History of the stupas



BodhGaya, Indien.
All over the world various buildings have arrised during history, which is build after a special culture or "way of thinking". Many have found it interesting to study the deeper meaning behind these structures.

Good examples are the pyramides in Africa, the chinese wall, buildings created by the Greek and Roman.The Celt made stons in rings, while there in America were people, who created large forms out of stonmaterial. The Mexican pyramides is another good example.

The Tibetan stupas also has a story..

In the time before Buddha there were a tradition to build marks in the nature, so travellers could find their way, and they were further used as graves for special people.

Around year 300 the first stupa was constructed in BodhGaya, India. This was created by King Ashoka, who was deeply inspired by Buddha's lifestory. The stupa in BodhGaya is placed very near the exact place where Buddha reached his enlightment.

Around year 700, the Indian Guru Rinpoche, brought the buddhist teachings to Tibet, and hereby as well the stupa tradition. Later this tradition spread itself to Chinas pagoder, the Dagoba in Shri Lanka, the Pagada in Burma. The tradition is also seen in Afghanistan, Mongolia, Korea, Japan and now in Europe, USA and Austalia as well.


The meaning is to show the potential, which all sentient beings have - the enligthend essence. Stupas symbolizes the enligthend Buddhas body and teachings. When you observere a stupa, you collect positive impressions in your mind. Hereby you get motivated to work with your own potential. Stupas are also a gift to all sentient beings, as a answer to the deeper meaning of life. Stupas invite everbody to study, reflect, meditate and thereby develop themselves. 

The symbolism refers to the buddhist understanding of the univers - earth, water, fire, air and nature of mind. 

Oberserving a stupa from the ground to the top, one sees the way of development.: Buddha, the precious buddhist teachings, the realized friends, the enligthend attitude and joy as foundation to enligthment.

Swayambounath, Kathmandu i Nepal. 

The Swayambhunath stupa in Kathmandu in Nepal is according to the buddhist history very special. It is said to be self arisen. In the legends it is said, that in the beginning only Swayambhunath were above the water in the Kathmandu vally.

On Swayambounath Buddha's eyes are also painted. this shows the embracing quality the enligthend state brings along.

Near of this very unique stupa, one finds the main Monastey of Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, called  "Buddha Dharma Center". Rinpoche used the Swayambhu stupa, as inspiration during long meditation retreats.


How to construct a stupa

After the buddhist teachings were brought to our western countries, also stupas have started to apear. Nowadays many stupas have arrised within the different lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.

In the west we have the technical methods to construct. But it also demands that a realized master of buddhism carry out the necessary ceremonies, which are included in the building process.

This valuable knowledge have especially Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche given in the western world. 

Rinpoche have during nearly 15 years build around 20 stupas in the west, and the technical assistance has been given by the Polish architect, Wojtek Kossowski.

Stupas are build on the same principals, but at the same time each stupa is individual, and filled according to specific instructions.

Stupas consist of different treasure chambers, which are filled with various items creating energy. The majority of the chambers are filled with Tsa-tsa's, small stupa and buddha figures. These you produce yourself, and this alone, is a major important activity.

The treasure chambers are in the first place filled with stones, weapons as symbolic protection. Secondly you place articles which you use in agriculture, and kitchen equipment as you use for producing food and thereby life energy. Further you place a vase, filled with various jeweller.

However the majority of the chambers are filled with Tsa-tsa's, the buddha figures. In the chambers you also place special buddhist texts, statues and mandala's. All chambers are in the end filled with fine sand, so no empty space is left within.

In the center of a stupa there is placed a tree called a lifetree. On this tree special mantra's are written, and this is the most essential part of the stupa. Around the lifetree rolls of mantra's are placed, before it is placed down inside the stupa.

The elements which are placed inside the stupa, are placed with best intentions, as these items will later be the foundation, for the great energy transformed from the stupa. The stupa transforms obstacles to enligthend energy.

On top of the stupa you there is 13 rings, which symbolizes the steps toward full enlightment. Above these rings there is placed an umbrella, showing that the stupa is of great value. And finally there is symbols for the moon, sun and mind.

The stupa at "The Powerful Place"
Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche decides which kind of stupa that shall be constructed at a specific place. When Rinpoche visited "The Powerful Place" in June 2000, he advised that it should be an enlightment stupa.

The stupa at "The Powerful Place" are situated in favourable surroundings, among burialplaces which are between 1500-3000 years old.

The enlightment stupa brings creates enligthment to the surroundings, and transforms obstacles to realized knowledge. At the same time it shows Buddhas ultimate goal, that each sentient being will reach the enlightend level.


Read more about stupas here.