I Like Big Buddha and I Cannot Lie / You Other Dieties Can’t Deny

Four Figures Paya in Bago, Myanmar.

I like Big Buddha and I cannot lie

You other dieties can’t deny

That when a Buddha walks in with a big o waist

And a serene look on his face

You get spru…

Okay, enough of that.

What I’m trying to say, inspired by two of the great motivational figures of all time – Buddha and Sir Mix-a-Lot – is that I never get enough of seeing Big Buddhas. No other religion makes giant statues of its profit quite like the Buddhists. Sure, Christians sometimes plant giant crosses atop hills and Christ the Redeemer towers over Rio, but Christians never had the commitment to spend 80 years carving Jesus into the side of a cliff like the Chinese did in Leshan. The tallest Ganesh in the world is merely six-stories tall, a tiny little toy for the biggest Buddhas. Islam forbids showing images of Mohammed.

It seems that everywhere I go in Asia, I run into Big Buddhas, and perhaps part of the fun is the buzz of activity in the temples. Mosques are usually closed to the public, churches are usually open but quiet, but Buddhist temples, especially in Southeast Asia, wear may hats, from food court to market to meeting space to religious center. I never feel intrusive when I visit with my camera, and Big Buddha, no matter how round his booty, is never camera shy.

Big Buddha Photos

Click any photo for a gallery view


Anyone else out there who likes Big Buddha?

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20 Comments on “I Like Big Buddha and I Cannot Lie / You Other Dieties Can’t Deny

  1. Um prophet, unless all the $$$ laid on the altars leads to big Buddha profit, which it probably does 🙂
    I love the big buddhas too, and the relaxed and inclusive atmosphere at Buddhist temples – where people seem to gather to worship and pray, but also to hang out, visit, have a picnic, whatever. I love the sense of community. Sir mixalot on the other hand at best puzzles me, at worst horrifies me.
    Alison

    • What a Freudian slip on my part – Profit, er Prophet. Nice catch. I think I’ll leave it.

      Yeah, having a picnic is something I should have included. I was amazed at the families who were camped out with blankets, food, toys for the kids, making a day of visiting the temple. As you say, very relaxed and inclusive.

  2. Me, me – I love Big Buddhas! My faves are in the Potala Palace in Lhasa, but I’ve admired many a Buddha behemoth across Asia. (As a side note, I’m kind of pissed that I now have that song stuck in my head – thanks! 🙂 )

  3. I liked your feature photo when you first posted it on IG, and I still really like it … however, this time I noticed something new I hadn’t seen the first time.
    The big Buddha in the foreground has a little Buddha to the left under an umbrella (mushroom?).
    It is such an interesting photo.

  4. I have to say that much as I do love big Buddhas, the most captivating Buddhas was a collection ~ many of them small, many tiny, inside a cave in Luang Prabang, Laos. All the damaged Buddhas are brought here as a final resting place and the collection is wuite incredible. That said, those big Buddhas are imoressive. I just came across one today in the market area of Galle in Sri Lanka. Towering over people and traffic whizzing by. Gotta love it.

    Peta

    • That cave in Luang Prabang sounds cool. I’ll have to check it out. We find them in unexpected places – found another one in a residential area last night in a parking lot. It must have been about 4 stories tall.

  5. Yup, I dig big buddhas too. They certainly leave a lasting impression. It has been 25 years since I’ve visited Thailand and those Buddhas are fresh in my mind (I especially like the reclining variety). Hope to finally get back to Thailand in 2017. I must admit though that my favourite deity is a Hindu one—the wonderfully ornate Ganesh (especially the dancing variety). Great post.

    • Ganesh is very cool, especially the ornate ones as you say. Twenty five years – I bet it has changed a lot! I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts after you come back.

    • That would make sense. Jesus would probably be 2nd I’d imagine, but images of Christ don’t seem near as prolific. Thanks for sharing this info.

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