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Books > Buddhist > Stupa and Its Technology: A Tibeto-Buddhist Perspective
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Stupa and Its Technology: A Tibeto-Buddhist Perspective
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Foreword

Generally associated with Buddhism, stupa had a pre-Buddhist origin. According to ancient tradition its other synonyms are caitya and dhatugarbha in Sanskrit or dagoba in Sinhalese. Literally stupa denotes a made up heap of earth or of any other materials to serve a specific purpose. In the Rgveda, a collection of flames of fire has been styled as stupa (VII. 2. 11). It seems that the stupa has its origin in the form of an altar (citi) or a tumulus piled at site of a funeral pyre (cita) as some kind of memorial with a tree or a wooden post planted in its center, and on this account it was also called a caitya, the tree on it as caitya-vrksa and the post as caitya-yupa. The Satapatha-brahmana speaks about circular (catussrakti) caityas which were perhaps being raised traditionally as the memorials for departed personages of significant status. The same test also mentions that the circular variety of the caityas was popular with the easterner pracyas or the people of eastern India. Regarding the tradition of non-Buddhist stupa, an interesting example is seen in a Sanchi relief depicting Jatila ascetics engaged in fire-sacrifies with stupas (without any crowning member) in the background suggesting their connection with Jatila cult of Brahmanical origin.

The term dhatugarbha refers to a construction serving as a repository of dhatus or corporeal relics. The ancient practice of erecting the caityas for the dead is also confirmed by a statement attributed to Buddha following an enquiry by Ananda, his favourite disciple, in connection with the disposal of his own body after his passing away as indicated in Mahaparinibbana-sutta. According to this reference Buddha told Ananda that following the cremation of his body a stupa should be constructed on his mortal remains at the meeting points of four roads (catuspatha) in the same manner in which the cakravartins or the great rulers of yore (a catummahepatharanno cakkavattissa thupam karonti) had been honoured by raising a memorial stupa. After his parinibbana (decease), Buddha's bodily relics were divided into eight parts amongst various ruling clans, viz., the Mallas of Kusinagara and Pava, Licchavis of Vaisali, Sakyas of Kapilavastu, Koliyas of Ramagrama, Bulis of Allakappa and Brahmanas of Vetthadvipa and Ajatasatru, the king of Magadha; all of whom erected stupas over their share of relics in their respective localities according to Pali traditions.

It is also recorded in the same source that Brahmana Drona, who was also a devotee of Buddha, built a stupa enshrining the jar in which relics were kept before their division, and Mauryas of Pipplivana erected a stupa on charcoal remains collected from the site of Buddha's cremation. The available archaeological evidence reveals that the early Buddhist stupas, which were made of earth had a circular plan, possibly with a peaked elevation but other details about them cannot be clearly ascertained.

On the basis of data available, it has been suggested that the stupas were constructed by the Buddhists not only over the bodily relics of Buddha and Buddhist saints but also as commemorative monuments connected with a particular event or over the objects of religious significance associated with Buddha. With the passage of time, the practice of erecting stupas with or without relics or even drawing just their outline on a wall or elsewhere was considered to be an act of great piety, and numerous votive stupas of various sizes were thus brought into existence as sacred offerings at the centers of pilgrimage.

Interestingly, one of the epigraphs of Emperor Asoka mentions that during his fourteenth regnal year, he doubled (enlarged) the stupa of Kanakamuni, the fifth human (manusi) Buddha before Sakyamuni, the seventh one in the line. According to northern Buddhist tradition, Asoka is said to have constructed 84, 000 stupas over the fragments of the dhatus (relics) of Buddha after unearthing them from the earlier stupas, redistributing and re-enshrining them in different parts of the country. The tradition attributing to Asoka the erection of 84, 000 stupas on the dhatus of Buddha seems to be somewhat exaggerated but not totally devoid of truth. There is indirect evidence to show that Dharmarajika stupas at Sarnath and Taxila and original stupa at Sanchi and elsewhere were certainly built by Asoka.

The idea to preserve the mortal remains of a person fully or partially in a structural memorial was most likely based on the age-old concept of sympathetic magic conditioned by the belief of inseparability of connections between an organism and its constituents, even after the former had become lifeless or detached from its original form. The bodily relics of Buddha and his living personality thus had an inseparable relation to each other, suggesting that every bit of his bone represented the eternal presence of the Master through each stupa raised on his remains. Asoka's attempts to establish more stupas with fragments of Buddha's original dhatus seems to have been solely guided by the belief that every Buddhist intending to worship the stupa in his locality must feel the living presence of the Master therein.

Architecturally, early standardized form of a stupa consisted of a solid dome (anda) placed on a raised base (medhi) in one or two stages and topped by a railed enclosure (harmika) containing centrally a rod or post (yasti) supporting umbrellas (chatravali). Very often it was surrounded by one or two railed circumambulatories (pradaksinapathas), as offering salutations with folded hands and going round the stupa (Pradaksina) was a part of its ritual worship. It was also propitiated with offerings of gandha (scented paste), fragrant flower-garlands, and various other presents, (cf. Asokavadana: '…sugandhi-puspa-malyagandhalepaih sarvopaharaih sthaviropaguptam abhyarcya…')

With the growth of Buddhism in the course of time, the early structural model of stupa or caitya underwent gradual architectural transformation in various regions of India and elsewhere. Penetration of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Central Asian, South-East Asian and East Asian countries besides Nepal and Tibet was followed by the transmission of the religio-cultural traditions, concepts, and forms of Buddhist architecture including the stupa from their birth place to these foreign lands, where these were preserved, adapted and developed in accordance with local requirements, beliefs and taste.

The present work by a young researcher Shri Pema Dorjee "Stupa and its Technology: A Tibeto-Buddhist Perspective," which is being brought out under the Kalasamalocana series by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is a significant contribution to Buddhist studies. It brings to light interesting facets of stupa construction and some of its hitherto little known aspects including associated rituals and traditions. Buddhism with its evolved Mahayano-Vajrayanic form reached Tibet or Bhota mainly from eastern India around the seventh century A. D. With the introduction of Buddhism in Bhota (Tibet), which continued for several centuries.

Tibetan Buddhist monks and successive generations of disciples took special care to preserve the basic tenets and characteristics of Buddhism. However, it was adapted to local needs within Tibet's own colourful cultural aesthetic norms sustained through political patronage and socio-religious order founded by Buddha, continues till today as a living faith amongst Tibetans.

Tibeto-Buddhist traditions carry a special significance in the context of ancient Indian culture, as much of that, which has been forgotten or lost in the terms of Buddhist traditions and Sanskritic Buddhist literature in India, is preserved by Tibetans in the form of texts, sacred hymns, thought and religious practices.

Shri Dorjee studies and discusses the Tibetan Vinaya text and commentaries on them pertaining to the stupas and their varieties and rituals and concepts associated with their construction besides surviving stupas in upper Indus Valley in Ladakh region of India. He presents important data on the Buddhist structural tradition treating stupa as the dharmakaya (cosmic body) of Buddha.

The contents of Pema Dorjee's work acquire great significance if these are assessed in the light of the tradition and history of Buddhist stupa in India as known to us. According to the Tibetan texts, as recorded by the present author, stupas in India were built during the lifetime of Buddha by Anathapindika, the famous merchant prince of Sravasti, the capital of Kosala country. He specially cities the example of the stupa raised on the relics of Sariputra, one of the principal disciples of Buddha, containing a stepped-base, a kumbha-shaped (pitcher-like) elevation topped with a yasti (rod) and chatra. This tradition is also confirmed by Pali texts relating to Thervada Buddhism. On the basis of Tibetan texts, e.g., Dul ba lug rnam 'byed (Vinaya-ksudraka vastu), Li yul lung bstan pa (Kamsadisavyakarana); Mchold rten gyi cha dhbe ba 'dul pa las byung ba' imdo (Caitya-vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra); and Byababsdus Pa (Kriyasamgraha); and stupa construction manuals of Desid and Kongtul, Dorjee refers to other varieties of stupas viz., associated variously with Tathagata (Buddha), Pratyeka Buddha, Buddhist devotees classed as Srotapanna, Sakrdagamin, Anagamin and Arhat (in accordance with their stages of mental elevation) and Sravakas (monastic followers), each with its own distinguishing features. Several other structural types of stupa with specific religious associations are also mentioned in the Tibetan tradition like the one resembling a heap of grains, an alms bowl, a vase, victory-banner or a pillar besides a form called gandhakuti which appears to be a structure containing a stupa within.

In the present context, it is relevant to cite an interesting reference, to an Indian rock-cut cave styled as gandhakuti, in an inscription at Ajanta (Cave 17), which mainly records the construction of a vihara, i.e. Cave 17 itself. In this case the term gandhakuti seems to refer to the adjoining caitya hall (Cave 19) with a tallish stupa inside.

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition three varieties of stupa classed under Mahayana type, according to Nagarjuna, as recorded by Dorjee, are stated to be of the form of an inverted bowl, a tiny-house and group of eight-stupas. Some of these types can still be seen in Tibet and its neighbouring areas including Ladakh.

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, however, the names of the sites wherein original stupas were built on mortal relics of Buddha are different than those found in the Pali texts as already mentioned above.

Shri Dorjee also makes a reference to two more interesting varieties of stupa: one simulating a raised post or column and the other a structure with multiple auspicious doors. We do not have any example of the former type extant in India but Minar-I-Cakri in Afghanistan, which is known as a pre-Islamic Buddhist monument (minar), may represent a post like stupa recorded in the Tibetan tradition. It is possible that the origin of such a structure could have links with Vedic concept of skambha (a pillar like structure), which was perhaps adapted by the Buddhists. The other variety stated to have multiple doors, with some surviving specimens in Ladakh, appears to have had its origin in the terraced stupas of India, of which a fine example could be observed in the ancient structure at Sarnath called Caukhandi stupa. This type traveled to Sough East Asia and Culminated in Borobudur with additions and modifications. A noteworthy feature found in the elevational treatment of some of the stupas of Ladakh area is their striking similarity with the pidha type of spires containing a pyramidal body of receding stepped-mouldings of the Orissan temples suggesting some close cultural links between Orissan and Indo-Tibetan structural tradition.

The author of the present monograph also gives some details of rituals associated with the construction and consecration of the stupas as prescribed in the Tibetan versions of two main texts, Vimalosnisa and Rasmivimala, originally Sanskrit works written in India but now lost. Most of the rites and rituals are closely interlinked with Buddhist Tantricism, and these are to be conducted by a highly qualified Vajracarya (priest) having an expert knowledge of mantras, Mudras and principles of renunciation, Bodhicitta and sunyata (emptiness). The process of stupa construction begins with the selection of site and ends tablets containing mantras/dharinis written on them are also enshrined within it. Many features of these rituals including selection of the site etc., are comparable with the Agamic tradition associated with temple building in India.

The author of the monograph visualizes the stupa (Mchod rten) not in isolation as a structural entity but as a living phenomenon within a perspective of Tibeto-Buddhist tradition. Reflecting the temporal and supratemporal propensities of Buddhist devotees, the sacred presence of a Mchod rten or stupa in a locality opens before us an integrated vision binding together, its concept, symbolism, philosophy, rituals combining the mantra, mudra, mandala and upacaras with the actual artistic form and guiding the worshipper from the earthly plane to the domain of eternal bliss. The idea is basically Indian but never applied to the Buddhist monuments of India so far. What is essential is now to assess and study the Buddhist architecture of Sanchi, Nagarjunakonda, Amaravati etc., or some of the notable rock-cut caves with a multidimensional approach. In this context the Buddhist traditions extant in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Sough East-Asian and East-Asian Buddhist countries may provide us significant clues.

Shri Dorjee also throws light on various aspects of Buddhist stupas of Tibetan structural affiliation like their proportions, forms, associated rites, rituals and various symbolic concepts. On structural symbolism of stupa the writer brings to our notice different but interesting interpretations recorded in the Tibetan traditions (appendix 'D'), which are meaningful from the standpoint of Buddhist art and thought.

To carry out this research work on the stupa architecture of Tibet as a doctoral dissertation, Shri Pema Dorjee was awarded the prestigious Thonmi Sambhota Fellowship by Tibet House. Ven. Duboom Tulku, the Director of Tibet House, New Delhi was mainly responsible for encouraging this research. Pema Dorjee worked under the able guidance and scholarly support from Ven. Prof. S. Rinpoche of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath. IGNCA expresses its deep gratitude to both of them.

Under the guidance of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Academic Director of the Institution, IGNCA has initiated multi-dimensional studies in the arts. Monuments like the other arts are viewed as cultural symbols within a living tradition. Architecture is no longer seen merely as archaeological evidence of historical value. Instead, all its aspects are studied together. The two major projects, viz., the Brhadisvara temple in Thanjavur in the south and Govindadeva shrine at Vrindavana in the north, have been launched with a multi-disciplinary approach. Soon the results of these studies will be published. Also IGNCA has published monographs solely devoted to architecture such as A. K. Coomaraswamy's Essays in Early Indian Architecture, Vasundhara Filliozat's The Temple of Muktesvara at Caudadanapura, and Adam Hardy's Indian Temple Architecture: Form and Transformation.

IGNCA is naturally also interested in Buddhist art. It has already published the English translation of a Chinese book in the form of an illustrated volume on the art of the Buddhist caves at Dunhuang (China) entitled Dunhuang Art from the Eyes of Duan Wengie. IGNCA also proposes now to launch a new sub-series (under Kalasamalocana Series) on the Buddhist stupas which would not be restricted to India alone. Shortly, IGNCA will bring out Paul Mus' famous work on the Buddhist Stupa at Burobudur, which has been translated into English from original French. This was published several decades ago. In fact, IGNCA intends to bring out other works on the subject, particularly on the stupas in different parts of Asia, so that interested art-historians and archaeologists can understand this important structural form in totality in relation to its wide geographical spread and the distinctive features of particular developments in different counties.

IGNCA is happy to publish the present monograph containing original Tibetan material properly edited, illustrated and commented upon by a young and promising researcher, Pema Dorjee.

We thank him, as also Ven. D. Tulku and Rev. S. Rinpoche. We are grateful to Dr L. M. Gujral of IGNCA Without Whose Help It May Not Have Been possible to bring out this monograph.

Preface

Among all the religious monuments of the world, the stupa has the longest uninterrupted historical development spanning more than 3 millenniums. The stupa as a religious object was adopted and sanctified by the Buddha himself as his Truth Body (Dharmakaya). Even Lord proclaimed that Arhats, Boddhisattvas, and Tathagatas are worthy of Stupas, and that whoever may pay respects and understand this significance will experience furtherance in their minds. The stupa then changed from a monument for the dead into a monument for the living. Over the course of time, more and more religious and spiritual values were added to it, so that it eventually was considered as a miniature of the entire cosmos. Stupa architecture went wherever Buddhism flourished, but it acquired various architectural shapes in different countries.

Most of the Asian Buddhist countries modeled their Stupas after the Indian prototype constructed at different stages of its development. Over time, the structural shape of the stupa underwent significant modifications in India and abroad. The major factors responsible for the successive modification, embellishment and elaboration of the architecture of the diverse forms of stupas all over the Buddhist counties were the characteristics of the particular prototype adopted and the architectonic skill of the inhabitants. In addition, the change in the socio-economic milieu and dominant religious outlook must have had something to do with this developmental trend.

Among the Buddhist countries, Tibet was the last country to be converted into and accept Buddhism as its state religion. In Tibet, the stupa as an object of veneration was placed on equal footing with scriptures and mages. The twilight of Buddhist culture in India was at the same time the dawning phase of Tibeto-Buddhist culture, the earnestness and the zeal of our predecessors made Tibet, the treasure-house and citadel of Buddhist cultural and literature. The hallmark of Tibeto-Buddhist culture is that it preserved the Indian Buddhist culture in its purest form to the maximum possible extent, while later showing genius by developing it and giving it a specific salient feature. The same fact applies to the Tibeto-Buddhist stupa architecture and its related literature. Generally, all the scholars unanimously believe that the Tibeto-Buddhist stupa architecture developed from the stupa of the Pala period. Similarly, text dealing with stupa architecture, such as the Vimalosnisa, which are no longer extant in India were translated into Tibetan, and later commentaries were written by Tibetan scholars to highlight the stupa's religious significance. This practice stemmed from the need to avoid deformities in craftsmanship, and to maintain the architectural purity of the stupa as a primary object of veneration.

The stupa is one of the most important religious objects, especially in Vajrayana. It has different levels of meanings in different fields. The literal meaning of the Tibetan word for stupa or caitya, is mchod rten, which means "the receptacle of offerings." In fact, in Tibet, images, scriptures and stupas were integrated into the religious trilogy of sku (physical body), gsungs (speech) and thugs (heart), respectively. But on deepest level, the stupa symbolizes the essence of the Tathagata's Dharmakaya. Thus the structural components of the stupa in ascending order were closely connected to the sequences of the Essence of Tathagata's Dharmakaya.

The first chapter of this monograph was the subject of a paper presented under the title "literary Background of the Architecture and Architectonic Principles of the Buddhist Stupa," at the international seminar on "Buddhist Architecture and National Cultures in Asia," held in Varanasi in 1989. it deals with the literary sources of the architecture and architectonic principles of the Buddhist stupa of which primary and secondary Buddhist literature is replete. In general, the chapter highlights important texts covering stupa architecture, and is more comprehensive than the paper presented in the said seminar.

The second chapter deals with various ritual activities associated with the construction of the stupa at three different stages-rites prior to the commencement of the construction, during the actual construction, and after the completion of the construction-under the title "The Ritualistic Way of Constructing the Tibeto-Buddhist Stupa".

The third chapter deals with the eight fundamental types of Tibeto-Buddhist stupas and their main structural components. Additionally, it includes the proportional differences as elucidated in various literary sources. A table has also been included to analyse the differences in date more easily.

The fourth chapter is a survey of stupas found in the Upper Indus Valley, which was once culturally akin to the Tibeto-Buddhist tradition. The leading archaeological specimens of various Tibeto-Buddhist stupas as found in the Leh region, particularly between the Spituk and Hemis monasteries, are more viably investigated. The illustrations displayed in appropriate order are intended to document the monuments, and closely analyse their styles and conditions. The standing monuments in Ladakh, which are hitherto surviving precariously have not received much attention in the field of research and conservation as well.

The appendix contains the English translations of four important short Tibetan texts preceded by transliterations of their texts. The first two translation works, i.e. Caitya vibhanga vinayoddhrta sutra of Santigarbha and Samanta mukha pravesa rasmi vimalosnisa prabhasa sarva tathagata hrdaya samaya vilokita nama dharanivrtti of Sahajavilasa, are respectively substantiated as primary sources for studying the various symbolic meanings and the proportional manual of the different parts of the Stupa. Both translations are based on the Tibetan version of the lost Sanskrit originals available in the Tangyur Testament. The remaining two translated texts, originally composed by Buston Rinchendup and Desid Sangyas Gyatso, deal with the proportional manual of the Tibeto-Buddhist Stupa architecture in minutest detail.

There has been worldwide interest in the study of the stupa and its religious significances and technological aspects. This is due to the great role that the architectural developments of stupa have played in Buddhist world throughout the course of history. The contribution of Tibetans to the above field has not received adequate attention in past researches. It was in this context that a few years back, Prof. S. Rinpoche, the Director of Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and supervisor of this project advised me, to undertake the study of the Tibeto-Buddhist stupa and its technology. Fortunately, the first Thonmi Sambhota Fellowship at the nick of time gave me the right impetus and sufficient means to fulfil this long cherished dream.

The area of this field is so vast and intricate that the study itself was an arduous task, and difficulties have been many. The work required a multi-disciplinary approach involving the fields of Archaeology, Tibetology, Architecture, and Religious Studies. Likewise, any Buddhist stupa irrespective of its size and material is rather not considered with sanctity without enshrining relics inside the stupa. Thus, relics virtually inherent to the stupa is irrefutable, however, deliberately untouched here, because the theme required an indepth independent research-because of involvement of more religious and philosophical significances, values, etc. than the architectural standpoint.

It has been my experience that many important texts both of the primary and secondary nature referred to in the works of several later authors are rarely accessible even if extant. Insofar as the stupa architecture is concerned, I have been vexed to find the appropriate words for some of the old archaic and symbolic meanings with their correct orthographical connotation.

There is a growing interest in Tibetan Buddhism and its cultural heritage, which is gradually tending to become an integral part of the all-inclusive world culture. It is my earnest hope that the present work will illuminate this previously untouched field eliminating the gap, and stimulate further interest and inquiry into the Tibeto-Buddhist Stupa architecture as enshrined in the vast treasures of Tibetology and Buddhology.

About the Book:

Among all the religious monuments of the world, the stupa has the longest uninterrupted historical development. Though modelled after the Indian prototype, the stupa architecture was developed in all the countries where Buddhism had flourished. Over time, the structural shape of the stupa underwent significant modifications in India and the other Asian Buddhist countries.

The present study shows how Tibet became a treasure house of Buddhist culture and literature highlighting important texts dealing with stupa architecture. Various ritual activities associated with the construction of the stupa are described along with the eight fundamental types of Tibeto-Buddhist stupas and their main structural components. A survey of the stupas found in the upper Indus Valley in the Leh region of Ladakh shows their similarity to the Tibeto-Buddhist tradition. The value of the book is enhanced by an appendix with English translation of four important Tibetan texts preceded by transliteration.

This monograph is the first in the new sub-series of the IGNCA on the Buddhist stupas, which would not be restricted to India alone. It is hoped that such studies will enable the art-historians and archaeologists to understand this important structural form in totality in relation to its wide geographical spread and the distinctive features of particular developments in different countries.

About the Author:

Pema Dorjee (born 1957) graduated from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi. He completed the Post-graduate course in archaeology at the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi in 1984. He later joined the Department of Buddhist Studies, University of Delhi, for his M.Phil. Degree. Dorjee completed this monograph as the first awardee of the prestigious Thonmi Sambhota Felloship, instituted by the Tibet House, New Delhi.

Presently, he is working at the United States Library of Congress, in New Delhi, as a Librarian.

content
Foreword vii
Perface xv
Acknowledgements xix
Scheme of Transliteration xxv
Abbreviations xxvii
List of Figures xxix
List of Platss xxxi

Chapter 1. Literary Background of the Architecture and Architectonic Principles of the Buddhist Stupa.

    Vinaya-Ksudraka-Vastu 1, Vinaya-uttaragrantha 3, Commentarial Works on Vinaya 7, Twin Commentarial Works on Vimalosnisa 8, Caitya-Vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra 10, Kamsadesavya-karana 11, Tibeto-Buddhist Architectonic Literature 17.

Chapter 2. Ritualistic Way of Constructing the Tibeto-Buddhist Stupa Architecture.

    Rites Prior to the Commencement of the Construction 24, Recital Retreat 24, Examination of Building Site 25, (a) Examining the Directions of the Site 25, (b) Examining the Characteristics of the Earth 26, (c) Examining Whether the Earth Has Any Defects 28, Taking Possession of the Building Site 29, Eliminating the Interfering Adversities from the Site 29, Preparation of the Tsha Tsha 30, Examination of the Serpent-bellied Earth-Lord 34, Way of Residing and The Movement of the Earth-Lord 34, Where to Dig First 35, Removing the Defects of the Soil 37, Rites During the Actual Construction 38, Layout of the Actual Construction Ground 39, Actual Construction of the Stupa and its Accessories 41, Method of Arranging the Vimalosnisa Mandala and Ritualistic Articles 42, Method of Arranging the Rasmivimala Mandala, Axle-pole and so forth 44, Rites After the Completion of the Construction 47.

Chapter 3. Types of Stupas, Structural Components and Proportion Differences.

    Types of Stupas 50, Structural Components of the Stupa Proper 61, The Lion Throne 61, The Intermediate Section 62, The Upper Section 64, Proportional Differences 65.

Chapter 4. Stupa Architecture of the Upper Indus Valley.

    Various Types of Stupa: Mani Sermo: the Stupa of Descent from Heaven 97, The Changspa Stupa of "Multiple Auspicious Doors" 99, Tsha Tsha with Stupa Images 103.

    Appendix A
    Transliteration of the Caitya Vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra
    English Version of the Caitya Vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra

    Appendix B
    Transliteration of the Commentary on Vimalosnisa of Sahajavilasa
    Appendix C
    Transliteration of Buston's Proportional Manual of the Stupa of Enlightenment
    English Version of Buston's Proportioal Manual of the Stupa of Enlightenment

    Appendix D
    Transliteration of Desid's Proportion Manual of the Stupa Architecture
    English Version of Desid's Proportional Manual of the Stupa Architecture

    Bibliography

    Index
Sample Pages









Of Related Interest:

The Stupa - Yoga's Sacred Architecture

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SANCHI

World Heritage Series Sanchi

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Mandala of Buddha, Deified as a Stupa

Stupa and Its Technology: A Tibeto-Buddhist Perspective

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Foreword

Generally associated with Buddhism, stupa had a pre-Buddhist origin. According to ancient tradition its other synonyms are caitya and dhatugarbha in Sanskrit or dagoba in Sinhalese. Literally stupa denotes a made up heap of earth or of any other materials to serve a specific purpose. In the Rgveda, a collection of flames of fire has been styled as stupa (VII. 2. 11). It seems that the stupa has its origin in the form of an altar (citi) or a tumulus piled at site of a funeral pyre (cita) as some kind of memorial with a tree or a wooden post planted in its center, and on this account it was also called a caitya, the tree on it as caitya-vrksa and the post as caitya-yupa. The Satapatha-brahmana speaks about circular (catussrakti) caityas which were perhaps being raised traditionally as the memorials for departed personages of significant status. The same test also mentions that the circular variety of the caityas was popular with the easterner pracyas or the people of eastern India. Regarding the tradition of non-Buddhist stupa, an interesting example is seen in a Sanchi relief depicting Jatila ascetics engaged in fire-sacrifies with stupas (without any crowning member) in the background suggesting their connection with Jatila cult of Brahmanical origin.

The term dhatugarbha refers to a construction serving as a repository of dhatus or corporeal relics. The ancient practice of erecting the caityas for the dead is also confirmed by a statement attributed to Buddha following an enquiry by Ananda, his favourite disciple, in connection with the disposal of his own body after his passing away as indicated in Mahaparinibbana-sutta. According to this reference Buddha told Ananda that following the cremation of his body a stupa should be constructed on his mortal remains at the meeting points of four roads (catuspatha) in the same manner in which the cakravartins or the great rulers of yore (a catummahepatharanno cakkavattissa thupam karonti) had been honoured by raising a memorial stupa. After his parinibbana (decease), Buddha's bodily relics were divided into eight parts amongst various ruling clans, viz., the Mallas of Kusinagara and Pava, Licchavis of Vaisali, Sakyas of Kapilavastu, Koliyas of Ramagrama, Bulis of Allakappa and Brahmanas of Vetthadvipa and Ajatasatru, the king of Magadha; all of whom erected stupas over their share of relics in their respective localities according to Pali traditions.

It is also recorded in the same source that Brahmana Drona, who was also a devotee of Buddha, built a stupa enshrining the jar in which relics were kept before their division, and Mauryas of Pipplivana erected a stupa on charcoal remains collected from the site of Buddha's cremation. The available archaeological evidence reveals that the early Buddhist stupas, which were made of earth had a circular plan, possibly with a peaked elevation but other details about them cannot be clearly ascertained.

On the basis of data available, it has been suggested that the stupas were constructed by the Buddhists not only over the bodily relics of Buddha and Buddhist saints but also as commemorative monuments connected with a particular event or over the objects of religious significance associated with Buddha. With the passage of time, the practice of erecting stupas with or without relics or even drawing just their outline on a wall or elsewhere was considered to be an act of great piety, and numerous votive stupas of various sizes were thus brought into existence as sacred offerings at the centers of pilgrimage.

Interestingly, one of the epigraphs of Emperor Asoka mentions that during his fourteenth regnal year, he doubled (enlarged) the stupa of Kanakamuni, the fifth human (manusi) Buddha before Sakyamuni, the seventh one in the line. According to northern Buddhist tradition, Asoka is said to have constructed 84, 000 stupas over the fragments of the dhatus (relics) of Buddha after unearthing them from the earlier stupas, redistributing and re-enshrining them in different parts of the country. The tradition attributing to Asoka the erection of 84, 000 stupas on the dhatus of Buddha seems to be somewhat exaggerated but not totally devoid of truth. There is indirect evidence to show that Dharmarajika stupas at Sarnath and Taxila and original stupa at Sanchi and elsewhere were certainly built by Asoka.

The idea to preserve the mortal remains of a person fully or partially in a structural memorial was most likely based on the age-old concept of sympathetic magic conditioned by the belief of inseparability of connections between an organism and its constituents, even after the former had become lifeless or detached from its original form. The bodily relics of Buddha and his living personality thus had an inseparable relation to each other, suggesting that every bit of his bone represented the eternal presence of the Master through each stupa raised on his remains. Asoka's attempts to establish more stupas with fragments of Buddha's original dhatus seems to have been solely guided by the belief that every Buddhist intending to worship the stupa in his locality must feel the living presence of the Master therein.

Architecturally, early standardized form of a stupa consisted of a solid dome (anda) placed on a raised base (medhi) in one or two stages and topped by a railed enclosure (harmika) containing centrally a rod or post (yasti) supporting umbrellas (chatravali). Very often it was surrounded by one or two railed circumambulatories (pradaksinapathas), as offering salutations with folded hands and going round the stupa (Pradaksina) was a part of its ritual worship. It was also propitiated with offerings of gandha (scented paste), fragrant flower-garlands, and various other presents, (cf. Asokavadana: '…sugandhi-puspa-malyagandhalepaih sarvopaharaih sthaviropaguptam abhyarcya…')

With the growth of Buddhism in the course of time, the early structural model of stupa or caitya underwent gradual architectural transformation in various regions of India and elsewhere. Penetration of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Central Asian, South-East Asian and East Asian countries besides Nepal and Tibet was followed by the transmission of the religio-cultural traditions, concepts, and forms of Buddhist architecture including the stupa from their birth place to these foreign lands, where these were preserved, adapted and developed in accordance with local requirements, beliefs and taste.

The present work by a young researcher Shri Pema Dorjee "Stupa and its Technology: A Tibeto-Buddhist Perspective," which is being brought out under the Kalasamalocana series by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is a significant contribution to Buddhist studies. It brings to light interesting facets of stupa construction and some of its hitherto little known aspects including associated rituals and traditions. Buddhism with its evolved Mahayano-Vajrayanic form reached Tibet or Bhota mainly from eastern India around the seventh century A. D. With the introduction of Buddhism in Bhota (Tibet), which continued for several centuries.

Tibetan Buddhist monks and successive generations of disciples took special care to preserve the basic tenets and characteristics of Buddhism. However, it was adapted to local needs within Tibet's own colourful cultural aesthetic norms sustained through political patronage and socio-religious order founded by Buddha, continues till today as a living faith amongst Tibetans.

Tibeto-Buddhist traditions carry a special significance in the context of ancient Indian culture, as much of that, which has been forgotten or lost in the terms of Buddhist traditions and Sanskritic Buddhist literature in India, is preserved by Tibetans in the form of texts, sacred hymns, thought and religious practices.

Shri Dorjee studies and discusses the Tibetan Vinaya text and commentaries on them pertaining to the stupas and their varieties and rituals and concepts associated with their construction besides surviving stupas in upper Indus Valley in Ladakh region of India. He presents important data on the Buddhist structural tradition treating stupa as the dharmakaya (cosmic body) of Buddha.

The contents of Pema Dorjee's work acquire great significance if these are assessed in the light of the tradition and history of Buddhist stupa in India as known to us. According to the Tibetan texts, as recorded by the present author, stupas in India were built during the lifetime of Buddha by Anathapindika, the famous merchant prince of Sravasti, the capital of Kosala country. He specially cities the example of the stupa raised on the relics of Sariputra, one of the principal disciples of Buddha, containing a stepped-base, a kumbha-shaped (pitcher-like) elevation topped with a yasti (rod) and chatra. This tradition is also confirmed by Pali texts relating to Thervada Buddhism. On the basis of Tibetan texts, e.g., Dul ba lug rnam 'byed (Vinaya-ksudraka vastu), Li yul lung bstan pa (Kamsadisavyakarana); Mchold rten gyi cha dhbe ba 'dul pa las byung ba' imdo (Caitya-vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra); and Byababsdus Pa (Kriyasamgraha); and stupa construction manuals of Desid and Kongtul, Dorjee refers to other varieties of stupas viz., associated variously with Tathagata (Buddha), Pratyeka Buddha, Buddhist devotees classed as Srotapanna, Sakrdagamin, Anagamin and Arhat (in accordance with their stages of mental elevation) and Sravakas (monastic followers), each with its own distinguishing features. Several other structural types of stupa with specific religious associations are also mentioned in the Tibetan tradition like the one resembling a heap of grains, an alms bowl, a vase, victory-banner or a pillar besides a form called gandhakuti which appears to be a structure containing a stupa within.

In the present context, it is relevant to cite an interesting reference, to an Indian rock-cut cave styled as gandhakuti, in an inscription at Ajanta (Cave 17), which mainly records the construction of a vihara, i.e. Cave 17 itself. In this case the term gandhakuti seems to refer to the adjoining caitya hall (Cave 19) with a tallish stupa inside.

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition three varieties of stupa classed under Mahayana type, according to Nagarjuna, as recorded by Dorjee, are stated to be of the form of an inverted bowl, a tiny-house and group of eight-stupas. Some of these types can still be seen in Tibet and its neighbouring areas including Ladakh.

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, however, the names of the sites wherein original stupas were built on mortal relics of Buddha are different than those found in the Pali texts as already mentioned above.

Shri Dorjee also makes a reference to two more interesting varieties of stupa: one simulating a raised post or column and the other a structure with multiple auspicious doors. We do not have any example of the former type extant in India but Minar-I-Cakri in Afghanistan, which is known as a pre-Islamic Buddhist monument (minar), may represent a post like stupa recorded in the Tibetan tradition. It is possible that the origin of such a structure could have links with Vedic concept of skambha (a pillar like structure), which was perhaps adapted by the Buddhists. The other variety stated to have multiple doors, with some surviving specimens in Ladakh, appears to have had its origin in the terraced stupas of India, of which a fine example could be observed in the ancient structure at Sarnath called Caukhandi stupa. This type traveled to Sough East Asia and Culminated in Borobudur with additions and modifications. A noteworthy feature found in the elevational treatment of some of the stupas of Ladakh area is their striking similarity with the pidha type of spires containing a pyramidal body of receding stepped-mouldings of the Orissan temples suggesting some close cultural links between Orissan and Indo-Tibetan structural tradition.

The author of the present monograph also gives some details of rituals associated with the construction and consecration of the stupas as prescribed in the Tibetan versions of two main texts, Vimalosnisa and Rasmivimala, originally Sanskrit works written in India but now lost. Most of the rites and rituals are closely interlinked with Buddhist Tantricism, and these are to be conducted by a highly qualified Vajracarya (priest) having an expert knowledge of mantras, Mudras and principles of renunciation, Bodhicitta and sunyata (emptiness). The process of stupa construction begins with the selection of site and ends tablets containing mantras/dharinis written on them are also enshrined within it. Many features of these rituals including selection of the site etc., are comparable with the Agamic tradition associated with temple building in India.

The author of the monograph visualizes the stupa (Mchod rten) not in isolation as a structural entity but as a living phenomenon within a perspective of Tibeto-Buddhist tradition. Reflecting the temporal and supratemporal propensities of Buddhist devotees, the sacred presence of a Mchod rten or stupa in a locality opens before us an integrated vision binding together, its concept, symbolism, philosophy, rituals combining the mantra, mudra, mandala and upacaras with the actual artistic form and guiding the worshipper from the earthly plane to the domain of eternal bliss. The idea is basically Indian but never applied to the Buddhist monuments of India so far. What is essential is now to assess and study the Buddhist architecture of Sanchi, Nagarjunakonda, Amaravati etc., or some of the notable rock-cut caves with a multidimensional approach. In this context the Buddhist traditions extant in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Sough East-Asian and East-Asian Buddhist countries may provide us significant clues.

Shri Dorjee also throws light on various aspects of Buddhist stupas of Tibetan structural affiliation like their proportions, forms, associated rites, rituals and various symbolic concepts. On structural symbolism of stupa the writer brings to our notice different but interesting interpretations recorded in the Tibetan traditions (appendix 'D'), which are meaningful from the standpoint of Buddhist art and thought.

To carry out this research work on the stupa architecture of Tibet as a doctoral dissertation, Shri Pema Dorjee was awarded the prestigious Thonmi Sambhota Fellowship by Tibet House. Ven. Duboom Tulku, the Director of Tibet House, New Delhi was mainly responsible for encouraging this research. Pema Dorjee worked under the able guidance and scholarly support from Ven. Prof. S. Rinpoche of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath. IGNCA expresses its deep gratitude to both of them.

Under the guidance of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Academic Director of the Institution, IGNCA has initiated multi-dimensional studies in the arts. Monuments like the other arts are viewed as cultural symbols within a living tradition. Architecture is no longer seen merely as archaeological evidence of historical value. Instead, all its aspects are studied together. The two major projects, viz., the Brhadisvara temple in Thanjavur in the south and Govindadeva shrine at Vrindavana in the north, have been launched with a multi-disciplinary approach. Soon the results of these studies will be published. Also IGNCA has published monographs solely devoted to architecture such as A. K. Coomaraswamy's Essays in Early Indian Architecture, Vasundhara Filliozat's The Temple of Muktesvara at Caudadanapura, and Adam Hardy's Indian Temple Architecture: Form and Transformation.

IGNCA is naturally also interested in Buddhist art. It has already published the English translation of a Chinese book in the form of an illustrated volume on the art of the Buddhist caves at Dunhuang (China) entitled Dunhuang Art from the Eyes of Duan Wengie. IGNCA also proposes now to launch a new sub-series (under Kalasamalocana Series) on the Buddhist stupas which would not be restricted to India alone. Shortly, IGNCA will bring out Paul Mus' famous work on the Buddhist Stupa at Burobudur, which has been translated into English from original French. This was published several decades ago. In fact, IGNCA intends to bring out other works on the subject, particularly on the stupas in different parts of Asia, so that interested art-historians and archaeologists can understand this important structural form in totality in relation to its wide geographical spread and the distinctive features of particular developments in different counties.

IGNCA is happy to publish the present monograph containing original Tibetan material properly edited, illustrated and commented upon by a young and promising researcher, Pema Dorjee.

We thank him, as also Ven. D. Tulku and Rev. S. Rinpoche. We are grateful to Dr L. M. Gujral of IGNCA Without Whose Help It May Not Have Been possible to bring out this monograph.

Preface

Among all the religious monuments of the world, the stupa has the longest uninterrupted historical development spanning more than 3 millenniums. The stupa as a religious object was adopted and sanctified by the Buddha himself as his Truth Body (Dharmakaya). Even Lord proclaimed that Arhats, Boddhisattvas, and Tathagatas are worthy of Stupas, and that whoever may pay respects and understand this significance will experience furtherance in their minds. The stupa then changed from a monument for the dead into a monument for the living. Over the course of time, more and more religious and spiritual values were added to it, so that it eventually was considered as a miniature of the entire cosmos. Stupa architecture went wherever Buddhism flourished, but it acquired various architectural shapes in different countries.

Most of the Asian Buddhist countries modeled their Stupas after the Indian prototype constructed at different stages of its development. Over time, the structural shape of the stupa underwent significant modifications in India and abroad. The major factors responsible for the successive modification, embellishment and elaboration of the architecture of the diverse forms of stupas all over the Buddhist counties were the characteristics of the particular prototype adopted and the architectonic skill of the inhabitants. In addition, the change in the socio-economic milieu and dominant religious outlook must have had something to do with this developmental trend.

Among the Buddhist countries, Tibet was the last country to be converted into and accept Buddhism as its state religion. In Tibet, the stupa as an object of veneration was placed on equal footing with scriptures and mages. The twilight of Buddhist culture in India was at the same time the dawning phase of Tibeto-Buddhist culture, the earnestness and the zeal of our predecessors made Tibet, the treasure-house and citadel of Buddhist cultural and literature. The hallmark of Tibeto-Buddhist culture is that it preserved the Indian Buddhist culture in its purest form to the maximum possible extent, while later showing genius by developing it and giving it a specific salient feature. The same fact applies to the Tibeto-Buddhist stupa architecture and its related literature. Generally, all the scholars unanimously believe that the Tibeto-Buddhist stupa architecture developed from the stupa of the Pala period. Similarly, text dealing with stupa architecture, such as the Vimalosnisa, which are no longer extant in India were translated into Tibetan, and later commentaries were written by Tibetan scholars to highlight the stupa's religious significance. This practice stemmed from the need to avoid deformities in craftsmanship, and to maintain the architectural purity of the stupa as a primary object of veneration.

The stupa is one of the most important religious objects, especially in Vajrayana. It has different levels of meanings in different fields. The literal meaning of the Tibetan word for stupa or caitya, is mchod rten, which means "the receptacle of offerings." In fact, in Tibet, images, scriptures and stupas were integrated into the religious trilogy of sku (physical body), gsungs (speech) and thugs (heart), respectively. But on deepest level, the stupa symbolizes the essence of the Tathagata's Dharmakaya. Thus the structural components of the stupa in ascending order were closely connected to the sequences of the Essence of Tathagata's Dharmakaya.

The first chapter of this monograph was the subject of a paper presented under the title "literary Background of the Architecture and Architectonic Principles of the Buddhist Stupa," at the international seminar on "Buddhist Architecture and National Cultures in Asia," held in Varanasi in 1989. it deals with the literary sources of the architecture and architectonic principles of the Buddhist stupa of which primary and secondary Buddhist literature is replete. In general, the chapter highlights important texts covering stupa architecture, and is more comprehensive than the paper presented in the said seminar.

The second chapter deals with various ritual activities associated with the construction of the stupa at three different stages-rites prior to the commencement of the construction, during the actual construction, and after the completion of the construction-under the title "The Ritualistic Way of Constructing the Tibeto-Buddhist Stupa".

The third chapter deals with the eight fundamental types of Tibeto-Buddhist stupas and their main structural components. Additionally, it includes the proportional differences as elucidated in various literary sources. A table has also been included to analyse the differences in date more easily.

The fourth chapter is a survey of stupas found in the Upper Indus Valley, which was once culturally akin to the Tibeto-Buddhist tradition. The leading archaeological specimens of various Tibeto-Buddhist stupas as found in the Leh region, particularly between the Spituk and Hemis monasteries, are more viably investigated. The illustrations displayed in appropriate order are intended to document the monuments, and closely analyse their styles and conditions. The standing monuments in Ladakh, which are hitherto surviving precariously have not received much attention in the field of research and conservation as well.

The appendix contains the English translations of four important short Tibetan texts preceded by transliterations of their texts. The first two translation works, i.e. Caitya vibhanga vinayoddhrta sutra of Santigarbha and Samanta mukha pravesa rasmi vimalosnisa prabhasa sarva tathagata hrdaya samaya vilokita nama dharanivrtti of Sahajavilasa, are respectively substantiated as primary sources for studying the various symbolic meanings and the proportional manual of the different parts of the Stupa. Both translations are based on the Tibetan version of the lost Sanskrit originals available in the Tangyur Testament. The remaining two translated texts, originally composed by Buston Rinchendup and Desid Sangyas Gyatso, deal with the proportional manual of the Tibeto-Buddhist Stupa architecture in minutest detail.

There has been worldwide interest in the study of the stupa and its religious significances and technological aspects. This is due to the great role that the architectural developments of stupa have played in Buddhist world throughout the course of history. The contribution of Tibetans to the above field has not received adequate attention in past researches. It was in this context that a few years back, Prof. S. Rinpoche, the Director of Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and supervisor of this project advised me, to undertake the study of the Tibeto-Buddhist stupa and its technology. Fortunately, the first Thonmi Sambhota Fellowship at the nick of time gave me the right impetus and sufficient means to fulfil this long cherished dream.

The area of this field is so vast and intricate that the study itself was an arduous task, and difficulties have been many. The work required a multi-disciplinary approach involving the fields of Archaeology, Tibetology, Architecture, and Religious Studies. Likewise, any Buddhist stupa irrespective of its size and material is rather not considered with sanctity without enshrining relics inside the stupa. Thus, relics virtually inherent to the stupa is irrefutable, however, deliberately untouched here, because the theme required an indepth independent research-because of involvement of more religious and philosophical significances, values, etc. than the architectural standpoint.

It has been my experience that many important texts both of the primary and secondary nature referred to in the works of several later authors are rarely accessible even if extant. Insofar as the stupa architecture is concerned, I have been vexed to find the appropriate words for some of the old archaic and symbolic meanings with their correct orthographical connotation.

There is a growing interest in Tibetan Buddhism and its cultural heritage, which is gradually tending to become an integral part of the all-inclusive world culture. It is my earnest hope that the present work will illuminate this previously untouched field eliminating the gap, and stimulate further interest and inquiry into the Tibeto-Buddhist Stupa architecture as enshrined in the vast treasures of Tibetology and Buddhology.

About the Book:

Among all the religious monuments of the world, the stupa has the longest uninterrupted historical development. Though modelled after the Indian prototype, the stupa architecture was developed in all the countries where Buddhism had flourished. Over time, the structural shape of the stupa underwent significant modifications in India and the other Asian Buddhist countries.

The present study shows how Tibet became a treasure house of Buddhist culture and literature highlighting important texts dealing with stupa architecture. Various ritual activities associated with the construction of the stupa are described along with the eight fundamental types of Tibeto-Buddhist stupas and their main structural components. A survey of the stupas found in the upper Indus Valley in the Leh region of Ladakh shows their similarity to the Tibeto-Buddhist tradition. The value of the book is enhanced by an appendix with English translation of four important Tibetan texts preceded by transliteration.

This monograph is the first in the new sub-series of the IGNCA on the Buddhist stupas, which would not be restricted to India alone. It is hoped that such studies will enable the art-historians and archaeologists to understand this important structural form in totality in relation to its wide geographical spread and the distinctive features of particular developments in different countries.

About the Author:

Pema Dorjee (born 1957) graduated from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi. He completed the Post-graduate course in archaeology at the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi in 1984. He later joined the Department of Buddhist Studies, University of Delhi, for his M.Phil. Degree. Dorjee completed this monograph as the first awardee of the prestigious Thonmi Sambhota Felloship, instituted by the Tibet House, New Delhi.

Presently, he is working at the United States Library of Congress, in New Delhi, as a Librarian.

content
Foreword vii
Perface xv
Acknowledgements xix
Scheme of Transliteration xxv
Abbreviations xxvii
List of Figures xxix
List of Platss xxxi

Chapter 1. Literary Background of the Architecture and Architectonic Principles of the Buddhist Stupa.

    Vinaya-Ksudraka-Vastu 1, Vinaya-uttaragrantha 3, Commentarial Works on Vinaya 7, Twin Commentarial Works on Vimalosnisa 8, Caitya-Vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra 10, Kamsadesavya-karana 11, Tibeto-Buddhist Architectonic Literature 17.

Chapter 2. Ritualistic Way of Constructing the Tibeto-Buddhist Stupa Architecture.

    Rites Prior to the Commencement of the Construction 24, Recital Retreat 24, Examination of Building Site 25, (a) Examining the Directions of the Site 25, (b) Examining the Characteristics of the Earth 26, (c) Examining Whether the Earth Has Any Defects 28, Taking Possession of the Building Site 29, Eliminating the Interfering Adversities from the Site 29, Preparation of the Tsha Tsha 30, Examination of the Serpent-bellied Earth-Lord 34, Way of Residing and The Movement of the Earth-Lord 34, Where to Dig First 35, Removing the Defects of the Soil 37, Rites During the Actual Construction 38, Layout of the Actual Construction Ground 39, Actual Construction of the Stupa and its Accessories 41, Method of Arranging the Vimalosnisa Mandala and Ritualistic Articles 42, Method of Arranging the Rasmivimala Mandala, Axle-pole and so forth 44, Rites After the Completion of the Construction 47.

Chapter 3. Types of Stupas, Structural Components and Proportion Differences.

    Types of Stupas 50, Structural Components of the Stupa Proper 61, The Lion Throne 61, The Intermediate Section 62, The Upper Section 64, Proportional Differences 65.

Chapter 4. Stupa Architecture of the Upper Indus Valley.

    Various Types of Stupa: Mani Sermo: the Stupa of Descent from Heaven 97, The Changspa Stupa of "Multiple Auspicious Doors" 99, Tsha Tsha with Stupa Images 103.

    Appendix A
    Transliteration of the Caitya Vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra
    English Version of the Caitya Vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra

    Appendix B
    Transliteration of the Commentary on Vimalosnisa of Sahajavilasa
    Appendix C
    Transliteration of Buston's Proportional Manual of the Stupa of Enlightenment
    English Version of Buston's Proportioal Manual of the Stupa of Enlightenment

    Appendix D
    Transliteration of Desid's Proportion Manual of the Stupa Architecture
    English Version of Desid's Proportional Manual of the Stupa Architecture

    Bibliography

    Index
Sample Pages









Of Related Interest:

The Stupa - Yoga's Sacred Architecture

The Symbolism of the Stupa

Evolution of Stupas in Burma

SANCHI

World Heritage Series Sanchi

Gompas in Traditional Tibetan Society

Mandala of Buddha, Deified as a Stupa

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