when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

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when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:24 am

i could be way off on this but i'm pretty sure in most early texts the wheel is talked about as a cart wheel or some other similar thing, so it would look more like a wheel with spokes and a smooth outer ring.

but the modern dhamma wheel is clearly a steering wheel for a boat. or if that's not what it is, what is it? it clearly is not a cart wheel, the parts of each spoke that extend passed the outer ring make that interpretation impossible. when did it change?



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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:47 am

Good question, Alan!
A goooooogle search on "wheel Buddhist dhamma OR dharma" will get you hundreds of images, with all sorts of in-between forms. The one thing that (very nearly) all of them have in common is that they have eight spokes.
My guess is that the original plain-rimmed wheel image was sometimes decorated with knobs at the end of each spoke (you can see that in many of the images) and then the knobs were misinterpreted (almost certainly in the West) to turn it into a ship's wheel.

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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:14 am

May 21, 1956

(Just kidding) I have no idea when it 'evolved' into the current ship's wheel design, but it seems okay considering that the first sermon the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta where the Buddha "sets in motion the wheel of Dhamma' which includes the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, thus, 8 spokes seems appropriate, which is typical of a ship's wheel. I have heard one Mahayana monk describe the 8 fold-wheel as a ship's wheel in that we are the captain of our own "ship" controlling our own destiny, responsible for our own kamma. But it does seem to be a Western adaptation to the original Dhamma wheel of Ashoka, which as you say was smooth at the circumference.
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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:10 am

David N. Snyder wrote:May 21, 1956

(Just kidding) I have no idea when it 'evolved' into the current ship's wheel design, but it seems okay considering that the first sermon the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta where the Buddha "sets in motion the wheel of Dhamma' which includes the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, thus, 8 spokes seems appropriate, which is typical of a ship's wheel. I have heard one Mahayana monk describe the 8 fold-wheel as a ship's wheel in that we are the captain of our own "ship" controlling our own destiny, responsible for our own kamma. But it does seem to be a Western adaptation to the original Dhamma wheel of Ashoka, which as you say was smooth at the circumference.


lol.

oh indeed, the ships wheel is very appropriate. i wasn't criticising the change, just curious as to how it came about. perhaps you nailed it on the head with they mahayana thing. i know many mahayana writings call the dhamma a raft that people ride on, so the dhamma wheel being a steering wheel makes perfect sense.
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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby Justsit » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:31 pm

Just in the interest of accuracy - rafts are generally steered with oars, poles, paddles, rudders, etc., especially in rural India. Rarely steering wheels! :smile:

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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:41 pm

A valid point. The ship's wheel is not appropriate at all for the Dhammacakka.

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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby alan... » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:00 am

Justsit wrote:Just in the interest of accuracy - rafts are generally steered with oars, poles, paddles, rudders, etc., especially in rural India. Rarely steering wheels! :smile:

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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby alan... » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:02 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:A valid point. The ship's wheel is not appropriate at all for the Dhammacakka.

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you do realize this is not what i was saying at all right? i don't have any problem with the dhamma wheel or logo for this site. i like the wheel and actually have created a number of little designs from quick easily drawn line drawings of it to more elaborate, time consuming sketches. it's one of my favorite symbols. i was just curious. i don't want anyone to think i'm saying it's a bad thing or anything like that. i like the wheel the way it is.

alan... wrote: i wasn't criticising the change, just curious as to how it came about.
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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby mettafuture » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:55 am

Alan... Relax. :coffee:

And enjoy this verse from the Buddha.

"One doesn't enjoy, welcome, or remain fastened to consciousness. As one doesn't enjoy, welcome, or remain fastened to consciousness, any delight in consciousness ceases. From the cessation of delight comes the cessation of clinging. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance, the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming, the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."
-- Samadhi Sutta
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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby Raitanator » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:07 pm

I think buddhist should follow their time. Both previous wheels seem to be a bit outdated. Especially now, with our modern technology, we should use a wheel that represents our time.

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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:56 pm

Go back far enough, and there was no Buddhist iconography. I'm all for that; a picture of an empty meditation seat is a close second.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: when did the dhamma wheel become a boat wheel?

Postby alan... » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:08 pm

Raitanator wrote:I think buddhist should follow their time. Both previous wheels seem to be a bit outdated. Especially now, with our modern technology, we should use a wheel that represents our time.

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lol! i like the rim one.
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