Dhammacakka in Theravāda Buddhism

Theerapong Meethaisong, Phramaha Udon Ketthong


This research is of 2 objectives, namely :- (1) to study of Dhammacakka in Theravāda Buddhism; and (2) to analytically study the influence of  Dhammacakka to the Thai Societies.

From the research, it is found that the word “Cakka” means “wheel”, i.e. cart wheel and car wheel.  Cakka happens to the ones with virtues; for example the Kings’ Glass Cakka.  There are 5 kinds of Cakkas: 1) Wooden Cakka; 2) Glass Cakka; 3) Dhammacakka; 4) Manner Cakka; and 5) Sampatti Cakka.  Later on, the Buddha used Dhammacakka in view of the virtues, the seeking for wisdom and the development of human beings.  From the research, it is also found that the word ‘Dhammacakka’ has two meanings; i.e., (1) the wheel of Dhammas that the Buddha evolved, the Dhammas that the Buddha announced which are virtues and peacefulness; (2) the land that the evolution of the wheel of Dhammas reached, and became the land of Dhammas.   In Buddhism, the word ‘Cakkas’ are also divided into 4 types, namely :- (1) Ratanacakka; (2) Dhammacakka; (3) Lakkhanฺacakka; and (4) Bhavacakka.

The research in view of the influence of Dhammacakka to the Thai societies, it is found that : (1) in Buddhist Ethics, it is used to represent the meaning of the Noble Eightfold Path.  The Dhammacakka with the 12 rowed wheels is the symbol of the 12 characteristics of the Noble Truth; and the Dhammacakka with the 16 rowed wheels means the 16 insights (Ñānฺa); etc., which are the practice principles of Buddhist people; (2) in Aesthetics, Dhammacakka has got the beauty of art to the eyes of the beholders, and caused the various adjustment of the differences of the forms; (3)  in the Culture and Custom, Dhammacakka is like a kind of the symbol of religious sacred things which are respectful; (4) in Sociology, Dhammacakka is as the symbol of being a Buddhist; (5) in Psychology, it is like a well-thought plan or the tool to hold on for Buddhist people’s minds; (6) in Political Science, Dhammacakka is the principle of the religious ruling for propeling the wheel of Dhammas; (7) in personification, Dhammacakka is the symbol  showing the prototype of the person who conducts and performs as a good Buddhist; and (8) in righteousness, Dhammacakka is the symbol of the Dhamma recall in Buddhism for Buddhist people to conduct and practice leading lives.

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