Books about Stupas
last update: February 2006

The Stupa : Sacred Symbol of Enlightenment (Crystal Mirror Series, Vol 12)

This book is top of my list. Approx 440 pages, many photos, covers stupas in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Publishers: Dharmapublishing

Benefits and Practices Related to Statues and Stupas, Part I

Benefits and Practices Related to Statues and Stupas, Part II: Building and Blessing Holy Objects

These two books have been produced recently (2006) by students of Lama Zopa Rinpoche (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition,

This should take you straight to the first book, otherwise, start here on the front page and look for "Foundation Stone".

Stupa and Its Technology

A Tibeto-Buddhist Perspective/Pema Dorjee.
Contents: Preface. 1. Literary background of the architecture and architectonic principles of the Buddhist stupa. 2. Ritualistic way of constructing the Tibeto-Buddhist stupa architecture. 3. Types of stupas, structural components and proportional differences. 4. Stupa architecture of the upper Indus valley. Appendix: I. 1. Transliteration of the Caitya Vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra. 2. English version of the Caitya Vibhanga Vinayoddhrta Sutra. II. 1. Transliteration of the commentary on Vimalosnisa of Sahajavilasa. 2. English version of the commentary on Vimalosnisa of Sahajavilasa. III. 1. Transliteration of Buston's proportional manual of the stupa of enlightenment. 2. English version of Buston's proportional manual of the stupa of enlightenment. IV. 1. Transliteration of Desid's proportional manual of the stupa architecture. 2. English version of Desid's proportional manual of the stupa architecture. Bibliography. Index.

Publishers: Motilal Banarsidass


Lama Govinda’s highly regarded explication of the history,forms, proportions, and power of the stupa. Photos of famous stupas, line drawings, diagrams. An excellent resource.

Publishers: Dharmapublishing

Buddhist Stupas In Asia: The Shape of Perfection

New book by Joe Cummings, Photos by Bill Wassman. Coffe table book, big and beautiful. Unfortunately, already out of print

Publishers: Lonely Planet

Der Stupa Kultbau des buddhismusBeautiful book by Johannes W Glauche. Not available in English.


Two Treasure Texts of the Nyingma Tradition Related by Guru Padmasambhava The story of building the Great Stupa at Bodhanath, Nepal is a visionary allegory of the spiritual path told by Padmasambhava to his disciples in the eighth century. The second text is a concise biography of Guru Padmasambhava that incorporates an account of the building of Samye, Tibet's first Buddhist monastery. 140 pp Here is a link to a transcript

Publishers: Dharmapublishing

The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs

An amazing, very large book, ithas a few pages of stupas, amoungst so many other great pages

Publishers: Shambhala

A good place to start is your local library - most have a loan system that allows them to get in a book from a library far away.
Next is second hand: Amazon and Barnes and Noble both offer second hand versions. But (in my opinion) the best place to go for second hand books is

Here are a few publishers:Dharmapublishing Motilal Banarsidass Shambhala Wisdom Publications Snow Lion

And booksellers: Vedamsbooks Indianbookscentre (Has a huge number of books on Buddhism)


Buddhism: A Bibliography (Books in English)
Compiled by Patrick S. O’Donnell
Dept. of Philosophy
Santa Barbara City College (last update July 2009)

Contact Patrick here

Although a “selected” bibliography, this is nonetheless a rather long list commensurate with the immense number of titles available on Buddhism. The categories employed are subject to liabilities and qualifications intrinsic to any such categorization.

Download the .doc file (obtained from this site)

If you have acrobat reader, I have converted it into one .pdf file here. (July 2009) It is quite a big file. The advantage is that it is fully searchable

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