As you climb up onto the roof from one of the four corner staircases from the fourth storey, you will come upon one of the 4 small pavilions, which houses one of the Five Buddhas of the Cardinal Points. When you look towards the center of the roof level, you will see a large, tall Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda, housing the large Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel, in the center. You will also notice the other pavilions with their respective Buddhas of the Cardinal Points. The open orchid garden in between is filled with numerous Dendrobium Buddha Tooth orchid plants and other orchid plants, as well as local trees and shrubs. When there is a breeze, you will hear the gentle ringing of the temple wind chimes, each producing different melodies.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda in BTRTM
The Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas is, as its name suggests, a splendid pavilion where 11,111 Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are enshrined and worshipped. The gilt Ten Thousand Buddhas image was designed by Venerable Shi Fa Zhao and shows the Buddha in Padmasana (lotus) posture, with dhyana (meditation) mudra and a circular ring of flaming aureoles, on a phoenix throne.
About Ten Thousand Buddhas
The “Ten Thousand Buddhas” here originate from the Sutra of Ten Thousand Buddhas’ Names. This Sutra spoke of the Buddha elaborating to a crowd on the epithets of the many Buddhas of the past, present and future.
In fact, the “Ten Thousand Buddhas” are not restricted to Buddhas alone. They include the honorific titles of Bodhisattvas too. These Bodhisattvas are really the manifestations of ancient Buddhas who return again, revealing themselves in such a form only for the sake of educating sentient beings towards Enlightenment. Hence, the merits associated with both the Buddhist epithets and the Bodhisattvic titles amongst the “Ten Thousand Buddhas” can be seen as absolutely equivalent.
According to the Buddha, at the end of the Sutra, should any good man, good woman, bhiksu, bhiksuni, upasaka or upasika receive and read or recite these names of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, he or she shall not be reborn in an evil path, but shall be reborn amongst devas or humans. Such a person shall always encounter Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and virtuous teachers, be far removed from various afflictions, and shall ultimately acquire the Great Bodhi (or Buddha-Enlightenment).
About Stupas and Pagodas
A stupa (from Sanskrit: m., स्तूप, stūpa, Sinhalese: ස්ථූපය, Pāli: थुप "thūpa", literally meaning "heap") is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the ashes of deceased, used by Buddhists as a place of meditation. The term "reliquary" is sometimes used, after a Christian functional equivalent. Stupas are an ancient form of mandala.
Stupas evolved into large hemispherical structures with features including the torana (gateway), the vedica (fence-like enclosure evolved from the vedic villages), the harmika (a square platform on top of the stupa), chattrayashti (the parasol or canopy) and a mehdi (a circumambulatory path around the stupa).
The origin of the pagoda can be traced to the stupa (3rd century BC). The stupa, a dome shaped monument, was used as a commemorative monument associated with storing sacred relics. The stupa emerged as a distinctive style of newari architecture and was adopted in Southeast and East Asia, where it became prominent as a Buddhist monument used for enshrining sacred relics.
In East Asia, the architecture of Chinese towers and Chinese pavilions blended into pagoda architecture, eventually also spreading to Southeast Asia. The pagoda's original purpose was to house relics and sacred writings. This purpose was popularized due to the efforts of Buddhist missionaries, pilgrims, rulers, and ordinary devotees to seek out, distribute, and extol Buddhist relics.
Development of BTRTM Ten Thousand Buddhas
The Buddha image was designed by Ven Shi Fa Zhao, the initial model was crafted in Thailand. Thereafter, we had to search in Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan and China for a suitable producer. The final statue was manufactured by Shanghai Kangyu Enterprise, after numerous attempts to achieve the required attention to details.
The sponsorship for each of the Ten Thousand Buddhas statue was $500 with 111,111 statues fully sponsored.
BTRTM Ten Thousand Buddhas Ceremonies
Led by the venerable Sangha, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and museum holds a Buddha Maitreya Ceremony on the first day of every lunar month (except the first lunar month when we have the Maitreya Birthday and Lunar New Year celebrations) with the chanting the Sutra of Ten Thousand Buddhas’ Names. This sutra has been recompiled to 11 chapters, for the other months in the year. You can find this in our website.
Robert E Fisher, Buddhist Art and Architecture, Thames & Hudson, 1993, ISBN 978-0-500-20265-4, pages 31 – 41
Luo Zhewen, Ancient Pagodas in China, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1994, ISBN 7-119-01072-0
David Jongeward, Elizabeth Errington, Richard Salomon, Stefan Baums, Gandharan Buddhist Reliquaries, University of Washington Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-295-99236-5