The Evolution of the Pagoda
by Mariah Scee, Patrick Buchanan, Nate Dwelley, Renee Gravelle (Bangor High School, 2001)

"At this time two men meeting him in his majestic glory gave the Buddha their traveling provisions of parched grain and honey. The Buddha told them what brigns happiness to men and gods; these two men were the first two to hear the Five Commandments and the Ten Virtues of Buddhism. When they had received the religious teachings they requested something to worship. The Buddha gave them his hair and his nail parings. The two men, about to return to their native country, begged to have a rule and pattern for their worship services. Thereupon the Buddha took his three garments, folded them into four, piled them on the ground, beginning with the largest and ending with the smallest. Next he took his begging bowl and inverted it on top of his garments. Finally he placed his beggar's staff on top and said to them, "This is how to make a stupa." - Xuanzang, by Sally Wriggins.

Ask someone to describe a Chinese or Japanese building. More often than not they will describe a building like you see your right. The pagoda is the achetypal image of East Asia. However, these tall, magnificent had their start faraway in India. The stupa, as you read in the story on the front page, originated as a shrine, a place to worship. Over the next pages, you will experience the journey of the stupa. From the origins in India you will trace their journey all the way to Japan and further. To start the journey click on one of the pictures below. Or you can chose your own path using the Map of Pagodas or our Timeline of Pagoda Development.

Go to Origins of Pagodas

Go to the Map                           

Go to the Timeline

Back to Transmission of Technology

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