Buddhism in China Susan Daly
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Buddhism came to China along the Silk Roads from India where it was started in the 5th century BCE by Siddarta Gautama.It brought with it several symbols shown in many Buddhist images. The most familiar is the lotus flower, a symbol of purity, renunciation and divinity. Buddha is often shown sitting on a lotus.
Another important symbol is the Golden Wheel. The wheel represents motion, continuity and change, forever moving onwards like the wheel of heaven.The eight spokes point in the eight directions and symbolize Buddha’s Eightfold Path: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
Since the Taliban blew up the 2 Buddha’s at Bamyan, Afghanistan, Leshan is the largest carved statue of Buddha in the world. It is mainly visible by boat from the river because it was carved where 3 rivers converge to stop the many drownings which took place there and quiet the water. It did stop the rapids.There are stairs which circle the statue to allow you to get several views of it as you climb around it.
Mt. Emei – a sacred Buddhist mountain
Mt. Emei is over 10,000 feet tall. The act of climbing it, is also an act of worship. There are five different Buddhist monasteries at different levels of the mountain. At each stage, pilgrims can stop, pray, and rest. There are four mountains sacred to Buddha in China.
As we toured the 2 Buddhist monasteries on Mt.Emei, we were a curiosity for many of the pilgrims we saw along our travels. It was the most foreign I felt in all of China. The young woman with very light blonde hair had people ask if they could have their picture taken with her because she was so different.
Mt.Emei is a beautiful natural environment with 5 monasteries leading up to its peak. We saw 2 and along the way saw gorgeous scenery and many types of butterflies. We did not see the monkeys who also live on its slopes.