Dharmachakra: What is the wheel of Dharma? What symbolic object is used to represent Dharma? Who is Dharma? What is the symbol of the Buddha?

The Dharmachakra, Wheel of Dharma, Symbol of the Buddha

The wheel (Skt. chakra; Tib. 'khor lo) or wheel of Dharma (Skt. dharmachakra) is one of the most important Buddhist symbols, as it represents the teachings of the Buddha.

Turning the wheel of Dharma

The Buddha was the one who "turned the wheel of Dharma" and thus the wheel symbol is the Dharmachakra, or "wheel of law". The Tibetan term for this symbol, **chos kyi'khor lo, means "the wheel of transformation".

The movement of the wheel is a metaphor for the rapid spiritual change brought about by the Buddha's teachings: the Buddha's first discourse at Deer Park in Sarnath is known as the "first turning of the wheel of Dharma.

His later discourses at Rajgir and Shravasti are known as the "second and third turnings of the wheel of Dharma". The eight spokes of the wheel symbolize the Noble Eightfold Path laid out by the Buddha in his teachings.

The wheel also represents the endless cycle of samsara, or rebirth, which can only be escaped through the Buddha's teachings.

Some Buddhists view the three basic parts of the wheel as symbols of the "three trainings" of Buddhist practice:

  1. The hub symbolizes moral discipline, which stabilizes the mind.
  2. The spokes (usually eight of them) represent the wisdom that is applied to overcome ignorance.
  3. The rim represents training in concentration, which holds everything else in place.
The Dharmachakra | The Wheel of Dharma, Symbol of the Buddha

The Wheel of Dharma in Buddhist Art

The wheel was a common symbol in early Buddhist art, before the introduction of Buddha images. During that time, the Dharmachakra symbolized not only the teachings of the Buddha but also the Buddha himself. On the summits of pillars built by Emperor Ashoka (272-32 BCE), four carved lions and four wheels face the four directions to proclaim Buddhist dharma throughout India.

Today, the Dharmachakra appears in the art of every Buddhist culture. In images of the Buddha, the wheel appears on the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet, where it is one of the 32 marks of the Great Man. It is particularly significant in Tibet, where it is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols and often flanked by two deer—the entire image representing the Buddha's first sermon in the Deer Park.

The wheel is typically at the center of mandalas, geometric representations of the Buddhist universe. It also appears in the Dharmachakra Mudra, in which the Buddha forms a wheel with the position of his hands.

Some wrathful Tibetan deities are depicted wielding a wheel as a weapon to conquer evil and ignorance. This theme may have been adapted from Hindu iconography, in which a disc is an attribute of the god Vishnu and a symbol of the ultimate weapon that conquers desires and passions.

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Julien brès émile

Dans ma vie


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