Ueno Park Buddha : Buddha statue for bullets and weapons

War makes people do things which are unthinkable in times of peace. Today with over six seven decades of relative peace in Japan it is ironic to think that a Buddha statue in World War II WWII was melted down for the war effort. Buddha for bullets thats the story behind the Ueno Park Daibutsu (Buddha Statue). Read on to know how this Buddha is now revered as a symbol of a god “surviving all odds”.Ueno Park DaibutsuUeno Daibutsu is a statue in the Ueno Park of Tokyo just outside the JR Ueno Station. The statue essentially implies just the face portion of the statue. The statue has had a difficult history. Erected in the year 1631, it was first damaged due to an earthquake in 1640. Post restoration it had a good 199 years of peace until a fire in 1841, and another earthquake in 1855 followed with heavily damaged during the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, calamities struck one after the other….Ueno Park DaibutsuThe massive bronze Buddha was just as large and in charge as those in Kyoto and Kamakura, today only a small temple is what is left. Located in the park premises between the two temples, Toshogu Temple and Kiyomizu Kannon Temple, in my initial few years in Tokyo, I was totally oblivious to its existence. A Tokyo Metro Subway advertisement pamphlet in 2001 made me aware of it.Ueno Park DaibutsuToday located on a small hill (very small hill, just a few steps haha),  a pagoda was built in 1972 and the Buddha head was enshrined on the wall. Closed eyes, serene in deep meditation. Just the eyes connect the spiritual experience. Today the Buddha is a symbol of long term luck and fortitude, primarily because it has been surviving odds from natural calamities, fires and wars.Ueno Park DaibutsuWhile Ueno is known for its pandas, the lotus pond, cherry blossoms, the Great Buddha Hill is one of the most iconic spots in the area and is worth a visit.  Do not miss it. There is already a teahouse and benches to unwind on top of the hill. Ueno Park DaibutsuThe access to the temple is closed at 17:00 so reach before this time, quite early in the evenings. The gate into the pagoda at Daibutsu yama is in the below image closed, yeah I went late at 17:15 myself and although I stroked a bit in the temple premises, I could not see the enshrined deity  inside the pagoda, although I did take a good look at the Buddha face.Ueno Park DaibutsuA black and white photograph is placed next to the Buddha face which shows the grand statue in the 20th century before it was melted for the war effort. The Kamakura Buddha was spared from war effort and today it is a major attraction for tourists… the Ueno Buddha face could have been that, right there in the middle of the city. Good at least the face has survivedUeno Park DaibutsuEma of the wooden plates on which people write their wishes and prayers to the god and tie the same in the premises of the temple. Most had written “pray for success in exams” or “I want to become a model this year”. Ueno Park DaibutsuGo around the Ueno Park and discover other small shrines including the Kan’ei-ji’s original five-storied pagoda in Ueno. Beautiful Japanese stone lamp structures on the walkway to the pagodaUeno Park DaibutsuVisited last autumn when the temple premises was a colourful atmosphere wit red, yellow coloured trees.Ueno Park DaibutsuNothing has been more ironic to me than the fact that Buddha was melted for the war effort by the Japanese military. A famous bronze statue of Saigō Takamori (one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history, living during the late Edo Period and early Meiji Era.) in hunting attire with his dog stands in Ueno Park, today. This statue was unveiled on 18 December 1898 meaning that this statue was not selected for the war effort in the second world war, but the Buddha’s statue was melted. God was somehow disposable then……..
Ueno Park Daibutsu

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