What does each symbol of Bouddhanath Stupa represent?

  • Jan 20, 2020
  • Silu Pandey
  • 302

Bouddhanath Stupa is one of the greatest Tibetan stupas of Nepal. Every year, most of the Tibetan Bouddhists come to Nepal for visiting it. They stay nearby this stupa or at the Gumba as well. They engage in meditation activity with others at the present of their Guru (meditation teacher).

Table of Contents

The Bouddhanath Stupa is rich in symbolisms as every figure refers to the enlightenment. For more information, you can go through following bottom to top symbols details.

  • Three Steps: It is the base of Bouddhanath stupa. These platforms seem as the three different steps, but their sizes are in decreasing style. However, these platforms represent the symbol of Earth from where the song of devotees can be listened carefully who are praying below it. They also symbolize the three jewels such as Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
  • Mandala : It symbolizes the physical representation of Lord Buddha in order to display the transition of spiritual journey.
  • Two Plinths: These plinths are created in the shape of circular. They are the strong base for supporting the Bouddhanath Stupa. They depict the symbol of water.
  • Dome: It is a rounded vault forming the roof of the Bouddhanath Stupa. It symbolizes the Buddha’s chest or the seven elements of enlightenment such as mindfulness, discrimination, exertion, joy, pliancy, Samadhi and Equanimity.
  • Harmika: It represents the eight different noble paths. They are:
  1. Right Understanding
  2. Right View
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Livelihood
  5. Right Action
  6. Right meditative Concentration
  7. Right Effort
  8. Right Mindfulness
  • Symbol of Nose: It is a sign of Nirvana. It means a path for reaching enlightenment through meditation.
  • Eight Eyes: These symbols of eight eyes represent the eyes of Lord Buddha. The Bouddhanath stupa has four sides of wall and each side contains the two eyes. It means Buddha can see everywhere and no one can cheat him.
  • Thirteen Steps: These steps are designed just above the symbols of Eyes. They look like the thirteen different stairs in a shape of triangle. As a result, the stairs stand for the thirteen different steps for reaching the enlightenment while the triangle refers to the symbol of fire.
  • Lotus: Just above the thirteen steps, there is the picture of Lotus. This figure shows the signs of purity, self-development and enlightenment as well.
  • Prayer Flags: These flags are hanged from top to bottom and cover the whole parts of Bouddhanath Stupa. They are of five different colors such as red, white, yellow, green and blue. All these different colors represent the different symbols like love and compassion, Purity and prosperity, wealth and beauty, peace and protection and knowledge and enlightenment respectively.
  • Umbrella: It is a protector of Lord Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Just above it, there is a glided canopy which is a symbol of air.
  • Pinnacle: It is a symbol of enlightenment.


Source: https://www.academia.edu/8543144/Boudhanath_Stupa_Reflections_on_Living_Architecture