The arrangement of the reliefs and the general composition of the scenes.

This graphic exposition of the Buddhist Law of Cause and Result had been set out in 160 narrative reliefs, divided evenly into four sets of 40 sculptured panels on each face of the base [ 1 ]. The sequence begins at the proper right of the eastern stairway of the monument, moves forward in the auspicious clockwise direction of pradaksina around the base to end at the proper left of the same staircase. This set of steps on the eastern face served as the principal stairway leading up the ascent to the higher levels which symbolize the higher spheres of spiritual progress according to Buddhist beliefs.

In most cases, each panel contains a depiction of the action followed by that of its result, although in certain cases, the action and the result was each spread out in full panels [ 2 ].
The series begins with exceedingly bad deeds, with bland revelations of the transgression of the first of the Five Commandments, of killing and celebration of killing in one full panel, followed by the misguided admiration for and participation in such an evil act of killing, all leading to retributions in the form of a short life, ill health and untimely death [ 3 ]. A series of panels showing good deeds such as saving life, caring for others and dispensing charity, and leading to happy rewards, then followed suit [ 4 ] in alternating sequence with those relating bad actions of lesser degrees of severity, and their entailed unhappy results [ 5 ], to subsequently end up with panels dealing with the most meritorious kinds of good deed, which would bring the highest degree of rewards [ 6 ].