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Spring Temple Buddha: Background information when reading Harmony

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by Carolyn Parkhurst

Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst X
Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2016, 288 pages

    Jun 2017, 288 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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About this Book

Spring Temple Buddha

This article relates to Harmony

Print Review

Like many kids on the autism spectrum, Tilly has a passionate interest, one she loves to research and that she'll happily talk your ear off about if you ask (or even if you don't). In her case, she's fascinated by massive sculptures past and present, from the Colossus of Rhodes to the Lincoln Monument.

Spring Temple BuddhaMore than anything else, though, Tilly likes to talk about the Spring Temple Buddha, the world's largest statue. Built between 1997 and 2008 in a relatively remote part of China's HenanProvince (a common site for Buddhist pilgrimages) the statue stands 420 feet tall (502 if you count the base, which Tilly doesn't). The statue depicts Vairocana Buddha, which illustrates, among other things, "shunyata," the Buddhist concept of Emptiness. Made of copper, gold and steel, the statue is estimated to weigh 1000 tons and cost about $18 million to build. It's possible to visit the Spring Temple Buddha – and for an extra fee, you can get a special ticket to touch the Buddha's massive toes.

Statue ComparisonsBuddhas are big as far as big statues go – the second and third tallest statues in the world are also Buddhas. The second tallest statue, located in Myanmar, is about one hundred feet shorter than the Spring Temple Buddha, and the third tallest statue is in Japan. But the Spring Temple Buddha should enjoy its Guinness Book of World Records status as the world's largest statue while it lasts - predictions are that the statue will lose its distinction in 2019, when the so-called Statue of Unity in the Indian state of Gujarat is completed. The bronze statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India, is projected to be 522 feet tall.

Spring Temple Buddha, courtesy of
Height comparison of the Spring Temple Buddha to other statues.

Filed under Cultural Curiosities

Article by Norah Piehl

This "beyond the book article" relates to Harmony. It originally ran in September 2016 and has been updated for the June 2017 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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