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Stūpas

Stūpas, even from different cultures, have a distinctive architecture comprising a broad base as if taking its stand on mother earth, and a high pinnacle pointing towards the sky, much as one aspires towards lofty aims and visions.

They commonly house some religious relics and serve as a focal point for one’s recollections, devotions, respect and reverence.

Arranging Buddha Images in Creating a Stūpa

In creating a stūpa, the various Buddha images are assembled and arranged according to the cardinal points of the compass.

  • • The Dhammacakka mudrā occupies the centre
  • • The Abhaya mudrā occupies the North
  • • The Bhūmiphassa mudrā occupies the East
  • • The Samādhi or Dhyāna mudrā occupies the West
  • • The Dāna mudrā occupies the South

Circumambulating a Stūpa

As one draws near to the Stūpa one acknowledges it with a bow and añjali (see below) before circumambulating three times – the first time recollecting the Buddha, the second time the Dhamma, and the third time, the Sangha.

Circumambulation is a very ancient way to express respect. Traditionally, the right side has always been regarded as the most fortunate side (the left side the less fortunate), and in the scriptures, those visiting the Buddha would always show their respect by keeping their right side towards him as they took their places for a Dhamma talk or sought his advice and guidance.

One always circumambulates a stūpa in a clockwise direction, keeping the right side of the body towards the stūpa.

As one circumambulates the stūpa one can chant and carry offerings such as candles, incense and flowers, and these can be offered at any one of the four shrines (facing North, East, South, and West), which form an integral part of the stūpa.

Circumambulation brings together bodily movement, chanting, the carrying of offerings and the accompanying recollections in a concerted expression of our respect and reverence.

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Редакция перевода от 01.10.2022 17:28