The Longmen Grottoes, located in the southern suburbs of Luoyang, Henan Province, have a history of more than 1,500 years.
In the Tang Dynasty, Empress Wu (r.690-704), sponsored the construction of the largest of the Longmen Grottoes-the Temple of Ancestral Worship. Inside the temple is a huge statue of Sambhoga-kaya Buddha, or the Buddha of Brightness, which took three years to finish. On the day of its completion, Empress Wu led herministers to the consecration ceremony, one of the most important cultural events of the Tang Dynasty.
The statue of the Buddha of Brightness sits at an imposing height of more than 17 meters. It is the largest of all the statues found in the Longmen Grottoes.
Buddhist scriptures describe the Buddha of Brightness as the ideal reincarnation of Sakyamuni. With his power of eternal brightness, he is able to eradicate darkness in the human world and bestow enlightenment on the common people.
Sitting peacefully and gracefully at the center of the Temple of Ancestral Worship, the Buddha of Brightness wears a serene expression, facing the world with dignified composure. Smiling faintly with the corners of his mouth slightly upturned, he tilts his head a bit forward, commanding a wide view of what is below him. The aura of calm around him has a soothing effect for countless troubled souls.