Public Art: Big Buddha statue
Date Unveiled: 1972
Description: The enormous 12m tall golden Buddha sits at the top of a staircase that features dragon leg handrails. Buddha is depicted in the “Buddha Defying Mara” pose, with the left hand resting, palm open and up, in the statue’s lap and the right hand facing down over the right knee, almost touching the ground. This is a common pose of Buddha statues, meaning he is in a state of calm and purity having overcome the temptation and fear sent by Mara (the Lord of Illusion). It depicts a time during Buddha’s journey to enlightenment when he was confronted by the evil Mara but was able to thwart the temptations thrown at him through meditation and remaining calm.
Location: The Big Buddha statue is the main attraction at the Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple) on the island of Ko Phan, near Koh Samui, Thailand. You can access the island via Highway 4169. The temple is located near Bang Rak on highway 4171, which is a side route off Highway 4169.
Who Is This Mara? In Buddhism, Mara is the demon that tempted Gautama Buddha by trying to seduce him with the vision of beautiful women who are often said to be Mara’s daughters. In Buddhism Mara is known as the tempter who tries to distracts humans from practicing the spiritual life by making mundane things alluring, or the negative seem positive.
Things You May Not Know About The Big Buddha
Buddhists come daily to make offerings of fruit and flowers and light incense at the base of the statue.
The nearby beach was originally called Bang Rak but is now referred to as the Big Buddha Beach.
As Wat Phra Yai is a sacred place, visitors are asked to wear shirts or scarves that cover the shoulders, trousers or long shorts, and no beachwear.