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What Does a Dharma Wheel (Dharmachakra) Mean?
It is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism. It is
commonly seen on T-shirts, Indian flag, and tattoos. It is used to
symbolize Buddhism just like how a Star of David symbolizes
Judaism. So what does Dharmachakra mean? And what is its
significance in Hinduism and Buddhism?
TAGGED UNDER: Religious Symbols Buddhism

Did You Know?
Buddhist flag in Thailand features a yellow flag with a red
Known as Dharmachakra in Sanskrit, it is one of the oldest and
important symbols in Buddhism. Dharmachakra represents
teachings of the Buddha. It depicts Dharma which according to
Buddhism is the pathway to reach Nirvana (peaceful state of mind).
It signifies teachings from not just Buddhism, but also Hinduism and
Jainism. Dharma Wheel (Dharmachakra) means Wheel of law.
Dharmachakra has varying number of spokes, most commonly
eight. Dharma wheel can be seen in any color, but it is mostly in
gold. Center of the wheel has three shapes swirling together,
usually they look like a Yin-Yang symbol, but it can be a wheel or
another circle.
Dharma Wheel: Meaning

► There isn't a single meaning associated with Dharmachakra, it
can be interpreted in many ways. The Dharma wheel is made up of
three different parts namely: The Hub, The Spokes, and The Rim.

►Buddha's teachings are known as Dharma. The circle shape of
the wheel symbolizes flawlessness of the Dharma, which is
Buddha's teaching.

► The rim of the wheel stands for the ability to meditate and
concentrate, which further helps to hold all the teachings together.
► The smaller circle, which is the Hub symbolizes discipline. The
three colorful swirls on the Hub stands for Buddha (yellow), Dharma
(blue), and, Sangha (red) which are also called The Three

► Last but not the least, the spokes represent different things
based on their numbers.
► If a wheel has four spokes it stands for The Four Noble Truths
which are The truth of suffering (Dukkha), The truth of the cause of
suffering (samudaya), The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha),
and, The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga)
► When the wheel is said to have eight spokes it signifies the
Eightfold Path. This wheel commonly represents Buddhism.
Eightfold Path includes Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech,
Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and
Right Concentration.
► Ten spokes wheel represents ten directions, while twelve wheel
spokes signifies Twelve Links Of Dependent Origination. If the
wheel possess twenty-four spokes they signify not only the Twelve
Links Of Dependent Origination but also the reverse of these links
and freedom from Samsara. Twenty-four spoked Dharma wheel is
also known as Ashoka Chakra.
► Dharmachakra basically implies the teachings of Buddha. It
simply explains the process of birth and rebirth. For all the problems
an individual has to go through, Buddha provides a solution through
meditation to end all the suffering.
Dharma Wheel: Significance in Buddhism
► Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath, which is a deer park in
Uttar Pradesh, India. His first sermon was delivered after his
enlightenment. The park where he gave his first sermon was a
humble abode of many deer, and they gathered around Buddha to
hear his teachings. That is the reason you will find deer sitting on
either side of the Dharmachakra. Buddha taught us that we need to
protect and save not just humans but also animals.
► Buddha taught The Four Noble Truths and each truth
encompasses three characteristics which is known as 'Turnings of
the Wheel.'

► The Wheel represents the process of rebirth of a human being. In
Mahayana Buddhism, it is noted that Buddha turned the Dharma
wheel thrice.

► His first sermon was the first turning the wheel where he talked
about The Four Noble Truths. Second turning was when he
introduced the ideology of emptiness and compassion. The third
turn was on the unveiling of the philosophy of Buddha-nature.
Dharma Wheel: Significance in Hinduism
► Dharma in Hinduism depicts order, it refers to the religious
routine followed by a devotee. In sacred texts, it means the law
which is followed by all the individuals.

► The word Dharma is derived from the sanskrit root "dhr" which
means what is established or firm, inshort it stands for law.
► The wheel in Dharmachakra also symbolizes protection, creation,
and, sovereignty.

► The Chakra or wheel is strongly associated to Lord Vishnu who
is known to be the Vedic god of preservation.
Dharma Wheel: Significance in Jainism
► Buddhism and Jainism originated in the same surroundings,
therefore they have many mutual symbols. Jainism strongly follows
the principle of non-violence which ultimately leads towards the end
goal which is death of this birth.

► In this culture, Dharma constitutes the wisdom of the "Jinas" and
the wheel implies constant motion.
Ashoka Chakra

► Ashoka the emperor who ruled India and other regions was an
ardent follower of Buddhism. He encouraged Buddha's teachings
among his people.

► During his rule, he encouraged many stone pillars, many of it are
still standing. The pillars bear certain decrees that inspired people to
follow Buddhism and the act of nonviolence.

► At the top of each pillar there is at least one lion depicting
Ashoka's rule. Pillars are also adorned with 24 spokes
► In the year 1947, Government of India adopted the chakra in the
national flag. The chakra has 24 spokes and is navy blue in color on
a white background.
Although the Dharma Chakra is thousand years old, it still retains its
powers leading us to the path of enlightenment. It guides us to lead
a simple form of life inspired by Buddha's teachings.

Ashmeet Bagga Last Updated: June 17, 2016 Reprint Permission
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The Three Jewels Buddhism
The Buddha
The Dharma (teachings)
The Sangha (community)


Three Vehicles
The Four Noble Truths
Death & Rebirth PAGE CONTENTS
The Mind
Brief History of Symbolism in Buddhism
Four Immeasurables
Symbols for the Buddha
Compassion & Bodhicitta
The Three Jewels or Triple Gem
Wisdom of Emptiness
Spiritual Teacher
Going for Refuge
FAQ- sheet
The Seven Jewels of Royal Power
The Eight Auspicious Symbols
Practice & Meditation The Buddhist Flag
The Swastika
Everyday Behaviour Mountains
What is Meditation
How to Meditate
58 Meditations
Tantric Preliminaries
Many Buddhist symbols need to be considered within the culture of the people
Problematic Emotions the early symbols relate to ancient India and can be found in Hinduism as well
somewhat different meaning.
Introduction The historical Buddha lived around the sixth century BCE, but no Buddhist art
Anger third century BCE. In the scriptures, it is mentioned that the Buddha did occasi
Attachment of Life' to illustrate the teachings. The first archaeological evidence, mainly of
from the time of the Emperor Asoka (273 - 232 BCE), who converted to Budd
in India and beyond .
Lack of Self-Confidence
Depression In the second century BCE, people started to excavate Buddhist monasteries in
Fear artwork to withstand the ages. Probably the earliest typical Buddhist monumen
Other Delusions specially decorated. The first actual Buddha images appeared around the first c
Summary artwork was largely symbolic in nature.

With the appearance of Buddhist Tantra around the 6th century, a wealth of ne
Symbolism appeared, as imagination and visualization form a major technique in meditatio
a pantheon of deities and protectors appeared, together with a vast collection o
In General Buddhism and bell, mandalas etc.; see the page on Tantric Symbols. This tradition was m
In Tantra 'Tibetan Buddhism', and partially in the Japanese Shingon tradition.
5 Dhyani Buddhas
In Tibetan Buddhism
In the Kalachakra Tantra
Stories, Quotes & Fun It is said that the Buddha was reluctant to accept
images of himself, as he did not like to be
Stories from the Heart venerated as a person. To symbolise the Buddha in
Buddhist Stories the very early art, one used mainly the Eight
Buddhist Quotes Spoked Wheel and theBodhi Tree, but also
Quotes of Wisdom the Buddha's Footprints, an Empty Throne,
Poetry aBegging Bowl and a Lion are used to represent
Funny Pages...
The Eight-Spoked Dharma Wheel or
My Main Teachers 'Dharmachakra' (Sanskrit) symbolises the Buddha's
turning the Wheel of Truth or Law (dharma = truth/law, chakra = wheel).
The Dalai Lama
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche The wheel (on the left and right) refers to the story that shortly after the
Buddha achieved enlightenment, Brahma came down from heaven and
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
requested the Buddha to teach by offering him a Dharmachakra. The
Buddha is known as the Wheel-Turner: he who sets a new cycle of
Resources teachings in motion and in consequence changes the course of destiny.

Teachings&Articles The Dharmachakra has eight spokes, symbolising the Eight-fold Noble
Sutras & Practices Path. The 3 swirling segments in centre represent the Buddha, Dharma (the tea
Vows & Prayers... community).
The wheel can also be divided into three parts, each representing an aspect of B
Teksty w jezyku polskim
(discipline), the spokes (wisdom), and the rim (concentration).
History of Buddhism...
Recommended Books The Bodhi Tree refers to the tree under which the Buddha
Controversy achieved enlightenment (See image on the right.).
A to Z Glossary Tree worship was already part of the existing culture in
India, so the development of the bodhi tree and leaf as a
Number Glossary
devotional symbol was a natural one.
Contact & about me
From a beautiful online book from theStupa Page:
Tibetan Buddhism
"After wandering the countryside for about six years the
Buddhism in Tibet Buddha finally came to rest in a forest beside the
Naranjara River, not far from modern day Bodhgaya.
Tibetan Calendar
Sitting under a Bodhi tree, ardently practicing meditation,
Tibetan Astrology he finally realised his true nature. The next seven days
Tibetan Symbolism were spent under the tree experiencing the bliss of freedom and contemplating
understanding. The story then goes on to relate four other periods of seven
A Taste of Zen days, each spent under a different tree - the Banyan, the Mucalinda and the
Rajayatana tree and then once more back to the Banyan. Each of these 'tree
scenes' has its own well known story which space here does not allow. The
Buddhism in Japan
tree of enlightenment is called, in Latin, ficus religiosa, or sacred tree. It is
Zen FAQ-sheet also known as the pipal tree. For Buddhists it is generally called the Bodhi,
Zen Poems and Haiku or Bo tree. Bodhi is the Pali and Sanskrit word for enlightenment. There is a
Zen Stories descendant of the original tree still growing at Bodhgaya and Bodhi trees are
Zen Computer Fun commonly found in Buddhist centres all over the world."

The Throne is both a reference to Siddharta Gautama's royal ancestry and to
Navigation the idea of spiritual kingship - enlightenment as ruler of the spiritual world. Th
show the Dharmachakra and the Bodhitree on top of the throne. Sometimes the
Web Links with other symbols such as lions and deer, both associa
Search this Site
Home The Lion is one of Buddhism's most potent symbols. T
with regality, strength and power. It is therefore an app
who tradition has it was a royal prince. The Buddha's t

Roar'. The wheel symbolizes Buddhist law and also Asoka's legitimacy as an e

Especially in Tibetan Buddhist art, lions are often depicted on the throne the B
Lions (mythical creatures), and they actually represent the eight main Bodhisat

From the Tibetan Aid Project Page:
"Footprints of the Buddha traditionally symbolize th
Enlightened One. This image was reproduced from a
imprint at Bodh Gaya, India, site of the Buddha's enl

The story goes that prior to his death the Buddha left
near Kusinara, a reminder of his presence on earth.

These footprints often show Dharma-wheels on them
a Buddha. Other auspicious marks, like swastikas and lotuses etc. can sometim
of these special marks.

The Begging-bowl refers to the the s
reached enlightenment, a young wom
bowl of milk-rice. At that moment, h
eating extremely little. But he realise
need to have more strength for the fi
further fasting would only reduce his
enlightenment, he is said to have thro
bowl to signify his renunciation of al
middle way between extreme austeri
is an important principle of Buddhism
The bowl also points to the monk's w
Photo by Beverly Brott monastery into the village each morn
it by lay people.

What seems a much later development is the depiction of the Buddha's eyes (
frequently seen in Nepal. They look in all four directions, representing the omn

At you can find a very interesting history of the developme

The core of Buddhism is made up of the three pillars of the Buddha, t
Sangha (monks and nuns). Simply explained, one could say that witho
there would have been no Buddhist Dharma, nor Sangha. Without his teachings, the
of a difference, and also the spiritual community would not have existed. Without th
have have been transmitted through the ages. The Buddha would have been 'just' a
would have been 'just' books.
Obviously, the Triple Gem is usually represented as three jewels...


Deer are a direct reference to the Buddha's first teaching in the Deer Park, Sarn
Parivartan. The suggestion is that so wondrous was the Buddha's appearance a
the animals came to listen. In the Tibetan tradition, a monastery which holds th
collections of texts would have this symbol of deer on both sides of the Dharm

Stupas generally represent the enlightened mind of the Buddh
early days of Buddhism. One of the symbolic meanings is tha
the square base represents earth, the round dome is for water,
is air and the volume of the stupa is space. Stupas are often u

On the subject of stupas, I can recommend a visit to the Stupa Page, which not
but even a free downloadable book on stupas. Stupas come in many shapes and
Making offerings is a very common practice in the East. Every offering has a s
offering light is to dispel the darkness of one's ignorance, or offering incense to
Offering is considered a good training against greed and attachment.

In Tibet, many or all of the offerings are often replaced by little bowls filled w
offering of water for drinking and foot-washing, flowers, incense, light, perfum
ancient tradition of how a very important guest should be received.

The Eight Offerings:

Offering water to cleanse the mouth or face: It signifies auspiciousness or al
which bring positive effects. So, make an offering of water which is clean, fres
comfortable to the throat and stomach - these qualities are the qualities of ausp
Offering water to wash the feet: This is clear water mixed with incense or san
offering to all enlightened beings' feet. The symbolic meaning is
purification. By cleansing the feet of the enlightened beings, we
cleanse all our own negative karma and obscurations. By
making offerings to clean the enlightened beings feet, we are
really cleaning the "feet" of our own mind.
Offering flowers signifies the practice of generosity and opens
the heart.
Offering incense symbolises moral ethics or discipline.
Offering light signifies the stability and clarity of patience, the
beauty which dispels all ignorance.
According to Ven. Norlha Rinpoche: "It is also excellent to offer the butterlam
of offering this light symbolizes burning away our mental afflictions of desire,
and so forth. The other part of the symbolism is that it is a way to burn away o

"Offering butter lamps is the most powerful offering because their light symbo
dispels darkness, offering light from a butter lamp represents removing the dar
attain Buddha’s luminous clear wisdom. The lamp offering is a sense offering
Buddha’s eyes are wisdom eyes, they do not have the extremes of clarity or no
however, are obscured by the darkness of the two defilements –gross afflictive
habitual defilements. While the Buddha does not have desire for offerings, we
our own accumulation of merit & wisdom. Through the power of this accumul
of our ignorance eyes in order to gain Buddha’s supreme luminous wisdom eye
are the realization of Clear Light wisdom phenomena in this life; the clarificati
dispersal of confusion and realization of Clear Light in the bardo; and the incre
until one has reached enlightenment.
Traditionally, butter lamps are also offered as a dedication to the dead in order
by wisdom light. We can pray as well that this light guide all beings of the six
obscurations so that they may awaken to their true wisdom nature.
With genuine faith & devotion, visualize that with your offerings, countless of
immeasurable light to all enlightened beings. You may recite the ‘Butter Lamp
Collection of Offering Prayers.”
Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

Offering of perfume or the fragrance from saffron or sandalwood. It signifies
Through that one quality, one develops all the qualities of enlightenment.
Offering of food which has a lot of different tastes signifies samadhi, which is
Offering of musical instruments. There are different types of instruments -- c
of these are offered. Their nature is wisdom, which makes an offering to the ea
Bodhisattvas and all the enlightened beings. Sound represents wisdom because
mind which penetrates phenomena. Compassion is achieved through great wis
phenomena is realised through great wisdom. of course all phenomena have th
and conditions, but sound is especially easy to understand.

The Eight Lucky Articles or Eight Bringers of Good Fortune to support the
enlightenment. Each of these also represents an aspect of the 8-fold Noble Path

The Mirror represents the Dharmakaya or Truth Body of the Buddha, having
clear of pollution) and wisdom (a mirror reflects all phenomena without distinc
Curd - just as this highly valued, pure white food is the result of a long proces
revealed with practice over time as the defilements are dissolved. Represents R
harmed in its production).
Durva Grass is very resilient and is a symbol of long life. This is considered b
to practice and attain enlightenment. Represents Right Effort.
The Wood Apple or Bilva Fruit is offered to remind the practitioner of the em
all phenomena in terms of dependent origination. Why the Bilva fruit was chos
Represents Right Action - which bears the right fruit.
The Right-coiled Conch-shell represents the wish that the Buddhist teachings
the sounds emitted when the shell is used as a horn. Represents Right Speech.
Vermilion/Cinnabar are each red powders consisting of mercuric sulphide. In
symbolism, red represents control. Thus, this offering is concerned with having
which are to be put to the effort of gaining enlightenment. Represents Right Co
White Mustard Seeds This relates to the Buddha's response to a woman who
of her child. He instructed her to collect a mustard seed (as common as salt or
home that never had a bereavement. As she returned empty-handed, the Buddh
alone in her sorrow and that death is an inescapable part of life. Represent Righ
are also used in many rituals to expel demons. They therefore symbolise also w
Precious Medicine - ghi-wang, literally meaning "cow essence", is a soothing
obtained from gallstones in cattle or elephants. The substance's ability to deal w
to include suffering as part of the practice of Dharma. It represents Right Mind
to the disease of ignorance and the suffering that it causes.

The Five Qualities of Enjoyment are also used as offerings, as when they com
they give rise to the negative consequences of attachment and craving:

The Mirror is a symbol for visual form.
The Lute symbolises sound.
The Incense Burner represents smell.
The Fruit refers to for taste.
The Silk relates to touch.
In offering these qualities, one meditates on their nature and the intention of ab

The Seven Jewels of Royal Power are the accessories of the universal monarc
represent different abilities or aids that a king must possess in order to stay in p
offered to the Buddha. These seven objects collectively symbolize secular pow
resources and power.

In the Buddhist interpretation a comparison is drawn between the outward rule
spiritual power of a practitioner. To the spiritual practitioner the Seven Jewels
inexhaustible spiritual resources and invincible power over all inner and outer
These seven jewels can also be found in the long mandala offering ritual.

The Precious Queen - who represents the feminine pole, where the chakravart
working to abandon negative mental states regard her as mother or sister. Her b
representative of the radiating, piercing joy of the Buddha's enlightenment.
The Precious General symbolises the wrathful power to overcome enemies.
The Precious Horse is able to travel among the clouds and mirror the Buddha'
above", the cares of worldly existence.
The Precious Jewel which is sometimes depicted on the back of the precious h
wealth and unfolding (power and possibility). The jewel is said to aid the Chak
Buddhist King) in his ability to see all things like a crystal ball. In the same wa
things; recognising the manifold connections between all events, the relentless
nature of compounded existence. The Jewel can also symbolise a Wish-granti
fulfills all wishes.
The Precious Minister or Householder represent two different aspects of the
of the chakravartin which are closely related. The minister aids the chakravarti
carrying out his commands expeditiously, while the householder provides the v
basic support. The wisdom of the Buddha, like the minister, is always present t
who has realised it, allowing him to cut through the bonds of ignorance. While
householder represents the support of the lay community, without which the
monastic community could not continue.
The Precious Elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind in Buddhism.
Exhibiting noble gentleness, the precious elephant serves as a symbol of the ca
majesty possessed by one who is on the path. Specifically, it embodies the
boundless powers of the Buddha which are miraculous aspiration, effort, inten
and analysis. The image at the right says it all: a stupa - symbolic of the mind o
The Precious Wheel, sometimes depicted on the back of the precious elephant
or the Wheel of Truth above.

This set of symbols is very popular
Sanskrit as 'Ashtamangala', ashta

The Umbrella or parasol (chhatra)
royalty, for one had to be rich enough to possess such an item, and further, to h
the "royal ease" and power experienced in the Buddhist life of detachment. It a
activities to keep beings from harm (sun) like illness, harmful forces, obstacles
the results under its cool shade.
The Golden Fish (matsya) were origi
Ganges and Yamuna, but came to rep
Hindus, Jain and Buddhists. Within B
living beings who practice the dharma
ocean of suffering, and can freely mig
in the water.

The Treasure Vase (bumpa) is a sign
available in the Buddhist teachings, bu
wealth, prosperity and all the benefits
practice which involves burying or sto
locations to generate wealth, eg. for m

The Lotus (padma) is a very importan
Buddhism. In brief, it refers to the com
and mind, and the blossoming of who
lotus refers to many aspects of the pat
(samsara), up through muddy water it
(purification), and finally produces a b
The white blossom represents purity, the stem stands for the practice of Buddh
above the (mud of) worldly existence, and gives rise to purity of mind.
An open blossom signifies full enlightenment; a closed blossom signifies the p

From the website Exotic India Art:

"The lotus does not grow in Tibet and so Tibetan art has only stylized versions
Buddhism's best recognized motifs since every important deity is associated in
being seated upon it or holding one in their hands.
The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and t
above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the pr
primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the br
Though there are other water plants that bloom above the water, it is only the l
of its stem, regularly rises eight to twelve inches above the surface.
Thus says the Lalitavistara, 'the spirit of the best of men is spotless, like the lot
not adhere to it.' According to another scholar, 'in esoteric Buddhism, the heart
lotus: when the virtues of the Buddha develop therein, the lotus blossoms; that

Significantly, the color of the lotus too has an important bearing on the symbol

1). White Lotus (Skt. pundarika; Tib. pad ma dkar po): This represents the sta
mental purity (bodhi). It is associated with the White Tara and proclaims her p
reinforced by the color of her body.
2). Red Lotus (Skt. kamala; Tib: pad ma chu skyes): This signifies the origina
(hrdya). It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion and all other qualities of th
Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.
3). Blue Lotus (Skt. utpala; Tib. ut pa la): This is a symbol of the victory of th
signifies the wisdom of knowledge. Not surprisingly, it is the preferred flower
4). Pink Lotus (Skt. padma; Tib. pad ma dmar po): This the supreme lotus, ge
deity. Thus naturally it is associated with the Great Buddha himself."

Teoh Eng Soon, in his book The Lotus in the Buddhist Art of India, traces the f
Buddhist art to the columns built by Asoka in the 3rd Century BCE. However,
early Buddhist texts.

The lotus (padme) is an important symbol in Tibetan Buddhism and is commo
becoming a buddha. In Tibetan Buddhist iconography, buddhas are often seate
transcendent state. A lotus is born in the muck and mud at the bottom of a swa
surface of the water and opens its petals, a beautiful flower appears, unstained
Similarly, the compassion and wisdom of buddhas arise from the muck of the o
characterized by fighting, hatred, distrust, anxiety, and other negative emotions
people to become self-centered and lead to suffering and harmful actions. But
destructive emotions, it is also the place in which we can become buddhas, per
from the sleep of ignorance and who perceive reality as it is, with absolute clar
for suffering living beings.

Just as the lotus arises from the bottom of a swamp, so buddhas were former h
thoughts and actions in which all ordinary beings engage: the strife, wars, petty
all humans, animals, and other creatures are subject. Through their meditative
transcended such things, and like lotuses have risen above their murky origins
by the mud and mire below.

The symbolism may be extended still further, because buddhas do not simply e
others with pity or detached amusement; rather, like the lotus, which has roots
of the swamp, buddhas continue to act in the world for the benefit of others, co
forms in order to help them, to make them aware if the reality of their situation
awakening of buddhahood, which can free them from all suffering.
From Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism by John Pow

The Conch (shankha), which is also used as a horn,
and melodious sound of the teachings, which is suita
them from the slumber of ignorance to accomplish a

The Auspicious or Endless Knot (shrivatsa) is a geo
the nature of reality where everything is interrelated
karma and its effect. Having no beginning or end, it
of the Buddha, and the union of compassion and wis
illusory character of time, and long life as it is endle

The Victory Banner (dhvaja) symbolises the victory
death, ignorance, disharmony and all the negativities
The roofs of Tibetan monasteries are often decorated with victory banners of d

The Dharma-Wheel (Dharmachakra); it is said that after Siddharta Gautama a
came to him, offered a Dharma-Wheel and requested the Buddha to teach. It re
(see above).

You can find a good article on the eight auspicious symbols at exoticindiaart.c

A much more recent symbol is the Buddhist flag. It w
Henry Steele Olcott an American journalist. It was fi
and is a symbol of faith and peace, and is now used t
the Buddhism.
The five colours of the flag represent the colours of t
body of the Buddha when he attained Enlightenment.

Loving kindness, peace and universal compassion

The Middle Path - avoiding extremes, emptiness

Blessings of practice - achievement, wisdom, virtue, fortun

Purity of Dharma - it leads to liberation, outside of time or

The Buddha's Teaching - wisdom

The Swastika is a well-know good-luck symbol from India. Unfortunately, it is
Nazis chose it as their main symbol. In Sanskrit, swastika means "conducive to
tradition, the swastika symbolizes the feet or footprints of the Buddha and is of
texts. Modern Tibetan Buddhism uses it as a clothing decoration. With the spre
the iconography of China and Japan where it has been used to denote plurality,

(In India, Hindus use the swastika to mark the opening pages of account books
the right-hand swastika is a solar symbol and the left-hand version represents K
is the emblem of their seventh Tirthankara. Other uses of the symbol: in ancien
symbol on coinage, In Scandinavia it was the symbol for the god Thor's hamm
called the gammadion cross because it was made of four gammas. It is also fou


"There are two key mountains in Buddhist symbolism. The first is Vulture Pe
Buddha is said to have delivered a number of sermons. Vulture Peak has partic
Buddhism as one of its key texts, the Lotus Sutra, is said to have developed ou
Vulture Peak [also the very important Heart Sutra was taught here]. The secon
and is known as Mount Meru, the mythological center of the Buddhist univer
below the earth and the heavens above."

In China, there are the so-called four sacred mountains (not to be confused w
mountains). They are:

 Pu Tuo Shan, Buddhist mountain of the east, Zhejiang province, 284 meters.
 Wu Tai Shan, Buddhist mountain of the north, Shanxi province, 3061 meters
 Emei Shan, Buddhist mountain of the west, Sichuan province, 3099 meters. S
 Jiu Hua Shan, Buddhist mountain of the south, Anhui province, 1341 meters.

See also this page from Sacred Sites.

In Tibet, the 6,600 meter high Mount Kailash is often identified as the mounta
Meru (the axis of the universe) with its pyramid shape. See the page on Tibetan

This information comes from Ratna Henry Chia's World of Buddhism.

The Four Guardian Kings are the protectors of the four cardinal directions and
entrance to monasteries and temples. They each have two hands and are dresse
of a warrior king. They may be depicted either sitting or standing.
Dhritarashtra, the King of the East Virudhaka, t
white in color and plays a lute. blue in color and ca

Virupaksha, the King of the West, Vaishravana,
red in color and holds a small stupa in his right hand yellow in color and c
and a serpent in his left. his right hand and a m


This page was translated in Italian , and is available at
Web teachings on Making Light Offerings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. A good c
found at Buddha Mind
A huge collection of links on Buddhist Symbols
Tibetan Clipart in Vector Graphics to illustrate anything: support this project to
An interesting collection of symbols and their explanation can be found on the
Also have a look at Ratna Henry Chia's page.
A great collection of information on Buddhist ceremonies in the Thai tradition
Altar offerings in the Tibetan tradition.
Making waterbowl offerings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Making prostrations
Offerings katas (silk scarves) in the Tibetan tradition.
The images of the 8 auspicious symbols are courtesy of Osel Shen Phen Ling.
The symbolism of Experience by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Making incense offering

If you are looking for Chinese symbolism, check out

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Last updated: May 11, 2015