why turn the wheel?

Exploring modern Theravāda interpretations of the Buddha's teaching.
form
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

why turn the wheel?

Post by form » Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:43 am

Why is it called turn the wheel? What has a wheel got to do with dhamma?

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 10954
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by DNS » Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:20 am

The Dhamma Wheel has 8 spokes, representing the 8-fold Path, which one uses to progress on the Path. I think it is just a saying for going on the Path and turning the wheel has also come to mean the spread of Dhamma. Wheels are used in transportation and connect people from faraway places. See also my post here on the evolution of the wheel:

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... el#p197699

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 15232
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:29 am

It's interesting that the Dhamma Wheel the Buddha spoke ( :) ) of in the First Discourse has 12 spokes:
“So long, bhikkhus, as my knowledge and vision of these Four Noble Truths as they really are in their three phases and twelve aspects was not thoroughly purified in this way, I did not claim to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. But when my knowledge and vision of these Four Noble Truths as they really are in their three phases and twelve aspects was thoroughly purified in this way, then I claimed to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. The knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewed existence.’”

This is what the Blessed One said. Elated, the bhikkhus of the group of five delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. And while this discourse was being spoken, there arose in the Venerable Kondañña the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

And when the Wheel of the Dhamma had been set in motion by the Blessed One, the earth-dwelling devas raised a cry: “At Baraṇasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, this unsurpassed Wheel of the Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One, which cannot be stopped by any ascetic or brahmin or deva or Mara or Brahma or by anyone in the world.”
...
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn56.11/20-22.271
:heart:
Mike

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 15232
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:36 am

Today the wheel as a symbol for Buddhism is often depicted with eight spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path although this is a relatively recent innovation. In the scriptures the Dhamma wheel, called either the Supreme Wheel (brahmacakka) or Highest Dhamma Wheel (anuttaram dhammacakkam, A.III,9; 148), is described as being ‘a thousand-spoked’ (sahassaram, D.III,60). Until about the 3rd century CE the Dhamma wheel was almost always depicted with multiple spokes suggesting the thousand spokes. The oldest depiction of the Dhamma wheel, on King Asoka’s lion capital, has 24 spokes. The most spokes on a Dhamma wheel from ancient India that I have been able to find is 32.

Before the advent of statues, the Buddha was often represented by a wheel. What the cross is to Christians, the menorah to Jews the ying yang symbol to Taoists and the Om sign to Hindus, the wheel is to Buddhists.
http://sdhammika.blogspot.co.nz/2016/01 ... hamma.html
:heart:
Mike

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 15232
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:41 am

Thai Buddhist flags do generally have 12 spokes:

Image

Image

:heart:
Mike

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 10954
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by DNS » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:02 am

Ashoka's wheel had 24 spokes. Today, it is almost always 8 spokes, which apparently is a recent transition as Ven. Dhammika noted. I wonder when the change in number of spokes took place (what year)?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmachakra

I like 8, but maybe it's just because I got used to it.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 15232
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:14 am

Maybe. As I said the standard Thai flag has 12 and there are lots of those...

Mike

chownah
Posts: 6612
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by chownah » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:41 am

I'll bet the most common number of spokes for the dhamma wheel would be determined by examining how it is depicted on coins and currency....alot more money than flags I think.....but I'm not trying to be a spokesman ( :| ) for any side of this issue.
chownah

SarathW
Posts: 8288
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by SarathW » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:02 am

This is a very good example of not clinging to views "this is only the truth, everything else is false"
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 10954
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by DNS » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:25 am

SarathW wrote:This is a very good example of not clinging to views "this is only the truth, everything else is false"
:thumbsup: Yes, I thought this topic was about why it is called "turn the wheel" not how many spokes is the right number. :D

Apparently it has been depicted with many spokes but now is mostly depicted by 8, no big deal, nothing to debate, imo.

Dharma Wheel google image search:
https://www.google.com/search?q=dharma+ ... 20&bih=947

Dhamma Wheel google image search:
https://www.google.com/search?q=dhamma+ ... 20&bih=947

form
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by form » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:30 am

Then what about the sign that is a mirror image of the Nazi logo?

form
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by form » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:32 am

Regarding the wheel, has it got something to do with turning smoothly?

form
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by form » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:34 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Ashoka's wheel had 24 spokes. Today, it is almost always 8 spokes, which apparently is a recent transition as Ven. Dhammika noted. I wonder when the change in number of spokes took place (what year)?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmachakra

I like 8, but maybe it's just because I got used to it.
The 8 limbs of yoga also like the number 8. :)

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 10954
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by DNS » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:35 am

form wrote:Then what about the sign that is a mirror image of the Nazi logo?
The swastika? That has been in existence for a very long time, well before the Nazi use of the symbol and is found in most (probably all) Dharmic religions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

form
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by form » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:38 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
form wrote:Then what about the sign that is a mirror image of the Nazi logo?
The swastika? That has been in existence for a very long time, well before the Nazi use of the symbol and is found in most (probably all) Dharmic religions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika
Yes. I read that the nazi has great interest in eastern mystical stuff. And they copied this logo from Buddhism.

The reason why I mention is, isn't the a more representative logo than the wheel, unless the wheel turning has a deeper meaning?

SarathW
Posts: 8288
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by SarathW » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:45 am

The Buddhism will spread without any obstructions.
ie:figuratively meaning "whose wheels are moving", in the sense of "whose chariot is rolling everywhere without obstruction".

================================

Chakravartin (Sanskrit cakravartin, Pali cakkavattin) is an ancient Indian term used to refer to an ideal universal ruler[1] who rules ethically and benevolently over the entire world. Such a ruler's reign is called sarvabhauma. It is a bahuvrīhi, figuratively meaning "whose wheels are moving", in the sense of "whose chariot is rolling everywhere without obstruction". It can also be analysed as an 'instrumental bahuvrīhi: "through whom the wheel is moving" in the meaning of "through whom the Dharmachakra ("Wheel of the Dharma) is turning" (most commonly used in Buddhism).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakravartin

Wheel turning king:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... se-18.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 15232
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:05 am

form wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
form wrote:Then what about the sign that is a mirror image of the Nazi logo?
The swastika? That has been in existence for a very long time, well before the Nazi use of the symbol and is found in most (probably all) Dharmic religions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika
Yes. I read that the nazi has great interest in eastern mystical stuff. And they copied this logo from Buddhism.

The reason why I mention is, isn't the a more representative logo than the wheel, unless the wheel turning has a deeper meaning?
I've seen it much more in Chinese and Japanese Buddhist contexts than in SE Asia, though you do see Swatika's reasonably commonly in Thailand, on clothing, tattoos, and so on...

Image

:heart:
Mike

User avatar
Nicolas
Posts: 694
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:59 pm
Location: Somerville, MA, USA

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by Nicolas » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:06 am

A wheel once set in motion keeps on rolling.

SarathW
Posts: 8288
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by SarathW » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:46 am

Nicolas wrote:A wheel once set in motion keeps on rolling.
I do not think that it roll by itself.
Except this. :rofl:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: why turn the wheel?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:17 am

SarathW wrote:
Nicolas wrote:A wheel once set in motion keeps on rolling.
I do not think that it roll by itself.
Except this. :rofl:
Interestingly, Newtonian physics asserts that once a material wheel is set going, it will continue on the same course eternally, until something else stops it. Here is Thomas Hobbes (predating Newton by a few years) expressing this idea beautifully in magisterial 17th century English:
THAT when a thing lies still, unless somewhat else stir it, it will lie still for ever, is a truth that no man doubts of. But that when a thing is in motion, it will eternally be in motion, unless somewhat else stay it, though the reason be the same, namely that nothing can change itself, is not so easily assented to. For men measure not only other men but all other things, by themselves; and, because they find themselves subject after motion to pain and lassitude, think everything else grows weary of motion, and seeks repose of its own accord; little considering whether it be not some other motion wherein that desire of rest they find in themselves consisteth.
Perhaps the Buddha set the wheel rolling, and what slows it down is our collective ignorance and obstructive tendencies.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bhante dhamma and 10 guests