Stupas represent the enlightened mind of Buddha, they can bring fourfold benefit by hearing about, touching, tasting and seeing a stupa.
Stupas contain important relics bringing countless benefit to all beings, coming near them. There are many kinds of stupas, looking slightly different in Sri Lanka than in Tibet for example, depending on whether they were built according to the sutra or tantra tradition.
We know eight aspects of stupas, commemorating the different life stages of Buddha Shakyamuni’s life. That is
- the Stupa of the Lotuses, representing Lord Buddhas Birth
- the Stupa of Enlightenment
- the Stupa of Turning the Wheel of Dharma, Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths in Sarnath
- the Stupa of Conquest, Buddha’s performing miracles and defeating non-believers
- the Stupa of the Descent from the gods, Buddha’s retreat to Tushita to liberate his mother and his return
- the Stupa of Reconciling (troubles in the sangha)
- the Stupa of Victory, prolonguing Buddha’s lifespan
- the Stupa of Nirvana, Buddha’s passing into Mahaparinirvana