Dharmachakra in Sanskrit means the
'Wheel of Dharma'. This mudra symbolizes
one of the most important moments in the
life of Buddha, the occasion when he
preached to his companions the first
sermon after his Enlightenment in the
Deer Park at Sarnath. It thus
denotes the setting into motion of the
Wheel of the teaching of the Dharma.
In this mudra the thumb and index finger
of both hands touch at their tips to
form a circle. This circle represents
the Wheel of Dharma, or in metaphysical
terms, the union of method and wisdom.
The three remaining fingers of the two
hands remain extended. These fingers are
themselves rich in symbolic
The three extended fingers of the right hand represent
the three vehicles of the Buddha's teachings, namely:
- The middle finger represents the 'hearers' of the
- The ring finger represents the 'solitary realizers'
- The Little finger represents the Mahayana or 'Great
The three extended fingers of the left hand symbolize the
Three Jewels of Buddhism, namely, the Buddha,
the Dharma, and the Sangha.
Significantly, in this mudra, the hands are held in
front of the heart, symbolizing that these teachings are straight
from the Buddha's heart.
This mudra is displayed by the first Dhyani Buddha Vairochana. Each
of the five Dhyani Buddhas is associated with a specific human
delusion, and it is believed that they help mortal beings in
overcoming them. Thus, Vairochana is believed to transform the
delusion of ignorance into the wisdom of reality. By displaying the
Dharmachakra mudra, he thus helps adepts in bringing about this
Variants: Dhammacakka, Dharmacakrapravartana,
The left palm is tuned inward
(toward the body), the right outward, and the circles formed by the
thumbs and index fingers of each hand touch one another.