September 21, 2009

(Updated): The Buddha that won't go away: Picture of the Week

buddha, leshan, china, leshan buddhaI know, I know, you've heard too much about the biggest Buddha in the world. Some of you aren't convinced, though (read Vern's comment in the last post). So here's a pic that will give you a better sense of scale.

Are you convinced? We can't promise it's true; maybe there's another giganta-Buddha out there. Can someone please find a bigger Buddha? It's not gonna be easy. Himalayan Art Resource director Jeff Watt tells us it's "bigger than Bamiyan." But if you do outsize this one, the first to alert us gets a copy of Sharon Salzberg's Unplug.

But be warned—Wikipedia tells us:

At 71 metres (233 feet) tall, the statue depicts a seated Maitreya Buddha with his hands resting on his knees. His shoulders are twenty-eight metres wide and his smallest toenail is large enough to easily accommodate a seated person. There is a local saying: "The mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a mountain". This is partially because the mountain range in which the Leshan Giant Buddha is located is thought to be shaped like a slumbering Buddha when seen from the river, with the Leshan Giant Buddha as its heart.

UPDATE: Brady MacDonald alerted us via Twitter that this is in fact not the biggest Buddha! He points us to the Spring Temple Buddha (also in China), which stands at 420 feet (128 meters). With its 82-foot (25-meter) pedestal (which doubles as a building), it is a towering 502 feet (153 meters). Even without its 66-foot (20-meter) lotus throne, it's still taller than the Leshan Buddha. In fact, it's the tallest statue in the world!

Thanks, Brady. We'll send you your copy of Sharon Salzberg's Uplug!

Image: John Bigelow Taylor, 1981. From BuddhaBook, by Frank Olinsky, a Tricycle Book.

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Tricycle » It’s not quite Bamiyan but…'s picture

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Hokai's picture

This universe, in all its dimensions, is the Dharmakaya Buddha. At once limitlessly large and infinitely small, this buddha is beyond measure, its preaching incessant, its disclosure of dharma unhindered.