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The dharmachakra is a Buddhist emblem of Hindu origin. It resembles a wagon wheel with eight spokes, each representing one of the eight tenets of Buddhist belief. It is drawn from an Indian symbol, but instead of representing Samsara, or endless rebirth, it symbolizes overcoming obstacles.

The term “Dharma” refers to the Buddha’s teachings and the essential truths of Buddhism. A person may learn of the Dharma from sutras and teachers, but most importantly it must be practiced in daily life. The eight-spoke Dharma wheel symbolizes Sakyamuni Buddha’s supreme enlightenment and his subsequent teachings, which set what Buddhists call the Wheel of Law in motion.

In his first sermon, the Buddha described the Four Noble Truths as:

All existence is suffering.
The cause of suffering is greed and ignorance.
The end of suffering is a state free from greed and ignorance.
The way to end suffering is to follow the Middle Way of the Noble Eightfold Path.


Dharmachakra - Wheel of Life






Each spoke of the Dharma wheel corresponds to one element of the Noble Eightfold Path:

  • Right Understanding: Comprehending the Law of Cause and Effect.

  • Right Thought: A mind free from greed, anger and ignorance.

  • Right Speech: Speech free from deceit, malice, and idle chatter.

  • Right Action: No killing, stealing, or adultery.

  • Right Livelihood: No occupation, which causes harm.

  • Right Diligence: Sincerely striving to do one’s best.

  • Right Mindfulness: Maintaining constant awareness.

  • Right Meditation: Calming the mind to help and see the truth.

  • Like an ever-turning wheel, these teachings are timeless and will continue to benefit beings on into the future.

Variants: Dharmachakra, Wheel of Life.

Remember the wheel of cause and consequence,
of deed and destiny,
and the wheel of dharma that rights them all.

Sathya Sai Baba


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