Buddhist temple

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A Buddhist temple or Buddhist monastery is the place of worship for Buddhists, the followers of Buddhism. They include the structures called vihara, chaitya, stupa, wat and pagoda in different regions and languages. Temples in Buddhism represent the pure land or pure environment of a Buddha. Traditional Buddhist temples are designed to inspire inner and outer peace. [1]

Contents

Architecture

Its architecture and structure varies from region to region. Usually, the temple consists not only of its buildings, but also the surrounding environment. The Buddhist temples are designed to symbolize five elements: fire, air, earth, water and wisdom. [2]

India

The design of temples in India was influenced by the idea of a place of worship as a representation of the universe. For Buddhist temple complexes one tall temple is often centrally located and surrounded by smaller temples and walls. This is symbolic of Buddhist imagining of the universe with Mount Meru at the center surrounded by oceans, lesser mountains and a huge wall. [3]

A Chaitya, Chaitya hall or Chaitya-griha refers to a shrine, sanctuary, temple or prayer hall in Indian religions. The term is most common in Buddhism, where it refers to a space with a stupa and a rounded apse at the end opposite the entrance, and a high roof with a rounded profile. Strictly speaking, the chaitya is the stupa itself, and the Indian buildings are chaitya halls, but this distinction is often not observed. Many of the early Chaitya were rock-cut, as in Karla caves or Ajanta.

Tall circular Buddhist temple, early 1st Century CE, Mathura Museum. Tall circular Buddhist temple, Early 1st Century CE - Mathura - ACCN 00-M3 - Government Museum - Mathura.jpg
Tall circular Buddhist temple, early 1st Century CE, Mathura Museum.

Some of the earliest free-standing temples may have been of a circular type. Ashoka also built the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya circa 250 BCE, a circular structure, in order to protect the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha had found enlightenment. The Bairat Temple is also a round structure, which can be seen through archaeological remains. Representations of this early temple structure are found on a 100 BCE relief sculpted on the railing of the stupa at Bhārhut, as well as in Sanchi. [4] From that period the Diamond throne remains, an almost intact slab of sandstone decorated with reliefs, which Ashoka had established at the foot of the Bodhi tree. [5] [6] These circular-type temples were also found in later rock-hewn caves such as Tulja Caves or Guntupalli. [7]

Indonesia

Borobudur in Central Java, the world's largest Buddhist temple. Borobudur-Temple-Park Indonesia Stupas-of-Borobudur-04.jpg
Borobudur in Central Java, the world's largest Buddhist temple.

Buddhism is the second oldest religion in Indonesia after Hinduism, which arrived from India around the second century. [10] The history of Buddhism in Indonesia is closely related to the history of Hinduism, as a number of empires influenced by Indian culture were established around the same period. The oldest Buddhist archaeological site in Indonesia is arguably the Batujaya stupas complex in Karawang, West Java. The oldest relic in Batujaya was estimated to originate from the 2nd century, while the latest dated from the 12th century. Subsequently, significant numbers of Buddhist sites were found in Jambi, Palembang, and Riau provinces in Sumatra, as well as in Central and East Java. The Indonesian archipelago has, over the centuries, witnessed the rise and fall of powerful Buddhist empires, such as the Sailendra dynasty, the Mataram, and Srivijaya empires.

According to some Chinese source, a Chinese Buddhist monk I-tsing on his pilgrim journey to India, witnessed the powerful maritime empire of Srivijaya based on Sumatra in the 7th century. A number of Buddhist historical heritages can be found in Indonesia, including the 8th century Borobudur mandala monument and Sewu temple in Central Java, Batujaya in West Java, Muaro Jambi, Muara Takus and Bahal temple in Sumatra, and numerous of statues or inscriptions from the earlier history of Indonesian Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms.

Candi tinggi, one of the temple within Muaro Jambi temple compound. Candi Tinggi.jpg
Candi tinggi, one of the temple within Muaro Jambi temple compound.

During the era of Kediri, Singhasari and Majapahit empire, buddhism — identified as Dharma ri Kasogatan — was acknowledged as one of kingdom's official religions along with Hinduism. Although some of kings might favour Hinduism over another, nevertheless the harmony, toleration, and even syncretism were promoted as manifested in Bhinneka Tunggal Ika national motto, coined from Kakawin Sutasoma, written by Mpu Tantular to promotes tolerance between Hindus (Shivaites) and Buddhists. [11] The classical era of ancient Java also had produces some of the exquisite examples of Buddhist arts, such as the statue of Prajnaparamita and the statue of Buddha Vairochana and Boddhisttva Padmapani and Vajrapani in Mendut temple.

In contemporary Indonesian Buddhist perspective, Candi refers to a shrine, either ancient or new. Several contemporary viharas in Indonesia for example, contain the actual-size replica or reconstruction of famous Buddhist temples, such as the replica of Pawon [12] and Plaosan's perwara (small) temples. In Buddhism, the role of a candi as a shrine is sometimes interchangeable with a stupa, a domed structure to store Buddhist relics or the ashes of cremated Buddhist priests, patrons or benefactors.

Japanese Buddhism

Buddhist temple of Kinkaku-ji, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)-112516.jpg
Buddhist temple of Kinkaku-ji, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Japanese Buddhist temples typically include a Main Hall.

A distinctive feature is the chinjusha, a Shinto shrine devoted to the temple's kami. Buddhism co-existed with shintoism, but in the 8th century Buddhism became the state religion and Buddhist temples were built.

See also

Related Research Articles

Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Temple or the Mahabodhi Mahavihar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient, but much rebuilt and restored, Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, marking the location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. Bodh Gaya is about 96 km (60 mi) from Patna, Bihar state, India.

Sanchi Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, in Madhya Pradesh, India

Sanchi Stupa is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is located in 46 kilometres (29 mi) north-east of Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh.

Stupa Mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, used as a place of meditation

A stūpa is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics that is used as a place of meditation. A related architectural term is a chaitya, which is a prayer hall or temple containing a stupa.

Greco-Buddhist art Artistic syncretism between Classical Greece and Buddhist India

Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek architecture and Buddhism. Greco-Buddhist art is characterized by the strong idealistic realism and sensuous description of Hellenistic art and it is believed to be the first representations of the Buddha in human form.

Vihāra Sanskrit and Pāli term for a residence, monastery usually Buddhist

Vihara generally refers to a monastery for Buddhist renunciates. The concept is ancient and in early Sanskrit and Pali texts, it meant any arrangement of space or facilities for pleasure and entertainment. The term evolved into an architectural concept wherein it refers to living quarters for monks with an open shared space or courtyard, particularly in Buddhism. The term is also found in Ajivika, Hindu and Jain monastic literature, usually referring to temporary refuge for wandering monks or nuns during the annual Indian monsoons. In modern Jainism, the monks continue to wander from town to town except during the rainy season (Chaturmas), the term "vihara" refers their wanderings.

Chaitya

A chaitya, chaitya hall, chaitya-griha, or caitya refers to a shrine, sanctuary, temple or prayer hall in Indian religions. The term is most common in Buddhism, where it refers to a space with a stupa and a rounded apse at the end opposite the entrance, and a high roof with a rounded profile. Strictly speaking, the chaitya is the stupa itself, and the Indian buildings are chaitya halls, but this distinction is often not observed. Outside India, the term is used by Buddhists for local styles of small stupa-like monuments in Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia and elsewhere. In the historical texts of Jainism and Hinduism, including those relating to architecture, chaitya refers to a temple, sanctuary or any sacred monument.

Buddhist architecture

Buddhist religious architecture developed in the Indian subcontinent. Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries (viharas), places to venerate relics (stupas), and shrines or prayer halls, which later came to be called temples in some places.

Buddhism in Indonesia

Buddhism has a long history in Indonesia, and is recognized as one of six official religions in Indonesia, along with Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Confucianism. According to the 2010 national census roughly 0.8% of the total citizens of Indonesia were Buddhists, and numbered around 1.7 million. Most Buddhists are concentrated in Jakarta, Riau, Riau Islands, Bangka Belitung, North Sumatra, and West Kalimantan. These totals, however, are probably inflated, as practitioners of Taoism and Chinese folk religion, which are not considered official religions of Indonesia, likely declared themselves as Buddhists on the most recent census. Today, the majority of Buddhists in Indonesia are Chinese, however small numbers of native Buddhists are also present.

Indian rock-cut architecture

Indian rock-cut architecture is more various and found in greater abundance in that country than any other form of rock-cut architecture around the world. Rock-cut architecture is the practice of creating a structure by carving it out of solid natural rock. Rock that is not part of the structure is removed until the only rock left makes up the architectural elements of the excavated interior. Indian rock-cut architecture is mostly religious in nature.

Candi of Indonesia

A candi is a Hindu or Buddhist temple in Indonesia, mostly built during the Zaman Hindu-Buddha or "Hindu-Buddhist period", between the 4th and 15th centuries.

Bhaja Caves

Bhaja Caves is a group of 22 rock-cut caves dating back to the 2nd century BC located in the city of Pune, India. The caves are 400 feet above the village of Bhaja, on an important ancient trade route running from the Arabian Sea eastward into the Deccan Plateau. The inscriptions and the cave temple are protected as a Monument of National Importance, by the Archaeological Survey of India per Notification No. 2407-A. It belongs to the Hinayana Buddhism sect in Maharashtra. The caves have a number of stupas, one of their significant features. The most prominent excavation is its chaitya, a good example of the early development of this form from wooden architecture, with a vaulted horseshoe ceiling. Its vihara has a pillared verandah in front and is adorned with unique reliefs. These caves are notable for their indications of the awareness of wooden architecture. The carvings prove that tabla – a percussion instrument – was used in India for at least 2300 years, disproving the centuries-held belief that the tabla was introduced to India by outsiders or from Turko-Arab. The carving shows a woman playing tabla and another woman, performing dance.

Kesaria stupa

Kesariya Stupa is a Buddhist stupa in Kesariya, located at a distance of 110 kilometres (68 mi) from Patna, in the Champaran (east) district of Bihar, India. The first construction of the Stupa is dated to the 3rd century BCE. Kesariya Stupa has a circumference of almost 400 feet (120 m) and raises to a height of about 104 feet (32 m).

Pitalkhora

The Pitalkhora Caves, in the Satamala range of the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, India, are an ancient Buddhist site consisting of 14 rock-cut cave monuments which date back to the third century BCE, making them one of the earliest examples of rock-cut architecture in India. Located about 40 kilometers from Ellora, the site is reached by a steep climb down a flight of concrete stairs, past a waterfall next to the caves.

Parinirvana Stupa

Parinirvana Stupa is a Buddhist temple in Kushinagar, India which is said to be the death place of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Alexander Cunningham gains the most attention for his work in the area, because he conclusively proved that Gautama Buddha had died in the area. The present temple was built by the Indian Government in 1956 as part of the commemoration of the 2,500th year of the Mahaparinivana or 2500 BE. Inside this temple, there is Reclinging Buddha image lying on its right side with the head to the north. The statue is 6.1 m long and rests on a stone couch.

Hellenistic influence on Indian art

Hellenistic influence on Indian art reflects the artistic influence of the Greeks on Indian art following the conquests of Alexander the Great, from the end of the 4th century BCE to the first centuries of the common era. The Greeks in effect maintained a political presence at the doorstep, and sometimes within India, down to the 1st century CE with the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdoms, with many noticeable influences on the arts of the Maurya Empire especially. Hellenistic influence on Indian art was also felt for several more centuries during the period of Greco-Buddhist art.

Tholos (architecture)

A tholos, from Ancient Greek θόλος, meaning "dome"), in Latin tholus, is an architectural feature that was widely used in the classical world. It is a round structure, usually built upon a couple of steps, with a ring of columns supporting a domed roof. It differs from a monopteros, a circular colonnade supporting a roof but without any walls, which therefore does not have a cella.

Bairat Temple Buddhist temple near Bairat, Rajasthan, India

Bairat Temple is a freestanding Buddhist temple, a Chaityagriha, located about a mile southwest of the city Bairat, Rajasthan, India, on a hill locally called "Bijak-ki-Pahari". The temple is of a circular type, formed of a central stupa surrounded by a circular colonnade and an enclosing wall. It was built during the time of Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE, and near it were found two of Ashoka's Minor Rock Edicts, the Bairat and the Calcutta-Bairat Minor Rock Edicts. The temple is an important marker of the architecture of India.

Buddhist caves in India

The Buddhist caves in India form an important part of Indian rock-cut architecture, and are among the most prolific examples of rock-cut architecture around the world. There are more than 1,500 known rock cut structures in India, out of which about 1000 were made by Buddhists, 300 by Hindus, and 200 by Jains. Many of these structures contain works of art of global importance, and many later caves from the Mahayana period are adorned with exquisite stone carvings. These ancient and medieval structures represent significant achievements of structural engineering and craftsmanship.

Ancient Indian architecture

Ancient Indian architecture is the architecture of the Indian subcontinent from the Indian Bronze Age to around 800 CE. By this endpoint Buddhism in India had greatly declined, and Hinduism was predominant, and religious and secular building styles had taken on forms, with great regional variation, which they largely retained until and beyond the great changes brought about by the arrival of first Islam, and then Europeans.

References

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  11. Depkumham.go.id Archived 2010-02-12 at the Wayback Machine
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