Leshan and Emeishan Area

We started out for a four hours drive to Leshan and Emeishan area. On the bus, with a captive audience some of the professors took the microphone and gave lectures on topics related to their disciplines and things we’d see on the trip. Geography Professor gave a very interesting and personal background of the maternal side of her family. She talked about how the politics of pre-communism played a part in her mother’s family wealth as opposed to the politics of post-communism life.

Religion Professor spoke about the imperial mountain system of the five peaks. They are explained as having specific Bodhisattva (a being that reaches the gate of enlightenment but decides to go back). The Emeishan area that we are in is one of these peaks. Historically, a lot of money from the continuous pilgrimages come to the Bodhisattva sites. Up until the 1920s Buddhist monasteries had a strong affiliation with local government.

Lunch was in Leshan, which is a sweet little town right on the Dadu River. We had more Sichuan food. We had all new dishes. I’ve heard that there are more than 5,000 different Sichuan recipes. I think we are going to try about a tenth of them on this trip.

Latitude 29.546897, Longitude 103.768662

After lunch we took a short boat ride to the Grand Buddha on the Dadu and Min rivers. This Buddha is truly grand. It is a very tall statue (71m or 233ft) carved into a red sandstone very similar to the Navajo (or Aztec) Sandstone found at Zion National Park, Utah.
We hopped back on the bus. We stopped at local village and chatted with the farmers. Political Theorist joked before we got off the bus: “What do you think of the commodification of your culture as a result of global capitalism?” Pause. “Just say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” All joking aside, this was a good stop and apparently completely chosen at random. As observed from our bus windows before arriving, the region grew rice, corn and beans, all in the same field and near each other. There wasn’t monoculture going on, at least that I observed. When asked if they eat the corn, a farmer responded “We eat the rice!” In other words, the corn is for animal feed. We have not had a dish with corn as yet.

Latitude 29.566295, Longitude 103.440857

We checked into Hong Zhu Shan Hotel (Building 5), which was an amazing place. Quite opulent. I will write about it in Tripadvisor.

From the hotel we walked to Baoguo Temple, our first temple. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I love to candles burning and incense burning at the entrance. We also heard some mesmerizing chanting monks. I got a little bit of this on a video. We had a vegetarian meal at the Temple.

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