Along the Jialing River in Sichuan, China sits the world’s largest stone-carved Buddha. Constructed in 713 AD by monks, it was hoped that his peaceful presence would calm the river’s tide and spare villagers their lives. Centuries later the Buddha still keeps a watchful gaze and the river’s rapids have calmed. Of course whether this is due to the Buddha’s influence or the extra construction materials that were dumped into the river is up to you to decide.
Traveling to Leshan to see the Buddha was definitely not a peaceful experience. It was my first real solo travel and not the easiest place to get to. I got lost, had to ask for help several times, and was daunted by the trip and the prospect of the year in China ahead of me. But when I had first started dreaming of going to Sichuan the image of the Buddha had come up any time I researched the area. Making the trip to see him became something I felt I had to do and once I got there I felt like I would indeed be ready for the experience of living in China.
Rebekah is teaching English in China while on a mission to eat a lot of dumplings and run a lot of mountains all while exploring as much of Sichuan province as possible. www.mountainsandpassports.com