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What Is Stupa? Discuss Its Structure And Significance In Detail

Referencing Styles : APA | Pages : 1

Stupa

A stupa can be defined as a mound-like or hemispherical structure which contains relics like Sarira, certainly the remains of the Buddhists Monks or the nuns. They are used as a place of connection between the mind and the soul. A term relating to stupa is the Chaitya that is the prayer hall which contains a stupa. In the culture of Buddhism, circumambulation or the pradakshina, which is also considered as a full round, is considered an important ritual and a devotional practice since the earliest times. The stupas always have a pradakshina path around them. The stupas are considered to have been originated as the pre-Buddhist tumuli in which the sramanas were buried in a position of being seated. It is called the chaitya.

It is suggested by some authors that the stupas have been extracted from a wider cultural ethnicity from the Mediterranean to the great Indus Valley. It is also said that it can be related to the mounds which are conical in shape on the bases which are circular in shape from the 8th century Before Christ Era, that can be found in the Phrygia, Lydia or in the Phoenicia( the tomb of Amrit, the 5th Before Christ Era)

Decorated stupas (from the 125 Before Christ Era)

Stupas were very soon considered to be richly decorated with the sculptural reliefs, following the first attempts at the Sanchi stupa Number 2. The sculptural decoration of the full fledged and the scenes of the life of the Buddha would be following at Bharhut (115 Before Christ Era), Bodh Gaya (60 Before Christ Era) Mathura (125 Before Christ Era) again at the Sanchi for the elimination of the toranas (1st century BCE/CE) and then Amravati (1st and the 2nd century Before Christ Era). The decorated embellishment of the stupa have undergone a considerable development in the area of the North West in Gandhara, with the stupas which are decorated, such as the Butkara Stupa (which are monumentalised with the Hellenistic decorative elements that belong to the 2nd century).

Development in the Gandhara (the third century Before Christ Era to the Fifth Century Christ Era )

The stupa has gone through various transformations in the area of the gandhara. From the time of the spreading of the Buddhism in the Central Asia, China and the finally Korea and the Japan by the Gandhara, which is considered as the stylistic transformation which was persuasive in the later development of the stupa and the artistic or architectural forms in such areas. There were several steps that were followed by the Gandhara, normally moving towards more and more elimination and the addition of the decorative element, thus leading to the transformation of the tower of Pagoda. The main types of stupa are as follows:

The Dharmarajika Stupa, which bears a near to somewhat Indian design of the semi hemispheric stupa direct on ground surface, mostly dated to the 3rd Century Before Christ Era.

Five purified elements of a stupa

The stupa elaborates five elements

  • The square shaped base represents the Earth
  • The dome/vase in the shape of the hemisphere is the representation of water
  • The fire is represented by the conical spire
  • The upper lotus parasol as well as the cresent moon represent air
  • The sun and the dissolving point represent the element of the space.

Construction

In order to build a stupa, the Dharma transmission and the events and the ceremonies which are known to a teacher possessing the knowledge of Buddhism are very essential. The kind of stupa which is to be constructed in a significant area is to be decided together with the help of the teacher who will be assisting in the construction of the Stupa. The kind of the stupa that is to be constructed is connected directly with the events and circumstances that have taken place in the respective area.

 Treasury

Treasury in the form of various objects is filled inside every stupa. Small clay votive offerings which are known as tsatsas in the Tibetan fill most of the treasury that is to be kept. A layer of the Tsatsas is kept in the treasury itself.

Importance

The stupa’s decorative establishment with the reliefs of sculpture, which follow the first attempts at the Sanchi Stupa 2 (125 Before Christ Era). They are used as a place of connection between the mind and the soul. A term relating to stupa is the Chaitya that is the prayer hall which contains a stupa. In the culture of Buddhism, circumambulation or the pradakshina, which is also considered as a full round, is considered an important ritual and a devotional practice since the earliest times. The full-fledged sculptural decorations and the scenes of the life of Gautama Buddha would soon be following at Bharhut (115 Before Christ Era), Bodh Gaya (60 Before Christ Era) Mathura (125 Before Christ Era) again at the Sanchi for the elimination of the toranas (1st century BCE/CE) and then Amravati (1st and the 2nd century Before Christ Era).

The building of any stupa is considered prime important, as it has been leaving absolutely positive karmic imprints in the minds.

It is said, “The future benefits from building the stupa can result in to fortunate rebirths” There are other benefits of building a stupa, which is inclusive of the births in a rich family, or possession of a beautiful body, a soulful voice and a happy life being attractive bringing happiness  and having a happy life where one’s wishes are fulfilled quickly. One of the greatest benefits that can be achieved through the construction of the Stupa is that enlightenment can be reached with great ease.

On the other hand, destruction of a stupa is not considered very sacred and is said to have a negative impact, which is similar to getting killed or killing. An action of any sort like destruction of the stupa is said to have negative karmatic imprints, which would lead to severe problems in the future. The action which it leaves in the mind is a state of paranoia post death has been occurred, which would lead to totally unfortunate rebirths.

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