Theology & Religion

Discuss to what extent stūpas may be considered to fully substitute a living Buddha.

This course’s name is Imagining Buddha/Buddhology in the South Asia.

The client has written an introduction which can be used for inspiration.

In the class, they have mainly discussed the Stupa 123 in Sanchi, most of the stupas in the South or Southeast Asia. However, in this essay, the client would like some examples from the East Asian stupas, called pagodas.

Analyse the relationships between the Buddha, stupas, and kings. Buddha represents the universal belief, and in the local context, it reflects the Kings’ image. So were the stupas built for enshrining Buddha by the kings or there are other meanings? 

Stupa’s origins: tumulus or funerary mound; cremated remains; honored with parasols and veneration symbols; universal & imperial; power. Stupas also mark the presence of Buddha and his teaching, it reinforces Buddha’s teaching. 

Stūpas: 1) Treasure up the cremated relics of the Buddha
2) Attract pilgrim from far and wide who come to experience the unseen presence of the Buddha
3) Enclosed railing for ritual circumambulation
4) Cosmic symbolisation

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