Just north of Da Nang, on the Son Tra Peninsula, stands a massive white statue dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Compassion (or Mercy), known as Chùa Linh Ứng in Vietnamese, Guan Yin in Chinese and as Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit.
Completed in 2010 after six years of construction, the statue is 67 metres high with 17 storeys inside.
This would make it the fourth tallest Guan Yin statue in the world.
The first three tallest Guan Yin statues are located at:
- Guan Yin Statue of the South Seas, Sanya, China, 108 metres
- Guan Yin of Weishan, China, 99 metres
- Chi Shan Temple, Hong Kong, 76 metres
According to Buddhist belief, Guan Yin vowed never to rest in heavenly Buddhahood until every human and creature on this earth is free from suffering.
Guan Yin is often depicted with 1,000 arms – a thousand helping hands of compassion.
Her compassion towards animals associates her with vegetarianism and her likeness is commonly displayed in Chinese vegetarian restaurants.
The grounds surrounding the statue also contain a temple, a monastery and other facilities.
Gardens are decorated with bonsai trees, fountains and statues of arhats (an enlightened person).
The hills backing onto the complex are known as Monkey Mountain, a name given by the American troops during the Vietnam War, or American War as the Vietnamese know it.
The statue looks out over the South China Sea and Da Nang, the fifth largest city in Vietnam with a population approaching one million.
Son Tra Guan Yin statue is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Entrance is free.
This article first appeared in the Thrifty Traveller.