Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chengdu: Big Buddha!

Right after checking in I headed to the tourist bus stop to go to Leshan to see the Big Buddha. Jin and his friend wanted to do lunch, but now I had one day less in Chengdu so I told them I would meet them when I returned back from Leshan.

Leshan is a 2 hour bus ride south of Chengdu. Once again I was the only foreigner on the bus. As soon as I got there I found the local bus to take me to the Big Buddha (I was really proud of myself for this since there was no pinyin or English on the bus schedule)

I made it! The Big Buddha was built during the Tang Dynasty (618-900 AD) and is the largest stone buddha in the world. Its also the tallest pre-modern statue in the world. The Buddha was not harmed in the 2008 earthquake, but it is degrading slowly due to pollution. 

I expected to go to this sight and see the Big Buddha then head back, but the scenic area and the Buddhist relics really interested me. The place felt so peaceful and beautiful. I would like to learn more about Buddhism when I get a chance. 

The yin yang is central to many Chinese beliefs. It is linked to Taoism and represents the idea of balance in Chinese culture some people say it represents the black dragon and the white tiger. 

I have come to find the yin yang symbol very interesting--I think if I get another tattoo while in China it might be a yin yang

In front of each of these paintings people would bow down. 

There were also sacrifices on the alters. Chips, crackers, and biscuits. 

I was in awe of how beautiful the paintings and statues were. 

The monks reading scriptures. I felt kind of disrespectful taking a picture but so many other people were taking of the monks taped a drum to keep a beat but the readings were entirely monotone. 

Blessings! If you paid you could get a candle to light an eternal flame.

And finally...I made it to the Big Buddha!

You can see here the number of people waiting to walk down next to him. The walk besides him was a LOT of stairs and people moving very slowly to take pictures. I was amazed how violent and fast the current was of the river below. 

The Buddha faces a confluence of three different rivers. Back in the Tang Dynasty day there were many shipwrecks because the water was so rough so the Buddha was built to calm the waters and provide protection. The Buddha took 90 years to build! Before walking down the mountain there was a cave where people lived while building it. 

After walking around the site until about 6pm, I headed back to the bus stop and made it back to Chengdu around 8. I walked around the bus stop a bit and stopped in a fast food restaurant for some chinese food. I grabbed some garlic chicken, rice, pickled vegetables, and thin stripped potatoes. They had little purple sweet potato bites too so I grabbed an order for dessert. 

I got back to my room and showered and passed out relatively early. After living in a 4 room hostel it was so nice to have my own room.
My plans for tomorrow...pandas!

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