Lingshan Scenic Area, Wuxi

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on Oct 10, 2016.)

The Great Buddha at Lingshan Scenic Area

In January of 2012 I was privileged to be invited to speak at the installation of the new abbot at Kaiyuan Temple in Wuxi. He had formerly been my student at a Buddhist academy, and wanted international representatives on his Big Day.

His publicity officer was a young monk who also had been a student of mine. He insisted on showing us around, which led to one of the most amazing sites I have ever visited.

This was the "Mount Lingshan Grand Buddhist Scenic Area."

The centerpiece of the 30-hectare (74-acre) park is the 88-meter (289-foot) "Great Buddha at Lingshan." A standing Amitabha Buddha, it has one hand raised in the "Fear Not" gesture, and the other lowered in the "Boon-Giving" gesture.

Just one hand is 11.7 meters (38.4 feet) high and 5.5 meters (18 feet) wide! You can stand in front of a replica in a square below the statue.

Also on the grounds are numerous structures. One of these, usually translated the "Brahma Palace," is actually meant to represent a kind of heaven (so my student kept slyly saying to me before our visit, "Teacher! I will take you to heaven today!")

Another interesting feature is the "Nine Dragons Bathing Shakyamuni." This is a closed mechanical lotus blossom 7.2-meters (23.6-feet) high; five times a day music plays, the lotus opens, and a gilded statue of the newly-born Shakyamuni Buddha rises from its center, to be bathed in the spray from nine huge dragons as it rotates 360 degrees. It is a moving sight!

There are also life-sized temple models from other largely-Buddhist areas such as Tibet and Thailand.

The hand in the foreground is said to be the same size as the one on the giant statue.

The baby Buddha about to be bathed by nine dragons

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