I’m a great fan of architecture and Buddhism so it’s a rare and total coolness when these two passions are unified as one.
I love the diversity of the many unique figures of Buddha. And, apart from the sumptuous Chrysler building in New York, I’m mostly underwhelmed by skyscraper structures.
So it was with much fervour that I fell upon a website featuring the tallest Buddhas on our planet. This is overwhelmedness on a stratospheric scale.
Cast your gaze on the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China – at 428 feet (128m) the tallest Buddha built anywhere in the world…
Still, it’s fairly large, isn’t it? It’s only 104 feet taller than New York’s iconic Statue of Liberty. Breathe deeply and drink that in. And a whopping 290 feet taller than Rio’s Christo Redentor statue. To put this into context for my Pretoria viewers, the Spring Temple Buddha is 413 feet and three inches taller than Bulls and Springbok lock Bakkies Botha. Bliksemness, it would be pretty handy to have in a lineout, wouldn’t it? Ja, it would. But I don’t scheme the Chinese would accept a transfer offer, hey.
Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any taller, it does. Work is under way to erect a Buddha that, and best you adopt the lotus position, close your eyes and clear your mind for this one, will be 500 feet (152m) tall. Yowzerness, i hear you say? Well you might. India is plotting this one, to be named Maitreya Buddha and constructed at Uttar Pradesh.
And, yes, dear Hatpeople, I have procured for you the artists impression of what this will look like. Meditate on this…
No, it isn’t. Biggest always isn’t best. Bit too much Bollywood bling going on for me. OK. Before I ruin any good karma, let’s move swiftly on to my favourite of the tallest Buddhas of the world. At a mere 233 feet, the Leshan Giant Buddha in China doesn’t quite stand up to its billing and only weighs in at No 11 among the biggest of the world’s Buddhas. No worries, mate. I love it. Living in bliss as I do in the dense coastal bush of Umdloti, South Africa, I have developed quite a rustic vibe, a bit agricultural even. So this baby is right up my ravine. And he is. Right up a ravine. Check him out…
Of course you are. I’m calling him Rocky. A rocky Buddha gathers much moss. I dig that. Do you? And I love his rustic energy. I want to go to visit Rocky and sit before him and just meditate for ever. And then come home to Umdloti, campaign to become mayor and decree that a Buddha just like Rocky and at least equally as big be carved into the hill overlooking our spirited, if not all that spiritual, little idyll on the Indian Ocean. This would put ‘Hloti well on the map. And give us an icon far more iconic than that flat-topped hill over which my beloved Capetonian brothers and sisters get so spiritual. Not that I’m into oneupmanship. That wouldn’t be at all Buddhist, would it?
* For a list of the world’s biggest Buddhas, visit Environmental Graffiti.