Asian Urns

On the history, culture & significance of (mostly) Asian Urns

Leave a comment

Eliminate Confusion, Navigate through Grief… and Begin the Healing Process

When dealing with the loss of a loved one, no matter how expected or unexpected it may be, invariably the moment arrives when we realize there are arrangements to make, questions to ask, and issues to settle.

These can be weighty matters… and would be difficult even without the emotions that accompany loss. Add in questions about finances, and you have a recipe for the “perfect storm” of stress.

For example, even though how you personally handle it may be unique, everyone deals with the 7 stages of grief. Knowing what these are and how they may affect you can help you separate emotions that will pass from sentiments that will last.

And that can make all the difference between having memories of this experience that you’re glad about instead of filling you with regret.

Creating a Unique Farewell

Regardless of whether you’re planning for burial or cremation, as human beings, we have a need to say, “goodbye.” The experience you create for yourself, other loved ones and friends should be as distinct and exceptional as the person whose life you are celebrating.


Leave a comment

A History of Stupas

There’s no doubt that the stupa (thupa, chaitya, cetiya, pagoda, dagoba) is the earliest, and some consider most significant, architectural Buddhist expression.  Today the various forms of stupas can be found through out the world, with the oldest ones existing in Asian countries such as Tibet, India, Malaysia, China and Japan.

The story of the stupa began in India before the birth of Buddha Shakyamuni where mounds of dirt were built around a tree as a tomb for the remains of important figures such as kings and heroes. It’s said that the Buddha was the one who changed that practice when he asked that his own remains be placed in eight different locations within stupas that would represent the Awakened Nature, as a reminder of the potential for enlightenment within us all.

Today, the building of a stupa is a complex, sophisticated set of steps that requires great care as well as the supervision of a trained master, and will result in a powerful structure whose shape represents the Buddha in meditation or full lotus position. Specific ceremonial rites must be performed before, during and after the building of a stupa and many blessings, prayers and other auspicious items populate the interior, creating profound opportunity for enlightenment. Stuffing a stupa with thousands of prayers
Stuffing the Amitabha Stupa in Sedona, Arizona
The word “Stupa” is a Sanskrit word that is loosely translated as “a knot or tuft of hair”.  In Rigveda texts, stupa means “tree’s stem”.  The Monnier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary says the stupa is “…a Buddhist monument, (generally of a pyramidal or dome-like form created over sacred relics of the historical Buddha (563-478 BC) or on spots consecrated as the scenes of his acts); a relics shrine or relics casket.”  It goes on to say that ‘stupa’ was originally a topknot of hair, designating the upper part of the head, but subsequently became used as an architectural term, indicating a monument of a dome-shaped form over the sacred relics of the Buddha or other saints or venerable persons. The connection between Shakyamuni and a topknot is apparent since he is often depicted as having such a topknot symbolizing his attainment of Enlightenment.
As Buddhism continued to grow over the course of time, the early structural model of the stupa gradually transformed architecturally in India, and eventually Tibet and Nepal.  As Buddhism penetrated Sri Lanka, Central Asia, South-East Asia and East Asian countries, the cultural traditions and concepts slowly changed the shape and construction of the stupa according to the local requirements, beliefs and tastes.
The Buddha's Burial stupa
The ancient burial stupa of the historical Buddha.