/stooh"peuh/, n.a monumental pile of earth or other material, in memory of Buddha or a Buddhist saint, and commemorating some event or marking a sacred spot.[1875-80; < Skt stupa]
* * *Monument erected in memory of the Buddha or a Buddhist saint, often marking a sacred spot, commemorating an event, or housing a relic.Stupas are architectural symbols of the Buddha's death. A simple stupa may consist of a circular earthenware base supporting a massive solid dome from which projects an umbrella, symbolizing protection. This basic design is the inspiration for other types of Buddhist monuments, including pagodas, seen throughout Asia. Worship consists of walking clockwise around a stupa. Many important stupas have become places of pilgrimage.Stūpa III and its single gateway, Sānchi, Madhya Pradesh state, IndiaHolle Bildarchiv
* * *▪ BuddhismBuddhist commemorative monument usually housing sacred relics associated with the Buddha or other saintly persons. The hemispherical form of the stupa appears to have derived from pre-Buddhist burial mounds in India. As most characteristically seen at Sanchi (Sānchi) in the Great Stupa (2nd–1st century BC), the monument consists of a circular base supporting a massive solid dome (the anda, “egg,” or garbha, “womb”) from which projects an umbrella. The whole of the Great Stupa is encircled by a railing and four gateways, which are richly decorated with relief sculpture depicting Jataka (Jātaka) tales, events in the life of the Buddha, and popular mythological figures.The Indian conception of the stupa spread throughout the Buddhist world and evolved into such different-looking monuments as the bell-shaped dagaba (“heart of garbha”) of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the terraced temple of Borobudur in Java, the variations in Tibet, and the multistoried pagodas of China, Korea, and Japan. The basic symbolism, in which the central relic is identified with the sacred person or concept commemorated and also with the building itself, is retained. Worship of a stupa consists in walking around the monument in the clockwise direction. Even when the stupa is sheltered by a building, it is always a freestanding monument.Buddhist stupas were originally built to house the earthly remains of the historical Buddha and his associates and are almost invariably found at sites sacred to Buddhism. The concept of a relic was afterward extended to include sacred texts. Miniature stupas and pagodas (pagoda) are also used by Buddhists throughout Asia as votive offerings. Stupas were also built by adherents of Jainism to commemorate their saints.
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