Buddhist Stupas

Symbols of Enligtenment

Stupas are sacred monuments that embody the enlightened mind. The word “Stupa” is a Sannskit word that means to the heap or pile up. It’s a Buddhist Monument or dome like form created over sacred relics of the historical Buddha. Stupa is like a spiritual generator. It establishes peace and harmony while subduing negative forces. Today we see smaller Stupa statue on Buddhist Shrine and could be purchased online.

Symbolism of a Stupa

Stupas speak of enlightenment on many different levels. The outer form of a stupa represents meditating Buddha, seated and crowned. The Stupa incorporates five basic geometric shapes that correspond to five elements. Each element, in turn, corresponds to an essential attribute of fully awakened being. The Square base represents earth and equanimity; the round dome, water and indestructibility; the triangular spine, fire and compassion; the semi-circular umbrella, wind and all accomplishing action; and at the very top jewel-shaped drop represents space and all pervading awareness. As Buddhism moved from culture to culture, the appearance of the Stupa changed not only in size and material but also in its shape.

Sections of the Stupa

From bottom up:

The three steps at the base, the throne: The three refuges of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

The four steps below Bumpa (dome): The legs of the buddha: the Four Immeasurable of loving and kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

The Bumpa: the Buddha’s chest: the Seven Elements of Enlightenment: mindfulness, discrimination, exertion, joy, pliancy, samadhi, and equanimity

The Harmika, just below the spire: Eyes of the Buddha: the Eight-fold Noble Path of Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.

The Spire, or 13 rings: the ten levels or bhumis of the Mahayana path and the three highest stages of the Vajrayana path.

The Parasol: compassion

The Moon/Sun shapes represent the union of compassion and wisdom, joining the all-accomplishing action of compassion with the all-pervading awareness of wisdom.

Eight Great Deeds

After took his last breath and his body cremated, his ashes were divided into eight parts. The eight Stupas were built in representations of his form and memorials for his Eight Great Deeds. Many Stupas today are built on these representations.

Here are the 8 different Stupas

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