The Benefits of Building a Stupa, Offering Prostrations, Presenting Offerings, Circumambulating It and Making Aspirations

by Kyabje Chadral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche; written by Chatral Sangye Dorje

Homage to the Three Jewels!

I will explain briefly the benefits of building a Sugata Stupa and the benefits for the faithful ones prostrating to it, presenting offerings and circumambulating it. Assembly of fortunate ones interested in the genuine scriptures that I have quoted here as witnesses, accept these with joy!

In the Karmavibhanga Sutra it is said:

The Buddha spoke to the young Brahmin Shuka: There are eighteen benefits of building a Tathagata Stupa. What are these eighteen?

  1. One will be born as the child of a great king
  2. One will have a noble body
  3. One will become beautiful and very attractive
  4. One will have sharp sense faculties
  5. One will be powerful and famous
  6. One will have a great entourage of servants
  7. One will become a leader of men
  8. One will be a support to all
  9. One will be renowned in the ten directions
  10. One will be able to express oneself in words and verses extensively
  11. One will receive offerings from men and gods
  12. One will possess many riches
  13. One will obtain the kingdom of a universal monarch
  14. One will have long life
  15. One's body will be like a collection of vajras
  16. One's body will be endowed with the major marks and the minor signs (of a Buddha)
  17. One will take rebirth in the three higher realms
  18. One will swiftly attain complete nirvana

These eighteen points are the benefits of building a Tathagata Stupa.

In the Manjushri Mula Tantra it is said:

If one builds a Stupa with one's own hands in order to purify one's body, one will be able to do so even if one has committed the five heinous crimes. If one builds one hundred thousand Stupas one will become the universal ruler of all knowledge-holders, completely understand all scriptures and be endowed with skills and wisdom. During an Abiding Aeon, after death, one will always be born as a king and never go to the three lower realms. Like the sun rising in a central country, one will be endowed with all sense faculties, retain what one has learned and remember one's former lives.

In the Sutra called Casket of Secret Relics it is said:

The Bhagavan spoke: Vajrapani! If one writes this Dharma teaching and places it inside a Stupa, that Stupa will become the quintessential vajra relic of all the Tathagatas. It will become a Stupa blessed with the secret Dharani essence of all Tathagatas. It will become a Stupa of ninety-nine tathagatas, just as many as there are sesame seeds in a sesame pot. It will be blessed as a Stupa which contains the eyes and Ushnisha of all Tathagatas.

Whoever places images of the Buddha in a Stupa, that person will be blessed with the nature of the seven precious jewels of the Tathagata images. Whoever pays reverence and respect to this Stupa, will become non-returners and will eventually completely and perfectly awaken to the unsurpassed and utterly perfect enlightenment.

Even if one offers only one prostration or makes one single circumambulation, one will be completely freed from going to places like the Avici hell. One will never fall away from the (path to) unexcelled and completely perfect enlightenment. Also, the area around this Stupa and images will be blessed by all Tathagatas.

In the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra it is said:

Walls are built from mud and bricks.
And a Stupa of the Jina is made likewise.
Therefore, even if it is built from heaps of dust,
Whoever builds a Stupa for the sake of the Jina,
In remote places of suffering;
Even if it is made of a heap of sand
By children playing games,
(The builder) will reach enlightenment.

The benefis of presenting offerings (to a Stupa) are stated in the Sutra requested by Prasenajid:

If one washes white a Buddha Stupa
One will have a long life in the worlds of gods and men.
One's body and mind will be free from sickness.
One will overcome all suffering,
One will attain permanent happiness and will be wealthy.

If one rings a bell in front of a Buddha Stupa
One will have charismatic speech and great fame.
One will gain the pleasant voice of Brahma and remember one's previous lives.
Whoever among the scholars turns his mala with a devoted mind
In front of a Sugata Stupa,
Will be well presented with many precious golden malas,
Will attain various ornaments
And will become the foremost among the meritorious and fortunate ones.

Whoever offers to a Stupa of the Jina the sound of music
Will gain perfect confidence in profundity and knowledge.
One will have a perfect physical form and a pure mind and speech.
One's speech will fill the world.
At an essential reliquary (Stupa), which is the source of immaculate merit,
They themselves will receive offerings, as they are now an offering field for the three worlds.
If one fixes streamers at a Sugata Stupa,
One will become a glorious ruler of men, a powerful ruler of gods
And will experience great bliss.
One will attain the special streamer of complete liberation.

If one cleans a Buddha Stupa,
One will become beautiful and attractive.
One will have a noble face and the complexion of a lotus.
One will be completely free from the defects of samsara.

Whoever cleans the dust around a Stupa
In the spring time with clean water,
Will be pleasantly fanned by ladies
Holding golden handled fans.

Concerning the benefits of prostrating and circumambulating a Stupa, it is said in the Avalokiteshvara Sutra:

If one pays respect kneeling before a Buddha Stupa,
One will become a heroic and powerful world monarch.
One will have an armor with golden emblems.
One will become a powerful teacher and take delight in the Buddhas.

In the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra it is said:

Whoever joins their palms before a Stupa,
Whether with two hands or just one;
Whoever just one time bows their body,
Or even briefly bends their head;

Whoever prostrates or merely says "Buddha" with an undistracted mind
Whether once or several times
Before places where relics are kept,
That one will attain supreme enlightenment.

In the Caitya Pradakshina Ghata it is said:

The qualities of circumambulating a
Stupa of the Protector of the World,
Cannot be described properly
With mere words.

These and other quotations from the sutras and tantras will gnerate confidence and vast joy.

I urge all those who aspire to happiness and fortune to use their human existence in a meaningful way. Endeavor to the best of your abilities, to gather the accumulations and purify the obscurations. With a noble Bodhicitta attitude prostrate, offer, circumambulate, make aspirations and so forth before these special supreme supports (Stupas), which grant great, meaningful benefits through seeing, hearing and remembering.

This was written by the renunciant, Buddha Vajra,
Who in this day and age of the five decadences
Gives the appearance of guiding beings
Through the representations of Buddha's body, speech and mind.

Through this merit, may all beings attain the level which transcends the limitations of samsara and nirvana. By defeating the armies of the maras, may the hold the power of the great kingdom of Samantabhadra, may the two benefits spontaneously manifest and may auspiciousness and splendor blaze forth.

This was composed in the male-fire-horse year of the 16th sixty-year cycle (1966), in the ninth month on the 22nd day. Sarva Mangalam.