in According to the GELUGPA Tradition
On a historical level, every stupa commemorates and celebrates one of the eight main events of the life of Buddha Shakyamuni in our world.
These represent the eight main types of stupas :
Stupa of Enlightenment
Buddha Shakyamuni conquers the forces of Mara under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya.
Stupa of the heap of lotus
Buddha Shakyamuni is born in Lumbini.
Stupa of the multiple gates
Buddha Shakyamuni turns the wheel of Dharma for the first time in Sarnath.
Stupa of miracles
Buddha Shakyamuni accomplishes miracles in Sharavasti
Stupa of the descent from the realm of the gods
Buddha Shakyamuni descends to earth after having given teachings to his mother in Sankhya.
Stupa of reconciliation
Buddha reconciles the Sangha community in the bamboo forest of Rajagriha.
Stupa of complete victory
Buddha Shakyamuni voluntarily extends the duration of his life in Vaishali.
Stupa of paranirvana
Buddha Shakyamuni demonstrates going to the state of paranirvana in Kushinagar.
The benefits derived from a stupa are innumerable, particularly by participating in its construction and by circumambulating it. This last practice is done by walking clock-wise around a stupa, possibly while reciting mantras, prayers or meditating. In this way, attention becomes focused on the image of Enlightenment and all it represents. It is therefore asserted that significant positive experiences are gained from a stupa, whether on a conscious or unconscious level.