Pagoda (too)



Daruma Pilgrims Gallery


Pagodas of all kinds

tou 塔
Also called touba 塔婆, sotoba 卒都婆 or *tasoutou 多層塔 (lit. many layered tower).
A pagoda. Originally in India, a facility for preserving the Buddha's ashes in a simple earthen mound. Over time, the mounds became more and more elaborate.

As Buddhism spread through Central Asia the mound became smaller, elongated and the finial *sourin 相輪, became larger in proportion to the base. After Buddhism reached China, influence from the Chinese watchtower combined with the central Asian stupa to form a tall, tiered structure.

From China it spread to Korea and thence to Japan where it became the focal point on a central axis in early Japanese temples. One pagoda was positioned on an east-west axis sharing importance with a *kondou 金堂 (lit. golden hall) on each side of it. (See *garan haichi 伽藍配置). During the 6c. to 9c. centuries, pagodas were repositories for the Buddha's relics. Also pagodas were built to mark a holy site or as an oblation to the soul of the dead.
During the 8c., two identical pagodas were commonly constructed and were usually placed outside the sacred area where the kondou was enclosed, as at Todaiji 東大寺, Nara. They are no longer extant.
With the introduction of esoteric Buddhist sects, the *tahoutou 多宝塔, a 2- storied pagoda, became popular while the pagoda as a vessel for the Buddha's ashes or relics gradually lost importance. As new sects and new doctrines spread, the pagoda was relegated to an area apart from the central compound of the temple. The Pure Land sects known as Jodoshu 浄土宗 and Jodo Shinshu 浄土真宗 rarely erected pagodas.

Read more HERE
source : JAANUS

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A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia.

The word is first attested for in English in the period c. 1625–35; introduced from the Portuguese pagode, temple, from the Persian butkada (but idol + kada temple, dwelling.)
Another etymology, found in many English language dictionaries, is modern English pagoda from Portuguese (via Dravidian), from Sanskrit bhagavati, feminine of bhagavat "blessed" - bhaga "good fortune."
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


from my archives

"Dragon wheel, dragon vehicle"
ryuusha, ryusha 竜車, 竜舎
. Soorin 相輪 finial of a pagoda  

. Two-tired red Pagoda at Mt. Koyasan, Wakayama

. 成田山 平和大塔 Peace Pagoda at temple Narita san  

. Pagoda at temple Toji (Tooji 東寺)  

. Grave marker (sotoba 卒塔婆)  
sotoba : Japanese pronounciation for STUPA. 


06 Tree and Pagoda
Koomyoo-Boo, Ikuchijima, Shimanami Kaido

Pilgrimage to Shikoku - - - Gabi Greve, 2005

Nothing is too bright for Ikuchijima Island
Setoda’s Hirayama Ikuo Museum of Art
and much more
- source : Japan Times, July 2015 -

Enoshima Pagoda

Stupa in Enoshima, near Kamakura


kigo for late spring

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shakutoo 石塔(しゃくとう)"stone pagoda"
..... shakutoo 積塔(しゃくとう)
shakutoo-e 積塔会 (しゃくとうえ)
ceremony for blind people
..... shakutoo-e 石塔会(しゃくとうえ)
zatoo shakutoo 座頭積塔(ざとうしゃくとう)

. Blind people and Haiku


looking up
what a high pagoda
in the autumn sky

Masaoka Shiki

. "high sky", "high heaven", ten takashi 天高し : KIGO   


Byakugoo no too maboroshi ni yama shigure

the pagoda of temple Byakugo
is now only a vision ...
sleet on the mountain



More details about the temple Byakugo-Ji, Nara
(in Japanese, with many photos)
source : ~s_minaga

Byakugo means white cilia on the forehead of Buddha Shakyamuni.
The temple is famous for its camellia trees.
It is dedicated to Amida Buddha, built on behalf of Tenji Tenno (626 - 671). The famous wooden two-tired pagoda has been sold in the Taisho area and could be visited in a private villa 井植山荘 near Takarazuka until 2002, when it burned down during a forest fire.

. Sake Legends and Buddhist Temples 酒とお寺 .
Byakugo-Ji and 酒顛童子 Shuten Doji


Haiku by Kobayashi Issa

too bakari miete Tooji wa natsu kodachi

only the pagoda
shows from tempel Toji ...
summer trees


yoi hodo ni too no mie-keri kumo no mine

so good
to see this pagoda -
billowing clouds

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Pagoda of temple Toji, Kyoto



- quote -
The Origins of the Pagoda
According to Wikipedia, the stupa originated in India as a simple earthen burial mound. After Buddha died, his asheswere buried under eight such mounds. It’s unclear when that was, but in the third century BCE, Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism, opened the mounds containing Buddha’s ashes, and redistributed them to the thousands of stupas he had built. We therefore know that the stupa came into existence even before that!

By Ashoka’s era, stupas had become more elaborate. They ceased to be monuments to the dead. Instead, people stored sacred relics in these dome-shaped, commemorative structures.

As we’ve seen, both the concept and the word for “stupa” then traveled to China, where the shape of the structure changed, picking up architectural features from Chinese watchtowers and pavilions. The Chinese built pagodas with an odd number of stories, such as three or five. These Buddhist monuments housed sacred relics and writings.

The pagoda then spread to Korea and from there to Japan, arriving in the sixth century with Buddhism. This type of structure became a common sight in Japan, says Wikipedia, whereas it’s rare on the Asian continent. Although pagodas are quintessentially Buddhist, it’s not unusual to find them at Shinto shrines because the Japanese used to blur the distinctions between the two religions.

It is said that only three pagodas in Japan enshrine Buddha’s ashes. Other pagodas enshrine sutra or treasures, and many Japanese pagodas contain statues of deities. But the Japanese eventually stopped treating such structures as places to enshrine relics. Modern pagodas have gone up as symbols of peace or as places to enshrine the spirits of those lost in World War II.
- - - Eve Kushner

- quote -
How the Indian stupa transformed itself into Chinese, Korean and Japanese pagoda is a complex story. Even though one can find many websites, which require filtering for information, I add some elements which will fill in what Eve Kushner has posted.

(1) First, the Indian stupa evolved from burial mounds of the saintly figures, the Buddha included, around the 6th to 5th century B.C. when he lived. Then, as Eve also notes, it was Emperor Ashoka who chose Buddhism as his state religion in the late 3rd century B.C. He ordered all the then remaining relics of the Buddha to be collected, then divided them into 80,000 parts, it was said. Each relic was deposited on the top of a stupa mound. Eventually, the form of stupa evloved into a complex religious symbol, as seen in the attached photo (showin the Great Stupa No. 1 at Sanchi).

The spot where the relic was deposted is marked by an enclosure called harumika. Within the enclosure, right above the relic is the upright "yasti" mast to which "chatra" parasols are attached. (See the diagram)

The correct number of parasols is three, which was what the Buddha when he was the royal prince before his denounciation was permitted to used. The number of parasols may vary from three, five to eight, and so on. What is important in the transformation of the stupa into the pagoda are the yasti mast and tires of chatra parasols. In the Hinamyana form of Buddhism (the so-called Lesser Vehicle, Primitive Buddhism) the stupa represents the Buddha himself. The devottees would walk around the stupa base clockwise along the walkway, a symbolic gesture of going through one of the many life-cycles the Buddha went through while he was in this universe, before his final transformation, the Pari-Nirvana, spinning out of this universe.

(2) Secondly, realating to the idea of pagoda, we have to consider another branch of Buddhism, the Mahayana form, the so-called Greater Vehicle, more developed form of Buddhism), which spread to Afghanistan in the 1st to 2nd century A.D., where Buddhism picks up the Silk Road traveling along eastward through Central Asia, reaching China at Dunhuang and into China proper, from where to Korea and to Japan. As Eve's note also indicates, it was in China that the idea of pagoda evolves. This is due to the populairty of an architectural type of muti-level pagoda-like buildings being common as early as the Han period and even before. It was this idea of traditional pagoda that was adopted to represent the idea of stupa. However, since it is so combersome to build the entire mound, the most important area at the top of the stupa mound, namely, the yasti mast and chatra parasols within the harmika enclosure were applied to the pagoda architectural type in China.
While the earliest dates of the pagodas in China are not known, the Buddhism was popular by the 6th century A.D. As the Buddhism becomes popular by the Tang period, pagodas evolve into multi-tiers, in some cases over 10 levels and more. So, this how the idea of Indian stupa gets transformed into the pagoda form in China, then reading Korea and Japan.

(3) Lastly, the stupa/pagoda is the depository of the Buddha's relic in the purest form, and later of remains of the saintly sage figures. Just to follow the transformation from the Indian stupa to Chinese pagoda gives us a chance to examine how concepts get transformed to suite the new deeds.
- - - Yoshio Kusaba

- discussion of facebook - May 2015

hootoo  宝塔 treasure stupa

- quote -
. . . In the early modern period debate over the burial ritual for Tokugawa Ieyasu, Tenkai countered the Yoshida house's Yuiitsu Shintō by newly proclaiming "Ichijitsu Shintō." Following in the tradition of medieval Sannō Shintō, Ichijitsu Shintō gave a doctrinal foundation to the rituals conducted for Ieyasu as Great Radiant Deity of the East (Tōshō Daigongen).

Since Tenkai himself did not leave any particular doctrinal texts, we cannot adequately grasp his own doctrines, but from the fact that Ieyasu's body was interred in a treasure stupa of the kind described in the Lotus Sutra, and from the appearance of an interpretation of Ieyasu's spirit as the incarnation of the Ichiji Kinrin as expressed in the ceremonial procedures for Ieyasu's funeral and interment (Sannō ichijitsu Shintō tōchū kanjō chinza saigoku shinmitsu shiki), we can see that the original ground for the Great Shining Deity of the East was regarded as the Tathagata Sakyamuni, or his esoteric incarnation as Ichiji Kinrin.
- source : Sato Masato - Kokugakuin - 2005

gorintoo 五輪塔 pagoda with five layers

- quote -
Gorintō (Gorinto) 五輪塔 literally means five-ring or five-wheel pagoda.
Also called Gorin 五輪, Gorinsekitō 五輪石塔, Hōkaitō 法界塔, Gorintōba 五輪塔婆, or Gogedatsurin 五解脱輪.

There are many English translations of gorintō, including five-tier tomb, five-element stele, five-wheel pagoda, five-ring tower or five-tier grave marker. Whatever you may call, it is made of five pieces of stone and serves as a grave marker or cenotaph erected for the repose of the departed, one that in olden days contained a relic of the Buddha (hair, fingernail, bone, etc.) Although many older examples are found in Kyoto and Nara, those made during the Kamakura Period are the most beautiful, say experts on Gorintō. The height ranges from one to four meters. Considered indigenous to Japan and not found in other countries. Most of the existing Gorintō in Kamakura were made in the late Kamakura Period.
- source : Mark Schumacher


Daruma Pilgrims in Japan

O-Fudo Sama Gallery




facebook said...

a pinecone...
pagoda and Daruma


Unknown said...

tou 塔をPagodaと云うのは何となく抵抗がありますね。私の語感が、日本人として、おかしいのかな~


Gabi Greve said...

Mid-8th century Nara period wooden stupa with the world's oldest sheet of paper inside with the woodblock printed sutra:
Japanese information