Imagine this: a large historical statue carved out of a cliff. In Leshan City you will find one, with a backdrop of provide by the Min River, Dadu River, and Qingyi River. Once you see this huge sculpture in China, the Leshan Great Buddha (or Leshan Giant Buddha), you will be amazed with the beauty that is the result of 90 years of collaborative community carving.
The Leshan Great Buddha is the largest symmetrical Maitreya Buddha sculpture in the world today. It is famous in Chinese history. As a matter of fact, the sculpture is mentioned heavily in the country’s literary stories, songs, and poetry.
It is 71 meters high and 28 meters wide that even one hundred people can sit on its lap.
This magnificent statue is a pet project of monk Hai Tong in an effort to scare the presence of water spirits suspected to cause boat accidents in the strong river waters. Hai Tong raised funds for the cause through begging of alms for 20 years! Sadly, Hai Tong died even before the statue was completed. The project was continued by his 2 faithful disciples which was then completed after 90 years.
The placement of head buns on the statue’s coiled hair and the meticulous design added to its mystique. It is incrusted with hidden channels and systems allowing the insides of the statue to remain dry despite rainy weather situations.
It was nearly dilapidated by rain and wind in 1963 but thankfully through the efforts of UNESCO and the Chinese government, the Leshan Great Buddha is being restored.