Wheel of Dharma (or Dharmachakra): Great Buddhist Symbol

The Wheel of Dharma, also known as Dharmachakra in Sanskrit, is arguably the Buddhist lucky symbol that carries the deepest teachings within it.

A prominent member of the “high auspicious,” a group of eight lucky symbols particularly revered in Buddhism, the Dharma Wheel possesses energetic and spiritual qualities that make it a fascinating subject of study.

In short, there is nothing surprising that this emblem is so popular in the Orient. Some have even gone so far as to see it as the “cross” of the Buddhists.

Indeed, just as Christians have the cross, Jews have the Star of David and Muslims have the crescent moon, some people in the world wear the Dharmachakra with pride.

In short, let's now try to learn more about the wheel of Dharma and unravel its mysteries together!

Contents :

Analysis and description of Dharmachakra

The Religious Significance of the Dharma Wheel

A lucky symbol common to several cultures

Multiple types of wheels for multiple messages

Wheel of Dharma carved from bronze, and hung above the entrance to a Buddhist temple.

Analysis and description of Dharmachakra

From an etymological point of view, the term “Dharmachakra” can be divided into “ dharma ” and “ chakra ”.

The first is an Indian word that can be translated as "law-bearer", while the second is used to describe the idea of ​​a "cycle of life and reincarnation". To explore the subject, here are different definitions that the concept of dharma can take.

In short, the Dharmachakra would thus be a symbol which “carries the law of reincarnation cycles” … Interesting!

Its link with karma, spiritual awakening and the principles of Buddhism (not part of Tibetan Buddhism) are in any case very clear.

Another common way to understand the Dharma Wheel is to look at how the pattern it draws is composed.

With this in mind, we can divide it into several parts:

  • The eight rays : They represent the “Noble Eightfold Path”, a Buddhist path leading to wisdom. (Let us note that there may be more or less than eight, as we will see later in this article)
  • The central part : Composed of three distinct parts, it symbolizes the harmony and balance which must be established between the “three Buddhist jewels” (the Dharma, the Sangha and the Buddha).
  • The outer circular part : This part is associated with the state of meditative trance and consciousness that we must achieve before we can receive the essence of the Buddha's teachings.

Two statues of the Buddha and a Buddhist thangka from Asia

The precepts of the Buddha

by Buddhist jewelry and lucky charms


The Religious Significance of the Dharma Wheel

Dharmachakra is connected to dharma…and therefore to some form of path leading to spiritual enlightenment and Nirvana. Now, each monk directs his prayers towards this goal. Each Buddhist monastery makes it the center of its teaching.

Few religious symbols are therefore as loaded with meaning as this one and, as we will see in a few moments, the teachings hidden behind them are numerous.

While in the previous paragraph we tried to understand the meaning of the wheel of Dharma through an analysis of what our eyes can see, let us now try to go a little further...

Here are some secrets that the Dharmachakra can express :

  • Quite obviously, the spokes of the wheel show us that there are always several paths to achieve the same goal... but that the final objective is always the same.
  • In Buddhism, the circle is considered the most perfect and divine form. That the wheel of Dharma is circular would thus symbolize the perfection of the Buddha's message.
  • The round shape, through its great fluidity, can also represent how personal transformations can occur easily (and quickly) following spiritual awakenings.
  • If the circular part of our lucky symbol represents the practice of meditation, it is also what holds the rays (and therefore the complete figure) in place. Meditation would therefore be the cement of our spirituality which can consolidate the rest?
  • The Wheel of Dharma is sometimes seen as an expression of " the Wheel of Law ", a concept strangely common to many cultures around the world.
  • A whole bunch of mystical writings present Dharmachakra to us as a powerful weapon capable of combating evil energies. It might be less symbolic than you think.

Very clearly, we are talking here about a powerful lucky symbol that can help us from a spiritual point of view, but also in a very concrete way.

It is therefore not surprising that this Dharma wheel pendant that we offer on our site is one of the most appreciated Buddhist jewelry in the community!

Terrestrial globe with a map of different Asian countries.

A lucky symbol common to several cultures

An interesting thing to note about Dharmachakra is how quickly it spread across multiple cultures.

Similar symbols are indeed found in Jainism and Hinduism for example.

The second, for example, presents us with a sort of Dharma wheel as a “solar emblem” offered to humanity by the goddess Surya.

This link also makes certain historians think that our symbol could predate all these religions, and would have been used to represent an ancient divinity of the Sun in the Indus Valley millennia ago.

Other legends speak of it more as a representation of the god Vishnu capable of protecting men from demons and evil spirits.

Besides this, Jainism has made Dharmachakra the absolute standard of the concept of non-violence. According to this doctrine, it would actually be possible to win any fight by deciding never to cause harm to others.

This is another resolutely positive message to bring to our symbol!

In the Tibetan branch of Buddhism, our wheel will be better known as “chos kyi'khor lo”, or “the wheel of transformations”.

In any case, all this shows us one thing: the Dharmachakra is an emblem with profound messages and which is appreciated by millions of human beings.

If this kind of spiritual consideration interests you, you should find something to make you happy (that's fair to say) in this collection of Buddhist lucky charms that we have created over time.

Sculpture of the Wheel of Dharma with two deer on its sides.

Multiple types of wheels for multiple messages

The final point to make about our symbol is the number of branches it can have.

In the culture of Tibet, the Dharmachakra can present different numbers, which will necessarily make it carry distinct messages.

Once is not customary, we will present them to you here in the form of a list:

  • Four Rays : This is about the “four noble truths”, four major Buddhist truths that lead to compassion.
  • Eight Rays : As we told you, this number represents the “Noble Eightfold Path”, a Buddhist path of life.
  • Ten spokes : This type of Dharma wheel symbolizes the ten spiritual directions described by Buddhism.
  • Twelve rays : This expresses for its part the twelve links preventing the liberation from samsara.
  • Twenty-four spokes : This wheel recalls the twenty-four qualities that Buddhists must demonstrate.

The most interesting model here is undoubtedly the last one.

Also known as the " Wheel of Ashoka ", this symbol was engraved on gigantic monuments erected by Ashoka the Great (one of the greatest emperors that India has known, you will find more information on his life here ) three centuries before the beginning of our era.

We indeed see clearly here to what extent Dharmachakra is linked to the history of India, and has been since the dawn of time.

Lucky charm featured in this article

Dharma Wheel Pendant

Dharma Wheel Pendant

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author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.