China’s New Buddha-building Campaign
Along with the decades-long surge of China’s economy in modern times, China has become crazy about building giant Buddha statues. Below are Buddha statues built in different areas of China. From these costly statues let us see the rising trend, a Buddhism-building movement.
Buddhism was introduced to China since the Han dynasty. In the following thousands of years it experienced a number of rises and falls. In the last catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution, many religions such as Buddhism has been hit hard. In 1982, the central authority issued a document and began to adjust to allow a variety of religious beliefs, government and religious field mutually began respecting each other and cooperating on the politics.
In ancient China, the process of building a giant Buddha required a lot of hard work, only several giant statues appeared in 1,000 years, but now building Buddha becomes an industrialized behavior mixed with political and commercial factors and far beyond the past in both speed and scale. Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong, also known as the Big Buddha,a large bronze statue of a Buddha Amoghasiddhi, was completed in 1993. The Buddha is 34 metres tall, weighs 250 metric tons and was the world’s tallest outdoor bronze seated Buddha at that time.
But soon it was surpassed by another giant Buddha statue named Lingshan Giant Buddha, It is located at the south of the Lingshan Mountain, near Mashan, town of Wuxi in China’s Jiangsu Province. It is one of the largest Buddha statues in China and the world. The Grand Buddha is 88 meters high. It is an outdoor bronze standing Sakyamuni Buddha, weighing over 700 tons.
The picture shows in 2004, $360 million Yantai Nanshan Giant Buddha was completed, it is a Sakyamuni statue with height of 38.66 meters and weight of 380 tons, it was the world’s largest tin bronze seated Buddha.
In 2011, another Giant Buddha in Jilin Dun City was completed. The total cost is 380 million yuan and the statue is 48 meters high, it replaces the Yantai Nanshan Buddha and becomes the world’s highest seated Buddha.
The Spring Temple Buddha (Lushan Giant Buddha), in the Zhaocun township of Lushan County, Henan, is a statue depicting Vairocana Buddha. The Buddha is 128 m high and includes a 20m lotus throne. The project as a whole was estimated to cost around $55m, $18m of which being spent on the statue.
In addition to metal material, some Buddha statues are made of special materials. In 1996, the world’s first Gold and Jade Buddha Statue was completed. It is about 2.56 m high and 1.5 m wide and weighs about 670 kg, the main materials include gold, platinum, emeralds, diamonds and precious stones. The statue was listed in Guinness Book of World Records at that time.
Anshan Jade Buddha is the largest jade Buddha statue in the world. It is situated beside Dongshan Scenic Reserve in Anshan City, Liaoning province, China. The statue was sculpted from a piece of jade. It is 7.95 meters high, 6.88 meters wide, 4.10 meters thick and weighs 260.76 tons.
Guanyin of the South Sea was built on the southeast shore of Putuoshan. It is made of bronze, limestone, marble and gold and was completed in 1998. The statue is 33 meters high together with the supporting base. The total weight is 70 tons.
Lotus Mountain Guanyin statue is 40.88 meters high and made of 120 tons of bronze gilded with 9 kilograms gold. It is the highest gilded bronze Guanyin Statue in the world. The statue faces southeast and overlooks the Lion Sea. therefore, people also call the statue “Guanyin overlooking the sea”.