How to Use a Stupa

smoke offering at Enlightenment Stupa

By prostrating before a stupa, we turn our face away from our egos and toward our enlightened nature. By circumambulating—walking around the stupa in a clockwise fashion and reciting prayers—we keep the image of enlightenment at the center of our attention.

Stupas are visited by people from near and far who are looking for healing for themselves and loved ones, solace from sorrows, good fortune, long life and help for the dying or deceased. Stupas are also a spiritual oasis, a place to refresh the spirit, gather strength and hope and connect with a deeper truth.   Just to see a stupa, to walk around it or to feel the wind blowing by it is a blessing.

It is most beneficial to circumambulate a stupa, walking in a clockwise direction, at least three times, while reciting mantra or making heartfelt prayers for the benefit of loved ones, the state of the world, or all sentient beings.  Or you can also simply sit in front of a stupa and generate good thoughts, compassion and loving kindness for all beings. It is also beneficial to make offerings on the altar in front of a stupa.

Tsog at the Amitabha StupaIt is important that when finished you seal the blessings of your prayers, circumambulation and offerings by dedicating the merit with a thought like…

By this effort, may all sentient beings be free of suffering.May their minds be filled with the nectar of virtue.In this way, may all causes resulting in suffering be extinguished,and only the light of compassion shine throughout all realms.”

Dedication by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo