The Leshan Giant Buddha is the biggest Buddha statue in the world. This biggest Buddha statue is of Maitreya, who is a Bodhisattva depicted as a stout monk having a broad smile and exposing a naked breast and paunch.
The statue is located to the east of Leshan City in the Sichuan Province. This place is also the site of confluence of three rivers: Min, Qingyi, and Dadu. Leshan city sees a large number of tourists because of the biggest Buddha statue.
In December, 1996, it was granted UNESCO World Heritage status. The structure was built during the reign of the Tang Dynasty. It was complete in 803 AD. The carving was on for nearly 90 years. Thousands of workers were part of the project. The Leshan Giant Buddha has been a regular feature in poetry, song, and literature.
The statue faces the river and has a symmetrical posture. The dazzling looks have been captured beautifully in stillness. The 233-feet-high statue comprises fingers measuring three meters. The instep is eight meters in length that can accommodate a hundred people. The shoulder area is large enough to pass for a basketball playground.
Biggest Buddha Statue
A monk named Hai Tong started the project. His primary concern was the safety of the inhabitants near the confluence. These inhabitants suffered a great deal due to the tempestuous waters. Boat accidents were common, and people attributed it to a water spirit. The Buddha is supposed to bring the water spirit under control. Also, the stones dropped during carving reduce the force of the water.
Nearly 20 years were spent in begging alms for the structure. Hai Tong fought tooth and nail for this money. Hai Tong is said to have dug out his own eyeball. When Hai Tong passed away, only 50 percent of the work was complete. Two of his disciples continued the remaining task at hand.
The size is not the only aspect of the fame of the structure. Its architectural artistry is equally famous. There are nearly 1021 buns in the coiled hair of the Buddha. They have been embedded in the hair very skillfully. There is perfect harmony and unity.
Mention must be made of the drainage system. The drainage system comprises hidden gutters and channels. It lies scattered behind the ears and clothes. The system displaces rainwater and keeps the inner part dry. The pair of ears is made of wood, but is decorated by mud. Presently, restoration work is under progress under the guidance of UNESCO.