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The Daibutsu at Kamakura | by Okinawa Soba (Rob)
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The Daibutsu at Kamakura

Photo by T. Enami, ca.1898. Lots of folks shot this statue of Buddha head on or close up. Enami went off into the gardens on the side to make a nicer (and deeper) 3-D view. The image above is only one of several he took from all angles, about 110 years ago. As for the statue itself, this hulking hunk of a Buddha (all 93 tons of him) has been sitting here minding his own business for over 750 years (!) and is actually hollow. Anybody can go inside, and when your eyes get used to the dim natural light (from a window in the rear) you can see the graffiti of the ages on the inner wall of the belly !


In the old days, you could climb up onto the lap and hands of the Serene Buddha, and have your picture taken in any ridiculous pose you wanted. The Priests even had a big step ladder there to assist you in your climb to photographic immortality. Then...they started charging MONEY to let you get up there. Then, you needed all kinds of permission. By the 1930's nobody was allowed on the thing, and the Priests put up a sign saying NO PHOTOGRAPHING HERE without an appointment and permission.


Hoping to return to the more enlightened days of the mid-19th Century, I would like to ask the Government of Japan and the local Priest, just what good is a Sacred National Treasure and Cultural Work of Religious Art if you can't climb all over it, and have your picture taken while standing in Buddhas hands while balancing on one leg and sticking your finger up your nose ?


HOMEWORK QUESTION: Where did they come up with 93 tons of bronze, how did they make the mold, and how did they heat up, melt and pour such a huge amount of metal....750 years ago.




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Taken on January 12, 2007