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A STUPA ( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
: "heap") is a mound -like or hemispherical structure containing relics (śarīra - typically the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns ) that is used as a place of meditation. A related architectural term is a chaitya , which is a prayer hall or temple containing a stupa.

In Buddhism, circumambulation or pradakhshina has been an important ritual and devotional practice since the earliest times, and stupas always have a pradakhshina path around them.

CONTENTS

* 1 Description and history

* 1.1 Notable stupas * 1.2 Types of stupas

* 2 Symbolism

* 2.1 Five purified elements

* 3 Construction

* 3.1 Treasury * 3.2 Tree of Life * 3.3 Benefits

* 4 Tibetan stupas

* 4.1 Lotus Blossom Stupa
Stupa
* 4.2 Enlightenment Stupa
Stupa
* 4.3 Stupa
Stupa
of Many Doors * 4.4 Stupa
Stupa
of Descent from the God Realm * 4.5 Stupa
Stupa
of Great Miracles * 4.6 Stupa
Stupa
of Reconciliation * 4.7 Stupa
Stupa
of Complete Victory * 4.8 Stupa
Stupa
of Nirvana

* 5 Kalachakra stupa * 6 Swat District * 7 Gallery * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 Further reading * 11 External links

DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY

See also: cetiya Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath marks the spot where Buddha
Buddha
gave his first sermon.

Stupas originated as pre-Buddhist tumuli in which śramaṇas were buried in a seated position called chaitya . After the parinirvana of the Buddha, his remains were cremated and the ashes divided and buried under eight mounds with two further mounds encasing the urn and the embers. The earliest archaeological evidence for the presence of Buddhist stupas dates to the late 4th century BCE in India
India
. Buddhist scriptures claim that stupas were built at least a century earlier. Since it is likely that before this time stupas were built with non-durable materials such as wood, or that they were merely burial mounds, little is known about them, particularly since it has not been possible to identify the original ten monuments. However, some later stupas, such as at Sarnath and Sanchi
Sanchi
, seem to be embellishments of earlier mounds. The earliest evidence of monastic stupas dates back to the 2nd century BCE. These are stupas that were built within Buddhist monastic complexes and they replicate in stone older stupas made of baked bricks and timber. Sanchi
Sanchi
, Sarnath , Amaravati and Bharhut are examples of stupas that were shaped in stone imitating previously existing wooden parts.

The stupa was elaborated as Buddhism
Buddhism
spread to other Asian countries, becoming, for example, the chörten of Tibet
Tibet
and the pagoda in East Asia . The pagoda has varied forms that also include bell-shaped and pyramidal styles. In the Western context, there is no clear distinction between a stupa and a pagoda. In general, however, "stupa" is the term used for a Buddhist structure in India
India
or Southeast Asia while "pagoda" refers to a building in East Asia
East Asia
which can be entered and which may be secular in purpose.

Stupas were built in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
soon after Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
converted to Buddhism. The first stupa to be built was the Thuparamaya . Later, many more were built over the years, some like the Jetavanaramaya in Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
, being one of the tallest ancient structures in the world.

NOTABLE STUPAS

Borobudur
Borobudur
bell-shaped stupas.

The earliest archaeological evidence for the presence of Buddhist stupas dates to the late 4th century BCE. In India, Sanchi
Sanchi
, Sarnath , Amaravati and Bharhut are among the oldest known stupas. The tallest is the Jetavanaramaya Stupa
Stupa
located in the ancient city of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
with a height of 400 ft The Swat Valley hosts a well-preserved stupa at Shingardar near Ghalegay
Ghalegay
; another stupa is located near Barikot and Dharmarajika-Taxila in Pakistan
Pakistan
. In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
, the ancient city of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
includes some of the tallest, most ancient and best preserved stupas in the world, such as Ruwanwelisaya
Ruwanwelisaya
.

The most elaborate stupa is the 8th century Borobudur
Borobudur
monument in Java
Java
, Indonesia
Indonesia
. The upper rounded terrace with rows of bell-shaped stupas contained Buddha
Buddha
images symbolizing Arūpajhāna , the sphere of formlessness. The main stupa itself is empty, symbolizing complete perfection of enlightenment. The main stupa is the crown part of the monument, while the base is a pyramidal structure elaborated with galleries adorned with bas relief scenes derived from Buddhist texts and depicting the life of Gautama Buddha
Buddha
. Borobudur's unique and significant architecture has been acknowledged by UNESCO
UNESCO
as the largest Buddhist monument in the world. It is also the world’s largest Buddhist temple. as well as one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.

A Jain
Jain
stupa was excavated at Mathura in the 19th century.

TYPES OF STUPAS

Built for a variety of reasons, Buddhist stupas are classified based on form and function into five types:

* RELIC STUPA, in which the relics or remains of the Buddha, his disciples, and lay saints are interred. * OBJECT STUPA, in which the items interred are objects belonged to the Buddha
Buddha
or his disciples, such as a begging bowl or robe, or important Buddhist scriptures. * COMMEMORATIVE STUPA, built to commemorate events in the lives of Buddha
Buddha
or his disciples. * SYMBOLIC STUPA, to symbolise aspects of Buddhist theology; for example, Borobudur
Borobudur
is considered to be the symbol of "the Three Worlds (dhatu) and the spiritual stages (bhumi) in a Mahayana
Mahayana
bodhisattva's character." * VOTIVE STUPA, constructed to commemorate visits or to gain spiritual benefits, usually at the site of prominent stupas which are regularly visited.

SYMBOLISM

View of the Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew
complex from the northeast, temple complex of the Emerald Buddha
Buddha
with stupas.

"The shape of the stupa represents the Buddha, crowned and sitting in meditation posture on a lion throne. His crown is the top of the spire; his head is the square at the spire's base; his body is the vase shape; his legs are the four steps of the lower terrace; and the base is his throne."

FIVE PURIFIED ELEMENTS

Although not described in any Tibetan text on stupa symbolism, the stupa may represent the five purified elements:

* The square base represents earth * The hemispherical dome/vase represents water * The conical spire represents fire * The upper lotus parasol and the crescent moon represent air * The sun and the dissolving point represent the element of space

CONSTRUCTION

To build a stupa, Dharma transmission
Dharma transmission
and ceremonies known to a Buddhist teacher are necessary. The type of stupa to be constructed in a certain area is decided together with the teacher assisting in the construction. Sometimes the type is chosen directly connected with events that have taken place in the area. The sharing of the relics of the Buddha. Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara , 2-3rd century CE. ZenYouMitsu Temple Museum, Tokyo. Buddha
Buddha
relics from Kanishka\'s stupa in Peshawar
Peshawar
, Pakistan. These surviving relics are now housed in Mandalay
Mandalay
, Myanmar.

TREASURY

All stupas contain a treasury filled with various objects. Small clay votive offerings called tsatsas in Tibetan fill most of the treasury. Creation of various types of tsatsas is a ceremony itself. Mantras written on paper are rolled into thin rolls and put into small clay stupas. One layer of tsatsas is placed in the treasury, and the empty space between them is filled with dry sand. On the thus created new surface, another layer of tsatsas is made, and so on until the entire space of the treasury is full.

The number of tsatsas required to completely fill the treasury depends on its size and the size of the tsatsa. For example, the Kalachakra stupa in southern Spain
Spain
contains approximately 14,000 tsatsas.

Jewellery
Jewellery
and other "precious" objects are also placed in the treasury. It is not necessary that they be expensive, since it is the symbolic value that is important, not the market price. It is believed that the more objects placed into the stupa, the stronger the energy of the stupa.

TREE OF LIFE

An important element in every stupa is the "Tree of Life". This is a wooden pole covered with gems and thousands of mantras; it is placed in the central channel of the stupa. It is positioned during a ceremony or initiation, where the participants hold colorful ribbons connected to the Tree of Life. Together, the participants make their most positive and powerful wishes, which are stored in the Tree of Life. In this way the stupa is charged, and starts to function.

BENEFITS

Building a stupa is considered extremely beneficial, leaving very positive karmic imprints in the mind. Future benefits from this action result in fortunate rebirths. Fortunate worldly benefits will be the result, such as being born into a rich family, having a beautiful body, a nice voice, being attractive, bringing joy to others, and having a long and happy life in which one's wishes are quickly fulfilled. On the absolute level, one will also be able quickly to reach enlightenment , the goal of Buddhism.

Destroying a stupa, on the other hand, is considered an extremely negative deed, similar to killing. Such an action is said to create massive negative karmic imprints, leading to serious future problems. It is said this action leaves the mind in a state of paranoia after death has occurred, leading to totally unfortunate rebirths.

TIBETAN STUPAS

The Eight Great Stupas

Part of a series on

BUDDHISM

History

* Timeline * Gautama Buddha
Buddha

* Councils * Later Buddhists

* Dharma
Dharma
* Concepts

* Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths

* Five Aggregates * Impermanence
Impermanence

* Suffering * Non-self

* Dependent Origination

* Middle Way
Middle Way
* Emptiness * Karma

* Rebirth * Saṃsāra * Cosmology

Buddhist texts
Buddhist texts

* Buddhavacana
Buddhavacana
* Tripiṭaka * Mahayana
Mahayana
Sutras * Pāli Canon
Pāli Canon
* Tibetan canon * Chinese canon

Practices

* Three Jewels

* Buddhist Paths to liberation
Buddhist Paths to liberation

* Morality * Perfections * Meditation * Philosophical reasoning

* Mindfulness * Wisdom

* Compassion

* Aids to Enlightenment * Monasticism

* Laity

Nirvāṇa

* Four Stages * Arhat
Arhat

* Buddha
Buddha
* Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva

Traditions

* Theravāda * Pāli * Mahāyāna

* Hinayana
Hinayana
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Buddhism
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by country

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India
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Sri Lanka
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* Korea * Taiwan * Tibet
Tibet
* Bhutan
Bhutan
* Mongolia * Russia
Russia

* Outline * Buddhism
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portal

* v * t * e

Stupas in Tibet
Tibet
and Bhutan
Bhutan
are usually called CHORTEN in English, reflecting the term in the Tibetan language . There are eight different kinds of stupas in Tibetan Buddhism
Buddhism
, each referring to major events in the Buddha
Buddha
's life.

LOTUS BLOSSOM STUPA

Also known as " Stupa
Stupa
of Heaped Lotuses" or "Birth of the Sugata Stupa," this stupa refers to the birth of Gautama Buddha
Buddha
. "At birth Buddha
Buddha
took seven steps in each of the four directions" (East, South, West and North). In each direction lotuses sprang up, symbolizing the brahmavihāras : love, compassion, joy and equanimity. The base of this stupa is circular and has four steps, and it is decorated with lotus-petal designs. Occasionally, seven heaped lotus steps are constructed. These refer to the seven first steps of the Buddha.

ENLIGHTENMENT STUPA

Enlightenment Stupa
Stupa
at Ogoy Island
Ogoy Island
, Russia
Russia

Also known as the " Stupa
Stupa
of the Conquest of Mara ", this stupa symbolizes the 35-year-old Buddha
Buddha
's attainment of enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya , where he conquered worldly temptations and attacks, manifesting in the form of Mara.

STUPA OF MANY DOORS

This stupa is also known as the " Stupa
Stupa
of Many Gates". After reaching enlightenment, the Buddha
Buddha
taught his first students in a deer park near Sarnath . The series of doors on each side of the steps represents the first teachings: the Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
, the Six Pāramitās , the Noble Eightfold Path and the Twelve Nidānas .

STUPA OF DESCENT FROM THE GOD REALM

At 42 years of age, Buddha
Buddha
spent a summer retreat in the Tuṣita Heaven where his mother had taken rebirth. In order to repay her kindness he taught the dharma to her reincarnation. Local inhabitants built a stupa in Sankassa in order to commemorate this event. This type of stupa is characterized by having a central projection at each side containing a triple ladder or steps.

STUPA OF GREAT MIRACLES

Chorten near Potala Palace , Lhasa , Tibet
Tibet
.

Also known as the " Stupa
Stupa
of Conquest of the Tirthikas ", this stupa refers to various miracles performed by the Buddha
Buddha
when he was 50 years old. Legend claims that he overpowered maras and heretics by engaging them in intellectual arguments and also by performing miracles. This stupa was raised by the Lichavi kingdom to commemorate the event.

STUPA OF RECONCILIATION

This stupa commemorates the Buddha's resolution of a dispute among the sangha . A stupa in this design was built in the kingdom of Magadha
Magadha
, where the reconciliation occurred. It has four octagonal steps with equal sides.

STUPA OF COMPLETE VICTORY

This stupa commemorates Buddha's successful prolonging of his life by three months. It has only three steps, which are circular and unadorned.

STUPA OF NIRVANA

This stupa refers to the death of the Buddha
Buddha
when he was 80 years old. It symbolizes his complete absorption into the highest state of mind. It is bell-shaped and usually unornamented.

KALACHAKRA STUPA

Main article: Kalachakra stupa

A ninth kind of stupa exists, the Kalachakra stupa . Its symbolism is not connected to events in the Buddha's life, but instead to the symbolism of the Kalachakra Tantra , created to protect against negative energies.

SWAT DISTRICT

Swat District is a small place with a large number of ancient stupas. The largest stupa of the Indian subcontinent is in Shingardar.

GALLERY

*

Stupa
Stupa
surrounded by four lion-crowned pillars, Gandhara , 2nd century AD *

Shingardar stupa, Swat valley *

Deekshabhoomi
Deekshabhoomi
, Nagpur
Nagpur
, India
India
*

Dro-dul Chorten - Gangtok, Sikkim *

Swayambhunath , also known as Monkey Temple, is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley
, Nepal
Nepal
*

Kathesimbhu Stupa, Thamel , Kathmandu
Kathmandu
, Nepal
Nepal
*

Boudhanath is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley
, Nepal
Nepal
*

Ruwanwelisaya
Ruwanwelisaya
in the sacred city of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
*

Jetavanaramaya stupa in Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
is the largest brick structure in the world *

The main Stupa
Stupa
crowning Borobudur
Borobudur
, the largest Buddhist structure in the world, Java
Java
, Indonesia
Indonesia
*

The rock cut and semi-brick construction ruins of Maha Chaitya(stupa) at Bojjannakonda , Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
, India
India
*

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambhala Mountain Center , Colorado , USA *

Khmer style stupa within the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh
, Cambodia
Cambodia
*

Different architectural features that comprise Shwedagon Pagoda
Pagoda
and similar Mon-style stupas, in Yangon
Yangon
, Myanmar
Myanmar
*

Phra Sri Ratana Chedi within Wat Phra Kaeo , in Bangkok
Bangkok
, Thailand
Thailand
*

Evolution of the Butkara stupa in Pakistan
Pakistan
through the Mauryan , Indo-Greek , Indo-Scythian
Indo-Scythian
and Kushan
Kushan
periods *

A stupa at Dambulla golden temple , Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
*

The National Memorial Chorten (stupa) Thimpu
Thimpu
, Bhutan
Bhutan
*

One Hundred and Eight Stupas in Ningxia
Ningxia
, China
China
*

Full height view of Chedi Liam at Wat Chedi Liam , Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
, Thailand
Thailand

SEE ALSO

* Ancient stupas of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
* Candi * Cetiya * Chaitya * Gorintō
Gorintō
* Great Stupa of Universal Compassion * Hōkyōintō * Mankiala Stupa
Mankiala Stupa
* Ovoo * Pagoda
Pagoda
* Peace Pagoda
Pagoda
* Round barrow * Wat
Wat

REFERENCES

* ^ Google Translate forum: What Phonetic System does Google Translate use for Thai s̄t̄hūp , cedīy̒ * ^ Encyclopedia.com. Credited to James Stevens Curl, A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 2000, originally published by Oxford University Press 2000. * ^ "Buddhist Art and Architecture: Symbolism of the Stupa
Stupa
/ Chorten". 2006-08-14. Retrieved 2013-01-07. * ^ "THE BUDDHIST STUPA: ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT". 2005-01-13. Retrieved 2013-01-07. * ^ " Stupa
Stupa
- Bhutanese, Nepalese, Tibetan Style Chortens or Stupa is the symbol of enlightened mind". Bhutan
Bhutan
Majestic Travel. 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2013-01-17. * ^ The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press * ^ "Tallest stupa". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2018-01-08. * ^ "Largest Buddhist temple". Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records
. Guinness World Records. Retrieved 27 January 2014. * ^ Purnomo Siswoprasetjo (July 4, 2012). "Guinness names Borobudur world\'s largest Buddha
Buddha
temple". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 5 November 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014. * ^ " Borobudur
Borobudur
Temple Compounds". UNESCO World Heritage Centre . UNESCO
UNESCO
. Retrieved 28 December 2008. * ^ Smith, Vincent Arthur (1901). The Jain
Jain
stûpa and other antiquities of Mathurâ. Allahabad: KFrank Luker, Superintendent, Government Press, North-Western Provinces and Oudh. * ^ A B Le Huu Phuoc (March 2010). Buddhist Architecture. Grafikol. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-9844043-0-8 . Retrieved 8 December 2011. * ^ "Introduction to stupas". stupa.org. Retrieved 2009-04-18. * ^ A B C D E F G H I J K Beer, Robert: The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs (2004) Serindia Publications Inc. ISBN 1-932476-10-5 * ^ A B C D E F G H I "Miracle Stupa
Stupa
- Stupa". stupa.pl. Retrieved 2009-04-18. * ^ A B "Benefits Resulting from the Building of Stupas". stupa.org. Retrieved 2009-04-18. * ^ A B Article: Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche: The Four Thoughts which Turn the Mind from Samsara. BUDDHISM TODAY, Vol.5, 1998. Available online Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ "Kalachakra Stupa". karmaguen.org. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-18. * ^ "ANCIENT STUPAS IN SRI LANKA – LARGEST BRICK STRUCTURES IN THE WORLD" (PDF). stupa.org. Retrieved 2011-07-29.

FURTHER READING

* Harvey, Peter (1984). The Symbolism of the Early Stūpa, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 7 (2), 67-94 * Mitra, D. (1971). Buddhist Monuments. Sahitya Samsad: Calcutta. ISBN 0-89684-490-0 . * Smith, Vincent Arthur (1901). The Jain
Jain
stupa and other antiquities of Mathura. Allahabad .

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