proportions of the Buddhas body corresponds to the design
of religious monuments. Its architecture developed from the
pre-Buddhist Indian grave-mound. Under these mounds the saintly
ascetic were buried; their bodies were seated on the ground
and covered with earth. These dome-shaped graves, or tumuli,
of the saints were regarded as holy places. And were destinations
for pilgrimage for the devotional and places of practice for
or the "Great Stupa", is regarded as the most important
of the stupas at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Standing at 300
feet, it is the oldest but smallest of the three giant edifices
in brick in the world. The stupa, decorated by coral brought
from the Mediterranean by an envoy of the Sri Lankan king
who had an audience with the Roman Emporer Caesar Augustus,
was restored by successive rulers. The stupa built by King
Duttugamunu, is surrounded by an elephant wall, a restored
design of an earlier expression. This design has been repeated
in Thailand, Burma, and other countries where Buddhism was
taught by monks from Sri Lanka.
Tibetan Style Chortens
structure of a Chorten consist of a square foundation symbolizing
the earth, a dome symbolizing water, and thirteen tapering
steps of enlightenment symbolizing the element of fire. These
steps lead to a stylized parasol, the symbol of wind, which
is topped in the ethereal sphere by the well-known twin-symbol
uniting sun and moon, which is the shimmering crown of the
Analogy with the Symbolism of the Stupa
Seed of Highest Enlightenment, also depicted as a Tongue
of Flame (Bindu) to be realized above the double
symbol crowning Chorten.
double symbol (Surya Chandra) of Sun and Rising
Moon is an emblem of the Twin-unity of the Absolute Truth
(of the sphere beyond normal comprehension) and the Relative
Truth (of the worldly sphere).
stylized Parasol (Chattra) symbolically giving
protection from all evil.
thirteen Steps of Enlightenment, i.e. the first ten Steps
of Enlightenment (Dasha-Bhumi) and the three higher
levels of supraconsciousness (Avenika-smrityupashthana).
dome, corresponding to the primeval mound, as Receptacle
of Relics or offerings (Dhatu-Garbha); the dome-line
edifices of Old Indian Stupas were also called egg or water-bubble
base (Parishada) is square and four-stepped, its
sides facing the four directions. Analogous to the underworld.