|Leshan Grand Buddha Statue|
|Located in the Temple of the Great Buddha in Leshan in Sichuan Province. Carving started in 713 and was completed 90 years later|
The practice of carving rock temples dedicated to the Buddha originated in India. The practice came to China from the west, one of the earliest examples being at Dunhuang and Gansu Province. See also Mogao Grottoes,Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes.
Started in 713 AD, by the Buddhist monk Haitong who organized fund raising and hired workers; it took ninety years to complete. He hoped that the presence of the Great Buddha image would protect the boatmen who traversed the treacherous river by pacifying the swift currents. A building was built to protect the statue, but was destroyed during a Ming Dynasty war.
The Buddha is 234 feet high, with shoulders that are 92 feet wide; the head is 48 feet high, while each of the ears is 23 feet long. It qualifies as the world's largest Buddha in the world, with the one at Bamian, Afghanistan, as runner-up (and this one is sitting down !). The Great Buddha Temple (Da Fu Si ) itself is located above the right shoulder of the statue. Inside the body is a water drainage system to prevent weathering, although he is now fighting flowers growing from his hands, a bushy chest, ferns in his top-knots, and weeds growing out of his ear holes. The Great Buddha did do his part for the boatmen, surplus rocks were used to fill the river hollow to make the river less hazardous.