|The Giant Buddha in Leshan |
As one of world cultural and natural heritage, the Giant Stone Buddha in Leshan is located at the western slope of Lingyun Mountain in Jiazhou suburb, and at the confluence of Qingyi, Minjiang and Dadu rivers. As the Giant Buddha backs on the cliff of the Xiluan Peak of Linyun Mountain, sits right and looks down at the rivers, it is called Linyun Buddha as well, which is the largest stone-carved Buddha in China. The statue was begun in 713 and completed in 803 built over a total of 90 years. The Giant Buddha stands at 71 m in total with shoulders 24 m in width, head 14.7 m in length, eye 3.3 m in width, and fingers 8.3 m in length. Moreover, there is an ancient temple named Linyun Temple on Linyun Mountain behind the stone Buddha.
The giant Buddha is a sitting Maitreya statue carved out of a solid rock on the cliff of Linyun Mountain, and is described as "The Buddha is a mountain, and the mountain is a Buddha". It stands 71 m tall in total, and its head is 14.7 m high with 1,021 hair worn in buns. The ear of the statue is 6.72 m long, its nose is 5.33 m long, and its eyes are 3.3 m wide. The width of it’s should is 24 m, and the length of its middle finger is 8.3 m. The insteps of this Giant Buddha are 9 m wide and 11 m long, which can contain over one hundred people sitting on. It is the largest sculptured stone Buddha in the world hitherto. The Giant Buddha in Leshan is properly a crystallization of wisdom of Chinese ancient laborers, and it is a wonder in world culture history. The statue has been designated a historical and cultural site enjoying protection of Sichuan Province in 1956, and was proclaimed as a major historical and cultural site under state protection by China State Council in 1982.
When the project was finally completed, the statue appeared more beautiful and glorious. To protect the giant Buddha, a thirteen-layer pavilion was built into the mountain as a covering with about 60 m span. It was called “Dafo Pavilion” or “Daxiang Pavilion” at that time, and changed to “Linyun Pavilion” or “Tianning Pavilion” instead after Song Dynasty. This pavilion was considered as a super tall skyscraper in those years. It was recorded by Fan Chengda that “the pavilion has thirteen stories, and it goes from the bottom of the statue to the top”. It is a pity that this magnificent masterpiece in Chinese architecture has been ruined by war chaos in the last years of Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644).
Visitors may find that there are several holes on the cliff along both sides of the Giant Buddha, and these holes were used to put girders and poles during the period of pavilion construction. The other way for people to imagine the grand scenery in those years is to take similar constructions in China as a reference, such as Biceng Pavilion that was built outside the 96th sitting Maitreya statue grottoe of Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes. The pavilion style of it is very close to that of the Giant Stone Buddha in Leshan. However, the sitting statue in the ninth level of Dunhuang is only 33 m high. Therefore, the pavilion of Leshan Giant Stone Buddha should be more grand and magnificent. Nevertheless, visitors cannot enjoy this gigantic ancient architecture, which was as tall as the mountain any more; they only can track its grandness in their own imagination.
It was said as "A journey to Emei Mountain must worship the Giant Buddha; while the Buddha worshiping trip may include Emei tour”. Therefore, the Giant Stone Buddha in Leshan is an integrated part of Emei Scenery Region. Visitors can go eastward to Emei City from Emei Mountain, and then get to Leshan with a distance of 31 km in total.
Linyun Mountain is located east of Leshan at the junction of three Rivers: Min, Qingyi and Dadu, which is adjacent to the Leshan City with a separation of river. As the mountain included nine peaks: Jifeng, Xiluan, Wangyun, JIuri, Danxia, Yongcui, Duiyue, Zhurong and Lingbao, people called it as “Little Nine Apexs”. People also called it Jiufeng Mountain and Jiuding Mountain in commonly, and used Linyun Mountain instead after Linyun Temple was built in the mountain.
Linyun Mountain stands toweringly toward Emei in distance near the three, ridges and peaks rising one upon another. It has several undulating hills, lofty and steep nine peaks. Thus, make the mountain magnificent. Dense forest and bamboos are luxuriantly green all the year round, while cliffs and crags are elegant in four seasons. On the foot of Linyun Mountain, the three rivers flow together, yachts break toward in surging waves, the water and the sky blends in a color just like a natural landscape painting. It was considered as the top one of the most beautiful sceneries in southwestern China historically, and was eulogized by literators in past dynasties.
Linyun Mountain is affluent in cultural relics, historic sites and diverse folk stories and legends. The key points of interest of it include the biggest stone Maitreya statue in the world－Giant Buddha in Leshan，ancient Linyun Temple with splendent joss houses, Dongpo Reading Pavilion, Zhiyi Cave of Song Dynasty, Zhuyi Cave of Ming Dynasty, Haideng Monk Cave, Lingbao Tower, Yue Pavilion, Nine-peak City Site of Song Dynasty and etc. Due to the unique characteristics comparing with other famous mountains and plains, Linyun Mountain has become a tourist attraction since Tang and Song Dynasties.
Huge Supine Buddha
Huge Supine Buddha extends over 4,000 m with vivid and clear contour of arms and legs. The Buddha lies on his back and faces upward to the sky with a dignified and serene gesture, which seems to be sleeping soundly. The famous Giant Buddha in Leshan sits right on the chest of this Huge Supine Buddha. Head, body and feet of the Supine Buddha are composed of the succession of Wuyou Mountain, Linyun Mountain and Guicheng Mountain. Its head is formed by the entire Wuyou Mountain; stones, green bamboos, dense forest, pathways, pavilions and temples on the mountain take on hair buns, eyelashes, bridge of the nose, two lips and mandible of Huge Supine Buddha differently. The body of the Buddha is composed of Linyun Mountain; the joining nine peaks of the mountain look like the huge Buddha’s wide chest, perfect waist and bonny legs. The turnup feet of it is structured by one part of Guicheng Mountain. The whole posture of this Huge Supine Buddha is vivid and natural just as created by nature without any artificial engraving trails. The best place for the whole sight of Huge Supine Buddha is “Fuquanmen” on Binjiang Road of Leshan City.
Dongpo Pavilion lies on the Xiluan Peak summit of Linyun Mountain, which is two-layer wooden monomer building resting on the mountain. The three Chinese character of “Dongpo Pavilion” on a transverse plaque hanging on the upside door was written by Huang Tingjian. A Dongpo sitting statue was set in the middle of the pavilion, and the statue is in noble and unaffected expression that is not only good in appearance but also vivid in expression. On the both sidewalls, there are more than ten stone stele inscriptions since the Qing Dynasty; the most beautiful inscriptions among them are four steles of Dongpo Drawing Plums and Mums and one of Dongpo in Bamboo Hat and Clogs engraved Dao Guang period (1821 - 1850). There is a “Chinese Ink Washing Pool” in which swim a king of fish black in back. According to legend, the black color of fish back was dyed by ink as Su Dongpo had washed inkstone here.
Heaven of Buddhist
Heaven of Buddhist stands toweringly on Danxia Peak of Linyun Mountain. It was built by the pattern of Tang palaces according to the mountain. Cragged stone steps seem to extend to the clouds like a ladder to the Heaven. Main palace of it that is resplendent and magnificent has been separated into the front one and the back. Inner of the main palace is in fornix shape with a Maitreya statue sitting upright. A huge and colorful mural painting was drew on the back wall and images carved on the beams and painted on the rafters, which showed pomp of pure land for Maitreya in focus. On the cliff side around the palace, there are more than 10 Maitreya statues and 15 groups’ embossments in series of the birth of Maitreya and the process of being a Buddha. All these works are excellent in sculpting, accurate in engraving skills and a lively scenario. Stepping into Heaven of Buddhist, visitors seem to enter a fantastic area where people can avoid earthly concerns and hold themselves aloof from the vulgar.
Capital of Eastern Buddhist
Capital of Eastern Buddhist is seated among peaks in the scenery region of Giant Stone Buddha in Leshan, and it is a topic park of archaized stone Buddha’s statues. The park integrates the art of religion, engraving and gardening, gathers several Buddhism art treasures of both China and foreign countries together, and archaizes more than 3,000 statues of Buddha in different sizes. Capital of Eastern Buddhist is grand and magnificent.
Wuyou Mountain is ancient “lidui”. According to legend, the prefect of Shu Li Bing excavated a trench to avoid flood disaster of Moshui River during the years of Xiaowang Kingdom of Qin. Wuyou Mountain stands facing to Linyun Mountain with a bridge over the trench to link up the two mountains. The same as Linyun Mountain, Wuyou Mountain has become a tourist attraction since Tang and Song Dynasties. It is encircled by rivers in four sides, and stands upright among the rivers alone. The mountain is covered by dense forest. As the reason of it, it is always beautiful, green just as scenery in poetries and paintings no matter in which season of the year. Besides Wuyou Temple with a history of over thousand years, there are plenty of scenic spots on the mountain, such as Kuangyi Pavilion, Er’ya Platform, Jingyun Pavilion and Jiemao Pavilion, etc. The natural landscape of Huge Supine Buddha has been discovered in Leshan in 1989, and Wuyou Mountain just takes on the head of it.