When the Buddha was dying, he instructed his followers to cremate his body and enclose his remains inside four separate monuments or "stupa-mounds." These manmade "axial mountains" became the prototype for the monuments that are so beautifully presented in Joe Cummings's Buddhist Stupas in Asia
. Each spread features full-color illustrations or photographs, depicting the varying shapes, designs, and scale of this holy architecture. "People in all the different cultures that have discovered Buddhism seem to have gone crazy with joy, building stupas by the millions," writes Cummings, whose other Lonely Planet titles cover Thailand and Bangkok. "[They are] more than funeral reliquaries. They are memorials, rather, to the immanent possibility of freedom from suffering for all beings." Ten pages of transparent architectural overlays explain how the sacred meets function. This is entertaining learning at its best--a book that's loaded with knowledge, yet packaged with visual appeal. - -Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Lonely Planet presents Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection, exploring stupas (sacred structures that function as memorials of enlightenment) in 13 Asian countries. As shown in more than 250 color photographs, stupas are tremendously diverse in appearance, ranging from gold-topped domes to marble temples to giant sculptures. Some stupas serve as reliquaries, or repositories for relics of enlightened masters. This informative, beautiful book is a fine introduction to the sacred art and architecture of Buddhism. Sept.)
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