Little Bits of History

The Awakened One

Posted in History by patriciahysell on December 29, 2010

Tian Tan Buddha

December 29, 1993: The Tian Tan Buddha – tallest outdoor, seated, bronze statue of Buddha, is consecrated. In 624 BC, Siddhartha Gautama was born a prince into the Shakya family. At age 29, he left his family’s palace and retreated to the forest to meditate. He spent six years seeking truth and enlightenment, often accompanied by self-deprivation and sacrifice. Sitting under the Bodhi Tree he attained enlightenment and became Buddha. He is sometimes called the 28th Buddha.

The term buddha means “to know” or “to become aware.” Anyone who reaches this state without outside teaching is Buddha. After his awakening, Buddha taught others the way to awareness, the Dharma. Buddha is not a God and Buddhism is a non-theistic belief system. With help any can, and indeed it is said that all will, eventually reach awakening.

There are many artistic depictions of Buddha. The statues can be seated, standing, or reclining. There is an obese and laughing Buddha as well as an emaciated ascetic depiction. Statues are made with a protuberance on the head to signify his great mental acuity and with long ear lobes to symbolize his perception. The position of the hands adds meaning and often also lets the viewer know where the statue was created.

Buddha is carved into the Lingyun Mountain in China, the largest stone Buddha. That statue is 233 feet high. The tallest copper, standing Buddha resides in Jiangsu, China and is 289 eef] tall. The Tian Tan Buddha, in Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong is built of 202 pieces of bronze over an infrastructure of steel for strength. The sitting Buddha, built atop a hill, is 115 feet tall. One climbs 268 steps to reach the 250 ton statue. The lotus on which the Buddha sits is a three tiered platform with eight bronze statues that represent the immortals circling Buddha. The cost of building this beautiful icon was $68 million.

“There is Buddha for those who don’t know what he is, really. There is no Buddha for those who know what he is, really.” – Zen proverb

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” – Buddha

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” – Buddha

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” – Buddha

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” – Buddha

Also on this day, in 1876 the Ashtabula Bridge disaster took place.

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