22. How to Build a Flower Pagoda (Stupa)
How to Build
by Pittaya Wong
The story about flower pagoda creations can be found in the
Buddhist scriptures with its history dated back long long time ago in the past
aeon. According to the stories, devotees
built a pagoda from sand pile and decorate it with flowers as an homage to the
Lord Buddha. The devotee earned much
merit from building the pagoda as an object for contemplating and venerating
the virtues of the Lord Buddha which is a fruitful mental cultivation.
In another story, a devotee built a shelter made from branches
and leaves and place Water Lillie or lotus flowers over the roof as
decorations. The act of veneration
results in tremendous merit that enables the devotee to reborn only in the
wholesome realms like human world and heaven.
As a human, such devotee reborn as the Imperial Monarch whereas the
merit from offering flowers can result in beauty of such devotee whether he is a human or deity. The merit yields
fruitful results until such devotee attained enlightenment and entered the
Nirvana which is the state of supreme bliss.
To build a flower pagoda, the devotee may enshrine a Buddha
statue or Buddha relics on the top with an aim to celebrate a Buddhist holy day
like Magha Puja, Vesak Puja, or Asalha Puja.
Other appropriate occasions are New Year’s Day and birthday. The flower pagoda can be made of fresh
flowers or man-made flowers decorated with lightings and many vibrant ornaments
like the Christmas tree.
The first known reinvented flower pagoda of the modern era was
designed and built by Pittaya Wong and fellows on 6 December 2011. The pagoda was named ‘Panna-Prabha Maha Ratna
Bup-Paa Cetiya’ (The Flower Pagoda of Wisdom Light) with the base width of 65
c.m. and approximately 150 c.m. in height.
The structure of the aforesaid flower pagoda was made of 125
blocks of floral foam locked together by piercing bamboo sticks. It is necessary that we calculate the size
and volume of the pagoda prior to ordering the floral foams and flowers. The external blocks of floral foams were
soaked into clean water for hours whilst the inner blocks can be left dry. The shape of pagoda can be made as square or
circle by cutting the floral foams. In
addition, it is necessary to build a one square meter strong base made of wood
panels or other durable materials over the metal pipes as the stands. The metal pipes can turn the base to be a palanquin
by inserting longer wooden clubs when carrying for relocation.
Choose the flowers of your preference. For beautiful colors, choose carnations or
other flowers that can last long over the celebration. Roses are also good for being colorful and
scented. Do not forget to calculate the
flower size and the number of flowers that is needed to cover all of the pagoda’s
floral foam surface and draw the sample design of patterns before you start the
Lanterns are good for decorating the flower pagoda. They can also give pleasing scents. Please make sure that the lanterns will not
cause risk of burning the flowers or the base as well as the surroundings.
Installing the Top Part
The top part of the flower pagoda may be shaken and collapse
when the pagoda is relocated. So, the
top part may be installed later when the pagoda is finally moved to the
Tools Check List
Floral foams (140 blocks) and
basins for soaking
A knife for cutting and shaping
Scissors for cutting flowers’
Bamboo chopsticks (1 big pack)
for locking the floral foams
Flowers per calculation of
color and type
1 Square meter of Base as a
Lighter + lanterns
Buddha statue (if needed)
Flags + Bells or other
Covering fabric to keep the
Water foggy spray bottle
Picnic mats for flower works
Note: The flower
pagodas shown on this webpage were built by Pittaya Wong and fellows at Dhammakaya
Temple in Thailand when Pittaya Wong was still a disciple of Dhammakaya
Temple. However, Pittaya Wong has quit his
discipleship since 2013 until present in order to start his own projects about
Buddhism and Dhammakaya Meditation.