Symbolism of the Stupa

 
The outside of the Stupa represents the meditating buddha.
The inside of the Stupa represents the elements and corresponding wisdom.
The Stupa seen from above represents a perfect mandala, or representation of the universe.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sections of the Stupa symbolize the Path to Enlightenment

Jewel: Enlightenment   The Sun: Wisdom   
The Moon: Heart of Awakening - Bodhichitta
The Parasol: Compassion


The Spire, or 13 rings: The ten levels or bhumis of the Mahayana path and The three highest stages of the Vajrayana path.

The Harmika, Eyes of the Buddha: the Eight-fold Noble Paths: 1. Path of Right View,   2. Right Intention,    3. Right Speech,  4. Right Action,  5. Right Livelihood,   6. Right Effort,   7. Right Mindfulness,  8. Right Concentration


The Bumpa The Buddha’s chest: the Seven Elements of Enlightenment: 1. Mindfulness,  2. Discrimination,  3. Exertion,  4.  Joy,  5.  Pliancy,   6. Samadhi, and  7.  Equanimity
.

Four Immeasureables
The legs of the Buddha: The Four Immeasurables of  1. Loving Kindness, 
2. Compassion,  3. Joy and     4. Equanimity.

The Throne The three steps at the base, the throne
the Three Refuges of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
.

 

The Five Elements and Five Colors and Five Wisdoms Related to Stupa

The Stupa incorporates five basic geometric shapes that correspond to the five elements. 
Each element, in turn, corresponds to an essential attribute of a fully awakened being:
The square base of the Stupa represents earth and equanimity; 
The round dome, water and indestructibility; The triangular spire, fire and compassion; 
The semi-circular umbrella/parasol, wind/air and all-accomplishing action; and at the very top, 
The jewel-shaped tigle or drop represents space and all-pervading awareness.
 
 

Elements
 
 
STUPA
SECTION
 
SHAPE
 
COLOR
 
ELEMENT 
 
WISDOM
 
FAMILY AND
MEANING
Jewel
Dewdrop
White
0range
Space
All-Pervading
Awareness 
Buddha Family - He
Who Makes Visible
Parasol 
Half Circle 
Green
Wind/
Air 
All-Accomplishing
Karma Family
Unfailing- Success
Spire 
Triangle
Red
Fire
Discriminating 
Compassion
Padma Family
Limitless Radiance
 
Dome
Circle
Blue
Water
Mirror-Like 
Wisdom
Vajra Family
Indestructibility
 
Base
Square
Yellow 
Earth
Equanimity  
Wisdom
Ratna  Family
Jewel-Born
 

 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Sections of The Stupa picture and information are used with permission of Kunzang Palyul Chöling Center.
Picture of Buddha Shakyamuni at The Great Stupa of Enlightenment in Bodhgaya,India are provided to LEW by Yeshi Dorjee-la.
Some pictures from "Images of Enlightenment", by Jonathan Landaw and Andy Weber, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, New York.

 


The Meaning of the Stupa  by Venerable Yeshi Dorjee