Holy toes

Construction of the Grand Buddha near Lashan, China, began in 713 AD, led by a Chinese monk who hoped its presence would calm the nearby river. When funding for the project was threatened, he is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. Construction was completed by his disciples ninety years later. So much stone was removed from the cliff face and deposited into the river that the currents were indeed altered by the statue, making the waters safe for passing ships.
photo:michael reynolds

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