The city of Leshan is less than one hour's ride from the Baoguosi Monastery at the foot of Mt. Emei.Leshan is the home of the Giant Buddha at the conflueence of the Min,Dadu and Qingyi rivers.It qualifies as the largest Buddha in a sitting posture in the world .You must board a riverboat for the best view of the Giant Buddha.The massive Buddha was carved out of a cliff face more than a thousand years ago, but now it is still well preserved in good shape, with his full and serene face.
The Buddha is the largest Buddha in China,towering to 71m,with his 14.7m head,and 24m shoulders.The Buddha's ears are 6.72m long, insteps 8.5m broad, and a picnic could be conducted on the nail of his big toe, which is 1.5m long.
This carving project was begun in 713.Each summer at that time the Min,Dadu and Qingyi rivers flowed down.As the ghree rivers met,turbu-lent waves strucd each other hard,boats capsized and boatmen vanished.There was a Buddhist monkby the name of Haitong in Lingyun Hill,who saw the situation and was determined to carve a giant Buddha out of the cliff face, hoping that the Buddha's presence would subdue the swift currents and protect the boatmen .Haitong started travelling along the Changjiang river and other areas in China to collect funds for the gigantic carving. Once an evil official attempted to obtain by force the money collected by Haitong.The monk refused him in strong terms.He said,"I'd rather gouge out my eyes than give a penny to you,"The official shouted in anger,"gouge your eye out now!"Haitong resolutely dug out one of his eyes.
The monk's behavior in protecting the funding so greatly encouraged sculptors and other construction workers that the carving work went on smoothly. Unfortunately Haitong died before the completion of his life's work .However, this work continued due to the support of the local people as well as Weigao and Zhangchou Jianqing,the local top military commanders. The word took up 90 years until 803 when it was completed.Since then the Buddha has watched over the river traffic for more than a thousand years to offset the large number of serious accidents in the river. Modern Chinese question whether safer boat gravel is due to his presence or to sime later-day dredging.
As you get close to the Buddha,we can find out some scattered holes im rows around the Buddha.They are remains of so Called the Giant Buddha Pavilion . It was a nine-storied building set up during the Tang Dynasty to shelter the Buddha.It was renamed as the Lingyun Pavilion with 13 stories during the Song Dynasty. Unfortunately it was destroyed by a war during the Ming Dynasty. Since then the Buddha remains outside in the open space.
The Giant Buddha has lasted over a thousand years, and still survives in good shape.Why? First of all, according to the studies on the ancient construction of the Buddha,the cliff face the Buddha occupies enjoys topographical advantages. It is on the southern side of the hill,where verdant trees grow so well as to protect rocks and slope from erosion.Secondly although the Buddha seats bordering on the confluence of the three rivers, the immense statue is carved into the cliff face inside the hill,which alleviate the severe damage by wind and water erosion.Finally there is a water-drainage system,hidden from view.The system starts with 1021 fastened hairs, which conect one another at the bace of the bead .The end of the hairs inter-links the shoulders,joining the simple-patterned robe pleats carved on the body.The hairs,shoulders and pleats naturally reveal a complete system that carries away the entire surface water on the body, where the water disappears underground.
It is worth making several passes at the Buddha.From the ferry pier on the island,you climba steep road and through Lingyun Temple to a vantage point for viewing the buddha.You can go to the top,opposite the head, and then descend a short zigzag stairway carved into the cliff to the feet for the top,oppoosite the head,and then descend a short zigzag stairway carved into the cliff to the feet for the different perspective viwepoints.A local boat passes by for a frontal view, which reveals two guardians in the cliff side, not visible from land,Wuyou Buddhist Monastery can be reached in 15 minutes by footpath from the Buddha,which is also from the Tang Dynasty with Ming and Qing renovations,Its layout is very similar to the other monasteries as we mentioned before.Walking along up Wuyou Hill,you can enjoy the quiet and beartiful scenery, The top of Wuyou Hill affords you a vision of an emerald-green tree forest, glazed golden tiles of the monastery roofs and the distant rivers.
It would be a mistake to thind of Leshan as ome big Buddha, but it is wouth making a trip to Leshan,which will provide you with a pleasant picture made by the ancient Chinese sites and the beautiful nature being combined into a whole.