Stupa Cult and Symbolism
Author: Lokesh Chandra, Gustav Roth, Franz-Karl & Ehrhard Kimiaki Tanakaa
Stupa as a monument, its symbolism, ritual and construction have been studied in modern scholarship for the last two hundred years. This volume reproduces a number of studies of Prof. Gustav Roth on its architectural details, philosophical concepts it embodies, its symbolic significance in a number of Sanskrit texts. The other minor writings of Roth include a long study of goldsmiths and artists in Jain and Chinese texts besides their representations at Bharhut, Udayagiri and Khandagiri. Roth discusses the nativity of Jesus Christ in relation to the birth of Gosala Mankhaliputta in a cowshed. The symbols of a trident and dharmacakra on Maccabee coins of Judea are revealing. The parallels between Indic texts and the New Testament pointed out by Roth are striking and deserve further research. Prof. Franz-Karl Ehrhard of Munchen deals with Svayambhunath in Tibetan texts. Prof. Kimiaki Tanaka indentifies the iconography of Haripur with the Mayajala-tantra. Prof. Lokesh Chandra discusses the nature of the Borobudur as a Sumeru for the Vajradhatu-mandala, while its several levels pertain to different sutras that finally culminated in the Vajradhatu system. The volume is rich in new material and fresh interpretations of the stupa which was central to the Buddhist conceptual world, so much so that the present Chinese currency note of 1 yuan issued in 1999 shows stupas in the waters of oceanic consciousness.