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PAKWASAN (BAGUASHAN GREAT BUDDHA) – ONE OF THE EIGHT MAJOR ATTRACTIONS IN TAIWAN – CHANGHUA CITY
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“BAGUASHAN GREAT BUDDHA ‘aka’ PAKWASAN”
Address:No. 31, Wenquan Rd., Changhua City, Changhua County
Opening Dates:every day(Lord Guan Di’s birthday celebration takes place on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month).
Opening Hours:all day; indoor areas: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Organizer: Changhua County Government and Eight Trigram Mountains Buddha Landscape Association
Mt. Bagua’s Great Buddha is a popular tourist destination, as well as a historic monument for the residents of Changhua County. The statue is a religious center in the local area and has a wealth of historical and cultural significance. When the Great Buddha was constructed, it was the largest statue of the Buddha in Southeast Asia and was listed as one of the eight major attractions of Taiwan. Although the use of reinforced concrete to build Buddha statues was not unprecedented in Taiwan after the Second World War, none of this magnitude had been made; the artistry of its creators was also exceptional. Changhua residents refer to the shadow created by the statue during the day as biyin (a term meaning both to give shade and to provide protection), revealing the significance of the statue to the community.
Mt. Bagua earned its name because of its shape, which resembles the bagua (eight trigram) pattern used in the I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic. The Great Buddha was built on the location of the historic Zhenfan Pavilion, which was destroyed during the Chen Zhou-Quan Incident (an anti-Qing rebellion) of 1795. It was rumored that when Japan invaded Taiwan in 1895, Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa was killed in action at this location by Taiwanese guerrillas. One of the monuments that Japanese built to commemorate Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa was erected here. In 1954, Xi Song, the head of local Buddhist organization Shanhua Hall, and others initiated a plan to build a Great Buddha. The project, designed and coordinated by Lin Qing-Yao (respectfully called “Master A-Yao”), was completed in 1961. The reinforced concrete Great Buddha statue became a landmark in Changhua and was the largest Buddha statue in Southeast Asia. It was also listed as one of the eight major attractions of Taiwan. In 1963, two stone lions were built in front of the hall and a pair of lotus lamps was added. In 1972, construction of the Great Buddha Temple inside the statue began. In 2002, the Great Buddha was registered as a historic statue.