Cascoly Travel -- China: Dazu Buddhist Site
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Cascoly Travel
China: Dazu Buddhist Site

DAZU 11/2 Friday

This morning, coach to the stone carving of Dazu. Large numbers of Cliffside-cut sculptures were created in Dazu County when the grotto art was declining in the northern part of China and along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze. In Dazu there are about 100,000 statues scattered over 70 places. According to the written records on the stone inceptions, Dazu Rock Sculptures began to be chiselled in 650. Coach back to Chongqing and You will visit Painter village. Overnight at the 4-star Holiday Inn Hotel.  

Up at 7:30, leaving at 9. On the Chungqing -Chengdu highway, now takes 4 hours down from 10 previously. Quickly change from urban to rural. Terraces and small plots of vegetables intermingled with larger arrays of rice paddies. Lots of ducks, occasional water buffalo and a few cows and large pigs. Farmland is now contracted out yearly, and paid for by a percentage of the harvest sold to the government at a fixed rate. Larger farmers hire tenant farmers, so it looks like a return to the feudal based systems of pre-revolutionary China. Sweet potato vines thrown across barbed wire security fences, drying for later use as hog feed. Rice paddies are flooded now, until spring planting.  

Arrive in Dazu about 11:30 for excellent tour of Baodingshan, the grottos created by the monk Zhao Zifeng in the Song Dynasty from 1174 to 1252. Incredible series of bas relief, high relief and sculptures highlighting various events in Buddha's life, and commemorating Lao Tse. Giant buddhas, and a fantastic golden grotto of Avalokitesuava with 1000 golden hands extending out like glittering flames, all gilt. In the grotto of Enlightenment, one enters a dark chamber and only sees the back of a statue of a fellow stone visitor. Then, as one's eyes adjust, the disciples flanking the walls appear, large lifesize statues of holy men. Finally, in front, 3 forms emerge from the darkness, showing traces of gilding -the Buddha and 2 bodhisatvas, attended by Zhao Zifeng and his teacher Lu Bin Jin. A huge wheel of life shows the fate of those who don't follow the path. A huge reclining buddha precedes a grotto showing the birth of buddha, attended by 9 Chinese dragons. A further niche portrays the sacrifices of parents for their children. Tiny babies pop out of lotus flowers in the next setting, showing the rebirth of those not ready to follow the buddha. The 18 levels of Hell follow -explicit portrayals of the tortures conceived for each of the major sins.  

Afterwards took photos of water buffalo plowing the fields, but still misty and overcast. 

Excellent lunch nearby -

  • Delicious kung pao chicken
  • Lotus root with red peppers
  • steamed Grass fish with scallions
  • other local dishes.

    Then 2 hours back to hotel and brief stop at Painters Village. Good, but probably not worth a separate stop. Excellent supper at the Holiday Inn, one of the best meals so far. Kung pao pork, Broken tile fish with sweet & hot sauce; noodles; bok choy; beef with spicy sauce, bean sprouts with peppers.

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