Dharmachakra and the Eightfold Path

Wheel of Konark is the same as the Dharmachakra of the Buddhists The dharma, the path to enlightenment, is often presented by a wheel, known as the Dharmachakra. Generally a dharma wheel will have eight spokes, representing each of the principles of the Eightfold Path:

  1. Right Views, which involve an accurate understanding of the true nature of things, specifically the four noble truths;
  2. Right Intention, which means avoiding thoughts of attachment, hatred, and harmful intent and promoting loving-kindness and nonviolence;
  3. Right Speech, which means refraining from verbal misdeeds, such as lying, backbiting and slander, harsh speech and abusive language, and frivolous speech and gossip;
  4. Right Action or Right Conduct, which is refraining from physical misdeeds, such as killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct;
  5. Right Livelihood, which entails avoiding trades that directly or indirectly harm others, such as selling slaves, selling weapons, selling animals for slaughter, dealing in intoxicants or poisons, or engaging in fortune-telling and divination;
  6. Right Effort, which is defined as abandoning unwholesome states of mind that have already arisen, preventing unwholesome states that have yet to arise, sustaining wholesome states that have already arisen, and developing wholesome states that have yet to arise;
  7. Right Mindfulness, which means to maintain awareness of the four foundations of mindfulness, viz., body, physical sensations, the mind, and phenomena; and
  8. Right Concentration, which is one pointedness of mind. It is defined generally as the concentration of the mind on wholesome objects.

The circle represents the perfect whole of the dharma, while the hub represents meditation, the core discipline in following the path. The rim represents samadhi, the composition of mind required by the teachings. Some wheels have more than eight spokes, often 12, 24, or 31. These numbers also have significance in more in-depth aspects of Buddhist philosophy.

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