Tibetan buddhist stupa are symbolise of Buddha’s body, speech and mind. When the historical Buddha was cremated, his body was placed in a traditional Indian funeral cask to be cremated. This cask is called a Stupa ( in Tibetan we called it Choten). It has subsequently become for Buddhist what the cross is for Christian.
It is the preeminent symbol for the Buddha and his enlightenment, and the parts of the Stupa represent the different stages on the way to the final goal. There are eight principal forms of the Stupa, each of which stands for a particular aspect of the Buddha’s career.
The enlightenment Stupa symbolizes his illumination. The victory Stupa is his conquest of Mara(The Buddhist Satan). The Nirvana Stupa is his passing away and so forth. There are eight Stupas because after Shakyamuni’s body had been cremated, the relics were divided into eight parts,placed in eight smaller funeral casks,and taken to eight major ares in India where the Buddha had been active.
In Tibet when a great Lama died,his body would likewise be cremated in such a funeral cask and the relics then enshrined in a more ornate Stupa. The act of walking around a Stupa in a clockwise direction is considered by Tibetans and by Buddhists throughout Asia to generate great merit;which can then be dedicated towards the attainment of enlightenment.