on Deity Peak, one of the nine peaks of Mt. Lingyun. It is
also commonly known as the White Pagoda and the Sakyamuni
Sarira Pagoda . The Pagoda was ratified as a Sichuan
Provincial Key Cultural Relic Unit Under Protection in 1979.
Ascending to the top of the Pagoda, tourists can view the surging
rivers, the west part of Mt. Emei, and the skyline of Leshan City
proper.The Giant Sleeping Buddha is acclaimed as a marvelous
spectacle, made up of the contours of Mt. Wuyou, Mt. Lingyun and
Mt. Guicheng ( the Tortoise-City Mountain, . The Buddha
lies asleep on the east bank of the Minjiang River, extending roughly
1,300 meters with its head to the south and its feet to the north.
Tourists can exercise their imagination to associate the natural scenes
with the Giant Sleeping Buddha: Mt. Wuyou is his head, the mouth
of its hill is the hair bun; the Jingyun Pavilion is the eyelash, the
alpine arbors on the mountaintop are respectively the nose, mouth,
forehead and chin. The Xiluan Peak and the Jifeng Peak (the
Phoenix-Amassed Peak, seem to be his chest, and Mt. Deity
is the belly and thigh, while Jiuri Feng (the Sun-Touched Peak,
is the leg, and the southern slope of Mt. Guicheng is the feet.
Observed from a distance from the opposite bank, the Leshan Giant
Buddha is appropriately seated in the bosom of the' Sleeping Buddha,
presenting a miracle of the "Buddha existing within Buddha". The
scene also attests to the Buddhist dogma that "xin zhong you fo, fo zai
wo xin" , which literally means "Whenever I
pray to Buddha, and Buddha is in my heart." As an integral part of
the scenery of Le-shan, it conveys to tourists both aesthetic
perceptions and religious sentiments of the Chinese Buddhist culture.