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The Leshan Giant Buddha is a Maitreya statue that is in a sitting posture. The Buddha is located to the east of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, at the confluence of three rivers which are Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. The statue makes itself the most famous attraction in that city. In December 1996, the location of the Buddha was included by UNESCO on the list of World Heritage sites. It started in the year 713 in the Tang Dynasty and finished in the year 803, the statue took people more than 90 years to carve. During these years, thousands of workers had expended their efforts and wisdom on the project. What’s more, the Giant Buddha is featured in poetry, songs and stories as the biggest carved stone Buddha in the world.

It was a monk called Hai Tong who initiated the project. He was concerned about the safety of the long-suffering people who have lived here around the confluence of the three rivers. Boat accidents were numerous because of the torrential water and the normal people blamed the disaster on the presence of a water spirit. So Hai Tong decided to carve a statue in the mountain beside the river in order to keep the water spirit from hurting people. Besides, the stones dropped from above would reduce the water force there during the carving. After 20 years of begging for alms, he finally accumulated enough money for the plan. When some corrupt local government officials wanted to seize this amount of money, Hai Tong said that they could not get the money raised for the Buddha but one of his eyeballs. These officials were shocked and ran away after Hai Tong dug out his eyeball. Hai Tong passed away when the project was half done, and two of his disciples continued the work. After a total of 90 years of hard work, the project was finally completed.

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