The Great Buddha of Kamakura, Japan

By: Addison Yinger

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"Most Pure Land Buddhists focus on chanting or repeating a mantra of devotion to Amida, 'Namu Amida Butsu,' as often as possible to reinforce a proper and sincere state of mind, and this contributed greatly to its popularity, especially in Japan," says www.religionfacts.com. The Buddha has had many ups and downs through its coming to be. The Buddha is 43.8 feet tall and has a weight of 267,000 pounds. "First revealed by the historical Buddha over 2,600 years ago, the name Amida is Japanese which is derived from Amitabha or Amitayus of the ancient Sanskirt language, which means 'Immeasurable life and light' or Oneness," according to buddhistfaith.tripod.com.

The history of the Great Buddha

Upon arrival, the monument's interesting history has some bumps in the road. The Buddha's history was a crazy ride. In the beginning, when funding was needed, it was Lady Inada and Jōkō a Buddhist priest from Tōtōmi who were the ones who started it. The first Buddha was built out of wood in 1243. The statue had been made inside of a building or a hall. The wooden statue had been damaged by a storm in 1248 and the hall was completely destroyed. Jōkō had the idea to make the statue out of bronze. There was a lot of money needed to make this bronze statue and a new hall, so they raised the money for the new statue. The casters were possibly Ōnō Gorōemon or Tanji Hisatomo, "both leading casters at the time," says Wikipedia. The hall still wasn't sturdy enough and got destroyed in 1334. It was rebuilt, got damaged by another storm in 1369, and was repaired again. Eventually, the hall was washed away in the tsunami of September 20, 1498. The Great Buddha now stands in the open in Kamakura, Japan.

The Great Buddha's look

Although the look of the Buddha has many distinct details, most people overlook them. The Buddha has a green color, close to that of the Statue of Liberty. "At one time, the statue was gilded. There are still traces of gold leaf near the statue's ear," according to Wikipedia. The statue has a hollow inside, which allows visitors inside. The inside, however, has been covered in graffiti. There was once lotus petals around the base of the Buddha. "There were thirty-two bronze lotus petals at the base of the statue, but only four remain and are no longer in place," says Wikipedia. Before you walk through the entrance there is a notice, which states, "Stranger, whosoever thou art and whatsoever be thy creed, when thou entered this sanctuary remember thou treadest upon ground hallowed by the worship of ages. This is the temple of Buddha and the gate eternal, and should therefore be entered with reverence," as it says on Wikipedia.
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The Buddhist religion

Even though most people in the world, besides Japan, don't believe in Buddhism, it is really a stunning religion. The Buddhist religion symbols peace and serenity. "Amida Buddha is the heart of Shin Buddhist faith and practice," according to buddhistfaith.tripod.com. The Great Buddha is a statue representing Amida Buddha. "The Pure Land suntra center on the figure of Amitabha (Amida in Japanese), one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas, and his Pure Land Paradise, called Sukhavati," says www.religionfacts.com. They honor the Great Buddha through,"devotion to Amida Buddha, expressed through mantras and sincerity of heart," according to www.sacred-destinations.com. They made the statue to honor the Buddhist religion. Www.religionfacts.com says, "The Great Buddha is seated in the lotus position with his hands forming the Dhyani Mudra, the gesture of meditation."
The Great Buddha had many inconveniences over its extensive, engaging journey. The Buddha is a massive structure, made to honor the religion. "The name Amida is a personification or symbol for the transcendent reality and mystery, which is 'unborn, uncreated, and formless' which is also known as dharmakaya, nirvana, shunutata (emptiness)" according to buddhistfaith.tripod.com. Religion is essential to most people so even if you don't believe in a religion or in the same religion, you should be respectful to all.
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Works Cited

"Kōtoku-in." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

"The Great Buddha of Kamakura." Sacred Destinations. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

"Pure Land Buddhism - ReligionFacts." Pure Land Buddhism - ReligionFacts. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

"Amida Buddha." Amida Buddha. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

Top picture: http://twoandfro.com/2014/04/hiking-around-mt-fuji-mountain-trek/

Middle picture: http://www.leblogdelewis.com/monument-the-great-buddha-of-kamakura-in-japan.html

Bottom picture: http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2013/2/12/daibutsu-the-great-buddha-of-kamakura-japan.html