Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Golden Triangle Buddha (photos)

CC Liu (Berkeley), Wisdom Quarterly; (instagramfacebook)
Small gecko under the Buddha's gorgeous middle finger sits protectively (Ursula/UWW)
There is a golden Buddha in the center of the infamous Golden Triangle, the former crossroads of nefarious activity between mountainous Thailand, Burma, and Laos. Where Theravada Buddhist cultures now meet and mingle, drug lords once ran Chinese money in exchange for opium, heroin, human trafficking, and sundry warlord activity like Southeast Asian and CIA money laundering.

Jogging in Lumpini Park, Bangkok (UWW)
It was a den of iniquity, a big den, the size of a jungle. When Axl Rose first sang "Welcome to the Jungle," he probably had this triangular patch in mind as a counterpart the ruined asphalt grid called Los Angeles and in particular its concrete capital HollywoodLand. But intrepid traveler and photographer Ursula_in_Aus (Ursula_Bkk when in Bangkok) has a backstory to accompany these beautiful pictures.

Golden Triangle
Ursula_in_Aus (edited, abbreviated by Wisdom Quarterly)
...Google “Golden Triangle.” One of the entries that pops up relates to Euclidean geometry and a golden ratio that forms the hypotenuse of the golden or sublime triangle: a magical isosceles with “divine” proportions. It is the basis for perfect pentagrams and logarithmic spirals.
But Asia's Golden Triangle is 950,000 square kms of mountainous jungles that, until the early 21st century, was responsible for most of the world’s heroin production.

Novice at Shwe Yan Pyay, Burma (UWW)
The contradictory “divine” heart of this triangular region is a golden Buddha, joyfully and soberly sitting at the at confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers, the intersection of three countries that form the triangle.
The first time I visited this giant marvel, it struck me how imposing the image was, sitting so serenely, facing and overlooking Thailand, apparently oblivious to the gambling casinos across the waters behind it (gambling being the least of the area's vices). More

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