Leshan Giant Buddha Statue’s Miraculous Manifestations

Maitreya Giant Buddha Statue

The Leshan Giant Buddha in Leshan, Sichuan, China. (Image: Ariel Steiner via Wikimedia Commons)

In Leshan City, Sichuan Province, there is a stone Buddha statue known as the Leshan Giant Buddha. This statue is carved out of a cliff and depicts a seated Maitreya Buddha, so it is also known as the Maitreya Giant Buddha. 

It is located on Lingyun Mountain’s Qifeng Peak and lies at the confluence of three rivers — the Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. 

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There was a saying in Sichuan: “The Giant Buddha washes his feet, the world will be in chaos.” The statue has been repaired many times in history, including reconstruction works on the face in an attempt to erase tears from the Buddha’s eyes. 

So let us delve into the manifestations of the Leshan Giant Buddha statue in the past and the messages behind the miraculous occurrences. Many people believe these extraordinary manifestations were in response to the state of the country and are still symptomatic of the fallen state of communist China and the world today.

The tears of the Leshan Giant Buddha cannot be erased from the statue

The Leshan Giant Buddha statue was built during the Tang Dynasty. It has an aura of upright spirit, looking mercifully upon the boats that pass by, guiding them safely and soundly on their journeys to reach the other side of the river. 

Based on past historical records, people have witnessed that this Leshan Giant Buddha statue has closed its eyes and shed tears at least four times.

During the three years of famine from 1959 to 1961, which was brought about by Mao Zedong’s genocidal policies, the Giant Buddha closed his eyes once. At that time, countless people died from starvation in Sichuan. The locals were very poor and whenever there was any death, the family would tearfully roll their dead loved ones in straw mats and just lower them into the river.

Visitors queue for hours to scale the steps of the cliff leading to the top of the Leshan Giant Buddha statue. (Image: via dreamstime.com © Efired)

The Leshan Giant Buddha is located at the lower reaches of the river, where the backwater is formed at the confluence of the three rivers. Every day, scores of dead bodies drifted down the river and on their way out to sea, they passed by the Buddha. 

One night, the Buddha statue suddenly closed its eyes. According to local people, the Buddha statue closed its eyes because it could not bear to see the tragic scene. 

Ominous sign

It is also believed that when the Leshan Giant Buddha closes its eyes, it is an ominous sign. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials panicked and they ordered reconstruction work to be done on the face of the Leshan Giant Buddha statue. Photos of the Giant Buddha with its eyes closed are kept in the Leshan Exhibition Hall.

Beginning of another purge, the so-called Great Cultural Revolution

No sooner had the “Great Famine” under the dictatorship of Mao Zedong ended in 1963 than another great disaster followed. People believed that the Leshan Giant Buddha foresaw the imminent arrival of the catastrophic Great Cultural Revolution and with it the destruction of so many precious lives, along with traditional culture.

People believed also that the catastrophe would inflict disasters on the Chinese nation and the Chinese people, so the Leshan Giant Buddha shed tears again. 

The people, especially CCP officials, were terrified of what this meant for them and their regime. So the CCP authorities expended 40 million yuan (US$6.3M) to deploy human resources to clean the Giant Buddha statue. However much they tried, they still could not erase the tears from the Leshan Giant Buddha’s eyes.

1976, Tangshan earthquake levelled the entire city 

In July 1976, the entire city of Tangshan was flattened by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The local people were completely unprepared. They did not receive any indication, precautionary notice, or warning before the earthquake struck, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. 

Following the earthquake, countries from all over the world offered international aid, but appallingly, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities rejected international aid and help.

Due to a lack of basic empathy taken by the CCP authorities in rejecting international aid, the casualties kept mounting. Not only did they reject foreign aid in the rescue operations, they even blocked news of the Tangshan aftermath from reaching the outside world. The local people in Sichuan said that at that time, the face of the Leshan Giant Buddha showed anger, closed its eyes, and shed tears.

On June 7, 1994, tears appeared again on the Leshan Giant Buddha

The last time the Leshan Giant Buddha shed tears was on June 7, 1994. Based on eyewitness accounts, tourists on a cruise ship witnessed the Buddha weeping. Many of them witnessed the leshan Giant Buddha shed tears and wearing a sad expression. The Buddha’s body was shuddering violently.

Soon after the cruise ship pulled near the shore, the Buddha was then seen smiling happily, although the tears were still on the face of the Buddha. This time the tourists shed tears of happiness. A Taoist teacher and his disciple were also on the cruise ship.

The disciple asked his Teacher: “Why did the Leshan Giant Buddha shed tears?”

The Taoist replied: “The world does not know how to respect the Buddha and the Buddha is worried for the world.

“The Buddha is worried that the world no longer knows how to respect Buddha. If they return to tradition, they will still have hope!” 

As to why the Leshan Giant Buddha turned from weeping to smiling, some people think that it is because when the Buddha saw the Taoist Teacher, the Buddha saw that there was still hope of all beings being saved.

Leshan Giant Buddha bathes his feet again

The Leshan Giant Buddha was carved out of a rock face and is normally high above the waterline. The last time the Leshan Giant Buddha dipped his toes in the river was in 1949, the year mainland China fell to communism. 

The Leshan Giant Buddha statue is located on Lingyun Mountain’s Qifeng Peak and lies at the confluence of three rivers — the Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. (Image: via dreamstime.com © Zhitao Li)

For the first time in decades, in August last year (2020), rising water levels covered the toes of the Giant Buddha when China was experiencing its worst flooding. It was reported that more than 100,000 people had to be evacuated from areas along the upper reaches of the Yangtze. 

The local legend regarding the Leshan Giant Buddha bathing his feet might have caused concern to the CCP officials. Before the Giant Buddha’s toes had dipped into the water, the emergency response level was raised to the highest level on August 18, 2020, at Leshan.

In an effort to try to prevent the floodwaters from reaching the Giant Buddha, CCP officials surrounded it with sandbags. However, the water still managed to rise over the Leshan Giant Buddha’s toes. Leshan was hit by the worst flooding and about a third of the area was underwater. Thus, a traditional local saying holds that if the Giant Buddha’s feet get wet, Leshan will flood too.

Source: secretchina.com

Translated by Chua BC

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