Giant Buddhist statue enshrined in Hainan

China Daily, April 16, 2005

BEIJING, China -- It is not just politics, personal contact, and burgeoning trade ties that could help reunify Taiwan with its motherland - a little divine intervention might play a role too. That is partly why a giant Buddhist statue will be enshrined on April 24, 2005, in Sanya of South China's Hainan Province.

A total of 108 eminent monks from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan Province, Hong Kong and Macao, will sing Buddhist doctrines in unison at the foot of the statue during the enshrining ceremony, said Shenghui, vice-chairman of the Buddhist Association of China.

The 108-metre-high statue is the world's tallest of "Guanyin," the goddess of infinite compassion and mercy in Buddhism, said Shenghui at a press conference on Friday in Beijing.

As a symbol of mercy, wisdom and harmony, Guanyin is the most popular and accepted Buddha among the public of the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, Shenghui said.

This statue, which took six years to construct and will be unveiled to the world on the day of the ceremony, will protect and preserve all Chinese people around the world, said Shenghui.

At the enshrining, the 108 eminent monks, all senior masters and leaders of various Buddhist groups, will pray for prosperity and peace across the Straits and the world along with their millions of followers, he said. The statue has one body and three faces, looking at the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and the rest of the world, said Shenghui. This means Guanyin will bless and protect not only China but also the whole world, he said.

Guanyin is a Buddha who can relieve people from suffering, said Shi Mingsheng, master of managing affairs of Nanshan Temple in Sanya, which is located on Nanshan Mountain.

The statue was built by the waters of the South China Sea in front of Nanshan Mountain. The separation of family members, compatriots are one of the human beings' eight sufferings mentioned by Buddhism, Shi explained.