Large towering monuments dot the Buddhist skyline in many countries. But what are they?
First built in India after the Buddha’s death, stupas are believed to contain relics of the Buddha and became pilgrimage locations.Tweet
Each side of a stupa represents the Buddha’s life: birth (east side), enlightenment (south side), teaching (west side), and his death (north side). Therefore, Buddhist pilgrims walk clockwise around a stupa to symbolically follow the Buddha’s life.
Stupas are not just for the Buddha as later in history smaller ones were created for Buddhist teachers where there ashes are located. Buddhist laypersons may also follow suit with small stupas where there ashes are enclosed, but located in either a Buddhist shrine/cemetery or in the family home.
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