10 Articles on Stupas (contest)

May 5, 2012 | Views: 5,862
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Dear friends, 

I was on blog chat the other day. I starting talking about stupas and Lord Atisha. Everyone was very interested.  Our chat became very busy, many inputs and many from around the world starting chatting. That day we used the chat box for learning purposes…So I asked the people online to please research, compile and write and articles…..below are 10 articles on “Stupas” by 10 persons submitted to me…I love them.

Please read through these articles and see the WONDERFUL PHOTOGRAPHS SOME OF THEM INCLUDED. Some even included about Atisha which we chatted about that day. You will learn alot about stupas, origins, purpose and see how they have been created for thousands of years as a monument to bless the environment, bless the animals, bless the people, protect people from dangerous natural disasters and generally create harmony in the land. Everyone should create these holy stupas wherever you are. Even a small one in your backyard.

 I want everyone to please read through and let me know which article you find the most informative, well-researched, and comprehensive, and please put your comments in the comment section at the bottom of this post, thank you. All the articles are good. But you readers pick the best one and say why. I will compile and announce the winner within 10 days. I will offer a very special prize to the winner. You the readers determine the winner for me please!!

Everyone who submitted articles on time, I thank you very much.

Tsem Rinpoche

 

 


 

ARTICLE 1
by Andrew James Boon and Thierry Janssens

 

STUPAS –THE BENEFITS

There are rare golden opportunities that present themselves to us in life, rare opportunities.
One of them is to meet our Guru, that is an extraordinary opportunity indeed.
Participating to be construction of a stupa is another golden opportunity that we should know is nothing short of amazing. The positive energy that is created by such an action is staggering and extremely potent.

Participating to the construction of a stupa brings about many benefits, great merits, and leave powerful karmic imprint in the mind of everyone involved with the construction. Great merit is also gained from all the beings that will benefit from the stupa in the future.

On the opposite end, the destruction of a stupa creates very powerful negative karma, clouding the mind of the perpetrator in such a way that he will be blind to Dharma and be entangled in a cycle of very unfortunate rebirths.

Ananda who was one of the principal attendants of the Buddha once asked Him which one of these three actions would bring about the most benefit:

1.    to build a stupa,
2.    to make a statue of the Buddha,
3.    to build a residence for the Sangha?

The Buddha answered (from the sutra “Med Ton Djoung We do”):

“Ananda, the merit accumulated by one who makes a Stupa of the Mahhparinirvana of perfect Buddhas, Tathigatas, and those who have been victorious over all demons, even If that Stupa Is the size of a myrobolan fruit, with a tree of life as thin as a needle, It’s umbrella like a leaf of the juniper leaf, the Statue the size of a barleycorn and the Relleslike a mustard seed, even though that merit Is much vaster than all merits accumulated by the sons and daughters of noble family with Intense devotion, when they create three hundred thousand universes made of seven kinds of precious matters and offer them to Great Beings, such as “the one who has entered Into the stream” (Srotapinna), “the one who returns back only once” (SakadigAmi), “the one who returns no more’ (Anfigfimi), “the one who has been victorious over such enemies as conflicting emotions” (Arahant).”

In another instance, the Buddha was addressing a Sangha community in Rajgir when Maitreya presented Him with a question.
Maitreya asked: “In the distant future there will come a time when it will be very difficult for people to practise Dharma. Due to the enormous number of negative forces and many types of obstacles they will not be able to practise as they would like. What conducive factors will be needed to ward-off and pacify all these negative forces?”

The Buddha named five factors that, combined, would present the practitioner with an environment conducive to their Dharma practice. For the practitioner, these factors are also contributing to the attainment of enlightenment.
These five factors are:

1.    to give Dharma constantly with the intention of benefiting others,
2.    to constantly give sentient beings a sense of security, to give them freedom from fear and to save beings whose lives are at risk and provide them with security and peace of mind,
3.    to constantly reflect on the “four immeasurables”,
4.    to constantly repair old stupas or to commission the construction of new stupas,
5.    to constantly maintain the mind of enlightenment, Bodhicitta.

A stupa represents the Buddha’s enlightened mind, and since the Buddha’s mind qualities are limitless, it is no surprise that any worship, any offering made towards it brings about enormous benefits.
It is said that even just hearing about a stupa creates merits, let alone, touching it, praying to it or giving it offerings.

From Lama Zopa Rinpoche:

“Building a stupa is a way to benefit sentient beings without using words. They are very powerful objects for purifying negative states of the mind. To have such a holy object existing in a country makes that country very rich and very lucky. Wherever a stupa is built, it will become a powerful place for healing and a cause of whatever success visitors are seeking. By coming and seeing such holy objects, each person can have the potential to transform their mind. These benefits apply to all sentient beings that come to the stupa, even dogs that are taken for a walk around it.”

“The Stupa represents Buddha’s holy mind, Dharmakaya, and each part of the Stupa shows the path to Enlightenment. Building a Stupa is a very powerful way to purify negative karma and obscurations, and to accumulate extensive merit. In this way you can have realizations of the path to Enlightenment and be able to do perfect work to liberate suffering beings, who equal the sky, leading them to the peerless happiness of Enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal of our life.”

“The benefits you receive from building a stupa equal the number of atoms of the stupa, and these benefits exist as long as the stupa exists. Sentient beings accumulate extensive merit by making offerings to holy objects, and from this merit happiness comes”

The following ten benefits of a Stupa were explained by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche in Chenrezig Institute, Australia, in September 1994.

1.     If you make 1,000 Stupas, you will become a great ‘Wheel-turning Holder of the Wisdom Teachings’ (Mahayana Secret Mantra) and have clairvoyance knowing all the Buddhadharma.
2.     After death, without being born in the lower realms, you will be born as a King.
3.     You will become like a sun, rising in the world, with perfect senses and a beautiful body.
4.     You will be able to remember past lives and see future lives.
5.     You will be able to extensively listen to the Dharma without forgetfulness.
6.     The “Stainless Beam” sutra states – ‘All negative karma and obscurations, including the five uninterrupted negative karmas, are purified even by dreaming of a Stupa, seeing a Stupa hearing the sound of the bell of a Stupa and even for birds and flies etc, by being touched by the shadow of a Stupa.
7.    The sentient beings will always be protected by the Buddhas, who always pay attention to guiding them to achieve complete pure Enlightenment. They abide in the irreversible stage.
8.    It is explained by Shakyamuni Buddha in the Sutras, that it is extremely powerful to build a Stupa for those who have passed away, as it immediately changes a suffering rebirth into a fortunate rebirth with the opportunity to meet the Dharma.
9.    It can also heal those with serious diseases.
10.    There is no question that it accumulates extensive merit and brings success and happiness. Therefore, dedicate for your ancestors, family members and friends who have passed away or who are sick, and for the happiness of yourself and your family in this and future lives. “

Here below, and until the end of this chapter is an explanation of the benefits from building a stupa as explained by Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche in 1966.
Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche is a Master of the Longchen Nyingthig branch of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Karmavibhanga Sutra says that the Buddha spoke to the young Brahmin Shuka like this:
They are eighteen benefits of building a Tathagata Stupa:

1.    One will be born as the child of a great king.
2.    One will have a noble body
3.    One will become very beautiful and very attractive.
4.    One will have sharp sense faculties.
5.    One will be powerful and famous.
6.    One will have a great entourage of servants.
7.    One will become a leader of men.
8.    One will be a support to all.
9.    One will be renowned in the ten directions.
10.    One will be able to express oneself in words and verses extensively.
11.    One will receive offerings from men and gods.
12.    One will possess many riches.
13.    One will obtain the kingdom of a universal monarch.
14.    One will have long life.
15.    One’s body will be like a collection of vajras.
16.    One’s body will be endowed with the major marks and the minor signs (of a Buddha).
17.    One will take rebirth in the three higher realms.
18.    One will swiftly attain complete enlightenment.

In the Manjushri Mula Tantra, it is said:
If one builds a Stupa with one’s own hands in order to purify one’s body, one will be able to do so, even if one has committed the five heinous crimes.
If one builds one hundred thousand Stupas, one will become the Universal Ruler of all Knowledge-Holders, completely understanding all scriptures and being endowed with skills and wisdom during an abiding Aeon.
After death, one will always be born as a king and never go to the three lower realms.
Like the sun rising in a central country, one will be endowed with all sense faculties, retaining what one has learned and remembering one’s former lives.

In the Sutra called “Casket of Secret Relics”, it is said:
The Bhagavan spoke:

“Vajrapani! If one writes this Dharma teaching and places it inside a Stupa, that Stupa will become the quintessential vajra relic of all the Tathagatas.
It will become a Stupa blessed with the secret Dharani essence of all Tathagatas.
It will become a Stupa of ninety-nine Tathagatas, just as many as there are sesame seeds in a sesame pot.
It will be blessed as a Stupa which contains the eyes and Ushnisha of all Tathagatas.”

Whoever places images of the Buddha in a Stupa, that person will be blessed with the nature of the seven precious jewels of the Tathagata images.
Whoever pays reverence and respect to this Stupa, will become non-returners and will eventually completely and perfectly awaken to the unsurpassed and utterly perfect enlightenment.

Even if one offers only one prostration or makes one single circumambulation, one will be completely freed from going to places like the Avici Hell.
One will never fall away from the (path to) unexcelled and completely perfect enlightenment. Also the area around this Stupa and images will be blessed by all Tathagatas.

In the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra, it is said:
Walls are built from mud and bricks and a Stupa of the Jina is made likewise.
Therefore, even if it is built from heaps of dust;
Whoever builds a Stupa for the sake of the Jina, in remote places of suffering;
Even if it is made of a heap of sand, by children playing games;
(The builder) will reach enlightenment.

The benefit of presenting offerings (to a Stupa) are stated in the Sutra requested by Prasenajid:
If one washes white a Buddha Stupa:
One will have a long life in the worlds of gods and men.
One’s body and mind will be free from sickness.
One will overcome all suffering.
One will attain permanent happiness and will be wealthy.

If one rings a bell in front of a Buddha Stupa:
One will have charismatic speech and great fame.
One will gain the pleasant voice of Brahma and remember one’s previous lives.

Whoever among the scholars, turns his mala with a devoted mind in front of a Sugata Stupa:
Will be well presented with many precious golden malas.
Will attain various ornaments.
And will become the foremost among the meritorious and fortunate ones.

Whoever offers to a Stupa of the Jina, the sound of music:
Will gain perfect confidence in profundity and knowledge.
One will have a perfect physical form and a pure mind and speech.
One’s speech will fill the world

If people fix various beautiful banners at an essential reliquary (Stupa), which is the source of immaculate merit, they themselves will receive offerings as they are now an offering field for the three worlds.

If one fixes streamers at a Sugata Stupa,
One will become a glorious ruler of men.
One will become a powerful ruler of gods and will experience great bliss.
One will attain the special streamer of complete liberation.

If one cleans a Buddha Stupa:
One will become beautiful and attractive.
One will have a noble face and the complexion of a lotus.
One will be completely free from defects of samsara.

Whoever cleans the dust around a Stupa, with clean water in the spring time, will be pleasantly fanned by ladies holding golden handled fans.

Concerning the benefits of prostrating and circumambulating a Stupa, it is said in the Avalokiteshvara Sutra:
If one pays respect kneeling before a Buddha Stupa:
One will become a heroic and powerful world monarch.
One will have an armor with golden emblems.
One will become a powerful teacher and take delight in the Buddhas.

In the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra, it is said:
Whoever joins their palms before a Stupa, whether with two hands or just one;
Whoever just one time bows their body, or even briefly bends their head;
Whoever prostrates or merely says “Buddha” with a distracted mind, whether once or several times before places where relics are kept;
That one will attain supreme enlightenment.

In the Caitya Pradakshina Ghata, it is said:
The qualities of circumambulating a Stupa of the Protector of the World cannot be described properly with mere words.

 

STUPAS –THE CONSTRUCTION

Upon the selection of the site for the erection of a stupa, pujas are being done to bless the site, appease the land deities and remove the obstacles.

The people that will participate to the construction must ensure that their motivation is correct by taking refuge and generating bodhicitta.

In the Tibetan tradition, the base of the stupa is square, each side representing one of the Four Immeasurables: love, compassion, joy and equanimity, and is called “The Lion’s Throne” or “The Lion’s Seat”. This base is traditionally filled with precious items, jewellery, holy texts or relics.
On top of this seat are five steps that each symbolize two of the ten levels of Bodhicitta.
Then we find a rounded form built on top of the steps that is called a Bumpa.
On large stupa structures, this bumpa may contain a room for meditation, otherwise, it may also be filled.
Finally, from the bumpa arises a spire capped with an ornament.

A stupa being the symbolic representation of an enlightened mind, its outer form must be made without faults and its inner content must be also have been made with a proper motivation.

A central axis called Sog Shing (meaning “Life Stick”) is prepared, carved from sandalwood or juniper by a fully ordained monk into a tapered shape. Mantras are also painted or engraved on it. A picture of the Victory Stupa is made on its top end, while the picture of half a dorje is made at its base. Relics, medicine and mantras are palced inside holes at the top and at the base of the Sog Shing, then it is wrapped in expensive materials and placed on the base culminating up to the highest point of the stupa.

Relics placed into the stupa are:
-    tsa tsa’s,
-    relic of a Buddha,
-    piece of a Buddha’s robe,
-    a white grain of a Buddha’s bone,
-    a Mantra relic, including the 84,000 teachings of the Buddha and their commentaries.

Upon completion of the stupa, a blessing puja is being performed during a gathering of the Sangha and lay people

 

STUPAS –THE HISTORY

The word “stupa” comes from the Sanskrit language and means “heap”.
It describes a mount built over the container of Buddhist relics.
Other words for stupa are “chorten” in Tibet (meaning the basis of offering) and “chedi” in Myanmar and Thailand.

A stupa is the symbolic representation of the enlightened mind of a Buddha.

It is said that after Buddha Shakyamuni passed away, his body was cremated and ten stupas were built, eight of them over his ashes, one over the urn, and one over the embers.

During the third century BC, the emperor Asoka who converted to Buddhism had these stupas opened and the remains distributed between many more new stupas that were built during his reign.
The location of these ten original stupas has never been found to this day.

Asoka is sadi to have had 84,000 stupas erected all over South East Asia

In Sri Lanka, stupas were built following king Devanampiyatissa conversion to Budddhism.
One of them, the Jetavanarama is one of the tallest ancient structure in the world.
The stupas built in Sri lanka benefitted from the best engineering of their days, with the use if such features as lightning protectors.

Stupas were to become a main feature to be found in Buddhist countries from the area of Pakistan all the way to China and Japan where they took the form of pagodas.

The oldest known stupa is the Dhamek Stupa at Samath, India and the tallest is the Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, culminating at 127 meters in height.

The erection of a stupa must be done following the instructions from a Buddhist monk.

Every stupa contains one or more holy object, it may be a relic, it may be holy images, rolled mantras or even nowadays thumb drives filled with holy images. The entire space within the stupa is filled with holy items of this kind.

Small stupas placed on home altars may also contains holy pills that are said to multiply if the person worshipping at the altar conducts a very clean samaya with his Guru.
Jewellery and other precious items may be placed inside a stupa as offerings.
It is said that the more holy images there is in a stupa the more the blessing.

 

STUPAS –THE EIGHT TYPES

The Tibetan Buddhism has eight characteristic types of stupas that are each referring to an important event in the life of the Buddha.

1.    The Lotus Blossom Stupa
This Stupa commemorates to the birth of Buddha. It is said that at birth Buddha took seven steps in each of the four cardinal directions, and in each direction lotuses sprang up, symbolizing the Four Immeasurables; of love, compassion, joy and equanimity.

The four steps of the basis of this stupa are circular, and are decorated with lotus-petal designs.
Occasionally, seven heaped lotus steps are constructed. These refer to the seven first steps of the Buddha.

2.    The Enlightenment Stupa
This Stupa symbolizes the 35-year-old Buddha’s attaining enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, where he conquered worldly temptations and attacks sent to Him by Mara.

3.    The Stupa of Many Doors
This Stupa refers to the place where Buddha taught his first students in a deer-park near Sarnath after gaining enlightenment. The series of doors on each side of the steps represent the first teachings: the Four Noble Truths, the Six Perfections, the Noble Eightfold Path and the Twelve Links in the Chain of Dependent Origination.

4.    The Stupa of Descent from the God Realm
This Stupa celebrates the time when at 42 years old, Buddha spent a summer retreat in Tushita Heaven, where his mother had taken rebirth. In order to repay her kindness he taught the Dharma to her reincarnation. Local inhabitants built a stupa like this in in order to commemorate this event.

This stupa is characterized by having a central projection at each side containing a triple ladder or steps.

5.    The Stupa of Great Miracles
This Stupa refers to various miracles performed by the Buddha when he was 50 years old.
Legend claims that he overpowered “maras” and heretics by engaging them in intellectual arguments and also by performing miracles. This stupa was raised by the Lichavi kingdom to commemorate the event.

6.    The Stupa of Reconciliation
This Stupa commemorates the Buddha’s resolution of a dispute among the sangha. A stupa in this design was built in the kingdom of Magadha, where the reconciliation occurred. It has four octagonal steps with equal sides.

7.    The Stupa of Complete Victory
This Stupa commemorates Buddha’s successful prolonging of his life by three months. It has only three steps, which are circular and unadorned

8.    The Stupa of Nirvana
This Stupa refers to the death of the Buddha, when he was 80 years old. It symbolizes the Buddha’s complete absorption into the highest state of mind. It is bell-shaped and usually not ornamented.[5]

9.    The Kalachakra Stupa
There is a 9th kind of stupa: the Kalachakra stupa. Its symbolism is not connected to events in the Buddha’s life, but instead to the symbolism of the”Kalachakra Tantra”.

 


The Eight Great Stupas

 

STUPAS –ATISHA

1.    Atisha most prized possession was a small stupa he would carry araound with him everywhere.
2.    Atisha carried the stupa around to remind him of what he wanted to achieve: the enlightened mind of a Buddha.
3.    Atisha’s stupa contained primarily holy relics.
4.    The stupa and its content was important to Atisha because of what it represented.
5.    The teaching that most moved Atisha was the Realisation of Boddhicitta taught to him by  Dharmakirti.
6.    Atisha got this precious teaching from Sumatra where he studied under Dharmakirti..
7.    Atisha originated from East Bengal.
8.    Atisha main Yidam is Tara.
9.    Lord Tsongkhapa was indeed influence by the great Master Atisha because the Lamrim Chenmo was based on The Lamp for the Path of Enlightenment.

 

STUPAS –WEBSITEES REFERENCES

The above was written from information found in the following web-sites:

http://dbc.dharmakara.net/trt2-963.html

http://www.stupa.org/stupas.htm

http://www.khordong.de/Engl/India/stupa_info.html

http://www.tsatsastudio.org/pdfs/BenefitsStupas.pdf

http://www.stupa.org.nz/stupa/benefit.htm

http://www.chenrezig.com.au/content/view/188/272/

http://www.peacestupa.org/the_benefits_of_stupas.html

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/teachers/lineage_masters/life_atisha.html

 

STUPAS –PICTURES

 Ruwanweliseya, or the “Great Stupa” stands at 300 feet, it is the oldest but smallest of the three largest brick structures in the world. It is decorated with coral originating from the Mediterranean sea and brought back by an emissary of the Sri Lankan king who was received in an audience by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. The stupa was built by King Duttugamunu. This design was to be repeated in Thailand, Burma, and other countries South-Asian countries Sri-Lankan monks went to teach Buddhism.

 

Funerary stupas in Thailand.

 

Emperor Asoka (273-236 BC) had many stupas built. This stupa in Sanchi is listed by the UNESCO as one of the heritage sites of the world.

 

Boudhanat, Located about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal

 

KuKuthodaw Pagoda literally meaning “Royal Merit” is located in Mandalay,Burma(Myanmar), and contains the world’s largest book. It is gilded above its terraces, is 57m high. In the grounds of the pagoda are 729 stone-inscription caves, each containing a marble slab inscribed on both sides with a page from the Tipitaka.

 

The Flower Pagoda in Qinghua Temple is to the south of Mountain Gate of Qinghua Temple, in the Laishui County of the Hebei Province of China.

 

 

Borobudur was built in the 9th century during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty. The monument is a place for Buddhist pilgrimage and is listed by the UNESCO as one of the heritage sites of the world.

 

The Kagyu Samye Ling Stupa is built at the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre at Eskdalemuir in the Scottish Borders.

 

This red chorten is erected in the Samye Monastery and is the first Buddhist monastery built in Tibet, between 775 and 779 AD under the patronage of King Trisong Detsen of Tibet
It is also notable as the site of the “Great Debate” (792-794) between the Indian Mahayanists and Chinese Chán Buddhists.

 

 


 

ARTICLE 2
by JP

 

What is a Stupa?

STUPAS existed in India as burial grounds in mounds of dirt for important people such as rulers and heroes before Shakyamuni Buddha was born.

Stupa at Sanchi, Central India. Built centuries before Shakymuni Buddha.

 

Stupas in Buddhism

IN Buddhism, building stupas is a very powerful way of purifying one’s negative karma and obscurations. Before Buddha went into Parinirvana, he instructed his disciples to keep his ashes in stupas to commemorate his 8 Great Deeds and also to house holy relics.  When a great being passes on, their physical body is gone. However, their mind is still unchanging, in dharmakaya. The stupa symbolises the mind of all Buddhas.

1.     The Stupa of Heaped Lotuses, symbolizes Buddha’s birth and the seven steps he took in each of the four cardinal directions.

2.     The Stupa of Enlightenment, symbolizes Buddha’s enlightenment at Bodhgaya.

3.    The Stupa of the Turning Wheel, symbolizes the Wheel of Dharma turning for the first time.

4.    The Stupa of Miracles, refers to Buddha performing miracles to convince people with wrongful views.

5.    The Stupa of Descent, symbolizes Buddha descending from Tushita Heaven where he gave teachings to his mother.

6.    The Stupa of Reconciliation, symbolizes when Buddha brought reconciliation to the Buddhist practitioners after problems were created by his cousin Devadatta.

7.    The Stupa of Victory, symbolizes when Buddha prolonged his life for three     months upon request by his students.

8.    The Stupa of Nirvana, symbolizes Buddha’s attainment of Parinirvana.
 
 

 

Symbolism of a Stupa

THE shape of the stupa represents the Buddha with a crown, sitting in meditation posture on throne.  The stupa also symbolizes the five elements, colours and their relationship to the Enlightened Mind:
•    Base         Square         Yellow          Earth      Equanimity
•    Dome      Circle           White           Water     Indestructibility
•    Spire        Triangle      Red               Fire        Compassion
•    Parasol    Half Circle  Green           Wind     All Accomplishing Action
•    Jewel        Dewdrop    No colour    Space     All Pervading Awareness

Sections of the Stupa symbolize the Path to Enlightenment 

 

From the bottom up:

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

2.    The four steps below the Bumpa, or dome (where the legs of the Buddha are): the Four Immeasurables of loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.

3.    The Bumpa (where the Buddha’s chest is):
The Seven Elements of Enlightenment: mindfulness, discrimination, exertion, joy, pliancy, samadhi, equanimity

4.    The Harmika, just below the spire:
Eyes of the Buddha signifying the 8-fold Noble Path of Right View, understanding, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and Samadhi

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

6.    The Parasol:
Compassion

7.    Jewel/Sun/Moon:
Enlightenment, Wisdom, Bodhicitta

 

Benefits of Stupas

BUILDING a Stupa is a very powerful way to purify negative karma and obscurations, and to accumulate extensive merit. As a result, you can have realisations of the path to Enlightenment.
Some of the benefits of building stupas are:
•    You will not be reborn in the 3 lower realms but will be born as a King or child of a King or in a wealthy and powerful family.
•    You will have a noble body with perfect senses and a beautiful body.
•    You will be powerful and famous.
•    You will be able to remember past lives and see future lives.
•    You will be able to listen to the Dharma and not forget.
•    You will take rebirth in the 3 higher realms.
•    You can heal serious diseases and have long life.
•    You will quickly attain Enlightenment.
•    For those who have passed away, it will immediately change a negative rebirth into a good rebirth with the opportunity to meet the Dharma.

Different Styles of Stupas

           


 

 

JP’s answers for the questions about Atisha

1. What was the most prized possession he had?
A stupa

2. Why did he carry the stupa around?
To purify any nonvirtues  in front of the stupa.

3. What did the stupa primarily contain?
His guru’s ashes.

4. Why was this stupa and it’s contents so important?
It was important because the stupa contained his guru’s ashes.

5. Where did he get the holy contents of this stupa?
From sumatra.

6. Out of all the teachings he received, which teaching moved and changed Atisha the most hence he carried this precious item with him in the stupa as a blessing and high regard he held these teachings? What was the item? What was the teaching?
The teaching of lojong. He carried the stupa.
 
7. From what country did Atisha get these teachings from?
Sumatra, Indonesia

8. What country did Atisha originate from?
Modern day Bangladesh.
 
9. What was Atisha’s main Yidam?
Tara
 
10. Did the incomparable Lord Tsongakapa get influenced by this great master Atisha?
Yes. The entire Gelug teachings was based on Atisha’s teachings.

 


 

 ARTICLE 3
by Pastor Ngeow

 

 What is a Stupa?

The best general description for it would be – a spiritual monument. A stupa has two symbolic meaning . It is about enlightenment and also the path to achieve it through realizing one’s own mind. Hence it is a symbol of the enlightened mind of the Buddhas.

Stupas continued to be erected in Buddhist temple grounds and places of enlightenment due to its  power to bless , plant seeds and trigger awakening and insight in the minds of those who gaze upon it, circumnambulate or touch it.

Stupas can stand alone as a single structure or as complex as the 8th century Borobudur monument in Java, Indonesia which is also the largest of its kind in the world . During the reign of Asokha, the buddhist king commissioned  thousands of  stupas all over the Southern region of  Asia. In all, 84,000 were built  to commemorate the 84,000 teachings of Buddha.

This was the golden age of Buddhism when the Buddha’s teachings achieved the widest reach. As the teachings spread east, the form of the stupa evolved into the pagoda structure especially popular in China, the greatest and most advanced nation during that period. The pagodas also come in various functions and designs which can be bell shaped or pyramidal . Generally , one can identify a stupa built in the traditional shape as a Buddhist structure of India , Nepal , Sri Lanka or South East Asia for purpose of worship . A pagoda structure nowadays is more like a building with the highest floors reserved for spiritual worship and the lower floors and ground floor , for secular purposes.

 

History of Stupas

The first stupas were made after the passing of the historical Buddha to contain his relics or remains after cremation.  They were built from earth mounds of mud or clay to house the remains. Later, the ashes and  remains from his cremation were divided into 8 parts from which 8 stupas were built to contain them . Two additional  stupas were erected to house the the urn and the embers. There is little record as to the exact location of these original stupas.

According to Buddhist records, in the third century BC, the King Asoka had the original stupas opened and the remains distributed among the thousands of  stupas he had built. This was a significant and kind act as it enabled the laity  and common people to have access to these holy structures to generate faith , and to offer prayers wherever they are all over the country.  From then onwards, The significance of the stupa changed from being a mere funerary monument to become  an object of prayers, veneration and blessings .

 

 Types of stupas

There are  five types classified based on shape  and function.

•    Relic stupa -  contains relics or remains of the Buddha, his disciples and lay realised masters . They can be bone fragments, hair, sharira crystals, teeth etc

•    Object stupa – contains objects used by Buddha or his disciples eg begging bowl , robes , or sacred  Buddhist scriptures/text. In Tibetan tradition, statues, thangkas, mala beads, vajra & bell, damaru used by the masters  are included.

•    Commemorative stupas – for commemorating auspicious  or significant events during the Buddha’s or his disciples’ lifetime. This includes events celebrated by different traditions such as Wesak, Monlam festival, Quan Yin Day, Lama Tsongkhapa Day, Guru Rinpoche day etc.

•    Symbolic stupa- to symbolise aspects of Buddhist concepts/philosophy

•    Votive stupas – to commemorate visits of various acknowledged Buddhist masters or dignitaries/major supporters of Buddhism . They are usually built  at the site of prominent stupas.

A Stupa can be identified by noting the following ;

a)    its 4 main parts/features
b)    its symbolism to a  buddha’s form
c)    its representation of the 5 purified elements

 

The 4 main parts of a stupa

•    Harmika- apex .
•    Medhi- path circulating around the stupa
•    Toran- gateway to the stupa.
•    Vedica-the railing that protects the holy place.

 

Symbolism to Buddha’s form body

The stupa’s overall shape is also  representative of the  Buddha sitting in meditation on a lion throne.

The distinctive parts of the stupa have following symbolism:

Top of spire – buddha’s crown

Spire’s square base – Buddha’s head

Vase shape  – buddha’s body

4 step of the lower terraced platform – Buddha’s legs

base platform – lion throne

 

Representation of Five purified elements

•    square base – earth
•    dome/vase   – represents water
•    conical spire – fire
•    upper lotus parasol and crescent moon – air
•    The sun and the zenith point – space

 

Construction

Only a qualified Buddhist sangha /master who knows the significance of a stupa and its symbolism ,rituals and prayers can build and consecrate a stupa. The type of stupa chosen is normally directly connected with events that have taken place in the area.

 

The treasury

All stupas contain a treasury filled with various objects. Small offerings called tsa tsas fill a major part of the treasury. Creation of various types of tsa-tsas is a ceremony itself. They are traditionally made from wooden moulds. Mantras written on paper are rolled into thin rolls, and put into these small clay stupas. The filling process involve placing one layer of Tsa-Tsas, and subsequently the empty space between is filled with dry sand before another layer is made and so on  until the treasury is packed fully.

Depending on the size of the treasury or tsa tsas, the number of tsa-tsas can number tens or hundreds of thousands to fill completely. Jewellery and other “precious” objects are also often included. It is believed that the more objects with holy or virtuous symbolism  placed into the stupa, the stronger will be the energy and blessing power of the Stupa.


 Tree of Life

A very important element in every Stupa is the Tree of Life. It is a timber pole decorated with semi precious stones and gems and thousands of mantras. This pole is then carefully and precisely placed in the central channel of the stupa in conjunction with  a blessing  ceremony or initiation, where devotees hold colorful ribbons attached  to the Tree of Life.The ritual masters , ordained sangha ,devotees collectively recite prayers and dedications. In this way the stupa is energized up, and function to bestow blessing energy to the faithful.

 

Benefits ( from seeing, touching, circumnambulating , building or praying to it )

1.     deposit positive karmic imprints in the mind.

2.     gain fortunate rebirths.

3.     Temporary benefits

-    being born into wealthy  family, having beautiful body, a nice voice which can command attention and influence others, beauty and  attractive form which can bestow joy to others and having a long and happy life, in which one’s wishes are fulfilled quickly.

4.     Ultimate benefit
-    quickly gain liberstion and enlightenment.

Destroying a stupa on the other hand, will incur heavy negative karma, similar to killing, leading to lower realms rebirth.

 

The Eight great stupas according to Tibetan tradition
 

Each of the stupas commemorate  the major events in the Buddha’s life.

 

Lotus Blossom Stupa

Commemoration of Buddha’s birth

Alternate name : Stupa of Heaped Lotuses

At birth Buddha took seven steps in each of the four cardinal directions” (East, South, West and North). In each direction lotuses sprang, symbolizing the Four Immeasurables: love, compassion, joy and equanimity. The four steps are symbolized by  the round base which has lotus-petal designs. There are also Stupas designed with  seven heaped lotus steps refering to the first seven steps the golden child Buddha took .

 

Enlightenment Stupa

Commemoration of Buddha’s enlightenment

Alternate name : Stupa of the Conquest of Mara.

At the age  of 35 years, Prince Siddharta , entered meditation and  attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, where he defeated the maras which were his inner delusions and dispelled his ignorance.

 

Stupa of Many Doors

Commemoration of 1st turning of Wheel of Dharma.

Alternate name :  Stupa of Many Gates.

After enlightenment, Buddha went to a deer-park near Sarnath where he gave his first teachings on the 4 Noble Truths to 5 disciples.

The series of doors on each side of the steps represent:
a) 4 Noble Truths
b) Six Perfections to enlightenement
c) Eight fold Path to Liberation
d) 12 dependent links of human existence

 

Stupa of Descent from the God Realm

Commemoration of Buddha’s teachings to his mother in Tushita heaven 

Buddha repayed her mother’s kindness by teaching dharma to her mother who was reborn in Tushita . She was liberated after receiving the dharma.

A feature of this stupa is its central projection which has a triple ladder or steps by each of its side.

 

Stupa of Great Miracles

Commemoration of victory over the maras.

Alternative name : Stupa of Conquest of the Tirthikas.

Buddha overcome all the 4 maras  of delusion, namely : the maras of delusions, 4 aggregates, death and devaputra maras by using his powers of clairvoyance, miraculous skills and philosophical debate .

 

Stupa of Reconciliation

Commemoration of  the Buddha’s settlement of a dispute among the sangha.

This stupa has  four octagonal steps with equal sides. The settlement which prevented a potential schism amongst the spiritual community took place in the kingdom of Magadha where the stupa was built.

 

Stupa of Complete Victory

Commemoration of Buddha’s extension of his life.

This stupa has only three steps, which are circular and without ornaments . They symbolize the 3 months of his extended life.

 

Stupa of Nirvana

Commemoration of  the parinirvana  of the Buddha

At  80 years old, Buddha entered parinirvana , the  complete absorption into the highest state of mind which is inconceivable by ordinary people. The stupa built to symbolize this event  is bell-shaped and not usually ornamented.

 


 

ARTICLE 4
by Yap Yoke Fui

 

What is a stupa ?

In Tibetan,  Stupa is called Chorten, which means – the basis of offering. It is a symbol of enlightened mind and the path to its realization.

The stupa represents the Buddha’s body, speech and mind, but especially the enlightened  mind .

The shape of the stupa represents the Buddha, crowned and sitting in meditation posture on a lion throne. The top of the spire represents his crown; his head is the square at the spire’s base; his body is the vase shape; his legs are the four steps of the lower terraces, and the base is his throne.

The Stupa also symbolizes the five elements and their relationship to enlightened mind. It is a mandala containing all these perfect qualities, the essential attributes of a fully realized human being :
•    Equanimity – represented at the base of the stupa as earth
•    Indestructibility – represented by the dome as the water element ;
•    Compassion – represented by the spire as the fire element;
•    Perfect skills – represented above the spire as the wind element;
•    Omniscience – at the very top represented by the jewel as pervading space .

 

 

The Benefits of Stupas

According to the great Mahasiddha, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche :

“ The visual impact of the stupa on the observer brings a direct experience of inherent wakefulness and dignity. Stupas continue to be built because of their ability to liberate one simply upon seeing their structure.”

It is considered as extremely beneficial to build a stupa at least once in one’s life time. The action or deed will leave very positive karmic imprints in the mind. Future benefits from this action will result in fortunate rebirths endowed with fortunate worldly benefits such as being born into a rich family, having a beautiful body, a nice voice, and being attractive and bringing joy to others and having a long and happy life, one’s wishes are fulfilled quickly. On the absolute level, one will also be able to reach enlightenment quickly, the goal of Buddhism.

Destroying a stupa on the other hand, will produce the direct opposite results of all the above benefits. Such an action will create powerful negative karmic potentialities, leading to massive future problems. It is said this action will leave the mind in a state of paranoia after death, leading directly to unfortunate rebirths.

 

 

Types of stupas

Built for a variety of reasons, Buddhist stupas are classified based on form and function into five types:

•    Relic stupa – in which the relics or remains of the Buddha, his disciples and lay saints are interred.
•    Object stupa – in which the items interred are objects belonged to the Buddha or his disciples such as a begging bowl or robe, or important Buddhist scriptures.
•    Commemorative stupas – built to commemorate events in the lives of Buddha or his disciples.
•    Symbolic stupa- to symbolise aspects of Buddhist theology, for example, Borobuddur is considered to be the symbol of “the Three Worlds (dhatu) and the spiritual stges (bhumi) in a Mahayana bodhisattva’s character.”
•    Votive stupas – constructed to commemorate visits or to gain spiritual benefits, usually at the site of prominent stupas which are regularly visited.

 

 

General contents in the Stupas

All stupas contain a treasury filled with various objects. Small offerings called Tsa Tsa fill a major part of the treasury. The treasury is filled alternately with one layer of Tsa-Tsas  and one layer of dry sand until the entire space of a treasury is full.

It is not necessary to have expensive jewelry since it is the symbolic value that is important, not the market price. It is believed that the more objects placed into the stupa, the stronger the energy of the Stupa will be.

A very important element in every Stupa is the Tree of Life. It is a wooden pole covered with gems and thousands of mantras, and placed in the central channel of the stupa.  During a ceremony when the Tree of Life is placed, the participants hold colorful ribbons connected to the Tree of Life. Together the participants make their most positive and powerful wishes, which are stored in the Tree of Life. In this way the stupa is charged up, and will start to function.

 

 

Example of Commemorative Stupas :

The Eight Great Stupas
 

  • Lotus Blossom Stupa

Also known as Stupa of Heaped Lotuses or Birth of the Sugata Stupa, this stupa refers to the birth of the Buddha. Buddha took seven steps immediately after birth in each of the four directions (East, South, West and North). In each direction lotuses sprang, symbolizing the Four Immeasurables: love, compassion, joy and equanimity. The four steps of the basis of this stupa is circular, and it is decorated with lotus-petal designs. Occasionally, seven heaped lotus steps are constructed. These refer to the seven first steps of the Buddha.

 

  • Enlightenment Stupa

Also known as the Stupa of the Conquest of Mara. This stupa symbolizes Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, where he conquered worldly temptations and attacks manifesting in the form of Mara.

 

  • Stupa of Many Doors

Also known as the Stupa of Many Gates. After reaching enlightenment, the Buddha taught his first students in a deer-park near Sarnath. The series of doors on each side of the steps represent the first teachings: the Four Noble Truths, the Six Perfections, the Noble Eightfold Path and the Twelve Links in the Chain of Dependent Origination.

 

  • Stupa of Descent from the God Realm

At 42 years old, Buddha spent a summer retreat in Tushita Heaven, where his mother had taken rebirth. In order to repay her kindness he taught the dharma to her reincarnation. Local inhabitants built a stupa like this in Sankasya in order to commemorate this event. This stupa is characterized by having a central projection at each side containing a triple ladder or steps

  • Stupa of Great Miracles

Also known as Stupa of Conquest of the Tirthikas. This stupa refers to various miracles performed by the Buddha when he was 50 years old. Legend claims that he overpowered maras and heretics by engaging them in intellectual arguments and also by performing miracles. This stupa was raised by the Lichavi kingdom to commemorate the event

 

  • Stupa of Reconciliation

This stupa commemorates the Buddha’s resolution of a dispute among the sangha. A stupa in this design was built in the kingdom of Magadha, where the reconciliation occurred. It has four octagonal steps with equal sides.

 

  • Stupa of Complete Victory

This stupa commemorates Buddha’s successful prolonging of his life by three months. It has only three steps, which are circular and unadorned

 

  • Stupa of Nirvana

This stupa refers to the death of the Buddha, when he was 80 years old. It symbolizes the Buddha’s complete absorption into the highest state of mind. It is bell-shaped and usually not ornamented

 

Example of Votive Stupas :

  • Kalachakra stupa

The Kalachakra stupa is not connected to events in the Buddha’s life, but instead to the symbolism of the Kalachakra Tantra, created to protect against negative energies.

 

 

The History of Stupas and Pictures

 
Taxila, Sanskrit Takshashila,  ancient city of northwestern Pakistan. Its prosperity in ancient times resulted from its position at the junction of three great trade routes: one from eastern India, described by the Greek writer Megasthenes as the “Royal Highway”; the second from western Asia; and the third from Kashmir and Central Asia. When these routes ceased to be important, the city sank into insignificance and was finally destroyed by the Huns in the 5th century . Taxila was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.
 

The Great Stupa at Sanchi, India established by Asoka the Great ( 4th-1st Century BC)

 

Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath, northeastern India is the oldest Stupa in existence.

 

Stupa surrounded by four lion-crowned pillars. Gandhara, 2nd century AD.

 

 Swayambhunath, also known as Monkey Temple, is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.

 

Boudhanath is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.
 

 

Ruwanwelisaya Chedi in the sacred city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

 

Jetavanaramaya stupa in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka is the largest brick structure in the world.

 

The main Stupa crowning Borobudur, the largest Buddhist structure in the world, Java, Indonesia.

 

The Great Stupa at Shambhala Mountain Center, Colorado, USA

 

Khmer style stupa within the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
 

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar.
 

Phra Sri Ratana Chedi within Wat Phra Kaeo, in Bangkok, Thailand.

 

White Dagoba Temple (Baita Si), also called Miaoying Si, in Beijing, China.
 

Stupa in Gotemba, Shizuoka City, Japan.
 

Stupa at near Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet.
 

Stupa in Quaid-i-Azam University Campus in Islamabad, Pakistan.

 

Why do Stupas ?

Kechara World Peace Centre and Kechara Forest Retreat, are projects undertaken with the goal of bringing stability to the region and benefits to the people. Therefore we would like to build stupas for the same reasons as why so many stupas had been built all over the world :
1)    On a spiritual level, to plant the seed of enlightenment in the minds of all who lay eyes on the symbol of the enlightened mind.

2)    On a mundane level, to bestow fortunate worldly benefits such as being born into a rich family, having a beautiful body, a nice voice, and being attractive and bringing joy to others and having a long and happy life.

 


 

ARTICLE 5
by Matthew Leong

 

Stupas


What Are Stupas?
Symbols of Enlightenment

“Stupas began in pre-Buddhist India as hemispherical burial grounds that marked the remains of temporal rulers.  At an early stage in the development of Buddhist art, they became symbols of the Buddha’s continuing immanence as well as representations of his Mind…..”  Robert Thurman/Denise Leidy “Mandala, The Architecture of Enlightenment”.

Because every element of a Buddha’s physical body is pervaded with the pure energy of Enlightened Mind, the teacher’s remains after cremation are considered sacred.  One sign that a teacher is an Enlightened manifestation is that relics will be found in the ashes that resemble small, round pearls which can be white, red, or brown.  These are often the relics that are put inside stupas being built today.The story of the stupa began in India before the birth of Buddha Shakyamuni where mounds of dirt were built around a tree as a tomb for the remains of important figures such as kings and heroes. It’s said that the Buddha was the one who changed that practice when he asked that his own remains be placed in eight different locations within stupas that would represent the Awakened Nature, as a reminder of the potential for enlightenment within us all. The Stupa became a symbol of the Buddha; of his final release from the cycle of birth and rebirth. (Parinirvana the Final Dying)

 

 

Benefits of a Stupa

(1) One will be reborn In a royal family.
(2) One will get a beautiful body.
(3) One’s speech will be entrancing.
(4) One’s mere sight will be a great joy for the others.
(5) One will have a charming and attractive personality.
(6) One will be erudite In the five sciences.
(7) One will become a support (an example for all).
(8) One will be praised from all directions.
(9) One will be Inclined to sounds and words of Dharma.
(10) One will live only with happiness.
(11) One will be venerated both by men and.gods.
(12) One will obtain great riches.
(13) One will be granted a long life.
(14) All one’s wishes will be fulfilled.
(15) One’s beneficial activity and wisdom will only grow.
(16) One’s body will become as indestructible as the Dorje.
(17) One will be reborn In the higher realms or existence.
(18) One will reach quickly perfect Awakening.
 
 
 

 

 

8 Great Deeds

Since Shakyamuni Buddha’s passing, the stupas that have been built are representations of his form and memorials of his 8 Great Deeds. The structures are constructed according to guidelines found in Buddhist scripture that he left for us. Many stupas today are built on these representations.


 
After the Buddha took his last breath, and his body cremated, his ashes were divided into eight parts.  Eventually, in order to share the blessings with the community, the kings and princes who were the caretakers of the relics built stupas to house them.  Of the ancient stupas still intact today, most are said to contain relics of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Stupas can contain:
•    Relics of Buddha’s
•    Relics of High monks
•    Relics of attained masters
•    Sutras
•    Mantras
•    Multiple images of Buddha’s such as statues/tsatsas/pictures/paintings/precious items
•    Wealth vases
•    Blessed items like from sand mandalas
•    Even consecrated bones/nail/hair of ordinary beings/animals can be placed inside…this would generate great merits for the deceased in their future rebirths. And stupas can come in all sizes from one inch to one story or anything.

 

 

Examples of great Stupas
 


 

Sanchi Stupa

This Great stupa is located 30 miles northeast of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, India. It’s one of India’s oldest surviving Buddhist monuments and gets almost 80,000 visitors a year even though it’s remote.

This poor stupa suffered a lot of damage by treasure-hunters, who almost destroyed it over the years, but had a major renovation around 1912 headed by Sir John Marshall, an Englishman part of the Archaeological Survey of India.  The stupa is graced by beautiful carvings that illustrate the Lotus or Elephant, which represents the Buddha’s birth, a tree, which  signifies his enlightenment, and wheels, signifying the wheel of dharma or the first teaching given by Buddha Shakyamuni.

 

 

Swayambhunath Stupa

The great Swayambhunath Stupa is west of Kathmandu on a hill that is a perfect setting for this ancient stupa. Many temples were destroyed between 1355 and 1934; this is one of the most important structures that survived.

The powerful Stupa has been an important refuge for Buddhist and other pilgrims from all over the world. Some consider it the most powerful shrine in the Himalayas even today.
The name means “self-created self- existent Buddha, and the myth of its creation is one with the story of the Valley of Kathmandu. It tells the story of the primordial Buddha’s enlightenment and the spread of Buddhism in Nepal.          

 

Boudhanath Stupa

The Boudhanath Stupa is a 36 meter high stupa located in Nepal, and is considered the largest stupa in South Asia. It was renovated by LIcchavi rulers in the eighth century, and the mandala design is a copy of the one in Gyangtse, Tibet.

Located on the ancient trade route to Tibet, Tibetan merchants often rested in its shadows, and offered prayers here for centuries. When refugees began to flee Tibet, many came here to Nepal and decided to stay, creating what is now known as “Little Tibet”.

It’s said that the remains of a Kasyap sage revered by both Buddhists and Hindus resides inside the stupa. Smaller stupas surround it, along with monasteries, curio shops and restaurants. It’s become a destination place for thousands of world travelers each year.         

   


 

ARTICLE 6
by Doreen Teoh

 

Stupas


May 1, 2012

Dear Rinpoche,
After reading and researching on stupas, I have come to understand and realise the greatness of “building stupa.  It is so blessed that Kechara is building a chö.ten (in tibetan), “the basis of offering”in Chamang with the guidance and blessing of Rinpoche.  I can imagine the tremendous benefits by building a stupas at Chamang.

Thank you for putting on this assignment write up for me to do, as with my deluded mind and interferences in samsaric, I am able to gain and understand the significant and greatness of “STUPA”. I will still rejoice if I am not chosen to join the project, as I have already gain the knowledge and understandings of stupas. By doing this write up, I can share the greatness of stupa with everyone.
As the benefits that a sentient beings could attain is beyond ones’s  imagination and thoughts.   Purify Karma and obscurations, and accumulation of extensive merits are just the few benefits that one beings can attain.

“Because a stupa is built in the open air many beings, human and non-human, will go around it and thus many will benefit.”

Commitments and right motivation are the most important qualities that one should have in order to be involved, as the importance of the stupa is is immeasurable and priceless.

Building a stupa at this degeneration age, which is present moment where it is difficult for people to practise Dharma, and due to factors of negatives forces and interferences, we are not able to practise as we could like. What conducive factors will be needed to ward-off and pacify all these negative forces?”

The Buddha explained that five factors would be needed. If these five factors were present, people would be free of interference from negative forces and they would live long. As well, these five factors would gradually contribute to the practitioners’ attainment of enlightenment.

The first factor is to give Dharma constantly with the intention of helping others.

The second factor is constantly to give sentient beings a sense of security, or freedom from fear. This means to constantly save beings whose lives are at risk, and provide them with security and peace of mind.

The third factor is constantly to reflect on the four types of immeasurable.

The fourth factor is constantly to repair old stupas or to commission or construct new stupas.

The fifth factor is constantly to maintain the mind of enlightenment, Bodhicitta, the universal altruism to want to achieve the state of enlight-enment for the sake of all sentient beings. One needs to maintain this in one’s mind all the time.

Of the five factors the Buddha spelt out, one is repairing old stupas and making new ones. If one is able to do that it will bring a lot of benefit to oneself and others in the future.

 

How to build a stupas

The process of building stupas, being involved have already create a a tremendous merits to the workers and also to have a pure mind and right  motivation in order to build stupas.  It is an important as the stupas represents the holy mind of Buddha, and each part of the stupas shows the path to enlightenment. With realisation of the path to Enlightenment and be able to do perfect work to liberate suffering beings, leading them to the peerless happiness of Enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal of our life.

The Stupa base is square, and it is called Lion’s Seat whose four sides refer to the four qualities of mind basic to the attainment of enlightenment, which is  Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity. This base is then traditionally filled with jewels, precious texts and relics pertaining to the tradition of Stupa building. On the Lion’s Seat there are then built five steps which are representative of the progress of the mind towards enlightenment. Each step can be divided into two and alludes to the ten levels of Bodisattva realisation.

A rounded form built on top of the steps called the Bumpa is  representative of the seventeen levels of the Realm of Form.  If the Bumpa is small, it shall be filled with precious item and pure representations of Buddha Mind.  If it is as large as a room it can be used for meditation and puja.

Out of the Bumpa a spire forms and on top of that sit ornaments which together represent the four stages of the Formless Realm. In much the same way as the Stupa’s outer manifestation mirrors that of pure mind, so too must its inner contents. Great emphasis is placed on the consciousness with which the objects within its form are made. The tradition is very particular in the way it states exactly what should be placed inside and in what manner they must be crafted to ensure the utmost purity.

A central axis called the Sog Shing, meaning “Life Stick” is made, and is traditionally carved from Sandalwood or Juniper. However, if it is not possible to obtain these woods, the wood of any tree which does not bear poisonous fruit can be used.

Once the tree has been chosen, prayers and offerings are made to the Earth Spirits for permission to use it. A monk with full ordination vows must then craft the wood into a tapered shape and either carve or paint mantras over its surface. It is important that all materials used in this process are of the highest quality possible. At the tip of the Life Stick a picture of the Victory Stupa is made and at its base that of a half Dorje. Holes are made at the top and base and blessed relics, medicines and texts are placed inside.
The Life Stick is then wrapped in precious materials and is fixed in place on the Lion’s Seat. It is long enough to protrude to the Stupa’s highest point.
The Stupa is then filled with relics which symbolically pertain to the utmost purity of mind. It is said that if the Stupa itself is the representation of Buddhas’ body then the Relics are the life force which flows through it and, as such, are even more vital than its outer form.
The first relic, called the Dharma relic or Tsa Tsa is made to fill the Stupa. These are small clay models of Stupas which here at Samye Ling have been fashioned from local clay, again extracted from the earth after prayers and offerings were made. These can only be made by monks and nuns or lay people who have undergone the refuge ceremony and who have taken eight basic Buddhist vows for the day. Each Tsa Tsa is made with the recitation of specific mantras and a visualisation of the Buddha. A hole is made in the base of each model and inside this are placed rolled up prayer scrolls.
The second relic to be placed in the Stupa is a remnant of the body of the Buddha himself. Like the third and fourth specified relics, which are a piece of the Buddhas’ robe and a white grain of the Buddha’s bone respectively, these are rare and hard to come by. The great blessing that graces Samye Ling through the presence of its founder, Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Lama Phuntsok, the visiting Stupa Lama, means that these have been attained along with relics of the body of Guru Rinpoche, Tilopa, Marpa and His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa.

Finally the fifth relic specified to go inside the Stupa is the Mantra Relic. These include the eighty four thousand teachings of the Buddha along with the commentaries on his teachings by many of the realised beings who came after him. The Mantra Relic also includes the “Five Great Mantras for Stupas”.

Once the Stupa is complete and all the relics are in place, a blessing ceremony takes place. A gathering of many realised Lamas and Masters along with Sangha, Retreatants and Lay practitioners is arranged and prayers and blessings are made to complete the process of the building the Stupa. The Benefit of the Stupa emanates far and wide and is said to go on for Aeons. The positivity generated by such activity is impossible to measure. Liberation is said to be given by merely hearing about a Stupa, by touching it, by seeing it, by praying to it, by walking around it and by eating the offerings that are made to it. In the West Stupa building is an activity in its infancy, but one whose inspiration must surely touch us all.

The benefits of circumambulating a stupa

The extract below I  copied from the below teaching given by the Venerable Thupten Rinpoche at the Dhargyey Buddhist Centre, 5 May 1996. © Copyright Dhargyey Buddhist Centre, 1996.
I would like to share it as I felt so amazed, and full of enthusiasm, and  excitement when I read this story of benefits of circumambulating the stupa, as it will be such a great benefits to all the beings in Chamang even for the worms, crickets and all the animals, and beings in the Kechara Foreat Retreat (KFR).

There is another story that tells us about the benefits of circumambulating a stupa. There is no doubt that if someone makes or commissions a stupa and then makes offerings and circumambulates the stupa with faith and conviction in the power and the qualities of the Buddha and so on, that great benefit will accrue to that person. But even if someone were to accidentally, unintentionally, go around such a holy object, the benefits would still be great. This story is about a householder called Palchen, who lived during Buddha’s own time. He was an old man about a hundred years old, and as an old man he wasn’t able to work actively to contribute to the family. So his wife, his children and his household started to torment him, making his life a misery. He felt very sad and thought that the best thing for him now was to become a monk. He went to the Sangha community and asked permission to become a monk. To be a monk or a nun the applicant must have at least one merit that can become the basis for receiving the vows. The monks checked to see whether he had any merits, and after checking they thought that he had none. So the old man went to consult Shariputra and Maugalyayana, the great disciples of Buddha, known for their wisdom and psychic power. They checked with their clairvoyance to see whether this old monk had any merit accumulated from some distant past life. But they didn’t see any merit, and he was refused permission to be a monk.

Then the old man thought to himself: “I left home to become a monk because at home I was being tormented by all. Now at the monastery I’m being refused permission to become a monk.” He thought that there was nothing left for him except to die. So he went off to die, and the Buddha knew about it straight away. The Buddha sent Maugalyayana to fetch the old man and bring him to him. The old man was brought to the Buddha and Buddha gave him a word of encouragement, saying, “You do have some merit that you accumulated in an extraordinarily distant past life. It is so far back in the past that although Shariputra and Maugalyayana are Arhats with extrasensory perception, their extrasensory perception is not powerful enough to reach so far back into the past. However as a Buddha I see one merit for you.” The old man asked, “What kind of merit do I have?” The Buddha said, “You have a merit you unintentionally accumulated in the very distant past, at a time when you had been born as a worm in a cow-pat. This cow-pat was dry on the surface and soft inside, and you were able to live inside it. One day there was heavy rain and flooding in that area. Everything was washed away by the flood and your cow-pat house and you were washed down into the plains. Down there there was a stupa and around it was a shallow channel worn by the feet of the people who circumambulated it. The current of water from the flood ran into this channel and went round and round, and everything in the water also went round. Thus you unintentionally circumambulated the stupa at that time.”

With palms together,
Doreen Teoh

 


 

ARTICLE 7
by May Ong

 

What Is A Stupa

The Stupa is a symbolic representation of the Buddha’s mind of enlightenment or the perfection of wisdom and compassion. In ancient times, stupas are dome shaped structure holy monuments and the oldest form of ancient Buddhist architecture.

Legend had it that Buddha took his outer yellow robe and folded it in two and two until it formed a rough cube. Then he took out his round begging-bowl and turned it upside down, and put it on top of the robes. ‘Make the stupa like this,’ he said. Hence, till this day, the basic form of the stupa retains this dome structure.

Inside the stupa, it is filled with relics of holy beings and other holy objects. In Tibetan, a stupa is also named chö.ten which is “the basis of offering”, an ancient form of mandala to emanate blessings and peace.

It is said a stupa is a place where all the Buddhas are abiding. Beings who do not have the karma to see Buddha needs holy objects like statues, stupas and scriptures as a field for accumulating merits.

 

History

After the passing of Buddha, his remains were cremated, ashes divided and buried under 8 stupas in memorial of his 8 Great Deeds – birth, enlightenment, turning of the wheel, miracles, descent from Tushita Heaven, reconciliation of the Sangha, victory and Parinirvana.

Emperor Asoka built 84,000 stupas in his lifetime all over South East Asia. Originally, the stupas were funerary monument and it changed to being an object of veneration.

The ancient construction of stupas used advanced engineering techniques and knowledge, including the use of ‘lightning conductors’ and ‘special shelters, the reason why they stood undamaged for thousands of years.

It is believed one of the most ancient stupas in the world is the Dhamek Stupa at Sarnath, India, while the tallest is the Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, at a height of 127 metres.

The stupa later evolved into the pagoda as Buddhism spread to other Asian countries. Generally, stupa is used for a Buddhist structure in India or south-east Asia and pagoda refers to a building in east Asia which can be entered and which may be secular in purpose.

 

Types of stupas

Buddhist stupas are be classified into five types based on form and function:

Relic stupa is where the relics or remains of the Buddha, his students and lay practitioners are kept.

Object stupa is where objects that belonged to the Buddha or his students, like begging bowl, robe or important Buddhist scriptures are kept.

Commemorative stupas are built to commemorate events in the lives of a highly attained master or his students.

Symbolic stupa is to symbolise aspects of Buddhist theology, for example, Borobudur is considered to be the symbol of “the Three Worlds and the spiritual stages in a Mahayana bodhisattva’s traits.”

Votive stupas are constructed to commemorate visits, peace or to gain spiritual benefits, usually at the site of prominent stupas which are regularly visited.

 

Stupa Drawing

      

 

Features of a stupa

There are 4 basic features to a stupa. It has an oval shape on top of the stupa. The base is an elevated circular path around the stupa follow by the gateway and a railing meant for the protection of the holy place.

 

Symbolism

The shape of the stupa represents the Buddha, crowned and sitting in meditation posture on a lion throne. His crown is the top of the spire; his head is the square at the spire’s base; his body is the vase shape; his legs are the four steps of the lower terrace; and the base is his throne.

 

Five purified elements

The stupa may also represent the five purified elements:

The square base represents earth
The hemispherical dome/vase represents water
The conical spire represents fire
The upper lotus parasol and the crescent moon represent air
The sun and the dissolving point represent the element of space

 

Construction

Prior to building a stupa, a Buddhist monk has to give transmissions and ceremonies.

 

Contents In the Stupa

All stupas contain the following objects:-

Small tsa tsa
Mantras written on paper and rolled
Relics or clothing of highly attained Master
Jewellery
Hair
Nails
Mani pills
Prayer texts
Wealth Vase
Consecrated Buddha images

To fill up the stupa, a layer of tsa tsa are placed and the empty space between is filled with dry sand or incense and this process is repeated until it covered the entire space inside the stupa. It is believed that the more objects are placed inside the stupa, the stronger the energy of the Stupa will be.

 

Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is a wooden pole covered with gems and thousands of mantras and this is placed in the central channel of the stupa. This is a very important element in a stupa. Participants are to hold colorful ribbons connected to the Tree of Life and together make their most positive and powerful wishes to be stored in the Tree of Life. The stupa is charged up and start to function in this manner.

 

Benefits of Building A Stupa

“What would be more beneficial? To make a spiritual monument – a stupa – or make a statue of the Buddha or build a residence for the Sangha?”

Buddha answered “If that person were to make a small stupa the size of a Myrabolan fruit, and a statue of the Buddha the size of that fruit, making the stupa would be more beneficial because both the stupa and the statue represent the Buddha’s mind and body, and since a Buddha has limitless qualities, any worship, any offering made to these two miniatures would be more beneficial.

“In the distant future there will come a time when it will be very hard for people to practise Dharma. Due to the enormous number of negative forces and many types of interference they will not be able to practise as they would like.

Buddha said there have to be 5 factors for people to be free of interference from negative forces, live long and contribute to the practitioners’ attainment of enlightenment.

These are:-

To give Dharma constantly with the motivation to help others
To constantly save beings whose lives are at risk and provide them with peace of mind
To reflect on the four types of immeasurables
To constantly repair old stupas, commission or construct new stupas
To constantly to maintain the mind of enlightenment, Bodhicitta to achieve the state of enlightenment for the sake of all sentient
 
If anyone is able to make such a stupa, then make offerings and cirmumambulate it with faith and conviction, this person will gather as many merits as are collected by Kings of Gods like Indra and Brahma and will be reborn in the celestial abode or may be reborn in rich and powerful human families.

It is said if you have a statue, you need to have a temple to enclose it as well as organise other activities that are required to look after it all.

If a stupa is built in the open air, we do not need anyone to guard it and many beings, humans and non-humans, will go around it intentionally or unintentionally to gather merits anytime.

For immediate benefit, images of wealth deity will also go inside the stupa. Monks need to do a lot of rituals of consecration beforehand, requesting the spirit of the real wealth gods to come and be present in the diagrams in order to energize them. When such consecrated diagrams are put into the stupa it will be good for the land, good for the people, good for crops and for timely rainfall. These are some of the tangible benefits that one and all will share even in this life.

Building a stupa is considered extremely beneficial, leaving very positive karmic imprints in the mind. Future benefits from this action will result in fortunate rebirths, being born into a rich family, having a beautiful body, a nice voice, being attractive, bring joy to others and having a long and happy life, in which one’s wishes are fulfilled quickly. On the absolute level, one will also be able to reach enlightenment, the goal of Buddhism, quickly.

Destroying a stupa on the other hand, is considered an extremely negative deed, similar to killing. It is said this action will leave the mind in a state of paranoia after death has occurred, leading to totally unfortunate rebirths.

 

Stupa Gallery

The Great Stupa at Sanchi, India
Existed before the 1st Century in India established by Ashoka the great (4th–1st century BC).

 

The Great Stupa of Sanchi, built by Asoka, the Great is located 46 km north east of Bhopal, and 10 km from Besnagar and Vidisha in the central part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. The Sanchi Stupa is surrounded by a railing with four carved gateways facing all the four directions. There is an image of a Greek warrior guarding the gates. The gateways of Sanchi stupas contain ornamented depiction of incidents from the life of the Buddha and his previous incarnations.

 

Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath, northeastern India is the oldest Stupa in existence 

 

Buddha relics from Kanishka’s stupa in Peshawar, Pakistan. These surviving relics are now housed in Mandalay, Burma.

 

Boudhanath is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. 

 

The main Stupa crowning Borobudur, the largest Buddhist structure in the world, Java, Indonesia.

 
Phra Sri Ratana Chedi within Wat Phra Kaeo, in Bangkok, Thailand.
 

White Dagoba Temple (Baita Si), also called Miaoying Si, in Beijing, China.

 

Peace Pagoda

A Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace

Europe
Munich, Germany

 

The Peace Pagoda in Munich was built by German architect Jochen Reier (APAC) on behalf of the Kingdom of Nepal in 1982-1983. The temple has been constructed with 80 tons of precious Sheesham timber (rose wood) logged in the Terai (lowlands of Nepal) and was then beautifully art-carved by hand. Over 300 Nepalese artisans in the Kathmandu area helped building it. The Kingdom of Nepal was awarded with the gold medal for best nation building of the IGA´83 in Munich. Today the Peace Pagoda is part of Munich Westpark because thousands of citizens and visitors helped to keep the “Asian Essemble” – and especially this Nepalese Shiva Pagoda – as a constantly remaining symbol of World Peace.

 

Vienna, Austria

 

The bell-shaped Peace Pagoda in 2nd district of Vienna is a monument rather than a temple and contains an almost 3m/10ft high seated statue of Buddha under a dome decorated with a band of ornaments and reliefs. Source: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM7NW0_Peace_Pagoda_Vienna_Austria

 

Milton Keynes, England
The Peace Pagoda in Willen, Milton Keynes

   

The Milton Keynes Peace Pagoda was completed in 1980 at the northern edge of Willen lake in Willen, Milton Keynes. This was the first Peace Pagoda in the western world. There is a Nipponzan-Myōhōji Order temple and monastery nearby. The pagodas are offerings for world peace, and considered as “a prayer of the spirit made manifest in material form . . . offered to the world as a symbol of global peace”.

Source: http://devworkernbo.typepad.com/nbo_development/2006/11/milton_keynes_p.html

 

London, England
Peace Pagoda in London

 

The London Peace Pagoda was completed in 1985 on the south side of the River Thames in Battersea Park, London. Permission to build it was the last legislative act of the Greater London Council. The Peace Pagoda was a gift to London from the Japanese Buddhist Order, Nipponzan Myohoji, in 1985.

 

Here the Buddha is shown with one hand ‘pressing the earth’ which represents him calling upon the earth to witness to the truth of his words.

 

Here the mudra suggests teaching as the Buddha turns the wheel of dharma and his disciples listen attentively beneath.

 

Here the Buddha is shown standing, his hand raised as a sign of protection and warding off fear from Evil.

 

 Here the Buddha is shown reclining as he enters Nibbana (Mahaparinirvana) at the end of his life.

Source: http://www.redbridgerenet.co.uk/peacepagoda/

 

Current Stupas Being Built In The World

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion
Bendigo, Australia


 
Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is a Buddhist stupa currently under construction near Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. It will be the home of the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, once the Stupa is complete and when the Jade Buddha has finished its world tour. The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion will be the same size and design as the Great Stupa of Gyantse in Tibet, which is 50 metres (164 feet) wide along each side at its base and nearly 50 metres high. This will make it the largest stupa in the Western world.

 

    

 

Ancient Pagoda Gallery

The Iron Pagoda of Kaifeng, China, built in 1049 AD

 

Three-story stone pagoda of Gameun-sa in Korea, built in 682 AD

 

Wooden five-story pagoda of Hōryū-ji in Japan, built in the 7th century, one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world.

 

Wooden three-story pagoda of Ichijō-ji in Japan, built in 1171 AD

 

One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi, Vietnam

 

The nine-story Xumi Pagoda, Hebei, China, built in 636 AD

 

Nyatapola Temple located in Bhaktapur, Nepal, built in 1701-1702 AD

 

Videos of Stupas

Documentary of the Stupa
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJsLHcL3Bvs

How to Build A Stupa
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94EA–UPqb4

 

____________________

 

ATISHA
 

The Great Lord Atisha was born as Prince Chandragarbha to King Kalyana Shri in Bengal. The Prince gave up his kingdom to later become a mendicant monk and a most learned scholar in the Nalanda Monastery, India from 982 till 1054. His most prized possession was a basket that contained texts of his holy writing and a stupa. These attributes of the great Indian scholar Atisha are usually represented at the left and right side of his lotus seat in a thangka.

Atisha’s stupa is unique in that it has a bell-shaped base supporting a lotus-based nirvana stupa with thirteen umbrella-wheels.

Lord Atisha always carried his wooden stupa around so he may make offerings and prostrations. It is a vessel that contains relics that provided his spiritual support along his journeys.

Lord Atisha’s stupa contained primarily the relics of Naropa, one of his main Guru. He carried it around all the way from India to Tibet. In Atisha’s own commentary on The Lamp it mentioned a stupa should contain relics, ashes or image of their Guru. So it is customary to fill a stupa with relics and mantras.

The content in this stupa is important because it holds the relics of Lord Atisha’s past Gurus and as an object of veneration to remind him of his practice, hold his Guru Devotion and do his purification practise.

Atisha received the holy contents from his Gurus, including mantras, relics, image or tsa tsa and ashes.

Out of all the teachings Lord Atisha received from over 150 teachers, he was most moved by the teaching on how to develop bodhichitta from his Guru, Dharmakirti or Dharmapala from Suvarnadvipa or modern Sumatra, Indonesia. Hence he carried this precious item with him in the stupa as a blessing and high regard.

Lord Atisha originates from Jahor, Bangalore in Eastern India. His personal main yidam was Arya Tara who appeared to him in pure vision prior to his journey to Tibet.

Lord Atisha was told if he were to remain in India, he will live to be ninety-two but if he goes to Tibet, he can only live up to seventy-two years

Lama Tsongkhapa was greatly influenced by Atisha through the Lamrim (Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment) teachings. This is the first time all of Lord Buddha’s teachings were integrated and systematised into a single path of practice, the Eight Thoughts of Transformation and the Wheel of Sharp Weapons. Lama Tsongkhapa was considered by many as an emanation of Atisha. If anyone can accomplish these teachings, their anger, expectations and wrong attitudes can be transformed into love and genuine kindness to people around them.

 

Lama Atisha’s personal stupa

 

The metal stupa contains Lama Atisha’s relics. It was given to Lama Atisha’s heart disciple, the great translator, Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo, who translated the Buddhist teachings from Sanskrit into the written Tibetan language.

 

Lama Atisha’s tsatsa made by him

 

 

On the back is Atisha’s thumb-print
 
 
This tsa tsa (votive relief carving) of the long life deity Namgyalma was made by Lama Atisha. There is a partial handprint from Lama Atisha’s own hand on the reverse side of the tsa tsa. It was offered by Khensur Jampa Tegchok (himself a reincarnation of Jangchub Bumpa who founded Sera Me Monastery in Tibet).

 

Lama Atisha’s white relics

The white relics were offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche by His Holiness Sakya Jigdrol (Dagchen) Rinpoche. He received them from the Sakya storehouse of relics in Tibet. 

 

White Tara, Atisha’s tutetary deity

 

A stupa, now covered with white prayer scarves, which contains Atisha’s monastic robes.

 

  Stupa not far from the main temple marking the spot where Atisha passed away

 

 


 

ARTICLE 8
by Sock Wan

 

What is a Stupa?

A stupa is a Buddhist monument built to house the remains of a high monk or filled with mantras, holy items, tsa-tsas, dharma texts and even jewelry. It is also a representation of the Body, Speech and Mind of the Buddha.

Making offerings, prostrating or circumambulating the stupa, we are able to purify our negative karmas and collect vast amount of merits for us to achieve Buddhahood. It is said that before Shariputra gained attainment and became an Arhat, in one of his many previous lives, he was a fly that had the fortune to fly around the stupa in circle. Due to this act, he gained the attainment in Buddha Shakyamuni time and became an Arhat.

Not only making offerings, prostrating or circumambulating the stupa bring tremendous benefit, it is also extremely beneficial if one builds a stupa.

 

Benefits of building a stupa

There are 10 benefits when one builds a stupa:
1.    If we make 1,000 stupas, we will be able to understand all Buddhadharma.
2.    We will be born as a King.
3.    We will have perfect senses and a beautiful body.
4.    We will have the clairvoyance to see our future lives and be able to remember our past lives.
5.    We will be able to listen to Dharma with full concentration without forgetting it.
6.    By just dreaming a stupa, seeing a stupa, hearing the sound of the bell of a stupa, even by touching the shadow of the stupa, we will be able to purify our negative karma.
7.    All sentient beings will be protectied by the Buddhas.
8.    Dedicate the merits from building the stupa to the deceased, we will be able to help them immediately from a unfavorable rebirth into a good one and they will have the opportunity to meet Dharma.
9.    If we have serious diseases, we can be healed.
10.    We will be able to accumulate vast amount of merits that lead us to enlightenment, the ultimate happiness.

 

Types of stupas


 
The Eight Great Stupas

There are 8 types of stupas, each represents the different stages of Buddha’s life.
1.    The Lotus Blossom Stupa : symbolizes the birth of Buddha.
2.    The Mara or Enlightenment Stupa : when Buddha became englightened.
3.    The Stupa of Many Doors : represents the Buddha’s first turning of the wheel of dharma.
4.    The Stupa of Great Miracles : commemorates various inconceivable miracles performed by Buddha when he showed his power subdueing the demons.
5.    The Stupa of Descent from the God Realm : this is when Buddha descended from the heaven and gave Dharma teachings to his mother.
6.    The Stupa of Reconciliation : signifies Buddha uniting the disputing factions within Sangha, the community of monks in Tibet.
7.    The Stupa of Complete Victory : symbolizes Buddha’s prolonged death.
8.    The Stupa of Nirvana : refers to the death of Buddha. The base of the Stupa represents the Ten Healing Actions. The prevention of: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slander, swearing, gossip, greed, evilness and false views.

 

Some famous Stupas

Stupas in different county look slightly different from each other due to their culture and practice.  The way they decorate the stupa might be different but the shape are always the same, with big base and a dome like top. It is in effect the shape of Buddha in sitting meditation position.
Below are some pictures of stupa from all around the world.

 

1.    The oldest known stupa is the Dhamek Stupa at Sarnath, India

2.     The tallest is the Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, at a height of 127 metres.

 

 

3.    The most elaborate stupa is the 8th century Borobudur monument in Java, Indonesia. 

 

 

4. Shwedagon Pagoda (Great Dagon Pagoda or Golden Pagoda), located in Yangon, Myanmar

 

5. Stupa in Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan
 

 

 

6.  Khmer style stupa within the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 

 

7. White Dagoba Temple (Baita Si), Beijing, China

 

 

8. Swayambhunath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal

 

 

9. Bodnath Stupa in Kathmandu

 

 


 

ARTICLE 9
by Choi Kim Yok

 

Introduction

The word stupa, Sanskrit for “pile” or “heap” originally referred to a mound of stones and earth that formed the earliest stupas’ hemispherical dome. As additional elements were introduced, such as square or round bases, and thrones and shrines are built into the domes, the term chaitya was often used to refer to the whole structure. These days, the two terms are used interchangeably. In Pali, thupa is used for stupa, and cetiya for chaitya. In Tibetan, the word for stupa is bumpa “vase” for the curved dome while chorten like chaitya refers to the entire monument from the base to the top. The pagoda, a term used in Southeast Asia, is of Indian origin which evolved from dāgaba, from dhātugarbha  “womb of relics” which was erected to mark the spot where sacred relics were interred. The Chinese word for this tower-shaped monument is t’a (Korean t’ap, Japanese ) which is derived from the Sanskrit dhā of dhātugarbha.

As a symbol of enlightenment and victory over illusion, the stupa has become a major symbol of Buddhist culture. It is found in monasteries, temples and holy sites in different parts of the Buddhist world. Principally, the stupa represents the Buddha’s mind and conveys enlightened qualities. It also symbolizes the Buddhist universe and the impermanence of everything that is made up of the five elements.

The structure of the stupa is designed to symbolize the path to enlightenment. The basic form is said to correspond to the perfect proportions of a Buddha’s body sitting in lotus position. The base represents the element earth (the state of solidity), the cupola represents the element water (the state of fluidity), the conical spire, the element fire (the state of incandescence) and the umbrella on top, the element wind (the gaseous state), and the flaming jewel on top of the umbrella is the element ether (the state of unification).

 

Benefits of Stupas

When we prostrate to a stupa, we are paying homage to a manifestation of enlightenment and thus collect abundant merits. Stupas are empowered with the relics of holy beings. The Buddha mentioned four types of beings who are worthy of veneration. These are the Tathagatas, Pratyekabuddhas, Arhats and cakravartin kings. Stupas also hold statues and images, mantras, and prayers representing the body, speech and mind of the Buddha. These holy items activate the blessings and power of compassion of the holy beings to liberate sentient beings. The stupa is a pure receptacle for offerings. Thus, making offerings to a stupa or performing circumambulations will generate great merit and one will not be born in the lower realms. For animals and birds, it will plant seeds for rebirth in higher realms. Relics have the power to calm the minds of living beings. Thus, stupas will bring peace and harmony to the region, protect it from natural disasters and defuse the forces of chaos and negativities.

 

Why build Stupas?

Building stupas is a very powerful way to purify one’s negative karma, and to accumulate a vast amount of merits. Stupas were erected during the Buddha’s lifetime to honour and commemorate events related to his life.  It is recorded in the Vinaya that the Buddha requested that a stupa be erected in four main sites for future devotees who would walk in the footsteps of the Buddhas. These are Lumbini, his place of birth, Bodhgaya, site of the great enlightenment, Sarnath, where he turned the first Dharma wheel, and Kusinagara, where he entered parinirvana.

Thus, stupas are built for the following reasons:

  1. To commemorate an event related to the Buddha’s life
  2. To honour the Buddha’s actions before and after enlightenment
  3. To mark important moments in Buddhist history
  4. To hold relics of enlightened beings as a support for enlightenment
  5. To mark the pilgrim’s route
  6. To consecrate the sacred places for spiritual practice
  7. To bring an atmosphere of peace and harmony to the land

 

History of Stupas

The earliest stupas were built in India according to the Buddha’s instructions. Shortly after his enlightenment, the Buddha gave hair and nail clippings to two merchants Trapusa and Ballika who offered him honey and cakes and asked them to build a stupa to enshrine  these items. He demonstrated the stupa’s form by placing his robe folded four times to represent the four steps which formed the base. On top of this, he placed his inverted almsbowl to represent the dome and on top of the dome, he placed his staff which represented the umbrella-like structure at the pinnacle. Traditional accounts relate that the stupas built by Trapusa and Ballika were located in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Burma. The Dulwa (Vinaya) records that during the Buddha’s lifetime, at least one disciple, that is, Śariputra, had his relics placed within a stupa.

In the early days, a compacted mound of earth, stones and broken bricks formed the central core of the stupa. Around this was an outer sheath of bricks or stone forming a hemispherical dome with a flattened top and a diameter about five times its height. This dome-like structure, called anda “egg” in Sanskrit, rose over the relic chamber which was placed in the centre of the base. Ruins of such structures can be found in Piprahwa and Andhra. The relics were often contained in two layers of caskets (inner and outer layer), or in two chambers (upper and lower chambers). The harmika, the square stone box on top of the dome also contains relics deposited in a box in the centre or in an obelisk that forms the stupa’s spire. The spire may be affixed to the top of the dome or extend deep into the earthen mound or it may even pass completely through the mound into the earth below. The stupas of Sanci, built by Asoka in the second century B.C. are of this type. This style of building stupas became known as the Asokan style. Asokan stupas were seen in the fifth and sixth centuries by Chinese pilgrims like Fa-hsien. In the seventh century, Hsuan-tsang noted a large number such stupas during his travels in Central Asia, Afghanistan and India. It is believed that the Buddha also travelled to Andhra, the kingdoms of Cola, Dravida and Malakuta in South India. In all of these places, the pilgrim Hsuan-tsang found stupas built by Asoka to commemorate the sites where the Buddha had visited. Research by archeologists has verified that the stupas of Andhra are among the earliest known. The Buddhist centres in Andhra flourished between the third century B.C. and the seventh or eighth century AD.

Stupas built after Asoka’s time were higher in proportion to their base and more perfectly hemispherical in shape. The parasols became more stylized. The parasols on the spire indicate the degree of spiritual attainment. A stupa of the Buddha has a rain-cover and thirteen parasols; a stupa of a Pratyekabuddha has seven parasols but no rain-cover and a stupa of an Arhat has four parasols. A stupa for a non-returner has three parasols and for the once-returner, two parasols and for the stream enterer, one. In time, the parasols were represented as rings or wheels. Tibetan chortens empowered by dharanis and mantras are considered to be Buddha stupas and have thirteen rings.

Thus, at the end of the first century B.C., most stupas in India had the same basic form: a three-stepped foundation, a taller dome, a harmika, staff, and ring-shaped parasol or wheels rising one above the other. Walls and circumambulation paths were built around the stupas. Some stupas had three or even four circumambulation paths, like the Mahabodhi in Bodhgaya.  Terraces were added to enable pilgrims to ascend higher, as if reaching for enlightenment. Examples of this type of stupas are the Jarungkhashor stupa in Boudhanath, Nepal, the Tashi Gomang stupas in Tibet and Borubudur in Java.

From early times, care was taken to align the base of the stupa with the four directions. The stupa’s architecture became more complex and its cosmic significance became more apparent when knowledge of geomancy and energy fields was combined with principles of the mandala.

Later, niches were built into the sides of stupas and images of the Buddha placed inside, facing outward to the four directions. Stupas were also built on a square base with terraces, a high rounded dome and soaring pinnacle. Staircases were added at the four directions, creating a cruciform shape at the foundation. These types of stupas can be seen in Gandhara and along the Silk Road.  In the great monastic universities of Vikramaśila and Somapuri, built in the eight century A.D., this cruciform structure is the centre of a mandala that integrates stupa, temple and monastery.

In Tibet, the stupa’s form is analyzed based on the teachings of Nagarjuna, who identified the three main receptacles of Dharmakaya: the inverted almsbowl, the small house stupa (chorten kangtse) which can be built by laypeople, and the victory banner. Drakpa Gyaltsen (1147-1216), in one of his works, explains the symbolism of each shape. The inverted almsbowl symbolizes the pure nature of the Dharmakaya, the small house represents the perfect completion of Dharmakaya qualities and the victory banner, represented by the chorten, symbolizes the actions that overcome illusion, evoke the aspiration for enlightenment and support its fulfillment. The eight specific forms of the chorten are known as the eight Mahacaityas (Yael Bentor’s “In Praise of Stupas”, Indo-Iranian Journal 38:1, 1995:33). Descriptions of the eight Mahacaityas and the twenty-four elements of the chorten can be found in the Crystal Mirror Series, Volume 12. When Atisha visited the Toling Monastery and saw the small stupas, he recommended that small stupas be built in groups of 108, an auspicious number in Buddhist traditions. Groupings of 108 small stupas dating to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries can still be seen in Western Tibet.

Different styles have developed in the various Buddhist cultures around the world. Symbols placed at the top of stupas vary according to different traditions. For example, Sri Lankan stupas have a jewel at the top while Tibetan chortens have the sun and moon topped by a flame. In Tibet, the whole stupa might be placed on a lion throne. In Nepal, eyes are painted on large harmikas and the wheels of the spires are fused into the square-sided pyramids. In the soaring pagodas of China, Japan and Korea, the dome has disappeared and the harmika and multi-leveled parasol have transformed into upturned roofs one above the other. In Southeast Asia, stupa and temple merge into the huge dagabas in the monasteries.

 

Symbolism of stupas commemorating important events in the Buddha’s life:

  1. Stupa of heaped lotuses  (Tib. pema pungpe chorten) stupa designed to commemorate the Buddha’s birth in the royal Lumbini garden on the 7th day of the fourth lunar month in the year 563 BC. At birth, the Buddha took 7 steps in each of the 4 directions from which lotuses sprang. This stupa has 4 steps symbolizing the 4 immeasurables.
  2. Stupa of the conquest of Mara (Tib. do-dul chorten) stupa designed to commemorate Shakyamuni’s defeat of the temptation and attack of the hosts of mara under the bodhi tree at Bodhgaya. It has 4 square steps with a slight overhang along the top of each step.
  3. Stupa of many doors (Tib. go mang chorten) stupa designed to commemorate the Buddha’s first turning of the wheel of dharma at thedeer park in Sarnath near Vanarasi. Each of the 4 square steps is decorated with many small door frames which symbolize the many methods of Buddha’s teachings. A series of 4, 6, 8 or 12 doors on each side represents respectively the 4 noble truths, the 6 perfections, the noble 4-fold path and the 12 links in the chain of dependant arising.
  4.  Stupa of great miracles (Tib. tsho thul chorten) stupa designed to commemorate the Buddha’s display of inconceivable miracles when he overpowered the Naras and heretics (tirthikas) when he was 50 years old.
  5. Stupa of descent from the god realm (Tib. la bab chorten) stupa designed to commemorate Buddha’s descent from the heaven of the thirty three gods (Trayastrimsa) when he was 42 years old. He spent the summer retreat in Tushita heaven teaching the dharma to his mother. The stupa has a central projection in each of the 4 sides containing steps which form a triple ladder which was said to have been constructed for the Buddha by the celestial architect Vishwakarma. They have 3 rows of 33 steps symbolizing the god realms’ laddered stairways.
  6. Stupa of reconciliation (Tib. indum chorten) stupa designed to commemorate Buddha’s reconciliation of disputing factions within the sangha at the Veluvana Bamboo Grove at Rajagriha. The stupa has 4 octagonal steps with equal sides, totaling 32 in number.
  7.  Stupa of complete victory (Tib. namgyal chorten) stupa designed to commemorate the Buddha’s prolongation of his life by 3 months at Vaishali by the supplication of the lay devotee Tsundra. The stupa has only 3 steps which is circular and unadorned.
  8.  Stupa of nirvana (Tib. nyang de chorten) stupa designed to commemorate the Buddha’s passing away into parinirvana at Kushinagara when he was 80 years old. It has a circular bell shaped dome which rests on the circular base of the 10 virtues with no ascending steps. The absence of steps symbolizes the Buddha’s complete enlightenment and the bell, like an upturned alms bowl, symbolizes Buddha’s transcendence of the need for sustenance.

 

Pictures of Stupas

 

Stupa at Sanchi

 

Stupa at Boudhanath

 

Symbolism of the Stupa


References

(1)   The Stupa. Sacred Symbol of Enlightenment. Crystal Mirror Series, Vol. 12, 1997.

(2)   http://www.stupa.org.nz/

(3)   http://www.stupa.org.nz/stupa/info.htm

(4)   Turning the Wheel of the Dharma. The Immeasurable Benefits of Stupas, in http://dbc.dharmakara.net/trt2-963.html

 


 

ARTICLE 10
by Sofi Lim

 

Bodhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal

 

 

What is a stupa?

Chorten” in Tibetan, which means “the basis of offering”. It symbolises the “Enlightened Mind” and the path to its realisation.

The stupa, the palace where the Buddhas abide, represents the Buddha’s body, his speech and his mind; crowned and sitting in meditation posture on a lion throne. His crown is the top of the spire; his head is the square at the spire’s base; his body is the vase shape; his legs are the four steps of the lower terrace; and the base is his throne.

 

 There are two reasons stupas were built after Buddha Shakyamuni died:

 

 A.  To commemorate eight great deeds accomplished during his life, with the 8 different types of Stupa

 

1.      Stupa of Heaped Lotus : Built at Lumbini 

- Commemorates the Buddha’s birth at Lumbini, where he took seven steps in each of the four directions, from which lotuses sprang.

 

2.      Stupa of Enlightenment or the Conquest of Mara : Built in the kingdom of Magadha, on the banks of the river Nairanjana

- Commemorates the Buddha’s defeat of Mara, and his Enlightenment under the bodhi tree at Bodhgaya  

                

3.      Stupa of Many Doors or Gates : Built at Sarnath (Varanasi)

- Commemorates the Buddha’s first turning of the Wheel of Dharma in the Deer Park at Sarnath near Varanasi.

 

4.      Stupa of Miracles : Built at Sravasti

- Commemorates the Buddha’s miraculous defeat of the non-Buddhists (tirthika) in the Jetvana Grove at Shravasti   

   

5.      Stupa of Descent from Tushita Heaven : Built at Samkashya    

- Commemorates the summer retreat that the Buddha spent teaching the reincarnation of his mother in the heavenly realm of Tushita, and his descent from this realm at the city of Sankasya.

 

6.      Stupa of Reconciliation : Built at Rajagriha

- Commemorates the Buddha’s reconciliation of the disputing fractions within the Sangha at Veluvana bamboo groove at Rajagriha.

 

7.      Stupa of Complete Victory : Built at Vaishali

- Commemorates the Buddha’s prolonging of his life by three months at the city of Vaisali, when he was 80 years of age.        

              

8.       Stupa of Parinirvana : Built at Kushinagara

- Commemorates the Buddha’s passing away beyond sorrow between two sal trees at the city of Kushinigara.     

                                                                                                                                             

B.   To enshrine Buddha’s relics after he passed away – Buddhist teachings teaches that every element of a buddha’s physical body is pervaded with enlightenment. The teacher’s remains after cremation, the distilled essence of his physical form, are considered sacred and the embodiment of enlightenment. Therefore the stupa, which enshrines these relics, is powerful and blesses the place it is built on and those who sees it.

Historically, stupas existed before the times of Buddha Sakyamuni.  As in The Hundred Actions Sutra, King Chakpa had in his previous life, built a sharira stupa (a stupa in which a relic of Buddha abides) following the nirvana of Krakucchanda Buddha. Also, King Zhizhi had built many stupas during Buddha Kassapa’s time. When Buddha Sakyamuni renounced the secular life and became a monk, he did so in front of the stupa of Brahma Tathagataya. The Swayambhunath Stupa in Nepal also existed before the appearance of several Buddhas.

 

The great stupa at Sanchi, Madhaya Pradesh, India.  It was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd Century, to house the relics of Buddha.

 

Benefits of building a Stupa

The Stupa represents Buddha’s holy mind, Dharmakaya, and each part of the Stupa shows the path to Enlightenment. Building a Stupa will powerfully purify our negative karma and obscurations, and to gain great merits. We may gain realizations of the path of Enlightenment and ultimately be able to help liberate sentient beings from sufferings. The Benefit of the Stupa is immeasurable, which emanates far and wide for Aeons.  Even by merely hearing about a Stupa, by touching, by seeing, by praying, by circumambulating and by eating the offerings made to it, that liberation may be attained.

The Buddha said that whoever sees a dharmakaya stupa will be liberated by the sight of it. Feeling the breeze nearby the stupa liberates one by its touch. The sound of the tinkling of the small bells hanging on the stupa liberates one by their sound and having thus seen or experienced this stupa, by thinking of one’s experience of it, one is liberated through recollection.”

“The visual impact of the stupa on the observer brings a direct experience of inherent wakefulness and dignity. Stupas continue to be built because of their ability to liberate one simply upon seeing their structure” - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

The stupa that enshrines the teacher’s physical remains serves to remind us of the teacher and the embodiment of the pure and all-pervasive aspect of the awakened state. As His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche has said: “When a great being passes away, his body is no more. But to indicate that his mind is dwelling forever in an unchanging way in the dharmakaya, one will erect a stupa as a symbol of the mind of the buddhas.”

“The stupa also symbolizes the five elements and their relationship to enlightened mind. These are the essential attributes of a fully realised human being: the base of the stupa signifies earth and equanimity; the dome, water and indestructibility; the spire, fire and compassion; above the spire, wind and all-accomplishing action; and at the very top, the jewel represents space and all-pervading awareness. The stupa is a mandala, or sacred arrangement, containing all of these enlightened qualities.”

 

Stupas in the mountains in Myanmar.

 

A.        In the Karmavibhanga Sutra, it is said:

The Buddha spoke to the young Brahmin Shuka: There are eighteen benefits of building a Tathagata Stupa.
1.       – One will be born as the child of a great king.
2.       – One will have a noble body.
3.       – One will become very beautiful and very attractive.
4.       – One will have sharp sense faculties.
5.       – One will be powerful and famous.
6.       – One will have a great entourage of servants.
7.       – One will become a leader of men.
8.       – One will be a support to all.
9 .      – One will be renowned in the ten directions.
10 .    - One will be able to express oneself in words and verses extensively.
11.     - One will receive offerings from men and gods.
12.     - One will possess many riches.
13.     - One will obtain the kingdom of a universal monarch.
14.     - One will have long life.
15.     - One’s body will be like a collection of vajras.
16.     - One’s body will be endowed with the major marks and the minor signs (of a Buddha).
17.     - One will take rebirth in the three higher realms.
18.     - One will swiftly attain complete nirvana.

 

B.       In the Manjushri Mula Tantra, it is said:

If one builds a Stupa with one’s own hands in order to purify one’s body, one will be able to do so, even if one has committed the five heinous crimes. If one builds one hundred thousand Stupas, one will become the Universal Ruler of all Knowledge-Holders, completely understanding all scriptures and being endowed with skills and wisdom during an abiding Aeon. After death, one will always be born as a king and never go to the three lower realms. Like the sun rising in a central country, one will be endowed with all sense faculties, retaining what one has learned and remembering one’s former lives.

 

C.       In the Sutra called “ Casket of Secret Relics”, it is said:

The Bhagavan spoke:
Vajrapani! If one writes this Dharma teaching and places it inside a Stupa, that Stupa will become the quintessential vajra relic of all  the Tathagatas. It will become a Stupa blessed with the secret Dharani essence of all Tathagatas. It will become a Stupa of ninety-nine Tathagatas, just as many as there are sesame seeds in a sesame pot. It will be blessed as a Stupa which contains the eyes and Ushnisha of all Tathagatas.

Whoever places images of the Buddha in a Stupa, that person will be blessed with the nature of the seven precious jewels of the Tathagata images. Whoever pays reverence and respect to this Stupa, will become non-returners and will eventually completely and perfectly awaken to the unsurpassed and utterly perfect enlightenment.

Even if one offers only one prostration or makes one single circumambulation, one will be completely freed from going to places like the Avici Hell. One will never fall away from the (path to) unexcelled and completely perfect enlightenment. Also the area around this Stupa and images will be blessed by all Tathagatas.

 

D.       In the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra, it is said:

Walls are built from mud and bricks and a Stupa of the Jina is made likewise.
Therefore, even if it is built from heaps of dust;
Whoever builds a Stupa for the sake of the Jina, in remote places of suffering;
Even if it is made of a heap of sand, by children playing games;
(The builder) will reach enlightenment.

 

E.       The benefit of presenting offerings (to a Stupa) are stated in the Sutra requested by Prasenajid:

If one washes white a Buddha Stupa:
One will have a long life in the worlds of gods and men.
One’s body and mind will be free from sickness.
One will overcome all suffering.
One will attain permanent happiness and will be wealthy.

If one rings a bell in front of a Buddha Stupa:
One will have charismatic speech and great fame.
One will gain the pleasant voice of Brahma and remember one’s previous lives.

Whoever among the scholars, turns his mala with a devoted mind in front of a Sugata Stupa:
Will be well presented with many precious golden malas.
Will attain various ornaments.
And will become the foremost among the meritorious and fortunate ones.

Whoever offers to a Stupa of the Jina, the sound of music:
Will gain perfect confidence in profundity and knowledge.
One will have a perfect physical form and a pure mind and speech.
One’s speech will fill the world
If people fix various beautiful banners at an essential reliquary (Stupa), which is the source of immaculate merit, they themselves will receive offerings as they are now an offering field for the three worlds.

If one fixes streamers at a Sugata Stupa,
One will become a glorious ruler of men.
One will become a powerful ruler of gods and will experience great bliss.
One will attain the special streamer of complete liberation.

If one cleans a Buddha Stupa:
One will become beautiful and attractive.
One will have a noble face and the complexion of a lotus.
One will be completely free from defects of samsara.

Whoever cleans the dust around a Stupa, with clean water in the spring time, will be pleasantly fanned by ladies holding golden handled fans.

 

F.        Concerning the benefits of prostrating and circumambulating a Stupa, it is said in the Avalokiteshvara Sutra:

 If one pays respect kneeling before a Buddha Stupa:

One will become a heroic and powerful world monarch.
One will have an armour with golden emblems.
One will become a powerful teacher and take delight in the Buddhas.

 

G.      In the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra, it is said:

Whoever joins their palms before a Stupa, whether with two hands or just one;
Whoever just one time bows their body, or even briefly bends their head;
Whoever prostrates or merely says “Buddha” with a distracted mind, whether once or several times before places where relics are kept;
That one will attain supreme enlightenment.

 

H.      In the Caitya Pradakshina Ghata, it is said:

The qualities of circumambulating a Stupa of the Protector of the World cannot be described properly with mere words.

From the book Crystal Mirror 12 by author Elizabeth Cook:

1.        Whoever offers prayers finds immediate fulfillment of his wishes for both himself and others.

2.        Whoever offers flowers to the Great Stupa obtains ease and contentment, prosperity and health.

3.        Whoever offers incense achieves pure action.

4.        Whoever offers lamps has the darkness of unknowing illuminated.

5.        Whoever offers perfume is freed from anxiety and suffering.

6.        Whoever offers sacrificial food lives a life of (concentration) free from hunger.

7.        Whoever offers music to the Great Stupa spreads the Vibration of Dharma throughout the ten directions.

8.        Whoever offers the sound of cymbals obtains deep and strong understanding and prosperity.

9.        Whoever offers the sound of tinkling bells obtains a gentle and sweet voice – the sacred tones of Brahma.

10.    Whoever offers a mandala to the Great Stupa attains perfect virtue and understanding as fruit of social interaction and meditation practice.

11.    Whoever offers a mandala of the five precious stones – gold, silver, turquoise, coral, and pearl – is free from poverty and misfortune and becomes a master of the inexhaustible ethereal treasury.

12.    Whoever offers a mandala of the seven precious things enjoys the riches of the kingdom of temporal existence and acquires the Divine body with the seven limbs of adoration in the realm of sublimity.

13.    Whoever offers a mandala of the seven spices of life is freed from disease of body, emotion, impulse, and consciousness, from fatal diseases, and all sickness.

14.    Whoever offers a mandala of the five essentials of existence is released from the manifold sufferings of pride, envy, hatred, lust, and lethargy and attains the Buddha Body of the Five Transmuted Lineages of Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Vajrasattva, Ratnasambhava, and  Vairocana.

15.    Whoever offers a mandala of the five grains reaps a harvest from the seeds shown.

16.    Whoever offers the five kinds of incense to the Great Stupa becomes attractive and loved by all.

17.    Whoever offers the five kinds of perfume obtains a clean house untroubled by unpleasant odors.

18.    Whoever offers the five divine gifts accumulates the merit, and his power, glory, pleasure and worldly goods increase.

19.    Whoever offers the celestial parasol and victory banner has the tension of passion alleviated and becomes worthy of honor and reverence.

20.    Whoever offers embroidered hangings or a divine ensign obtains happiness. wealth, and abundance, and is free from the fear of fire, water, lions, elephants, retribution, snakes, temptresses, and thieves.

21.    Whoever offers a rosary or crown attains the ecstasy of men and gods and is bejeweled with the seven precious things.

22.    Whoever offers a lamp experiences, in a vision, the reality of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions.

23.    Whoever offers mustard oil is freed from the veil of lethargy.

24.    Whoever offers a butter lamp irradiates the ten directions with the light of dharma.

25.    Whoever restores the Great Stupa accomplishes the four forms of Buddha Activity, attains every aim conceived and receives the highest understanding.

 

If you make 1,000 Stupas,

  1. You will become a great ‘Wheel-turning Holder of the Wisdom Teachings’ (Mahayana Secret Mantra) and have clairvoyance knowing all the Buddhadharma.
  2. After death, without being born in the lower realms, you will be born as a King.
  3. You will become like a sun, rising in the world, with perfect senses and a beautiful body.
  4. You will be able to remember past lives and see future lives.
  5. You will be able to extensively listen to the Dharma without forgetfulness.
  6. The “Stainless Beam” sutra states – ‘All negative karma and obscurations, including the five uninterrupted negative karmas, are purified even by dreaming of a Stupa, seeing a Stupa hearing the sound of the bell of a Stupa and even for birds and flies etc, by being touched by the shadow of a Stupa.
  7. The sentient beings will always be protected by the Buddhas, who always pay attention to guiding them to achieve complete pure Enlightenment. They abide in the irreversible stage.
  8. It is explained by Shakyamuni Buddha in the Sutras, that it is extremely powerful to build a Stupa for those who have passed away, as it immediately changes a suffering rebirth into a fortunate rebirth with the opportunity to meet the Dharma.
  9. It can also heal those with serious diseases.
  10. There is no question that it accumulates extensive merit and brings success and happiness. Therefore, dedicate for your ancestors, family members and friends who have passed away or who are sick, and for the happiness of yourself and your family in this and future lives. “

 

How to build a STUPA?

The site chosen for a Stupa will have Pujas (prayers) performed and requests made to the land deities seeking blessings for the site, for smooth and successful construction of the Stupa. Right motivation and correct view must be set for all those involved in the construction as the Stupa is the emanation Buddha’s pure mind.

In Tibetan tradition, the Stupa sits upon a square base called the Lion’s Seat whose four sides refer to the four qualities of mind, for attainment of enlightenment, ie. Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity. This base is traditionally filled with jewels, precious texts and relics pertaining to the tradition of Stupa building. On the Lion’s Seat there are then built five steps which are representative of the progress of the mind towards enlightenment. Each step can be divided into two and alludes to the ten levels of Bodisattva realisation.

The Bumpa, a rounded form is built on top of the steps and depending on the size, can contain a room for meditation and Puja or just be filled with further precious and pure representations of Buddha’s mind. The Bumpa represents the seventeen levels of the Form Realm.

A spire is built on top of the Bumpa, with ornaments on top, representing the four stages of the Formless Realm.

As the outer of the Stupa represents the pure mind, so too must the inner contents. Traditionally, great importance had been placed on particular objects and the way they are placed inside the Stupa, so as to maintain the purity of the mind representation.

A central axis called the Sog Shing, meaning “Life Stick” is traditionally carved from Sandalwood or Juniper.  However, the wood of any tree which does not bear poisonous fruit can be used. Once the tree has been chosen, prayers and offerings are made to the Earth Spirits for permission to use it. The wood must be crafted by a fully ordained monk, into a tapered shape, with either carved or painted with mantras on the surface. Emphasis must be put on the best quality to be used in making of Sog Shing. At the tip of the Life Stick a picture of the Victory Stupa is made and at its base, a half Dorje. Holes are made at the top and base for blessed relics, medicines and texts to be placed inside.

The Life Stick is then wrapped in precious materials and fixed in place on the Lion’s Seat. It is long enough to protrude to the Stupa’s highest point.

The Stupa will then be filled with relics which symbolizes the utmost purity of mind. It is said that if the Stupa itself is the representation of Buddha’s body, then the Relics are the life force which flows through it and, as such, are even more vital than its outer form.

The first relic, called the Dharma relic or Tsa Tsa is made to fill the Stupa. These are small clay models of Stupas made from local clay, extracted from the earth after prayers and offerings had been made. The Tsa Tsa can only be made by those holding vows, at very least the eight basic Buddhist vows. Each Tsa Tsa is made with the recitation of specific mantras and visualisation of the Buddha. A hole is made in the base of each Tsa Tsa where prayer scrolls are inserted.

The second relic to be placed in the Stupa is a remnant of the body of the Buddha himself.

The third relic is a piece of the Buddha’s robe

The fourth relic is a white grain of the Buddha’s bone.

The fifth and final relic is the Mantra Relic. This include the eighty four thousand teachings of the Buddha along with the commentaries on his teachings by many of the realised beings who came after him. The Mantra Relic also includes the “Five Great Mantras for Stupas”.  Insertion of the Stainless Beam Deity Mantra in the Stupa will purify those who made prostration, of their extremely negative karma, cause long life and to be reborn in a pure realm.

           

The Mantra of Stainless Beam Deity (Long Version) :

NAMA SAPTANAM / SAMYAKSAM BUDDHA KOTINAN PARISHUDDHE MA NA SI / ABHYA CHITA PATISHTHA / NAMO BHAGAVATE / AMRITA AH YU SHASYA / TATHAGATHA SYA / OM SARVA TATHAGATHA SHUDDHI / AH YUR BISHODHANI / SAMHARA SAMHARA / SARVA TATHAGATHA BIRYA BA LE NA PRATISAMHARA AYU SARA SARA / SARVA TATHAGATHA SAMAYA / BODHI BODHI / BUDDHA BUDDHYA / BODHAYA / BODHAYA / MANA SARVA PAPAM AVARANA BISHUDDHE / BIGATA MALAM / CHHARA SU BUDDHYA BUDDHE HURU HURU SVAHA

 

The Mantra of Stainless Beam Deity (Short Version) :

NAMA NAWA NAWA TINAM / TATHAGATHA GAM GANAM DIWA LUKA NAMA / KOTINI YUTA SHATA SAPA SVANAM / OM BO BO RI / CHARI NI CHARI / MORIGORI CHALA WARISVAHA

 

Once the Stupa is complete, with all the relics in place, a blessing ceremony takes place. A gathering of many realised Lamas and Masters along with Sangha, Retreatants and Lay practitioners is invited for prayers and blessings to complete the process of the building the Stupa.

The Buddha spoke about many types of stupas in The Benefits of Constructing Stupas Sutra and told us that even if a stupa is the size of a jujube leaf, or as thin as a needle, it is still able to bring vast merits. A small stupa filled with relics or mantra may be put on the altar as the embodiment of the Three Jewels.

Even stupas built by children when they are playing games, can bring enormous merits. It is said in Lotus Sutra, “The little children who piled up here and there heaps of sand into stupas, those who have done such actions have all reached enlightenment.” Sometimes when little children play, if they have some roots of beneficence, they will form a good connection with statues or stupas of Buddhas, which will become the cause of their eventual enlightenment.

 

Enshrined with relics of past four Buddhas within – the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Konagamana, a piece of Kassapa’s robe and 8 hairs of Gautama Buddha.

 

Golden rock stupa, Bagan, Myanmar

 

There is also great benefit in offering other people a miniature stupa made of gold, silver, wood, stone or glass with inserted relics or mantras, to form a karmic link with him. Lord Atisha always carries a wooden stupa for spiritual support, symbolize his unchanging wisdom of bliss and emptiness. Known as the Kadampa stupa, Lord Atisha’s stupa has a bell shaped base supporting a lotus-based nirvana stupa with 13 umbrella-wheels (honouring Lord Atisha with the status of a Buddha).

Mending stupas brings forth great merit as well,as it was written on Mahasangha-vinaya, “Alms giving with thousands of kilos of real gold is not as much merit as mending a stupa with a ball of mud in distracted mind.”

 

Merits of Circumambulating a Stupa

Avatamsaka Sutra or the Flower Garland Sutra also says, “circumambulate three times in a clockwise direction”. It is obligatory to circumambulate clockwise, if you do it counter-clockwise, not only will you not be gaining any merit, but you will be generating negative karma by doing so.

In the Sutra of the Buddha Lecturing King Prasenajit, it is said that “if it is with a pure mind that a person circumambulates a stupa or an image of the Buddha, then in the next life, even the enemies will respect this person, and this person will possess merits and virtues, and become a Mahayana Dharma vessel.”

In the Casket of Secret Relics Sutra it is written that “Those who should be punished to Avici Hell, if they make one prostration to this Stupa or walk around this Stupa once in clockwise direction, they will reach enlightenment.”

So if you have the opportunity, you should let your parents circumambulate a statue of the Buddha or a stupa, those who tie an auspicious bond in the teaching of Buddha Sakyamuni will be enlightened in the teaching of Buddha Maitreya. If they don’t believe in Buddhism, you can trick them into walking around the stupa. If it’s a child, then entice him by offering him a candy and asking him to follow you around the stupa. If they are your parents, you can say, “Do you want to go on a tour? I know a good place.” Then slowly take them to circumambulate a stupa – “Alright, end of the tour!” Kengpo So Dargye.

 

Tsa tsa of Nyamgyalma made by Lama Atisha

Metal stupa containing Lama Atisha’s relics.


Many Indian masters had placed much importance on circumambulating a Stupa.  When Master Atisha arrived in Tibet, Dromtonpa and his other disciples asked him, “Why do you attach such great importance to circumambulating stupas in contrast with all other virtuous acts?” Master Atisha told them, “Among all relatively virtuous acts, there is none that brings about more merits than circumambulating stupas, because it is the amassment of good karma of 3 virtues, the body, the mind and the soul. In India, there were people who attained enlightenment by circumambulating cities or holy temples, and there were some who recuperated from sickness or attained enlightenment by circumambulating the holy image of Avalokitasvara… Therefore, everybody should circumambulate with diligence!” After this, Lama Dromtonpa did as he was told and circumambulated every day. When his legs were not so nimble anymore in his later years, it is said that he circumambulated with the help of a carriage (probably similar to a wheelchair). He persisted on circumambulating thrice until the day he passed away. When Master Atisha was circumambulating the stupa in Bodh Gaya, sometimes he received oracles from the Tara, sometimes he received oracles from other Dakinis. From these stories we can tell that Atisha attached much importance to circumambulation. The Three Noble Brothers of the Kadampa lineage circumambulated stupas or scripture halls as well. According to certain biographies, the great masters Patrul Rinpoche, Mipham Rinpoche and Master Tsongkhapa also spared no efforts in circumambulation.

In Tang Dynasty, a senior monk called Master Zilin, saved his mother from bad rebirth by prostrating 40,000 times before the Sharira Stupa of King Asoka monastery.

In Qing dynasty, a “head-touching monk” of Baotong Monastery in Wuchang was able to heal all diseases with the light touch of his hand.  He gained his miraculous power by daily circumambulation, touching the pagoda and reciting The Mantra of the Great Compassion, for 10 years without stopping.

 

Types of stupas

Built for a variety of reasons, Buddhist stupas are classified based on form and function into five types:

  • Relic stupa – in which the relics or remains of the Buddha, his disciples and lay saints are interred.
  • Object stupa – in which the items interred are objects belonged to the Buddha or his disciples such as a begging bowl or robe, or important Buddhist scriptures.
  • Commemorative stupas – built to commemorate events in the lives of Buddha or his disciples.
  • Symbolic stupa- to symbolise aspects of Buddhist theology, for example, Borobuddur is considered to be the symbol of “the Three Worlds (dhatu) and the spiritual stges (bhumi) in a Mahayana bodhisattva’s character.”
  • Votive stupas – constructed to commemorate visits or to gain spiritual benefits, usually at the site of prominent stupas which are regularly visited.
Votive stupa

 

Features of a stupa

  • Harmika-It is built on the top of the oval shaped stupa.
  • Medhi-It is an elevated circular path around the stupa used for Pradhikshina
  • Toran-It is the Gateway to the stupa.
  • Vedica-It is a railing meant for the protection of the holy place.

 

Kalachakra stupa in Tabor, Spiti, India.

 

Ruiguang Ta Pagoda, Suzhou, China

In conclusion, if one is to truly pursue “enlightenment”, building a stupa or at minimal, monetary contribution towards building of one is an important criterion.  If much merits can be gathered by circumambulating a stupa, what more is there to say of building a stupa.  After my limited research on the web, I found that Kechara Forest Retreat could be the very first to build a Vajrayogini Stupa, which will immensely bless it’s environment and all that sees, hear or feel it’s very presence.  I, for one would love to be able to contribute both physically and monetarily towards building of KFR’s Vajrayogini Stupa and dedicate my efforts towards Rinpoche’s long life, good health and continual turning of the Dharma Wheel.  Also, to dedicate my efforts my parents’ and all sentient beings’ continual good rebirths until there is no more need for Buddhas to teach or guide in this world.

 

Possible Egyptian Stupas?

 

****************************************************************************** 

Dear Tsem Rinpoche:

The Vote for the 10 Articles on Stupas Contest is OUT! Here below is the
result of the vote:

Winner: Sofi – 34 Votes
1st Runner up: May Ong – 31 Votes
2 st Runner up: Andrew & Thierry – 7 Votes
Pastor Ngeow – 6 Votes
JP – 6 Votes
Matthew Leong – 2 Votes
Yoke Fui – 1 Vote
Prof Choi Kim Yok – 1 Vote
Sock Wan – 0 Vote
Doreen Teoh – 0 Vote

TQ

Love,
Ethan

***************

 

Dear everyone,

I would like to thank all the ten people who contributed with your beautiful article on stupas and on time. I think each article has special points of learning for all of us. I appreciated the work by everyone. I learned alot of new important information from these ten articles also. I was very happy to see these articles.

I would like to thank all the people who took the time to read each article as it benefits your learning and submitted your votes. I really appreciate your votes. It’s good for everyone all around!

I thank my Ladrang people who compiled the votes and information for me and posting it. They kept a close watch. Very exciting!

The whole purpose of this was for everyone to learn from these articles. I like people to learn. But I did something different, I requested all of you to please find the information yourselves instead me giving the information. The process of research and learning is very fulfilling. I enjoyed this very much and it all arose from a few of us discussing about stupas on the blog chat! I was chatting on the blog and decided to talk about stupas and many participated with much enthusiasm. So I decided to ask those on chat to research on stupas and post to me. I would blog the write ups with pictures and have everyone vote which article helped them the most. Out of 100 people who voted you can Sofi  recieved the most votes. Ms May Ong is first runner up. Congratulations to both ladies.

Here is the special gift. Click here to see for the winner’s gift: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/gallery/photos-on-the-go.html?nggpu=http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/wp-content/gallery/photos-on-the-go/moby-to-lh6h3v.jpg

 

 

 

Stupa Contest: Our Winner with the most votes is Ms. Sofi from our tabulations. I rejoice from my heart Ms. Sofi put sincere effort into a wonderful educational write up on the origins/benefits of stupas with beautiful pictures. From my  heart I would like to present these very special gifts I have chosen for you. The prizes are: 2-D framed picture of Lord of Healing Medicine Buddha. May you and your family be healthy and always grow in spirituality. Books are: Healing Anger by HH Dalai Lama, Life & Teachings of Tsongkapa, Oracle & Demons of Tibet (very old and unique book), Dje Tsongkhapa, Historical Introduction to the Five Principal Spiritual Tradtions of Tibet and Milarepa life story. Please take your time and read these books. You will learn plenty! Understanding your spiritual practice from learning is of the utmost essential ingredient for growth. I wish you the best.

 And the 1st runner up’s gift: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/gallery/photos-on-the-go.html?nggpu=http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/wp-content/gallery/photos-on-the-go/moby-to-e6k5tf.jpg

 

 

Stupa contest: For our first runner up Ms May Ong, a hearty congratulations! It is wonderful you took the time to research on stupas and help to educate all of us on the benefits. I am very happy on this. By the count of votes you are our first runner up winner!! I present you with a holy framed Lord Tsongkapa Guru Tree poster. The original is in my possession and was signed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. So it is very blessed. I am happy you can have a copy. Three wonderful books for you also to read: Lighting the Way by HH Dalai Lama, Life & Teachings of Tsongkapa and Milarepa’s life story in full pictorial. I wish you spiritual attainments. 

 

With folded hands and much thanks to everyone,

Tsem Rinpoche
Kuala Lumpur
May 16, 2012

 

 

 

Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:

If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team

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114 Responses to 10 Articles on Stupas (contest)

  1. Ana on May 5, 2012 at 5:01 am

    I really liked JP’s article. It was the second one in the list. It was very clear to read and the pictures of the Stupas were just beautiful! Thank you all of you for doing this labour of LOVE. Thank you JP!

    • admin on May 5, 2012 at 5:03 am

      Dear Ana, thank you for being so fast and the very first one to cast the vote…TR

  2. Siong Woan on May 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I vote for Matthew Leong.

    He is the youngest amongst all 10 contestants, at his age, it is very good work from him as his article is information, well formatted and concise. The pictures are well formatted in terms of size and clarity.

    Even though I think JP’s article is the best of all, I would like to support Matthew so he would write and learn more.

    Keep it up Matt…

    • Grace Leong on May 6, 2012 at 1:40 am

      Thank u siong woan!!!!!!

    • Matthew leong on May 6, 2012 at 1:47 am

      Thank u aunty siong woan !!!! Btw the thank u frm my mom was actually me ( 4 got to chng the name )

  3. Girlie on May 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    My personal vote goes to Yoke Fui. I like how she concluded the educational article relating it to why Kechara is building stupas in Kechara Forest Retreat.

  4. KH Ng on May 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Congratulations to all 10 who submitted their entries. Lots of info and pictures. Really learned a lot. I feel Sofi’s entry is the best. All others are good too. But Sofi gets my vote.

  5. patsy on May 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    All the articles and photos posted here are great. This 10 people have done a great job in their research. However, my personal vote goes to article 7 by May Ong. The information are well presented in a clear, concise manner accompanied by so many beautiful photos of the stupas. I also like the way she presented the write up on Atisha.

    I love the photo posted by Sofi on Bodhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. The stupa is all lighted up and looked magnificent.

    Thank you to the 10 writers for these informative articles on the stupas and thank you Rinpoche for posting this up for our benefit.

  6. mitra on May 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    to me 10 Article al nice .but i choose article no 1 by Andrew james Boom and Therry janssens.i wiss to have same like kathmandu budhanath stupa .many people come to get bless.so KFR also benifit many people.many people come get bless.verry nice to have stupa .blessed animal,blessed people,protec people from dangerous.i like lama zopa rinpoches writeing about stupa.thanks

  7. Tenzin Kyabsum on May 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Very well written articles! Didn’t know that Stupa has such significant values. My knowledge about stupas has definitely increased. How fortunate it is to be able to build a stupa. What truly amazed me is the fact that just hearing about a stupa creates merits, let alone touching it, praying to it, or giving offerings to it.

    I am torn between JP Thong’s article and Andrew/Thierry’s article. Both were written very well and detailed. The understanding I have about stupa is much more better now. I think if I have to choose, I’d go with Andrew/Thierry’s article. Love how detailed it is.

    Would like to thank the other contributors! Job well done. Thank you all!

    Thank you, Rinpoche.
    Much care,Jess

  8. albert on May 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Personally I like pastor ngeow article, because I find it easy to understand and its structured…

    But in overall, everyone has a very good write up for stupa..

  9. Junior on May 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I vote for Sofi Lim.The information are well presented in very clear to read and the pictures of the Stupas were just beautiful…

  10. Darren on May 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Before reading this post, i only thought stupa was meant to keep only relics, ashes of Lama and other holy items. Now i get to know whats the meaning, benefits, history and purpose of stupas. I will share this knowledge to people, so that many may understand and benefit from it.
    I personally like May Ong article about Lama Atisha, but if this contest is about stupa my vote will be for Andrew and Thierry article of stupa as it was more detail and easier to read.

  11. Ashlee on May 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Dear Rinpoche, All the articles are well written. I especially enjoyed reading JP & Sofi’s article. They are very precise and informative. Do i really have to vote between JP & Sofi?…Hhmmm..i would pick Sofi as she has carefully separated the pics of the 8 types of stupas and gave explanation for each of them. Well done to all the writters for the research efforts.

  12. henry ooi on May 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Tough choice but my vote goes to May Ong. She included more pictures of stupas found in Western countries, it shows how much Buddhism has spread there. She also has a short write up on Atisha with pictures.

    I congratulate and thank everyone in doing the research and providing valuable information and some great pictures.

  13. DR on May 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    EVERY writer did an amazing amount of research. Information was mostly overlapping but what else can they write on, truth is truth. Everyone put in so much care into their assignment, Thank You and Congratulations. You are all winners!

    Since there can only be one choice, I pick Sofi. Her presentation is easy to read and the pictures are fabulous. I have visited the stupas in Myanmar which she posted but as a tourist, not pilgrim. Thank you for giving me some insight on the stupas.

  14. Victor Phang on May 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Congratulation to all the 10 participants. Thank you very much for your great research and comprehensive explanation about the Stupas.

    I think the “real” winner is all the readers of these articles because we did nothing and just sit down in front of computer then get to read so detailed and well-structured explanation about the holy building (Sorry, I feel shame personally).

    Every article contents very good explanation on the benefits, history, construction and design of Stupas. Anyhow I give my vote to the May Ong because her article is not only informative (same to the rest) but also interactive (winning point). She covered (may be) all the Stupas that available in this planet with beautiful pictures and useful multimedia documentary in youtube.

    Thank you very much to all the Dharma brothers and sisters who worked so hard and submitted these articles that benefits everyone of us.

    Thank you very much Rinpoche for the sharing.
    Take very good everyone.
    With love,
    VP

  15. Julia Tan on May 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    In all 10 articles, what i enjoy the most was all the beautiful pictures of ancient and new stupas and pagoda that had been built for all these years. Most of the content are basically the same but I really enjoy reading all the stories about how power one collect or accumulate merits by circumambulating the stupa. 

    Well among all I like Andrew and Thierry article the most. 

    Thank you Andrew, Thierry, Doreen, Matthew, May, Yoke Fui, Pastor Ngeow, JP, Sofi, Sock Wan and Kim Yok for posting up such a great articles. There must be a lot researches and hardwork done. Thank you!

  16. Davin on May 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche. I know more about stupa now. Everyone wrote very well. But the article that I like is the one written by May Ong. Thank you.

  17. Natalie on May 6, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks for these interesting articles which were all well researched and written. I liked Sofi Lim’s best. On different note the morning after this post came up went to Birmingham museum and there was a Stupa there! Got quite excited and quickly walked my son round a few times. Fortunately there wasn’t too many people there to notice I was stepping outside the social norms LOL. Hoping to take my Mother there one of the days so she can walk round round too. There was also a few nice Buddha statues there the biggest being this one and you can see the Stupa in the background on he right. http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/content/image_galleries/buddha_day_2008_gallery.shtml?14

  18. Serena on May 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Wow! All 10 articles are good. However, I had make a choice to vote for article written by May Ong. The artcle is structured and easy to understand with supporting pictures and its explanation. When reading the artcle, it comes to my mind with ‘Wow! I never thought there is such stupa in this country”.

    That’s why it win my vote. ^_^

  19. Chandra on May 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    My top 3 articles were by JP, Pastor Ngeow and May Ong. JP’s article was specific and clear, demonstrated with nice big pictures. Pastor Ngoew’s article was well strutured.The article had a flow to it.It was easy to read but had only one visual illustration. May Ong’s article had lots of visual representations of stupas and Buddha statues (some which I have never seen) which I liked. However, the winner for me is Pastor Ngeow. Congratulations on the excellent write-up. :)

  20. Pastor Susan on May 7, 2012 at 1:12 am

    I love each and every article and especially appreciates the effort every one puts into it. I learnt a lot from reading the information presented so well by everyone. Looks like we have talented researchers in Kechara! :)

    My vote goes to May Ong. I enjoyed looking at the pictures very much and appreciates the comprehensiveness of information she researched.

  21. lewkwanleng on May 7, 2012 at 1:18 am

    All articles are well prepared, but I will vote for …. Sofi (Article 10), for:

    * She split the 8 types of Stupas into individual images for easier reference.
    * She is detail in all sections.

    I also like Article 9 Choi Kim Yok’s photo: “Symbolism of the Stupa” because it has a very detail drawing of the internal of Stupa.

  22. jennifer on May 7, 2012 at 2:42 am

    What an amazing collection of artcles on Stupas , very informative and so well reseached. I like quite a few of them very much but having gone through all of them another round , i personally like May Ong’s article. It is very well laid out , presented , easy to read and the photos are lovely. The presentation on Lama Atisha is very clear and concise. I vote for May Ong . And i would like to thank all the other participants for the sharing their kmowledge and the incredible effort and time they have put in towards the reseach.

  23. Han on May 7, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I like article 3 (PAstor Ngeow) & article 7 from May Ong
    Pastor Ngeow;s article very straight to the point and easy to read and understand, but lacking pictures.
    If only one article to pick, I vote for article 7 from May Ong

    May Ong’s article contains more pictures illustration with clear and precise points, she also make an effort to include videos links for reference.

    Thanks to all the participants, you all done a great job!

  24. pastor ngeow on May 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    My vote goes to may ong as her effort showed she put in a lot of research work.
    As for pics, Sofi’s I think stands out esp the evening shot of Boudhanath Stupa in nepal and the aerial view of the Myanmar stupas blending so well amidst the green landscape and hills. Ethereal.
    All the other efforts were well done and hve their own flavours but there can only be one vote.

  25. Janice on May 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Dear Rinpoche, thank you for creating this contest. Congratulations and kudos to all the writers, they have done a great job. My choice is Sofi Lim, easy to read, good arrangement, beautful pictures, learned about mantras to recite and personalised with her own experience.

  26. joey wong on May 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    All of the articles was really well written, but I feel that sofi’s article has the most details and quotes about stupas. Thank you everyone for the interesting articles on stupas!

  27. Karen Chong on May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you for the sharing. You guys must have spent a lot of time and effort on this research to make us learn more about it.

    I vote for May Ong’s article. It’s well explained, clear, organized and in pictorial form, give people a clearer picture of what stupa is. It’s formatted in a way that even a newbie to Dharma can understand easily. While Matthew Leong at such a young age, can produce such a good work, it’s really creditable. Well done Boy!

  28. David Lai on May 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    This is such a good idea to research on Stupas. It is through reading these 10 articles, I learnt tremendously a lot on Stupas, the meaning, the structure, the history and benefits. It makes it all the more meaningful that we will be building a Stupa on Kechara Forest Retreat.

    Among all of them, I really like Sofi and May Ong’s articles. It is a close tie but if I had to choose, I would pick Sofi’s articles. It is neat that we all have the chance to get involve in this way to make the Vajrayogini Stupa at Kechara Forest Retreat materialize.

  29. Sam on May 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    All of us are very lucky to have the chance to view all complete information via the ten articles. I want to vote for May Ong. I think she covers all the topic about Stupa and Atisha. The whole presentation is divided into smaller topics which is easy to understand and not lengthy for each topic. Together with the article she puts in alot of interesting pictures and short explanations with resources.

    Thank all participants. Rejoice for you guys:)
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us all the articles:)

  30. skyong on May 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for all participants who have taken their time to research and present information on stupas. My vote goes to Sofi. She has provided a section on “Merits of Circumambulating a Stupa” and cited how the past scholars such as Atisha and Dromtonpa who placed so much importance on stupa.

  31. Su Ming on May 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I like Sofi’s article. There is a lot of effort in that article by Sofi. It was easy to read and I especially like the part whereby she cut and paste each different types of stupas.

    Do read this interesting article on some holy stupas which Rinpoche has wrote
    http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/seven-wonders-of-the-buddhist-world.html

  32. Paris on May 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks everyone for your efforts :) I vote for Thierry and Andrew’s article because of its clarity / clear presentation, and for adapting / rewriting research for the article to make it more personalised, while based on credible references. Good luck to all the contestants! Either way, everyone’s a winner for finding Dharma information and sharing it with the world :)

    Love, Paris

  33. kenny wong on May 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I find JP’s article very interesting to read with heaps of pictures and schematics. Straight to the point with relevant illustration. The rest of the writers did a good job too. Great effort on elaboration on their part… Thank you everyone for sharing.

  34. Yvonne on May 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Thank you for the articles, thank you for put in so much effort to search all the info to share with us ! Thank you !!

    I will like to vote Sofi Lim (Article 10) , the explanation not too long,point out the important point, in between got picture! so not to boring lo!some more got mantra and the picture very nice , Thank you very much!!

  35. Sofi on May 7, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks to all that had voted for me. Personally I think we are all winners…. those who had done the write-ups and those who had read to vote. With more accumulated knowledge, our KFR’s Vajrayogini Stupa would be more meaningful and our sharing with others more comprehensive. Bravo everyone!

  36. abby F on May 8, 2012 at 1:26 am

    First of all, I must express my gratitude to all the authors above! They really put their effort to do all these.

    Personally I like the article written by Andrew and Thierry. They shared the info with the ancient Buddha’s stories and get us a chance to learn more from the Sutra. This really draw my attention to read. They really ‘digest’ the stories and some parts in the Sutra in oder to write this. The article presented by them is more lively and cheerful to me.

    On the other hand, I like May Ong’s photos and the captions! May Ong shows the variety cultural in Buddhism, which is the Chinese-Mahayana-stupas.

    It is quite hard for me to vote. hmmmm…. hehe.

  37. Mavis on May 8, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Everyone did a good job and I like JP’s, May Ong’s and Sofi’s. However, if I have to vote for one it will be Sofi.

  38. David Binder on May 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    like the Borobudur one.

  39. Pastor Chia on May 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you so much for all 10 persons did their research about stupa information. All the article are informative, it creating good course for us at the future to building stupa at Chamang land and KWPC.
    Personally i like Sofi Lim and May Ong presentation and a lot of effect about their article. My vote will be given to Sofi Lim.
    Thank again all the writer. i had learn a lot from articles.

  40. tfreon on May 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for giving us opportunities to not only have stupa build at Kechara, also the chances to understand more about stupa and understand the benefit on building the stupas.
    I would like to say thank you towards this 10 persons which have submitted the articles. Much times and research is done to share with us about stupa. Through reading these articles the information related to Stupa, the benefit of the Stupa and about Lord Artisha is gain.
    It is hard to determine who should be the winner, everyone has written a very good article. To me, I personally prefer the article written by Prof Choi, Sofi Lim , May Ong and James Boon-Thierry. They have stated where the sources of information come from; and explain in detail about the stupas. Not only that, the research that have been done is quite detail.
    If to choose only one, then I will choose May Ong as winner, because she has answered completely about stupas , the relation about stupa with Lord Atisha and Lord Psongkhapa. Below is my opinion toward the other Article.

    ARTICLE 1: by Andrew James Boon and Thierry Janssens – This Is the work of 2 persons, to me, its sound integrity and good things are to share with, cause they both work together to have this article write up, while others all submitted individually. When I read on this article, I felt ; wow! I want to contribute in building stupas. The article is so convincing with all the source stated down, the arrangement of the article is in flow and very focus. These make the article looks authentic.

    ARTICLE 2: by JP- When reading up this article, I have a chance to glace at those stupas almost around the world, the type of the stupas, so beautiful.

    ARTICLE 3: by Pastor Ngeow – A very complete article about Stupa, gain knowledge on part of the Stupa and the symbolism.

    ARTICLE 4: by Yap Yoke Fui- Very clear cut article, with clear explanation on the stupa photo.

    ARTICLE 5:by Matthew Leong— Clear explanation especially on the stupa photos.

    ARTICLE 6: by Doreen Teoh- I like the story in this article. It gives a very good example about stupa.

    ARTICLE 7: by May Ong- This is an article that I really learned a lot. It is a very detail article with the source of the information and the detail explanation. The answer to Atisha is in sequence too. Lots of surprise from this article and rare stupa is shown in it.

    ARTICLE 8:by Sock Wan- A very short and simple article , easy to read .

    ARTICLE 9:by Choi Kim Yok- Very detail research and full of information about Stupa, lots of information to be digesting and have to read more than one time. The source is stated and this article looks very authentic

    ARTICLE 10: by Sofi Lim- When Sofi explain about the type of Stupa, the small picture there made easy to relate to the description. Very detail research done and very informative.

  41. So Kin Hoe on May 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing all the 10 articles about stupa. I love all the articles and gained a lot of knowledge about stupa. Cheers and thank you very much for the 10 writers, who have spent a lot of time, effort and energies to write up such a good and informative articles. My vote goes to Sofi Lim.

  42. David Loh on May 8, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Congratulations all! Great effort! Its actually very difficult to vote because as far as I’m concerned, everyone is a winner. You guys put in so much time and effort; cut and paste pictures were excellent especially May’s. Sofi’s article is very informative and easy to grasp. Great job by Matthew being the youngest; you put many older people (like me) to shame. Keep up the good work Matt!

    My vote goes to May Ong and Sofi though.

  43. justin cheah on May 9, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Dear Rinpoche,

    I am amazed by the amount of contents researched by all the 10 participants and I think everyone has put in a lot of effort on this. Kudos to everyone of them. And thank you Rinpoche for initiating this contest as I have learned a lot from reading the articles submitted by all ten contestants! Its very informative and detailed. I would not have known stupa would bring so much meaning and benefits to us!

    All of them wrote very well especially for Matthew who despite such a young age can write so well. Really put me to shame. While I also like Sofi’s article as I find it more informative than the rest and at the same time easy to read and digest.

    But with respect to all of them, I have to choose May Ong as the winner as I find it the best written among all the articles because she included more pictures of stupas and stupad in Western countries explaining the Buddhism in the west. She also has a short write up on Atisha (with pictures) which I felt was my deciding factor.

    Thank you
    justin cheah

  44. su an on May 9, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Oooo Tough choice to make! I think all the articles were well written and comprehensive, but my vote goes to Sofi… reason being she found The Mantra of Stainless Beam Deity =p

  45. Lim Han Nee on May 9, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Very tough choice indeed to select the best of the 10 articles. Each article shows a lot of research and much thought in selection of material and presentation.

    I finally picked two. Sofi Lim’s presentation was superb, very clear and well-arranged. I like how how she started with a spectacular picture of Bodhanath Stupa by night and concluded by bringing the subject back to KFR and the building of Kechara’s first stupa.

    However, after further thought, I have decided to give the vote of best article to Andrew’s and Thierry’s article mainly because of the humongous volume of research and information shown in their article. It’s like whatever you want to know that is important concerning stupas, you can find in that article. Their article also included their answers to the ten questions on Atisha.

  46. Sean Wang on May 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    My favourite article is article 3 by Pastor Ngeow. I find this article very informational and it is more structured than the rest of the articles. It is also not too long. Even though it is a bit brief, it brings up the points quickly and precisely.

  47. Sharon Saw on May 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Congratulations to all 10 writers who put in so much effort to research and write up on stupas. I must give a special mention to Matthew Leong, the youngest contributor! Well done! I also liked May Ong’s article which illustrated many different stupas from all over the world. Of all the articles I liked Andrew/Thierry’s and Sofi’s. Andrew and Thierry’s was very factual, structured and well researched with good references. The captions to the pictures were also detailed.

    It was a tough decision but I must say that i like Sofi’s article best because it was also well researched, with good photos and i liked that she separated the graphics of the 8 different stupas, which made it easier to refer to. I also like the fact that she tied in her stupa article to our future Vajrayogini stupa at the Kechara Forest Retreat and left a personal note.

    Thank you everyone for all your work. I have learned a lot from these articles! Everyone did a great job! Thank you!

  48. Choi Kim Yok on May 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    My vote goes to Sofi Lim. The article has a lot of information and pictures. I also like the quotations from the sutras and there are even mantras! Very well done.

  49. Pastor Yek Yee on May 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Actually all those 10 articles are good. But personally I more prefer May Ong one, very systematic, direct and easy to read. From the definition of the stupa till different kind of stupa and last Atisha & his stupa story…I read through this article. I like it provide me clear and profound information. Thank you May Ong.

  50. Li Kim on May 10, 2012 at 12:51 am

    It is a tough choice, and I wish that I did not need to only vote one. All ten articles were given much effort by each writer and I say Thank You to all of them.

    I enjoyed reading articles by Sofi, JP and Andrew/Thierry. My vote goes to article by Andrew/Thierry as it was well laid out, informative, great pictures and also with many other links for more information. Thank you to all.

  51. Datuk May on May 10, 2012 at 1:34 am

    After reading all ten articles, reading Sofi’s article was most enjoyable and I like the pictures. This will be my vote. Thank you all for all the articles.

  52. Yoke Fui on May 10, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I vote for Sofi Lim. Her research is comprehensive and her presentation clear and structured.

    Thank you everyone for sharing the information, many will be benefited from this Stupa assignment.

  53. Wendy Loh on May 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Wow! All of the articles are very well written. I am totally impressed. I learned many new things about stupas. But to me, the best one is written by Sofi Lim. It is simple, precisely narrated and informative. Bravo!

  54. Kwok wai on May 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I like JP Thong’s article the most as it was probably the most concise, precise and well structured article. His article was straight to the point and was not lacking in facts . He also placed some relevant pictures in a systematic manner so as to highlight his points and thereby keeping the reader interested . Overall a very interesting and well thought out article . Thank you for sharing !

  55. lim tin nee on May 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    To me all the ten contestants deserve to be lauded because of their immense care n effort taken to produce their well organized pieces on the stupas. Doreen’s anecdote of the earthworm accidentally circumambulating a stupa fascinated me.We will have more worms n animals around V.Y.’s stupa in our Chamang land.Sofi’s dramatic start with the splendour of a stupa in Mynmar awed me.She even presented an ethereal picture of pagodas amongst the clouds in the highlands of Mynmar.Then May Ong literally took me on a ride around the world viewing many famous picturesque stupas n pagodas .May Ong also gave a very interesting account of Atisha n his much treasured stupa containing his guru’s relics.However, I have to choose or vote only one candidate.And I would like to choose J.P..To me, his write up is very well organized,clear succinct n very comprehensive in content.His style is simple n engaging with questions n answers n it s easy to read n easily understood.His visual aids are also clearly n systematically presented like all others.

    Here I would like to thank Rinpoche for instrumental in the production of this great work on the stupas to benefit all of us. All the contestants through their great effort must have reaped tremendous merits.

  56. Thierry on May 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I vote for article 7 by May Ong.
    The informations are clear and there are many examples of stupas with explanations that give us physical existing examples to illustrate the explanation and so that we can absorb and remember the information better.

  57. Lim Tat Ming on May 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    The basis of my vote is based on the article’s comprehensiveness, content, presentation, effective use of tools e.g. pictures, diagrams, videos and scriptural citation and source of reference, and meeting the objectives of this contest.

    My vote goes to May Ong.

    One of the highlights in May Ong’s article is the extensive coverage of stupas around the World especially the rarely known stupas in the Western countries. This is proof that people around the World had already known the benefits of building stupas.

    The other winning point is her write-up on Atisha and his stupa.

    May Ong is the only contestant who had provided the links to two interesting videos on stupas.

    I have enjoyed reading all the ten articles on stupas. Thank You to all the ten contestants for your effort.

    Lastly, Thank You Rinpoche for initiating this beneficial contest which explains clearly everything about stupas and why we will be building our stupas in Kechara Forest Retreat. Everyone should get involved in this beneficial project. Please refer http://ow.ly/aP3li

  58. karen leu on May 11, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Very informative research done by all the 10 contestants. My vote goes to Sofi, as I find that it is more structural and easy to understand. I was fortunate to visit Swayambunanth stupa Kathmandu back to year 2008, during a pilgrimage trip to Kathmandu with Rinpoche and other pilgrims. I remember Rinpoche explained about the meaning of circumambulating stupas, and we were chanting while circumambulating the stupa, and make our prayers there. The 10 articles refreshed my mind again, with better understanding this time.

    Thankyou.

  59. tsemtulku on May 11, 2012 at 6:11 am

    From Rhonda on May 11, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Many blessings, Rinpoche, I am an ordinary person with great faith. I would like to build a stupa on my land which would be seen by many as they go about their busy schedules. Is it appropriate for someone like me to do this?

    **********************

    Dear Rhonda,

    There is no point for a Buddha to make a stupa and circumambulate around it..LOL..a Buddha is in no need of merits or purification…LOL. It is we ordinary beings who need it dear Rhonda.

    I and all of us here at Kechara are ordinary people too. The animals that will be benefitted with the presence of the stupa are ordinary also. So yes of course you can build or have a stupa on your land. That is the best thing for your land, the environment, you, the animals and even the unseen beings who all need blessings. Anyone may build or have a stupa anywhere!! How meritorious and beneficial. I wish you tremendous luck. Send me a picture when you finish your sacred stupa!!! Tsem Rinpoche

  60. Bk on May 11, 2012 at 7:42 am

    This is a great post with extensive information on stupas thanks to all who did the research. A few articles stood out for me:
    - Doreen’s story about the earthworm in the cowpat
    - Pastor Ngeow’s writing on the dharma facts was the easiest to read and absorb (more please)
    - Prof Choi’s very in-depth research
    - Sofi’s great pics and complete coverage of everything I would want to know about stupas

    My fav if I had to choose one tho would be May Ong’s. It was complete, easy to read, well formatted, well laid out, great Atisha story, and an amazing pictorial journey around the world from past to present.

    Kudos to all stupa writers and the biggest thank you to Rinpoche, without whom there would be no stupa articles.

  61. Fiona ng on May 11, 2012 at 8:50 am

    谢谢各位作者文章的知识性都很清晰,我的投票给May ong.

  62. Mei Fong on May 11, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the articles. I learned a lot from reading the articles. My vote goes to May Ong. The information presented is clear and also she includes more pictures than others which make it more interesting. I like all the photos posted.

  63. Carmen Koo on May 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Wow, such informative and well written articles by all ten! Everyone covered the tyes of stupa, benefits of having a stupa and what a stupa is well. Jp’s article was easy to read, well summarized and clear, whilst May’s article was very well researched, and informative.

    But my top pick would be Sofi’s article, for I like the structure, and layout of her article most. It was concise, very informative, easy-to-read and straight-forward. I like her bit on How to build a stupa, which included the mantra in there.

    Thank you Rinpoche for having this post up. I didn’t know that even circumbulating a stupa would result in such great merits, imagine partaking in its construction.

    Love,
    Carmen

  64. JG on May 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Congratulations to all of the 10 participants who work so hard in stupa research. I give a Big Clap to Matthew Leong, the youngest contenstant! Well done! I also liked May Ong’s article about Lama Atisha, and the pictorial descriptions. My vote goes to Matthew as he has done a good research expecially in such a young age. I hope in future he will achieve more, and this is my support to u, Matthew, Bravo ^^

  65. yurie on May 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Vote for ARTICLE 7 by May Ong, easy to understand and informotive. =)

  66. Wan Wai Meng on May 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I like Sofi’s article the most. She structures the explanation and the diagrams of the 8 types of stupa was in one place which made it easy for us to refer to. If a worm can have seeds of enlightenment without wanting to, then imagine the benefits for people who want to build and create a Stupa and etc. The construction and maintenance of the Stupa from start to the state of its completion, there is countless benefits. I rejoice for the people who would be able to get involved in this project.

  67. Gim Lee on May 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Thank you to all 10 participants for putting so much efforts into researching and sharing the info with us. All are well written with different style of presentation.

    Kudos to all and I wish to mention that I quite like article by Matthew Leong, he being the youngest participant. All articles are informative for me to learn everything about about stupas :)

    If I have to, I would choose 2 that I like the most; Sofi’s and May Ong’s. I like Sofi’s inclusion of mantras and I like May Ong’s smooth presentation with nice photos. Extra points given for her write-up on Atisha and the links for videos.

  68. Jace Chong on May 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for all 10 participants who spent time and effort to compile these useful knowledge.

    My vote goes to May Ong as I like the way she lead readers to understand step by step, and the grouping of the pictures of stupa from different regions.

    Cheers!

  69. yenpin on May 11, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    全部都很好

    我选 may Ong 是他有不同国家,年代,和文化的stupa。

  70. Louise Lee on May 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I vote Sofi !!
    实在太好了! 简单直接! 我喜欢!

    其他的不是写的不好,只是忽然太多的资料,在一个短短的文章出现太多了! 有一点难以消化!

    仁波切很聪明!当我们读这些文章是,必须每一去了解. 那么才可以坐以选择.大家的资料都大同小异, 只是 Sofi 的,我会比较容易吸收! 当中我获益良多!

    我很想为我们将来 Chamang Land 建一个宏伟的Stupa!为那里的居民, 带来和平与加持! 

    Thank you Rinpoche bring us to do all of this !!

  71. wah ying on May 12, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Thank you for letting me learn so much on stupa. I like Andrew and Thierry and Pastor Ngeow’s articles for quoted the sources, for those interested to have deeper understanding and do further study. Matthew Leong’s article is compact and clear. But when I read May Ong’s article, it is presented in a easy to read way but not lack of important information, and included with images and videos. My vote goes for May Ong.

  72. mayy on May 12, 2012 at 2:18 am

    Wohhh…All 10 articles were all written well. I would go for Sofi’s writeup for I find it easy to read and understand….she even placed each picture to depict the different type of stupas information.

    Congratulations to all for the time spent and research.

  73. Cynthia Lee on May 12, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Good work to everybody who submitted the articles here. Everyone did a good job in giving a comprehensive research on stupas. I thank you.

    I vote for Sofi Lim’s article as I find her presentation engaging, structure are very well thought of and gave her own interpretation/summary at the end. She got me interested in her article with a beautiful stupa picture right in the beginning of the article. I would say that to cover this subject is pretty technical, hence having visual aids such as diagrams with clear labelling and drawings helps me visualise and digest the infomation outlined. I find it good when the writer thinks about the reader. Thank you.

  74. wan on May 12, 2012 at 4:08 am

    it quite hard to give vote as each article are very informative and well present. This 10 articles really benefit me as many people always ask about stupa which normally i only answer very simple statement that it represent buddha mind..

    Well..now i learned and knew that it has more meaning than that.

    My vote go to May Ong as i feel her write up is easy to understand. i like yoke fui and JP write up too but i have to choose only one.

    Thank you all the writers for the effort of searching information and photos to have these informative articles.

  75. xiao xiao on May 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    All these pictures are very nice and show the real stupas in the world.

    I voter for article 3 by Pastor Ngeow.

    For a new hand, I was a little confused about the 8 stupas. In article 3, it mentioned that 8 are divided from one (the ashes and remains from Buddha’s cremation). Just like 84,000 teachings from Buddha.

    Simple instruction about stupas’s construction, elements, benefits etc. This article is short and clear.

  76. tenzin llhamo on May 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you everyone for your effort in compiling beautiful write up with pictures. It was really hard to choose (I had to scroll up and down to compare… it was fun… hehe). The first few articles was interesting then I found out all of it was interesting. If all the information from the 10 articles were to be combined into 1, it will be fantastic!
    I like May Ong’s and Sofi’s but I can only choose one.
    Therefore, I vote for Sofi’s write up as it is detailed and well categorized with examples.

  77. Irene Lim on May 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I would like to thank everyone who were involved in this Stupa research and write-up. I vote for May Ong whose write-up and research is more comprehensive and format easyier to read and understand.

  78. Adrian Chow on May 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Congratulations to all!

    My vote goes to May Ong. Find it very clear and i like how she concluded her write up with Lord Atisha’s Biography….nice. With so many beautiful pictures to look at and especially the pictures of the stupa with Lord Buddha in different form certainly a plus point.

    Thank you all, really appreciate all the effort!

  79. lucy yap on May 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    All ten articles are well researched and written.My vote goes to May Ong for her well laid out and informative article.Beautiful pictures and two video links.Thank you all for the effort,everyone’s a winner Most of all to Rinpoche for this assignment where were able to learn more about Stupas in detail.Thank you.

  80. nicholas on May 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Wow! Great job for all the 10!
    You all really give a comprehensive info with pictures. I learn a lot here.
    Personally I choose Sofi’s article because her presentation is neat and information very comprehensive.
    Thanks again to all your effort and this is really a great contest not just for us to read but appreciate your effort to do in depth research.
    Thanks again.

  81. June Kang on May 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Thank to the 10 peoples. You make our life easy., we can gain all the knowledge of Stupa from the 10 article. Thanks again.

    My vote goes to Pastor Ngeow, structure and simple, easy to read and understand.

  82. gary foo on May 13, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Thank you to all 10 authors. It has been a wealth of knowledge reading the articles. I like Doreen’ story where even the worm unintentionally circumambulated the stupa and gained that merit, showing how compassionate the buddha and our guru is in wanting to build stupas for us caught in this samsaric world. What more if we intentionally make offering and prostrate to and circumambulate the Stupas. My vote goes to Sofi as the writings are comprehensive and complete, linkages to Kechara Forest Project , even the direction of circumabulating is addressed. Thank you all.

  83. Erickksiow on May 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you to all 10 who submitted their entries, it’s benefit me a lot. First of all everyone is explained very clear and detail about Stupa.

    Thank You all again and Thank You Rinpoche

    Best Regards : Erickksiow

    • Erickksiow on May 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      I will vote for Pastor Ngeow. ( is easy to understand ).

      Thank You from Eric

  84. James Long on May 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you for all the 10 researcher who did a wonderful job on compiling all the the information, fact and pictures. It took me quite some times to read all the articles, but all the articles are well written and systematic. I personnaly vote for Lim Sofi’s and Jp’s articles. And I would say well done to Matt for being the youngest who submitted the articles.
    Cheers.

    • James Long on May 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Hehehe. We only allowed to have one choice, then my choice will be Lim Sofi’s article

  85. sarahyap on May 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Wonderful research from all the participants! I like all of the articles very much.

    I particularly like 3 articles very much… these 3 articles are from Andrew & Thierry, JP and May Ong. I think they did really good research.

    If I had to choose among the 3… I would say I like May Ong’s article because she not only searched the information in articles, but she has made a lot of effort to search videos of it too. This really make me feel that she took an extra step in researching, and it is due to her interest in stupas. Her article also appears condense but with information. So, she must have read and research intensely before handing the article because it is not a copy paste product.

    On a separate note, I wish to wish the participants a huge congratulations! To me, althought KFR’s wonderful stupa have not started in construction… but I feel that these 10 participants has already contributed in the building of the stupa through their research.

  86. Jeffrey Gan on May 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I’ll vote for JP because it is simple yet informative and not too overly wordy. It is easy to digest, straight to the point and easy to understand. Thanks JP!

  87. Chris Tan on May 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Among 10 articles i like Sofi Lim most. Very details and informative. Thank you who wrote these 10 articles, while we are reading ur articles, it gains my knowledge a lot – so many benefits are there. Thanks again.

  88. Adrian Cho on May 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I very liked the article 2 by JP. Those Stupa pictures is very nice and beautiful. Thanks for sharing to us and we can know more about Stupa.

  89. Cynthia Ng on May 14, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Thank you to 10 participants for all the research and write up!

    Very enjoy to read through 10 articles and learnt a lot and understand very clear of the benefits of build Stupa. My vote to Sofi Lim because her she splite up the 8 types of stupas and contents, this is easy to read and remember, I like Shwedagon pagoda photo. And Sofi include “The Mantra of Stainless Beam Deity”. This is a different part and good learning point for me.

  90. Mc on May 14, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    All very good articles. I like the Andrew and Thierry’s article for the way it was presented and written. Prof Choi came up with a well researched section on benefits of stupas – i found it informative and very interesting to read. A lot of thoughtful research went into that.

    In terms of effort, May Ong clearly did a lot of work as did Matthew Leong who should be commended for his clear and concise article.

    I would vote for (1) Prof Choi (2) May Ong and (3) Andrew/Thierry

  91. Khoo Hou Haw on May 15, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Thanks to all participants for providing such a detailed information on Stupa. Each of the articles have their interesting points and information. I personally like May Ong’s writing as it is easy for me to understand.

  92. wei theng on May 15, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Thank you to all 10 writers! From your research and sharing, i learned more about Stupa.

    Pastor Ngeow’s article presented in way that easy to read and understand.
    Matthew being the youngest of all has also done a great job as it is very informative and with nice picture.
    May ong’s article presented in structure way, easy to read and with beautiful pictures. Besides the article on Atisha is very good.
    So my vote goes to May Ong.

    Thank you Rinpoche for thinking of this approach to let us do research, read up and learn more about Stupa.

  93. Joy on May 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Congratulations everyone for all articles are well researched and done beautifully. Very informative and what great fortune it is for us to creating stupas soon. The benefits are tremendous for us and Malaysia.

    Among all the stupa article above, I found Sofi’s article the most detailed, easy to read and comprehensive. I like the pictures she provided and how she has organised them so it is easy for he reader to refer as they read along her article.

    Second would be JP’s/Mat Leong. But everyone had their uniqueness and style of presentation and a lot of good information was presented.

  94. lanse on May 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Everyone did very good job and each of them has their own style and strength. It’s indeed not easy to pick out which one is the best.

    Among all, I personally like JP’s, May Ong’s and Sofi’s articles. All for the same reason, easy to read. JP’s article is like a handbook that can be carried around for reference purpose. If I need to find quick information about Stupa, I will definitely choose his work. Very hands on.

    However I do enjoy reading May Ong’s article. Her way of presenting it is clear, comprehansive and easy to read and understand. It’s an article I would like to read more than once especially the Atisha’s part.

    What I like about Sofi’s article is that she explained many things by quoting the Sutras. And it is very neat and comprehensive too. She really put in a lot of effort in doing research on this topic.

    Very hard for me to choose, but I would vote for May Ong’s article, perhaps this is the only article I can imagine myself reading it with a cup of coffee.

  95. ericchoong on May 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    谢谢这十位同修的努力精细的向大家分享和解释佛塔意义。

    每个人的表现非常好,谢谢你们的用心,
    不过,我尤其喜欢 May Ong and Pastor Ngeow 的分享。

    May Ong 是因为喜欢她文章里面分享的简短精致,容易明白,还加上许多照片的分析,什至还包括一些大乘和小乘佛塔,佛塔里面的供养等等。。。

    她还提供网站给我们进入去了解。。。。。

    Pastor Ngeow 的照片不多,不过,非常容易读和明白,解释佛塔的意义很深入。。。。
    感谢仁波切的佛塔开示。

    和各位同修的参与,使我受益良多。

  96. tsemtulku on May 16, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Dear Tsem Rinpoche:

    The Vote for the 10 Articles on Stupas Contest is OUT! Here below is the result of the vote:

    Winner: Sofi – 34 Votes
    1st Runner up: May Ong – 31 Votes
    2 st Runner up: Andrew & Thierry – 7 Votes
    Pastor Ngeow – 6 Votes
    JP – 6 Votes
    Matthew Leong – 2 Votes
    Yoke Fui – 1 Vote
    Prof Choi Kim Yok – 1 Vote
    Sock Wan – 0 Vote
    Doreen Teoh – 0 Vote

    TQ

    Love,
    Ethan
    ***************

    Dear everyone,

    I would like to thank all the ten people who contributed with your beautiful article on stupas and on time. I think each article has special points of learning for all of us. I appreciated the work by everyone. I learned alot of new important information from these ten articles also. I was very happy to see these articles.

    I would like to thank all the people who took the time to read each article as it benefits your learning and submit your votes. I really appreciate your votes. It’s good for everyone all around!

    I thank my Ladrang people who compiled the votes and information for me and posting it. They kept a close watch. Very exciting!

    The whole purpose of this was for everyone to learn from these articles. I like people to learn. But I did something different, I requested all of you to please find the information yourselves instead me giving the information. The process of research and learning is very fulfilling. I enjoyed this very much and it all arose from a few of us discussing about stupas on the blog chat! I was chatting on the blog and decided to talk about stupas and many participated. Much enthusiasm. So I decided to ask those on chat to research on stupas and post to me. I would blog the write ups with pictures and have everyone vote which article helped them the most. Out of 100 people who voted you can Sofi recieved the most votes. Ms May Ong is first runner up. Congratulations to both ladies.

    Here is the special gift. Click here to see for the winner’s gift: http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/gallery/photos-on-the-go.html?nggpu=http://blog.tsemtulku.com/wp-content/gallery/photos-on-the-go/moby-to-lh6h3v.jpg

    And the 1st runner up’s gift: http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/gallery/photos-on-the-go.html?nggpu=http://blog.tsemtulku.com/wp-content/gallery/photos-on-the-go/moby-to-e6k5tf.jpg

    With folded hands and much thanks to everyone,

    Tsem Rinpoche
    Kuala Lumpur
    May 16, 2012

    • MayOng on May 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Dear Rinpoche,

      When I first saw the request for anyone to post the research on stupas and Atisha to submit within 3 days, I was overwhelmed but I still submitted later..

      I am pleased I did this research because I learned the most and quickest from researching. In the process, I stomped on other research materials that were also important but not so relevant to the topic. I also chose to focus on your questions and align the final article back to it. In the process, I also learned what material to keep to make it appealing to readers just as I would ask the questions to myself. It helped.

      I am grateful for the opportunity to do this research and request for more to come, as I learned a lot. The research process enhances my mindfulness and understand further what it takes to make stupas, how it relates to the lineage and its importance in KFR and KWPC for Malaysians and people in the Asian region. I benefited so much and hope to benefit others further with this knowledge. Thank you for the wonderful gifts.

      Love, prayers and folded hands
      Your student

      • Cynthia Ng on May 16, 2012 at 11:29 am

        Congratulations May Ong!
        Thank you for put in effort to write it with a simple and clear article with your sincerity heart. It is benefit others a lot. I learnt a lot and You are good in writing :) Do share more with others with your knowledge! Rejoice :)

  97. Han on May 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Congratulation to Sofi & May Ong !
    Thanks for the efforts!

  98. justin cheah on May 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Congratulations to Sofi and May! Happy for you both!

  99. Cynthia Ng on May 16, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Congratulations to Sofi and May Ong and i Rejoice! :) Thanks for put in your effort of write up articles of Stupa. Your hardwork make peoples understand more and benefit others.

  100. sweekeong on May 16, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Congrats to Sofi and May Ong who have won the prizes and to all who participated! Don’t give up you can win next time :)

  101. Girlie on May 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Congratulations Sofi and May Ong.

  102. KH Ng on May 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Congratulations to Sofi, May and all the other participants. All of you have done great. We the readers are already blessed and will continue to be blessed by your efforts.

  103. lanse on May 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Congratulations to Sofi, May Ong and all the participants. Thank you for providing us with so much information on Stupa. I believe for those who have participated in this competition, to win or not is not the most important thing although it is a form of acknowledgement. I think the sense of fulfillment when you actually put in effort to do something good for others and shared with others is what we are actually looking for.

    Well done! Thank you all.

  104. Carmen Koo on May 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Congratulations to Sofi and May, but most of all, thank you to all who submitted their articles to educate us. I personally learned alot about the benefits of stupa, I didn’t even know that the benefits were so great!

    Last but not least, to Rinpoche, without whom, this blog and portal for learning would not even be available to us.

    Love,
    Carmen.

  105. henry ooi on May 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Again, thank you to all the 10 participants for your research effort on this article.

    And the winners are….. Sofi and May Ong!!! Congrats to you!

  106. Wendy Loh on May 17, 2012 at 10:51 am

    My heartiest congratulations to Sofi & May!

  107. IwonaSol on May 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Can I build small Stupa by myself to put it in the garden for benefit to sentient beings?If so, how to do it correct?

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BLOG CHAT

Dear blog friends,

I’ve created this section for all of you to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings about whatever interests you.

Everyone has a different perspective, so this section is for you.

Tsem Rinpoche


 

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Please come and join in the chat for a fun time and support. See you all there.

 


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Be friendly

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Be Patient

Give the room a chance to answer you. Patience is a virtue. And if after awhile, people don't respond, perhaps they don't know the answer or they did not see your question. Do ask again or address someone directly. Do not be offended if people do not or are unable to respond to you.

Be Relevant

This is the blog of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Please respect this space. We request that all participants here are respectful of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche and his organisation, Kechara.

Be polite

Avoid the use of language or attitudes which may be offensive to others. If someone is disrespectful to you, ignore them instead of arguing with them.

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KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

For more information, please read here (english), here (chinese), or the official site: retreat.kechara.com.



Dear blog friends,

I’ve created this section for all of you to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings about whatever interests you.

Everyone has a different perspective, so this section is for you

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Pastor Yek Yee
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 02:32 AM)
    Kechara Animal Liberation Day will be on this coming Sunday! You can join us at Kuantan, Johor, Ipoh and Penang. Don’t miss!
    [no sender]
  • Pastor Adeline
    (Tuesday, Oct 28. 2014 04:19 PM)
    A kind reminder to all that this coming Friday/Saturday and the next one on Blog Chat we will be discussing and sharing on “Mantras-Holy Words of Power” post and video on http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=28029.

    Looking forward to seeing you this Friday on US Pacific Coast time 8PM or Malaysian timing on Saturday 11AM!
  • Pastor Adeline
    (Monday, Oct 27. 2014 12:19 PM)
    We have a new pastor on board http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/congratulations-are-in-order.html! We need more and more people like Gim Lee to dedicate her life in serving others without agenda and tiredlessly! Thank you!
  • Pastor Adeline
    (Monday, Oct 27. 2014 12:15 PM)
    Watch what Jason Clare said in parliament http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4U9gqAxdZgA. ~ His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche

    His Eminence shared on “Videos On The Go” section of this blog.
  • Pastor Adeline
    (Monday, Oct 27. 2014 12:12 PM)
    In a country like Thailand where the public respects royalty very much, it’s nice to see Royalty in this case the Queen show so much respects to the sangha- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZHKJDybu0g. ~ His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche

    His Eminence shared on “What I am writing now” section of this blog.
  • Frederick Law
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 11:51 PM)
    The Buddha teaches that every sentient being has the same potential to attain Buddhahood that he had. Before attaining enlightenment, the Buddha had many, many lives: sometimes he was a human, sometimes an animal, sometimes an insect, and so on.
    All those who have become Buddha’s started out just like us. They were not Buddhas from the beginning. They obtained a special human life, came in contact with the teachings, and seriously practiced them over a long period of time. Slowly their mental affliction and ignorance decreased and their spiritual qualities increased.
    With a great deal of effort and courage they attained enlightenment. Because all living creatures have the same potential, all of them can attain enlightenment if they meet with a proper method, have enough courage, and exert enough effort.
    Right now flies and insect have an inferior physical body and mind, so for the present they cannot produce these qualities, but they have the potential to do so someday. Shantideva advises us to ask ourselves, “since even animal can attain Buddhahood, why can’t I do it?”

    Unlike animals or other unfortunate beings, we have a wonderful opportunity to accomplish enormous things; it is easy to see this by comparing spiritual development to an arduous physical task. Our ability to complete the task is severely compromised if we have to do every part of it by hand. If we have the right machines, the work will be accomplished easily. Similarly, in samsara the human life we now have is best equipped for accomplishing our ultimate goals. Human have the intelligence to understand the benefits and disadvantages of virtue and non-virtue, to deduce from present circumstances what type of causes we created in the past, and infer from our present actions what will happen in the future. With this kind of mental aptitude, of course we can attain enlightenment if we persevere with courage. We should encourage ourselves with this type of praise. Shantideva summarizes this reasoning as follows:

    I should not be indolent,
    Saying, “How can I attain Buddhahood?”
    Because the Buddha who says what is true
    Has spoken this truth:

    “even flies, bees, mosquitoes,
    And other types of insects
    Can attain the highest enlightenment so difficult to attain
    If they exert powerful effort.”

    Someone like me, born as a human,
    Is able to distinguish benefit from harm.
    Why couldn’t I attain enlightenment
    If I don’t give up the Bodhisatva practice?

    Extracted from: Steps on the Path to Enlightenment: A Commentary on Tsongkhapa’s Lamrim Chenmo, Volume 3: The Way of the Boddhisatva, Page 439
  • tsemtulku
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 12:33 AM)
    This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time! I laughed till I teared..please watch: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=53930
  • tsemtulku
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:15 PM)
    Wait till you see the pictures this photographer caught in portraits in order to evoke some feelings in us: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=53879
  • tsemtulku
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:10 PM)
    Tsem Rinpoche: Guess what we did on Mt Rinjani? See: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=53342
  • tsemtulku
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 12:31 PM)
    This is so wonderful that all of you are discussing dharma here on my blog chat (www.tsemrinpoche.com). I am so glad to see this every Friday on US Pacific Coast time 8PM (Malaysian timing every Saturday 11AM). For next two Fridays (October 31 & November 7, 2014) we have something very interesting for sharing on blog chat, please learn up on “Mantras-Holy Words of Power” post and video: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=28029. This is a long post so we do for the next two Fridays please. How much we can learn is a plus. We can never overlearn the dharma.

    We will discuss about this beneficial read. You will learn more as you read the post and discuss here with friends. I rejoice when you learn more. It stabilizes the mind to understand our spiritual practice and the benefits. :) Tsem Rinpoche
  • Pastor David Lai
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 12:27 PM)
    Meat to Meatless… When I was 5, I hated eating vegetables. My mum used to tell me to eat my carrots as they gave me good eyesight. But I told her that was not a rabbit. I was no Bugs Bunny. Back then, I was this nasty little carnivore. Follow my little journey from Meat to meatless here – http://www.davidlai.me/2014/09/28/meattomeatless/
  • tsemtulku
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 12:13 PM)
    If your angersome, it means you are spoiled.
    If you want things to be given to you, then you want others to do your work.
    If you complain without doing, it means you want an easy way out.
    If you have no integrity, it means you have never earned respect.
    If you are always late with your promises, it means you take things for granted.
    If you always argue to win, it’s because you allowed yourself to lose in life.
    If you are not concerned about others, then you have been overly self absorbed.
    If you don’t wish to change your situation, it’s because you don’t consider others and their despair for you.
    If you are arrogant, it’s because others are to be used by you.
    If you are intolerant, it’s because you want things only your way.
    If you are full of hatred, it’s because you only wish to benefit yourself.
    If you always lie, then you innately think others dumb and unworthy.
    ~Tsem Rinpoche
  • tsemtulku
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 11:46 PM)
    Guess what happened to Justin Cheah? Read here and don’t wait another minute:
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=53437
  • tsemtulku
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 09:43 PM)
    The highest achievements are usually done alone.~Tsem Rinpoche (Sometimes the further you move up and achieve, the less people will be around or unable to keep up. Some cannot understand, accept or wish to do more and they can drop off. Some may wish you well but cannot keep up anyways. The higher your goals, the less most are able to understand or envision. Some may be even against you. But what is important is you stay focused and consistent. After all big achievements are done by only a few and not the majority. Highest achievements are usually done alone or with a very few. Stamina, vision, consistency, focus, care, responsibility and sometimes even a sense of compassion is necessary to achieve anything big. Giving up gets us nowhere, so continuing is a good option. When you make it, some will come back, many will join and the naysayers regret and wished they had stayed. Tsem Rinpoche)
  • Pastor Adeline
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 12:07 PM)
    Halloween is my favorite holiday. Everything about it brings good memories. Tsem Rinpoche

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?nggpu=http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/wp-content/gallery/photos-on-the-go/moby-to-97yzp4.jpg

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Archives

CREDITS

Concept: Tsem Rinpoche
Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
Content: Tsem Rinpoche, Khong Jean Mei, Justin Ripley, Shin Tan, Sarah Yap
Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

What I am writing now

Scroll down and click on "older messages" to view archived chit messages. Use 'prev' and 'next' links to navigate between pages

The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Beautiful. Please share with other spiritual friends. 
4 days ago
This is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time! I laughed till I teared..please watch: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=53930
6 days ago
Wait till you see the pictures this photographer caught in portraits in order to evoke some feelings in us: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=53879
7 days ago
Guess what we did on Mt Rinjani? See: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=53342
7 days ago
Modern Buddhist Fellowship members joining in celebrations in Kechara.  October 24, 2014
7 days ago
This is a Cockatoo named Boy. He was in a small cage alone most of the time for 22 years. The owner finally relented and let us rescue Boy and be put in a large huge outdoor aviary with friends and fresh air. He came to us on October 24, 2014. 
7 days ago
October 24, 2014-Pastor Shin giving a talk in Kechara House. 
1 week ago
October 24, 2014-Was presented with lots of flowers today. How kind. Tsem Rinpoche 
1 week ago
Mark Twain once said, “Of all the creatures ever made Man is the most detestable. He’s the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain.” ~ From Earthlings, http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/earthlings.html
1 week ago
The highest achievements are usually done alone.~Tsem Rinpoche (Sometimes the further you move up and achieve, the less people will be around or unable to keep up. Some cannot understand, accept or wish to do more and they can drop off. Some may wish you well but cannot keep up anyways. The higher your goals, the less most are able to understand or envision. Some may be even against you. But what is important is you stay focused and consistent. After all big achievements are done by only a few and not the majority. Highest achievements are usually done alone or with a very few. Stamina, vision, consistency, focus, care, responsibility and sometimes even a sense of compassion is necessary to achieve anything big. Giving up gets us nowhere, so continuing is a good option. When you make it, some will come back, many will join and the naysayers regret and wished they had stayed. Tsem Rinpoche)
1 week ago
Since I was a young boy I wished to live in this type of environment. Tsem Rinpoche 
2 weeks ago
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Everything about it brings good memories. Tsem Rinpoche 
2 weeks ago
This is my dream home, dream location and a place where I would spiritually grow. Tsem Rinpoche 
2 weeks ago
"I like doing things that are going to last longer than a minute in the world."~ Christy Turlington
2 weeks ago
Click on this picture to enlarge and tell me what they are doing? Tsem Rinpoche 
2 weeks ago
"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest." ~ Maya Angelou
4 weeks ago
Mother gorilla's heart- A child fell into the gorilla cage. She broke her arms and legs and she was unconcious. A male gorilla came and tried to hurt her. Luckily, a female gorilla rescued her by chasing other gorillas away not to hurt her. This is an instinct of mother animals that take care of their babies. The mother gorilla climbed the 57 ft wall and took the girl to the zoo officer. The girl was sent to hospital and the doctor cured her. Thanks to mother gorilla's kind heart. -From FB (Please always be kind to animal. Never hurt them, kill them or eat them. Tsem Rinpoche)
4 weeks ago
October 3, 2014-Karen said there were even people in the Gifts Department of Kechara participating in Blog Chat today. Wonderful to learn. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
October 3, 2014-William, Pastor David, Pastor Jean Ai and Jean Mei preparing for blog chat. Nice people here!
4 weeks ago
October 3, 2014-In Kechara Forest Retreat, the room is filled with Kecharians on the blog chat right now. According to Pastor Adeline who sent the photo, the whole room is buzzing with blurping sounds from blog chat!! LOL. I like this when people learn the dharma. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
I've been friends with Dato' Ruby for nearly 20 years. When I asked her to head the Kechara Soup Kitchen she immediately agreed and put all her energy into making it successful. Many are benefitted by this. Kechara is committed to continuing to benefit others. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Our likes and dislikes are impermanent, so don't be stuck.~Tsem Rinpoche 
4 weeks ago
LOL. This guy is cute!
4 weeks ago
Please sign this petition. It will take five minutes to make a difference. Tsem Rinpoche https://action.hsi.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=104&ea.campaign.id=31967&ea.tracking.id=facebook
4 weeks ago
When this female named Dorothy died of heart failure, all the chimpanzee family came out of the forest to say good bye..... the most stunning reaction was a recurring, almost tangible silence, reported staff at Cameroon’s Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Centre. If you know chimpanzees, then you know that they are not usually silent beings. I think it’s beautiful how many of the chimps are touching each others’ shoulders.~from Butterbin
4 weeks ago
Praise to the Lady Buddha who eliminates all source of suffering. Tsem Rinpoche 
4 weeks ago
This is a cool snapshot! I love the paranormal mysteries. Tsem Rinpoche 
4 weeks ago
Our Kechara's Dato' Ruby is on this month's cover of prestige magazine for her work in our Soup Kitchen. Congratulations to a kind lady and my good friend. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Is it time to worry? You tell me. See what I'm talking about please: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=53452
1 month ago
How nice that Caryl Dumaine Lamont Munson reminds us that although the contest is over, the goal of the contest is still to be achieved. See what he is talking about: Win A Manjushri: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=52496 Thank you so much. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Once in a while we step through something magical that gives us hope and we continue on. ~Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
New species of herbivores discovered in USA...LOL...Tsem R
1 month ago
Must read this chart and share. TR
1 month ago
This is excellent! Save photo!
1 month ago
These two bright young people arrived in Los Angeles today to visit and help. They are very sincere and caring people. Glad to see them. Tsem Rinpoche 
1 month ago
If you want to read about compassion, strength, wisdom and fortitude, get this special edition of Essence. I did. Wonderful and a lot to learn from this lady of wisdom Ms. Maya Angelou. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
The holy Tsongkapa image when He first arrived to Kechara.  Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
The other day I mentioned to my US team that it would be nice to have a oversized Monoply set to play with everyone for good clean relaxation sometimes. Guess what? Pastor Moh Mei secretly got us a set!! How thoughtful and sweet. Thank you very much. I appreciate it very much. Especially the thought. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Dorje Chang
1 month ago
His Holiness the current Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. Who is very learned and spends much time in deep meditational retreats. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche said that Pabongka Rinpoche has merged and became one with Heruka-Chakrasamvara already and those who see fault in Pabongka Rinpoche do not have merits. Tsem Rinpoche 
1 month ago
I gave a special talk on equanimity, I am sure it will help you to understand this subject better: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=42419
1 month ago
Every week we have blog chat, this is Kecharians in E-division preparing for the blog chats. Nice to see this. Tsem Rinpoche 
1 month ago
When I see this, I primarily think of my guru and dharma friends immediately. Tsem Rinpoche 
1 month ago
Beautiful people bring happiness to others. Tsem Rinpoche 
1 month ago
Don't break another person's heart, it's hard to mend. ~Tsem Rinpoche 
1 month ago
I have just finished doing 50+ tweets on mind, Buddhism, spirituality, acceptance, love, entanglements, thoughts and inner battles. Do enjoy reading them and sharing them. It might help someone I humbly hope. I do so every few days to share about wisdom, kechara and our spiritual journey. If it can reach people and benefit them, why not. Our lives and being alive is totally about benefitting others. That is the purpose of breathing and being human... Tsem Rinpoche Do follow me on tweets: http://www.twitter.com/tsemtulku
1 month ago
I would love to live in the Mt. Shasta area of Northern California. It has been recognized by the Native American Indian people to be a spiritually charged area. It has a power vortex under the ground in that area that energizes the place to be very blessed for spiritual practice, meditation and contemplations. Tsem Rinpoche 
1 month ago
Dear Andree Duckworth, Thank you very much for your feedback on our Kechara Pastors. They work very hard, they have great knowledge and very patient. I started the program so people who wish to bring dharma to others can have a lay life as well as a spiritual life recognized by others. Halfway to monk/nun-hood without being ordained. So naming them Pastors and having basic lay vows is good and it helps the public in Malaysia to identify with them easily. It worked out very much. I hope you will let them know you are benefitted by their hardwork. They will appreciate it very much as I do. Tsem R
1 month ago
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Videos On The Go

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    Mumu always prepares his bed this way before sleeping. Cute.
    1 week ago
  • Watch what Jason Clare said in parliament
    Watch what Jason Clare said in parliament
    Description
    1 week ago
  • Super cute attack. Have to watch!!
    Super cute attack. Have to watch!!
    4 weeks ago
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    They pump 'things' into poultry to make it look plump and bigger to attract you to buy. Then you eat whatever they've pumped and think how it builds up in your body? Is your taste buds worth it to risk your health? Tsem Rinpoche
    4 weeks ago
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    Look at this 2 minute video, while Hong Kong is having massive protests,right over the skyline of a city a UFO is spotted observing.. Incredible footage. UFO's are historically said to always gather where there is massive conflicts or congregations of people for hundreds of years.
    4 weeks ago
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    See this video and do share with friends. See what happens at 1:10........Om Mani Peme Hung Watch it for the sake of the beings within in enduring what they have to endure. Don't think about how you feel because you are not there, but how they feel. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
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    I just purchased an empty locket from an art store for around $10 and had a nice picture of His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche inserted in the front and His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche inserted on the others side at home. Attached a str...ing and it's good to wear for blessings. Look how beautiful. I am the type, I devote myself to my practice but I remember it is the sole kindness of the guru's teachings. Without the guru there is no dharma at all as I cannot speak to Buddha directly. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
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    I was gifted this wonderful blingy shiny new pen by a spiritual friend. I didn't know Swarovski pens write so smoothly. I am going to enjoy writing with this. Thank you Jessica Pimentel. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
  • Is this the Loch Ness monster?
    Is this the Loch Ness monster?
    Description
    2 months ago
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    In Kechara Forest Retreat we have a large aviary with many rescued birds and tortoises. We just built a nice pool for them to cool down in. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
  • Rescuing dog in LA river
    Rescuing dog in LA river
    2 months ago
  • This is a very inspiring video by Jim Carrey you must see
    This is a very inspiring video by Jim Carrey you must see
    2 months ago
  • Dalai Lama watching TV
    Dalai Lama watching TV
    2 months ago
  • Dog with a heart of Gold
    Dog with a heart of Gold
    Description
    3 months ago
  • 14th Dalai Lama with Mrs.Indira Gandhi , Delhi INDIA 1966
    14th Dalai Lama with Mrs.Indira Gandhi , Delhi INDIA 1966
    5 months ago
  • The Girl Who Couldn't Cry - Water is Life
    The Girl Who Couldn't Cry - Water is Life
    It's really hard to educate a generation of people born in conditions where they take things for granted. A simple slogan campaign that says, "Save water, It's precious" isn't sticky enough to make inroads. That's exactly where this video steps in: to make people realize how precious water actually is. A brilliant video that follows the heartbreaking story of a young girl that cannot cry. Sounds like fiction? Sadly, it is not.
    6 months ago
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    Dear everyone, All sentient beings deserve to live, be happy and not hurt, including animals. We should never hurt them or eat them. Look how much this chicken welcomes a hug and love. Observe carefully. Don't eat beings who can feel pain because the karma comes back. Tsem Rinpoche
    6 months ago
  • The appreciation shown here is so deep and touching.
    The appreciation shown here is so deep and touching.
    Dear friends, See this incredible video. This chimp was found in captivity for many years. Dr Jane Goodall released him into the wild. Look how he comes back to thank her with deep apprecition. It's amazing. Animals have such strong feelings of pain and happiness just like us. We should never hurt them and share with others to not hurt them. Tsem Rinpoche http://www.tsemrinpoche.com
    6 months ago
  • Aki drinking some water in the aviary
    Aki drinking some water in the aviary
    Aki is a rescued bird, he now lives in Kechara Forest Retreat Aviary
    8 months ago
  • Jamyang enjoying some fresh corn
    Jamyang enjoying some fresh corn
    Jamyang is one of our rescue birds that live in Kechara Forest Retreat Aviary
    8 months ago
  • The Cute Mumus Practising Dog Orchestra at Kechara Forest Retreat
    The Cute Mumus Practising Dog Orchestra at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Today the Mumus (dogs) decided to do a dog orchestra rehearsal together with the Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR) dogs.
    8 months ago
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    Gongkar is our new bird for Kechara Forest Retreat's aviary. Gongkar never had friends and the original owner could not bring him to his destination. Now he is with us and assimilating in his cage within the aviary for a few weeks then released into aviary. Look at how much he wants attention from the other birds. Cute. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
  • Mumu, Oser and Dharma running and having a good time. I love seeing them playing. Tsem Rinpoche
    Mumu, Oser and Dharma running and having a good time. I love seeing them playing. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
  • Mumus running at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Mumus running at Kechara Forest Retreat
    1 years ago
  • Kechara Forest Retreat panorama, September 2013
    Kechara Forest Retreat panorama, September 2013
    1 years ago
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    Dechog our cockatoo at Kechara Forest Retreat grabbing long beans which he loves. Nice bird. We love him. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
  • The mumus having outdoor evening stroll!!!
    The mumus having outdoor evening stroll!!!
    1 years ago
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    17 May 2013, heavy rain at Kechara Forest Retreat from 7am-8am (1 hour). Water overflowed the existing drain and also opened up a much wider new "route" for itself.
    1 years ago
  • Must see video from Rajendra on our disciplined dogs
    Must see video from Rajendra on our disciplined dogs
    2 yearss ago
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    Dato' Ruby won the Bella Awards!
    2 yearss ago

ASK A PASTOR


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Related Links To Myself

My Blog in Chinese:
zhandugu.blog.163.com
My website:
www.tsemtulku.com
My organisation's website:
www.kechara.com





CHAT PICTURES

1st Nov, Volunteers and staffs came for blog chat every Saturday to learn dharma together Via online - By Puja House
16 minutes ago
Uncle Eddie 70++year old, he come to work at Puja House 6 days per week. Inspiring. Pastor Yek Yee
8 hours ago
Puja House's regular volunteer Toh Cheng See come to help in Puja House consistently. Thank you! Pastor Yek Yee
8 hours ago
Torma colouring. Pastor Yek Yee
8 hours ago
We completed a puja for clearing out all obstacles for our sponsor. Pastor Yek Yee
8 hours ago
A big puja conducted at Puja House for obstacles cleaning! Pastor Yek Yee
8 hours ago
Kechara Animal Liberation Day will be on this coming Sunday! You can join us at Kuantan, Johor, Ipoh and Penang. Don't miss! Pastor Yek Yee
9 hours ago
31 Oct, Gyabshi puja did at Puja House today. -By Puja House
11 hours ago
Urgent Setrap puja done for sponsor. May the sponsor surgery successful and have good health-By Puja House
11 hours ago
We can eat so many things without touching animals.~#tsemtulku_PB
13 hours ago
"We all want to live a happy life and this is our basic right."~H.H.DalaiLama_Hee TS
13 hours ago
Saving lives helps to save our life~#tsemtulku_PB
13 hours ago
Not eating animals doesn't hurt us in any way but actually helps us~#tsemtulku_PB
13 hours ago
When we pursue our goals, being consistent is necessary ~ ‪H.E.Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_Hee TS
14 hours ago
Prayers help us to reach a distant dimension & the residing special beings.~Tsem Tulku Rinpoche_Hee TS
14 hours ago
Gift to Rinpoche from The Khongs on his birthday. Concept by Elisa Khong. DR.
14 hours ago
Datin Paduka Senator Chew Mei Fun, Deputy Minister of Women, Family & Community Development of Malaysia joined Kechara's soup kitchen in our midnight food distribution rounds to have a better understanding of the situation of the homeless and urban poor. DR.
14 hours ago
Gizmo and Luilui paying homage to Buddha Shakyamuni in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat. DR.
14 hours ago
Aren't they cute? Cranberry doggy biscuits for our cute mumus aka doggies of Tsem Ladrang. Freshly baked by a pet's cafe in Ikano, PJ. DR.
14 hours ago
Eight auspicious signs and Sensory offerings as seen in our souvenir shop in Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong. DR.
14 hours ago
Our souvenir shop in Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong. So elegant and well stocked. DR.
14 hours ago
Here you go. The cousins aka receptionists welcoming 40 students from Kojadi Institute. Hehehe. DR.
14 hours ago
Little Victoria came to visit after school. A seven year old who thinks and talks like an adult. She's such a bright girl. DR.
14 hours ago
I miss my Guru so much. DR.
14 hours ago
View of Vajrayogini Stupa from Wisdom Hall. DR.
14 hours ago

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