TRAVEL A Conversation Piece (No. 33)

Posted by on 12. Juli 2012
Buddha

Behind all the rubbish lies the dying but smiling Buddha ...

I can at least name five countries who claim to own the largest reclining Buddha, for instance Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar. And then you happen to travel along the Silk Road in Northern China, pass the city of Yongchang and find yourself in the town of Zhangye (by the way: the birthplace of the legendary Kublai Khan). And there you detect the world-record indoor Buddha, really the largest made of wood (not carved from rock-cliffs), in a 900 years old temple, sleeping with open eyes, forgotten by the world, and stretching out for more then 100 feet or 33 m. His smile alone is as high as a grown man. And then you realize that this Buddha is not sleeping, he is dying. He enters Nirvana in front of you … – preserved in a cage, neglected by the Chinese authorities, in an ugly ambiente, but still breathtakingly beautiful in close-up. I know, it’s ridiculous. Nobody travels to Zhangye. It’s far too far away. But before the Buddha is totally forgotten, I had to tell you …

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