Large statues and Buddhism

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Large statues and Buddhism

Postby PRR » Mon May 20, 2013 3:47 pm

I have been looking at statues of the Buddha online, and they seem to be pretty big--the one at Leshan, China; Bamiyan (Afghanistan--before it was destroyed); and I've also seen some pretty large reclining Buddha statues as well. These are pretty amazing.

All this has me wondering--was there something inherent in Buddhism that has generated such large statues? I don't seem to recall other religious traditions having such large statuary. I mean, were there stories explaining why this was done, or even instructions to build like this, in early Buddhist literature?
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Re: Large statues and Buddhism

Postby JKhedrup » Mon May 20, 2013 3:56 pm

There are some huge statues of Shiva, Hanuman etc. throughout India. Hindus also like their big statues.
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A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: Large statues and Buddhism

Postby PorkChop » Mon May 20, 2013 4:06 pm

JKhedrup wrote:There are some huge statues of Shiva, Hanuman etc. throughout India. Hindus also like their big statues.


Don't forget the huge statue of Mahavira that you can see in the BBC documentary "The Story of India" with Michael Wood.
The Jains will not be outdone. :)
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Re: Large statues and Buddhism

Postby PRR » Mon May 20, 2013 4:25 pm

OK so then this is more of an aspect of Indian culture, that spread with Buddhism?

Interesting. Nor, of course, would this be limited to Indian culture. I recall the Colossus of Rhodes, as well as a statue of Constantine in a Roman basilica that was quite large.
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Re: Large statues and Buddhism

Postby justsit » Mon May 20, 2013 4:27 pm

Well, there's this:

Image

And this:

Image

and this (not exactly a religion, but...really big!):

Image

Plenty of examples, once you start looking. Of course, some religions forbid images of any type.
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Re: Large statues and Buddhism

Postby PorkChop » Mon May 20, 2013 4:41 pm

PRR wrote:OK so then this is more of an aspect of Indian culture, that spread with Buddhism?

Interesting. Nor, of course, would this be limited to Indian culture. I recall the Colossus of Rhodes, as well as a statue of Constantine in a Roman basilica that was quite large.


There's also all of the enormous statuary of Ancient Egypt (even the pyramids are large religious monuments), the statue of Zeus that was also one of the 7 wonders, statue of Athena in Athens, the Totem Poles in North America, the elaborate statuary of Mayan temples... I believe the middle east and persia also had lots of large religious statues before the Abrahamic religions went on a tear against anything they considered an "idol".
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