Ming Yuzhen built a Buddha statue with 7.5 meters in height at Danzishi
Previous situation (below) and current situation (above) of Chongqing Buddha.
CHONGQING (CQNEWS) -- There is a statue with 7.5 meters in height, commonly known as the “Giant Buddha”, at Danzishi, Nan’an District. It is backed by a lofty mountain and faces Yangtze River. And you can overlook the places Chaotianmen and Jiangbei Town while standing at the location of "Great Buddha".
With the poor transportation in the past, you would arrive in Chongqing when you saw the "Great Buddha" on boat. When the river rises in spring and summer, the feet, hands and head of the "Great Buddha" may be immersed in the water. So, in the folk, the sentences "Great Buddha is washing his feet", "Great Buddha is washing his hands" and "Great Buddha is washing his face" can be used to describe the change of water level of the Yangtze River.
In the long run, the "Great Buddha" has become a unique cultural mark in Chongqing.
In recent days, the report has been officially released by the Chongqing Cultural Heritage Research Institute after the archaeological investigation for the national key cultural relic protection unit. The Danzishi Bas-reliefs on Precipice (Giant Buddhist Temple) is an important part of the cultural heritage of Sichuan-Chongqing cave temples. The existing two groups of bas-reliefs on precipice are exquisite in shape and huge in size, and they are the only confirmed cave statues in Chongqing at the end of Yuan Dynasty and the beginning of Ming Dynasty.
Ming Yuzhen build the Great Buddha to drive away evil forces in the water
Ming Yuzhen, the general of Hongjinjun (army with red scarf in the head), led the army into Sichuan in 1357 A.D., and ruled the whole Sichuan in 1363 A.D., taking the “Daxia” as the state title and Chongqing as the capital.
The Chongqing section of the Yangtze River suffered frequently floods in that year, and the river flowed through the "Giant Buddhist" section, as a consequence, sailing a boat here become a dangerous thing with torrential water and delitescent reefs.
Folk legend said that, the called "Rentou Mountain" (looking like a head) at the opposite bank developing evil spirits is the main reason causing the people death in the river.
According to Chronicle of Baxian County, Ming Yuzhen appointed Zou Xing, the official of Court of Censors, to build a Maitreya Buddha on the high cliff opposite Rentou Mountain in 1362 A.D., to drive away evil spirits in the water and protect the safety of common people.
The Great Buddha is as solid as a rock and stable as Mount Tai although it has spent hundreds of years with wind, rain, flood and drought. It’s worth respecting by previous and current people.
The Great Buddha plays an important role in hydrology
Apart from being worshiped by the common people, it also plays an important role in hydrology for hundreds of years.
Since ancient times, the Chongqing people have regarded the Buddha as a flood gauge. As the above saying, the sentences "Great Buddha is washing his feet", "Great Buddha is washing his hands" and "Great Buddha is washing his face" can be used to describe the rising of water level of the Yangtze River in spring and summer.
As it is close to the river, it is common for the Great Buddha to wash his feet every summer. In 2013, his hands were immersed in the river. But the scene of washing face has not appeared for many years.
A stone step leading to the water can be seen in old picture
In addition, the Chongqing Cultural Heritage Research Institute also published an old picture of the Great Buddha which shows a long stone ladder leading to the water in front of the platform at the foot of the Great Buddha.
The Great Buddha was surrounded by barren rocks on both sides, as seen from the old photograph. But now it’s embraced by lush trees. Although the stone step has been disappeared as the city developed, the Great Buddha hasn’t changed much through hundreds of years. (Translated by Jiang Yuling, Fathom Language Limited)