Michael Freeman

As in Bamiyan, monumental Buddhas were carved throughout eastern and southeastern Asia to celebrate the all-pervasiveness of the Buddha. The ninth-century A.D. pyramid-like shrine at Borobudur (shown here) in central Java is composed of nine superimposed terraces, whose inner walls are elaborately carved with reliefs depicting Siddhartha’s life. At the top of the shrine are images of the enlightened Buddha—both freestanding and inside the bell-shaped stupas (signifying the Buddha’s death and enlightenment).