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

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Symbol

* 3 Usage

* 3.1 Hindu
Hindu
usage * 3.2 Buddhist
Buddhist
usage * 3.3 Beyond Buddhism
Buddhism

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

ETYMOLOGY

The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
noun _dharma _ is a derivation from the root _dhṛ_, which has a meaning of "to hold, maintain, keep", 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
Ṛta
.

HISTORY

Ten Indus glyphs from the northern gate of Dholavira
Dholavira
.

The wheel is also the main attribute of Vishnu
Vishnu
, the Vedic god of preservation. Madhavan and Parpola note Chakra sign appears frequently in Indus Valley civilization
Indus Valley civilization
inscriptions, on several seals. Notably, a sequence of four signs on the Dholavira
Dholavira
signboard, four are the chakra.

SYMBOL

Common Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
symbols consist of either 8 or 24 spokes.

Unicode
Unicode
Symbol: ☸ (U+2638: Wheel Of Dharma)

USAGE

HINDU USAGE

_ 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
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) * _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_ (English: Truth Alone Triumphs). This is a quote from the _ Mundaka Upanishad
Mundaka Upanishad
_, the concluding part of the sacred Hindu
Hindu
Vedas
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."

BUDDHIST USAGE

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

The Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
is one of the ashtamangala of Buddhism. It is one of the oldest known Buddhist
Buddhist
symbols found in Indian art, appearing with the first surviving post- Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
Indian iconography in the time of the Buddhist
Buddhist
king Ashoka
Ashoka
.

The Buddha is said to have set the dhammacakka in motion when he delivered his first sermon, which is described in the _ Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta_. The wheel itself depicts ideas about the cycle of saṃsāra and furthermore the Noble Eightfold Path.

Buddhism
Buddhism
adopted the wheel as the main symbol of the chakravartin "wheel-turner", the ideal king or "universal monarch", symbolising the ability to cut through all obstacles and illusions.

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_).

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

BEYOND BUDDHISM

* Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, first Vice President of India has stated that the Ashoka Chakra
Ashoka Chakra
of India represents the Dharmachakra. * In the _ Vishnu
Vishnu
Purana _ and _ Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
_, two kings named Jadabharataof the Hindu
Hindu
solar and lunar dynasties respectively are referred to as "Chakravartins ". * Jagdish Chandra Jainreferred to this icon in Kalinga. In Jainism , the Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
is worshipped as a symbol of the dharma . * Other "cakras" appear in other Indian traditions, e.g. Vishnu
Vishnu
's Sudarśanacakra , a wheel-shaped weapon. * The former Flag of Sikkimfeatured 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
Soyombo symbol
. * The dharmachakra is also the insignia for Buddhist
Buddhist
chaplains in the United States Armed Forces
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
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
Soyombo symbol
*

The Emblem of Sri Lanka
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. *

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

NOTES

* ^ _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." * ^ Monier Williams, _A Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Dictionary_ (1899): "to hold, bear (also: bring forth), carry, maintain, preserve, keep, possess, have, use, employ, practise, undergo" * ^ Goetz: "dharmachakra, symbol of the Buddhist
Buddhist
faith".

REFERENCES

* ^ 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 * ^ _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 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

* 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
Buddhist
art in India_, Bernard Quaritch * Harrison, Jane Ellen (2010) , _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,