The Many Faces of Buddha

Southeast Asia is made up of several compact, densely populated countries. Along with a change in currency and the sound of a different language, visitors to the region know they’ve crossed a national border simply by looking to the Buddha. Buddhist imagery and the philosophies it reflects are remarkably different from region to region worldwide, but the differences are especially pronounced in Southeast Asia.

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Asia is not all Buddhist: Buddha Park, Vientiane, Laos

This is not the Buddha. The complexity of religious imagery in Southeast Asia is staggering to the Western mind. As we meandered the region at twelve miles per hour on our tandem bicycle, we saw so many depictions of religious beings that we will be years sorting them all out, if we ever manage the task.

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