The World’s 5 Best Buddha Statues
#1 Leshan Buddha – Sichuan Province, China
The Leshan Buddha is the brain child of a Chinese monk named Hai Tong. The statue was constructed in the side of a cliff overlooking the confluence of 3 rivers in China in an effort to calm the turbulent waters below. The architect of the project sought to win the Buddha’s favor with the large Buddha statues incredible size and beauty. Construction was begun in the year 713 during the time of the Tang Dynasty.
Unfortunately, funding for the project was threatened during the early years of construction. As a result, Hai Tong is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his unwavering piety for the project. Although funding for the project was to be eventually restored, Hai Tong would die before its completion. The project was finally completed by the disciples of Hai Tong in 803 AD.
The Waters Remain Calm
Ironically, the enormous amount of rubble that was deposited into the river during construction effectively calmed the waters. As a result, it made passage safe for ships that had long been plagued by the rough waters below. In present times, the view from the riverside cliffs is filled with serenity and the water remains calm.
The Leshan Buddha is 71 meters tall and it remains the biggest of the world’s large Buddha statues. Furthermore, it is the largest pre-modern Buddha statue still existing in the world today. In addition to these factors, the dedication of Hai Tong makes this my selection as the world’s #1 Buddha statue. This is surely one of the world’s best global travel destinations!
#2 Tian Tan Buddha Statue – Hong Kong, China
The Tian Tan Buddha is located on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. Construction was begun in 1990 and it was completed 3 years later in 1993. The Buddha is constructed entirely of bronze with a height of 34 meters and weight of 250 metric tons. The statue is the center of Buddhism in Hong Kong and it is a major attraction for Buddhists and also regular global travelers.
Additionally, it is located on top of a mountain and it is claimed that the statue can be seen all the way from Macau on a clear day.
Similarly, as with some of the other large Buddha statues getting there is almost as much fun as viewing it. Fortunately, there is a cable car that takes visitors to the top of the mountain. Therefore, they only need to walk up the final path of 268 steps to get to the Buddha statues perch on top of the mountain. At the top, the great Buddha is enthroned on a lotus flower situated on top of a 3 platform alter. The 3 floors beneath the statue are the halls of the Universe, Benevolent Merit and Remembrance.
The Offerings of the 6 Devas
Additionally, the Buddha is surrounded by 6 smaller bronze Deva statues on all sides that are offering gifts to the Buddha. The 6 gifts represent the perfections that are necessary to reach enlightenment – morality, patience, generosity, zeal, meditation and wisdom. Furthermore, the alter contains an important relic of the Buddha that is reported to be some of his cremated remains.
#3 Buddha Entering Nirvana – Ta Cu, Mountain, Vietnam
Significant Buddha Statues Meanings
This is one of the world’s largest reclining Buddha statues. The location of this large Buddha statue is in Binh Thuan Province in Vietnam on top of Ta Cu Mountain. Buddha statues meanings carry great significance to the Buddha’s devotees. The Ta Cu statue depicts a reclining Buddha entering paranirvana. As a result, the Buddha statues meanings convey the final stage and the Buddha has ended the cycle of continuous rebirth to enter Nirvana. This is very significant in the history of Buddhism. The Buddha was the first to walk the path of Dharma and the first to obtain the fruits of enlightenment. He then shared his experiences with mankind.
Furthermore, construction of the statue was begun on 1963 and completed in 1966. Additionally, it is known as the largest lying sculpture of a Buddha on top of a mountain in Asia. It is 49 meters long and 11 meters in height. To put things into perspective, I am 6 feet tall and I look like a little speck lying down in front of this Buddha statue.
There is cable car access to the top of the mountain, however, it is also possible to hike to the statue. Fortunately, the mountain path is well maintained and it passes through pristine jungle. Ta Cu mountain is located fairly close to Mui Ne and accessible by motorbike. The giant Buddha lies behind the Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda at the base of a cliff. Furthermore, there are amazing mountain top views from it’s location.
#4 Golden Buddha – Pakse, Laos
The Golden Buddha is located in Southern Laos on a hillside adjacent to the Mekong River. This meditating Buddha statue is a prominent feature on the horizon as seen from the city of Pakse which sits on the river bank opposite the Buddha. The economy of Pakse has been slowly improving in recent years. As a result, the city has been able to fund projects such as large Buddha statues. Although, construction was only recently completed in 2013.
It is easy to find, simply get a motorbike and cross the Japanese Bridge towards the gleaming spectacle on the horizon. Then the monument is accessible by a long stairway from which the golden meditating Buddha statue subtly reveals itself through the trees.
This statue has the best sunset view of every large and small Buddha statue in the world. Therefore, it is best visited in late afternoon to enjoy the sweeping sunset views over the Mekong River.
#5 Xieng Khuan Buddha Park – Vientiane, Laos
The Xieng Khuan Buddha Park is located about 25 kilometers outside Vientiane, Laos. The Park features another one of the significant very large Buddha statues that is situated on the banks of a river.
The Buddha statue is the largest statue in the park. Furthermore, it is also a reclining Buddha and it is 40 meters in length. The mastermind that developed the Xieng Khuan Buddha Park is named Luang Pu. The artist was a priest-shaman who had integrated a unique mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism. This mixture of religions was contrived while studying Hinduism in Vietnam. As a result, the park is a mixture of 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. This would seem to convey mixed Buddha statues meanings. However, this dilution does not detour local Buddhist monks from visiting the park.
The statues in the park seem to be centuries old, however, construction was begun more recently in 1958. Therefore, when compared to the Best Buddha Statues such as the Leshan Buddha, these statues are relatively young. However, the artists who were working under Luang Pu were all novices! This is a testament to the great skill of the grand master. As a result, he carries the honorific title of Bunleua Sulilat. This means “venerable grandfather”.
Buddha statues for home are derived from the same designs and Buddha statues meanings that the ancient sculptors followed in the days of old. Therefore, while you are traveling in Asia it is highly recommended to bring a small Buddha statue home with you. They convey a variety of different meanings which can enhance the tranquility of your life even if you are not a devout follower of the Buddha.