Thailand has more statues of Buddha than anyplace else in the world. Buddhism is professed and practiced by nine-tenths of this country's 60 million people. There are 30,000 monasteries in Thailand where many men still live as ordained monks for some period of their lives.

Mark Standen, who is from Britain, took photographs of Buddha statues in the varied landscapes of Thailand. The results of his three-year project are collected in this beautifully designed devotional resource. He presents 275 color photographs of large open-air images of the Enlightened One on hilltops, facing a calm sea, overlooking towns, in parks, set beside a highway, amidst harvested rice fields, and in a cave or a leafy grove.

As John Hoskin points out: "Buddhism presents a system of symbols and rituals to aid everyday practices and the accumulation of merit. Not least of these tangible supports is the image of the Buddha, which is both a symbol of his teaching and a focal point for devotion." The book contains several fascinating sections on the making of Buddha images, the reasons individuals or communities commission a statue, and the ways in which Thais show their respect for these statues — including the practice of pressing little squares of gold leaf onto them.