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Obama makes return visit to sacred Buddha statue

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KAMAKURA, Japan » President Barack Obama made a return visit to the Great Buddha statue in Japan on Sunday, noting "I was only 6" the last time he visited the sacred site.

Obama’s visit to the site of the 44-foot-high bronze statue, nestled among the hills and trees at Kamakura, was the last stop on his 10-day Asian tour that began in India and included Indonesia and South Korea as well as Japan.

The president noted "the first time I was here I was this big," putting his left hand up to his waist. He walked with two hosts closer to the imposing statue, craning his head upward to view the statue of Amida Buddha. It weighs 93 tons and was constructed in 1252. The Great Buddha is seated in the lotus position with hands forming the gesture of meditation.

Obama sat with his hosts and ate an ice cream treat and toted away a bag of gifts.

"It is wonderful to return to this great treasure of Japanese culture. Its beauty has stayed with me for many years," Obama wrote in the guest book, the White House said.

The president noted he bought two bracelets at the site for his daughters, Malia and Sasha.

Obama left Japan for the United States at mid-afternoon Sunday on the long flight back to Washington, where hea will have a host of domestic issues at hand when Congress returns for its postelection session.

 

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