What is a Stupa

"An encounter with a Stupa is an encounter with myth – or as Carl Jung and Joseph Campell might have phrased it, an archetypal truth. What may at first seem only to be an artistic and perhaps nostalgic arrangement of brick, stone or wood may eventually come to be seen as an elaborate vessel, transporting the teachings of the Buddha - Buddhadharma - across three millennia."

- Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection. 2001

Stupas belong to the oldest architectural forms been built in all countries where Buddhist philosophy flourished: Great India, Ceylon, Central Asia and China, Nepal, Indonesia, Burma, Siam, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Bhutan.

Their actual shapes and symbolism developed for more than 2550 years from a simple earth reliquary, once built for heroes and kings, to a high complex building expressing a profound knowledge.

Stupas became a multi-purpose symbol, a real treasure of knowledge about outer and inner phenomena, the universe, the nature of our mind and the path leading to the state of full development or enlightenment.

Even though their forms vary depending on the place and time they were built, the Stupas always manifest the victory of the enlightened wisdom over the suffering of ignorance.

At the beginning of the seventies, together with the arrival of Buddhism to the Western World, arrived the understanding about the Stupas’ construction and their deep meaning and symbolism.

Their pure geometrical shapes, their inner filling and their consecration done through rituals performed by high Lamas, grant them a complex symbolism on many levels.

Among others the Stupas symbolise the Buddha himself and his enlightened mind. In the eight different types of Tibetan Stupas are encoded the eight most significant events of Buddha’s life story and His body.

In the subsequent parts of the construction might also be encoded the complete teachings that Buddha Shakyamuni gave (84 000 instructions), as well as our gradual path towards enlightenment.

The shape of the Stupa also symbolizes the elements of which our universe is composed : earth, water, fire, air and conciousness.

Stupas are also mandalas: they manifest pure energy fields of different Buddha emanations. They can also be interpreted as a geometrical diagram of the universe.

Stupas posses a powerful pacifying, protective and enriching effect on their surrounding. They work like energy generators, they grant us blessings.

Seen as helpers on our way of spiritual development they mirror the harmony and perfection of universal principles inherent in our mind and invite us to awaken our full capabilities.

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