As the third ‘Auspicious Symbol’ of Buddhism, the WHEEL (sanskrit-chakra) consists of three basic parts: the hub, the rim, and the spokes (8). Its underlying form is that of a circle, which is recognized across all traditions as a shape that is complete and perfect in itself, qualities which inform the teachings of the Buddha too.
Individually, the rim represents the elements of limitation, the hub is the axis of the world, and the eight spokes denote the Eightfold path set down by Buddha, which leads to the cessation of all suffering.
A further esoteric interpretation makes reference to the three trainings which form an integral part of Buddhist meditative practice, associating each of the three parts of the wheel with one such practice.
The symbolism is:
HUB-training in moral discipline. Through this practice the mind is supprted and stabilized. Thus it is the practice of moral discipline that upholds our meditation, just like supporting axis of the world.
SPOKES-stand for the correct application of wisdom, which cuts off ignorance and ends suffering.
RIM- denotes concentration, which holds the entire meditative practice together, just as the wheel of life is held together by its rim.
The wheel evolved as a symbol of the Buddha’s teachings and as an emblem of the Chakravartin or ‘wheel turner’, identifying the wheel as the Dharmachakra or ‘wheel of law’. The Tibetan term for Dharmachakra literally means “the wheel of transformation”. The wheels swift motion serves as an apt metaphor for the rapid spiritual change engendered by the teachings of Buddha. Hence, Buddha’s first discourse at the Deer Park in Sarnath is known as the first turning of the wheel of dharma. Likewise, his subsequent discourses at Rajgir and Shravasti are known as the second and third turnings of the wheel of dharma.
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Sketch drawn then photographed and painted in photoshop7 with final filtering in redfield plug-in fractilius.