The meaning of stupas

“So which would be more beneficial — building such a stupa, making a statue of the Buddha, or building a residence for the Sangha?” Ananda asked the Buddha.

The Buddha answered, “If someone were to build a huge temple that would accommodate hundreds of thousands of Sangha, and if the same person were to make offerings to the Sangha for day after day for years; or, on the other hand, 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 latter two would be more beneficial.  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.”

The Sutra On The Merit Of Bathing The Buddha

At that time, the World Honored One uttered these verses:

After my death
You will be able to honor my relics
Some will build stupas
Or images of the Tathágata.
At the place of the image or stupa,
One who anoints that spot of ground
With various incenses and flowers
Scattering them over its surface
Uses pure, beautifully scented water
To pour onto the body of this image,
Offers it various flavorful drinks and foods,
Fully maintaining it with oblations,
Eulogizes the virtue of the Tathágata,
Which is endlessly difficult to conceive;
Through the wisdom of skillful means and the supernatural power of the Buddha
Such a one will quickly reach the other shore of Nirvana.
He will obtain the diamond body
Complete with the thirty-two marks of a great person
And the eighty minor signs of excellence.

Project Stupa Fund: click link for photos

The aim of the Fund is to provide the resources for the building of 100,000 stupas around the world, each of a minimum height of 12 feet.  Simply seeing a holy object such as a stupa becomes the cause to achieve inconceivable awakening and enlightenment by purifying defilements.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche has already inspired the building of more than forty large stupas around the world, including the Great Thousand Buddha Relic Stupa at Kopan Monastery in Nepal, the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion being built in Australia, the Kalachakra Stupa in the USA, a Kadampa stupa in France, and many other stupas in Nepal, Spain, Italy, France, the United States, Canada, Iceland, Tibet, Australia, and New Zealand.  Lama Zopa Rinpoche tells us:

“Building stupas helps develop so much peace and happiness for numberless sentient beings.  As a result, wars, disease, and desire will all be pacified.  Instead of feeling hopeless, people will gain courage.  This is about peace – for the beings who see it, for the whole country, for the entire world, for all sentient beings.”

In order to create the cause for world peace and eliminate suffering, Lama Zopa Rinpoche wants to build 100,000 stupas worldwide.  The inconceivable merit of building a stupa is not limited to the person who physically builds it; those who support the project financially, materially, or through prayer receive equal benefit!  Help us make Rinpoche’s vision for world peace a reality!

Click to help out:  Stupa fund

Many blessings!



Filed under Buddhist sutras, World Issues

4 responses to “The meaning of stupas

  1. Michael

    Dear Neo !

    I have a question about Stupas in general.
    At the moment, i try to build myself a small sized (30-40 cm) Stupa.
    The problem is, that it looks slightly different than otherSstupas.
    The buildings materials i use are mostly clay, wood and various colourings.

    Mabe that’s the reason, what makes it a bit hard to build it…

    Do you think that i should none the less continiue, even if my Stupa will be slightly different from the construction design ?

    By the way, i am not a buddhist….i am simply an open minded individual…

    Thank you very much for your very precious time !



  2. I would recommend you keep building them no matter what the size or materials you use. You are obviously inspired by stupas which are the source of immeasurable MERIT and WISDOM to be gained.

    Later you can research all the different types of stupa formations and designs and how they are built by the professional architects trained in the more exact Buddhist methodology. As a result, cognitions of their deeper meaning (of what each one represents) will dawn in your mind-stream and blessings will swiftly arise.

    Good luck!


  3. Hello, I am a Kagyu Lama that took refuge with Lama Zopa twelve years ago and am building a stupa in tennessee. would it be possible to use your stupa buddha drawing for promotional purposes?


  4. I am not sure where I got that image from. I thought I could quickly find it and let you know who to contact. It was something I had on a .PDF file or newsletter and had to print it out, scan it and upload it here.

    If you are using it for a good purpose and not trying to profit from it then normally these dharma images are OK to use and share with others.


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