Reclining Buddha - Part 1
Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand
The Reclining Buddha is a major theme in Buddhism and can often be seen in traditional Buddhist art. As there are many representations of Christ on the cross, there are a multitude of statues depicting the Reclining Buddha among countries practicing Buddhism.
Legend has it that on his journey to nirvana, (a state in which one has accepted the truth about life and has relinquished the human emotions of desire and suffering) the Buddha held four postures - sitting, standing and walking with reclining being his final pose or posture as he entered the state of nirvana and later death, but this time without the need for reincarnation.
For me, Reclining Buddha has got to be one of the most beautiful statues I have ever seen - and believe me from Moscow to Dubai to Paris to San Francisco, I have seen a lot of statues! I just adore the coiled hair, the elongated torso, in addition to the gold gilding. The sheer size of the stature is just amazing - 46 meters (150ft.) long and 15 meters (50ft tall).
Take a look at the soles of the feet (5 meters (16ft.) long. Notice they are covered in mother-of-Pearl with images of the Buddha and scenes from his life.
The Reclining Buddha is located in the famous temple complex called Wat Pho which is famed for being one of the oldest and largest temple structures in Thailand.
Please remember, for Buddhist, the Reclining Buddha is a highly cherished religious symbol and thus one must approach the sculpture with respect - e.g., shoes are left outside, shoulders covered and clothing must be worn to at least cover the knee.
One special note - Wat Pho is home to a very important school specializing in the art of the traditional Thai massage. I did not indulge, but I hear the students and professionals do a great job.