“Dafo” = Big Buddha!!

It seems that all cultures have large icons or statues to show off to tourists.  We visited one, the “Dafo,” which is Chinese for the “Big Buddha,” last weekend in the town of Leshan, about two hours south of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.

"Dafo," or Big Buddha

The “Dafo” is big, 71 meters tall.  It is the largest vertical Buddha in the world.  His ears are 7m long, his shoulders 28m across, and his big toes 8.5m long!

7 meter long ear

The idea for this huge Buddha was thought up by a monk named Haitong, in AD 713.  He hopeed by building it here on the banks of the confluence of the Dadu and Min Rivers, the Buddha would “calm the swift rivers and protect boatmen from the lethal currents.,,” (Lonely Planet China guide).  It was completed ninety years after Haitong died, and so much rock was excavated from the sculpting, and dumped into the river, that the river was, in fact, “calmed.”  The locals, of course, claim it is because of Buddha(Lonely Planet again).

Big Buddha big eye & eyebrow

We were at the Big Buddha on a holiday weekend-Dragon Boat Festival, so there were a lot of Chinese there visiting it.  There is a “Walk of the the 9 Turns” all the way to the bottom by Buddha’s big toes, that was jam-packed with people waiting to get down there, so they could look up and see the whole thing.  We passed on the over-2-hour-wait to get down there.

Crowds waiting on the "Walk of 9 Turns"

It was a hot day when we were there, about 90 degrees, and still there were thousands of people.  The Chinese revel in the simple, of viewing something like this…no rides or special effects…just being there together, viewing something massive.

Buddha & Barbara

Here’s another “Where’s Waldo?” picture at the Big Buddha.

Where's Waldo (not really waiting) in the line waiting to go down to see the Big Buddha?

This was a great place to be on Dragon Boat Weekend.  People were happy, laughing, waiting patiently in line to see the Big Buddha.

Waiting in line to go down to the toes of "Dafo"

So how does the “Big Buddha” compare to other tall icons?

Freeport Big Indian-50 feet tall

Bangor's Paul Bunyan-31 feet tall

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty-46 meters tall

Dafo-71 meters tall

So the winner is…”Dafo” the Big Buddha of Leshan, China, standing 71 meters tall.  You have to see it to believe it!


7 thoughts on ““Dafo” = Big Buddha!!

  1. Thanks again for the great blogs. Have a safe trip home!! XO Gail

    p.s. Call me, Barbara, when you get a chance. I am still hoping to get to Maine this summer.

  2. Thanks again for the great blogs. Have a safe trip home!! XO Gail

    p.s. Call me, Barbara, when you get a chance. I am still hoping to get to Maine this summer.

  3. Tom, although the size is awesome, I find a statute surviving China all these years to be amazing. Looking forward to reading the rest of your blogs next year (from the comfort of our WI digs.)

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