China’s Yangtze basin area is going through unprecedented heat waves and droughts. The water levels in many places where the Yangtze river flows are hitting new record lows. Rivers have dried up, ships are grounded, and crops are wilting. The severe drought is impacting Chinese citizens’ lives. But as Lao Tzu wrote in his book Dao De Jing, “It is upon bad fortune that good fortune leans, upon good fortune that bad fortune rests,” the droughts have also brought about an unexpected occurrence. 

As the water levels plunged, some used-to-be-half-submerged ancient temples became exposed in the dried lake, such as the Guanyin Temple and the Luoxing Dun in Poyang Lake in Lushan, China. 

During this time, several centuries-old relics have revealed themselves. In Chongqing, a trio of Buddhist statues appeared. Reuters reported that the statues could have been built during the Ming and Qing dynasties, and these statues have not been seen in recent times. Also, in Chongqing, an ancient bridge submerged in the water all year round has recently appeared in its entirety. Known as the Anlan bridge, it was first built in 1851 during the Qing dynasty. The bridge used to lead to a Guanyin Temple located at the eastern end of the bridge. 

So why did all these occurrences happen all at once? Was it just a coincidence? The Chinese ancestors perceived that changes in the cosmos would also manifest in human society, so everything must happen for a reason. And usually, such changes carry messages from the Divine to guide or warn people. To find an answer to these strange phenomena, it’s crucial to refer to the same events in the past and explain them with traditional Chinese beliefs and principles deeply rooted in divine culture.

The rarely told story of a Giant Buddha statue

Located in Sichuan province, the Leshan Giant Buddha is the world’s biggest stone Buddha statue. Carved out of a cliff face of Cretaceous red bed sandstones during the Tang dynasty, the statue sits at the junction of the three major tributaries of the Yangtze River, with the river flowing under his feet. According to Taiwan Apple Daily, during this flooding season, the unexpected drought caused the water level under the sculpture to fall around 1.7 meters (5.5 feet) lower than the same period last year. The phenomenon has raised the Chinese public’s attention to the 1200-year-old Buddha sculpture because several remarkable events happened with the statue during this century.

There’s a saying circulated among Sichuan locals which reads, “Big Buddha washes his feet, the world is in chaos.” The part “Big Buddha washes his feet” refers to when the water level in the river rises to the Buddha’s toes. Indeed, throughout history, the water level at the tributaries junction has twice reached the sculpture’s feet. The most recent time was on August 19th, 2020, when Sichuan experienced the worst flooding in 70 years.

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