The Wheel of Dharma

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The eight-spoke wheel Dharmachakra (chos kyi in Tibetan), also known as the Wheel of Law is among the oldest and best known of Buddhist symbols, going back to the time of the great Buddhist king Asoka in India.

The wheel in its entirety encapsulates the Buddha’s teaching. Its eight spokes represent the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, which leads to the spiritual enlightenment of all sentient beings. The circular shape invokes the idea of perfection – following the path of dharma is the best way out of the endless cycle of samsara. The hub of a wheel is its focal point. Here, it stands for inner discipline which is the essence of meditation practice. The rim of the wheel connects the spokes and holds together the entire structure. This is mindfulness (Samadhi) or ‘living in the moment’ a cornerstone of Buddhist teachings.

The forward motion of the wheel points to the spread of the Buddha’s doctrine. Ever since Sakyamuni expounded on his doctrine of enlightenment, the Wheel of Dharma has never stopped rolling, from India through virtually all of Asia and in modern times, the West as well. Many Asian countries have incorporated the Dharmachakra into their national flags.

 
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