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The dharmachakra (IAST: dharmacakra; Pali
Pali
dhammacakka; "Wheel of the Dharma") is one of the Ashtamangala[1] of Indian religions
Indian religions
such as Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. It has represented the Buddhist dharma, Gautama Buddha's teaching and walking of the path to Nirvana, since the time of early Buddhism.[2][note 1] It is also connected to the Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
and the Noble Eightfold Path.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 History

2.1 Symbol

3 Usage

3.1 Hindu
Hindu
usages 3.2 Buddhist
Buddhist
usages 3.3 Beyond the Buddhism
Buddhism
religion 3.4 Falun Dafa

4 Notes 5 References 6 Sources 7 Further reading 8 External links

Etymology[edit] The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
noun dharma is a derivation from the root dhṛ, which has a meaning of "to hold, maintain, keep",[note 2] and takes a meaning of "what is established or firm", and hence "law". It is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit
Sanskrit
n-stem dharman- with the meaning "bearer, supporter" in the historical Vedic religion conceived of as an aspect of Ṛta.[4] History[edit]

Ten Indus glyphs from the northern gate of Dholavira.

The wheel is also the main attribute of Vishnu, the Vedic god of preservation.[5] Madhavan and Parpola note Chakra sign appears frequently in Indus Valley civilization
Indus Valley civilization
, on several seals.[6] Notably, in a sequence of ten signs on the Dholavira
Dholavira
signboard, four are the chakra.[7] Symbol[edit] Common Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
symbols consist of either 8 or 24 spokes. Unicode
Unicode
Symbol: ☸ (U+2638: Wheel Of Dharma) Usage[edit] Hindu
Hindu
usages[edit]

Vishnu
Vishnu
holding Sudarshan Chakra

According to the Puranas of Hinduism, only 24 Rishis or Sages managed the whole power of the Gayatri Mantra. The 24 letters of the Gayatri Mantra
Mantra
depict those 24 Rishis. Those Rishis represent all the Rishis of the Himalayas, of which the first was Maharshi Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
and the last was Rishi Yajnavalkya, the author of Yājñavalkya Smṛti
Yājñavalkya Smṛti
which is a Hindu
Hindu
text of the Dharmaśāstra tradition. The Buddha described the 24 qualities of ideal Buddhist
Buddhist
followers, represented by the 24 spokes of the Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
which represent 24 qualities of a Santani:

Anurāga(Love) Parākrama(Courage) Dhairya(Patience) Śānti(Peace/charity)[8] Mahānubhāvatva(Magnanimity) Praśastatva(Goodness) Śraddāna(Faith) Apīḍana(Gentleness) Niḥsaṃga(Selflessness) Ātmniyantranā(Self-Control) Ātmāhavana(Self Sacrifice) Satyavāditā(Truthfulness) Dhārmikatva(Righteousness) Nyāyā(Justice) Ānṛśaṃsya(Mercy) Chāya(Gracefulness) Amānitā(Humility) Prabhubhakti(Loyalty) Karuṇāveditā(Sympathy) Ādhyātmikajñāna(Spiritual Knowledge) Mahopekṣā(Forgiveness) Akalkatā(Honesty) Anāditva(Eternity) Apekṣā(Hope)

Also an integral part of the emblem is the motto inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari
Devanagari
script: Satyameva Jayate
Satyameva Jayate
(English: Truth Alone Triumphs).[9] This is a quote from the Mundaka Upanishad,[10] the concluding part of the sacred Hindu
Hindu
Vedas. In the Bhagavad Gita too, verses 14, 15 and 16, of Chapter 3 speaks about the revolving wheel thus: "From food, the beings are born; from rain, food is produced; rain proceeds from sacrifice (yagnya); yagnya arises out of action; know that from Brahma, action proceeds; Brahma is born of Brahman, the eternal Paramatman. The one who does not follow the wheel thus revolving, leads a sinful, vain life, rejoicing in the senses."[11] Buddhist
Buddhist
usages[edit]

Dharmachakra, the Buddhist
Buddhist
eight-fold path illustrated in a wheel.

The Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
is one of the ashtamangala of Buddhism.[12][note 3] It is one of the oldest known Buddhist
Buddhist
symbols found in Indian art, appearing with the first surviving post-Indus Valley Civilization Indian iconography in the time of the Buddhist
Buddhist
king Ashoka.[2][2][note 1] The Buddha is said to have set the dhammacakka in motion when he delivered his first sermon,[13] which is described in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. The wheel itself depicts ideas about the cycle of saṃsāra[citation needed] and furthermore the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhism
Buddhism
adopted the wheel as the main symbol of the chakravartin "wheel-turner", the ideal king[13] or "universal monarch",[5][13] symbolising the ability to cut through all obstacles and illusions.[5] According to Harrison, the symbolism of "the wheel of the law" and the order of Nature is also visible in the Tibetan prayer wheels. The moving wheels symbolize the movement of cosmic order (ṛta).[14] The image, having been found in antiquity is referred to as Rimbo (Treasure Ring) is an accepted symbol used in Nichiren
Nichiren
Shoshu Buddhism, along with the Swastika.

Worshipers under 24 spokes of the Buddhist
Buddhist
Ashoka
Ashoka
Chakra.

Beyond the Buddhism
Buddhism
religion[edit]

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, first Vice President of India has stated that the Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
of India represents the Dharmachakra.[15] In the Vishnu
Vishnu
Purana and Bhagavata Purana, two kings named Jadabharata of the Hindu
Hindu
solar and lunar dynasties respectively are referred to as "Chakravartins".[16] Jagdish Chandra Jain referred to this icon in Kalinga.[17] In Jainism, the Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
is worshipped as a symbol of the dharma.[citation needed] Other "chakras" appear in other Indian traditions, e.g. Vishnu's Sudarśanacakra, a wheel-shaped weapon. The former Flag of Sikkim
Flag of Sikkim
featured a version of the dharmachakra. Thai people
Thai people
also use a yellow flag with a red dhammacakka as their Buddhist
Buddhist
flag. The emblem of Mongolia includes a dharmachakra together with some other Buddhist
Buddhist
attributes such as the padma, cintamani, a blue khata and the Soyombo symbol. The dharmachakra is also the insignia for Buddhist
Buddhist
chaplains in the United States Armed Forces. In non- Buddhist
Buddhist
cultural contexts, an eight-spoked dharmachakra resembles a traditional ship's wheel. As a nautical emblem, this image is a common sailor tattoo. In the Unicode
Unicode
computer standard, the dharmachakra is called the "Wheel of Dharma" and found in the eight-spoked form. It is represented as U+2638 (☸).

The Emblem of Mongolia
Emblem of Mongolia
includes the dharmachakra, a cintamani, a padma, blue khata and the Soyombo symbol

The Emblem of Sri Lanka, featuring a blue dharmachakra as the crest

The Flag of India
Flag of India
has the Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
at its center representing the Dharmachakra.[18]

The flag of the former Kingdom of Sikkim
Sikkim
featured a version of the Dharmachakra

The dhammacakka flag, the symbol of Buddhism
Buddhism
in Thailand

The seal of Thammasat University
Thammasat University
in Thailand consisting of a Constitution on phan with a twelve-spoked dhammacakkka

The insignia for Buddhist
Buddhist
chaplains in the United States Armed Forces.

Wheel in Jain
Jain
Symbol of Ahimsa represents dharmachakra

The Flag of the Romani people
Flag of the Romani people
also contains a 16-spoke red chakra in the centre, representing the itinerant tradition of the Romani people.

USVA
USVA
headstone emblem 2

Falun Dafa[edit]

Main article: Falun_(symbol)

In Falun Gong
Falun Gong
or Falun Dafa, the Fǎlún (法轮) is described as “an intelligent, rotating entity composed of high-energy matter.” Practitioners of Falun Gong
Falun Gong
cultivate this Law Wheel, which rotates constantly in the lower abdomen, the same focal point described as Lower Dāntián. Notes[edit]

^ a b Grünwedel e.a.:"The wheel (dharmachakra) as already mentioned, was adopted by Buddha's disciples as the symbol of his doctrine, and combined with other symbols—a trident placed above it, etc.—stands for him on the sculptures of the Asoka period."[2] ^ Monier Williams, A Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Dictionary (1899): "to hold, bear (also: bring forth), carry, maintain, preserve, keep, possess, have, use, employ, practise, undergo"[3] ^ Goetz: "dharmachakra, symbol of the Buddhist
Buddhist
faith".[12]

References[edit]

^ ancient-symbols.com, Buddhist
Buddhist
symbols ^ a b c d Grünwedel 1901, p. 67. ^ Monier Willams ^ Day 1982, p. 42-45. ^ a b c Beer 2003, p. 14. ^ The Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives By Jane McIntosh. Page :377 ^ The Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives By Jane McIntosh. Page :377 ^ https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/5032/shanti ^ Kamal Dey v. Union of India and State of West Bengal (Calcutta High Court 2011-07-14). Text ^ "Rajya Sabha Parliamentary Standing Committee On Home Affairs: 116th Report on The State Emblem Of India (Prohibition Of Improper Use) Bill, 2004" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2013.  ^ http://www.vivekananda.net/PDFBooks/bhagavadgitawith00londiala.pdf ^ a b Goetz 1964, p. 52. ^ a b c Pal 1986, p. 42. ^ Harrison & 2010 (1912), p. 526. ^ See the national flag code at http://www.mahapolice.gov.in/mahapolice/jsp/temp/html/flag_code_of_india.pdf and also the national symbols page of the National Portal
Portal
of India at http://india.gov.in/india-glance/national-symbols ^ Kurt Titze, Klaus Bruhn, Jainism: A Pictorial Guide to the Religion of Non-violence ^ "Framing the Jina: Narratives of Icons and Idols in Jain
Jain
History", p. 314, by John Cort, publisher = Oxford University ^ See the national flag code at http://www.mahapolice.gov.in/mahapolice/jsp/temp/html/flag_code_of_india.pdf and also the national symbols page of the National Portal
Portal
of India at http://india.gov.in/india-glance/national-symbols

Sources[edit]

Anthony, David W. (2007), The Horse The Wheel and Language. How Bronze-Age Riders From The Eurasian Steppes Shaped The Modern World, Princeton University Press  Beer, Robert (2003), The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist
Buddhist
Symbols, Serindia Publications, Inc., ISBN 9781932476033  Day, Terence P. (1982), The Conception of Punishment in Early Indian Literature, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, ISBN 0-919812-15-5  Goetz, Hermann (1964), The art of India: five thousand years of Indian art., Crown  Grünwedel, Albert; Gibson, Agnes C.; Burgess, James (1901), Buddhist art in India, Bernard Quaritch  Harrison, Jane Ellen (2010) [1912], Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion, Cambridge University Press  Hiltebeitel, Alf (2007), Hinduism. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture". Digital printing 2007, Routledge  Inden, Ronald (1998), Ritual, Authority, And Cycle Time in Hindu Kingship. In: JF Richards, ed., "Kingship and Authority in South Asia", New Delhi: Oxford University Press  Mallory, J.P. (1997), Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5  Nath, Vijay (March–April 2001), "From 'Brahmanism' to 'Hinduism': Negotiating the Myth of the Great Tradition", Social Scientist: 19–50, doi:10.2307/3518337, JSTOR 3518337  Pal, Pratapaditya (1986), Indian Sculpture: Circa 500 B.C.-A.D. 700, University of California Press  Queen, Christopher S.; King, Sallie B. (1996), Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist
Buddhist
liberation movements in Asia., SUNY Press  Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press  Yan, Xiaojing (2009), The confluence of East and West in Nestorian Arts in China. In: Dietmar W. Winkler, Li Tang (eds.), Hidden Treasures and Intercultural Encounters: Studies on East Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia, LIT Verlag Münster 

Further reading[edit]

Dorothy C. Donath (1971). Buddhism
Buddhism
for the West: Theravāda, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna; a comprehensive review of Buddhist
Buddhist
history, philosophy, and teachings from the time of the Buddha to the present day. Julian Press. ISBN 0-07-017533-0. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
at Wikimedia Commons Buddhist
Buddhist
Wheel Symbol (Dharmachakra)

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