The Dharma Drum Mountain Emblem

The design of the DDM emblem comes from the hand gesture (mudra) of the Buddha turning the wheel of the Dharma, called the "Dharma expounding mudra." With his enlightenment, the Buddha resolved the question of how sentient beings may liberate themselves from suffering. Therefore, the DDM emblem expresses the wish that sentient beings be relieved from all vexation.

The left side of the emblem depicts the Buddha's hand with three open fingers. It also resembles the shape of the Chinese character for mountain, symbolizing Dharma Drum Mountain. The number three also symbolizes the Three Jewels ─ the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha ─ that inspire people with wisdom and bless the world with compassion. The number three also symbolizes the Three Dharma Seals: the doctrines that all conditioned phenomena are impermanent, that all phenomena are without the self, and that nirvana is perfectly quiescent. The number three also represents the undefiled practices of precepts, concentration, and wisdom.

The right side of the emblem depicts the Buddha's hand with the thumb and the index finger touching. The shape resembles a meditating monastic who sits facing the mountain, deeply absorbed in quiescence. If seen as the thumb only, the whole emblem would have four fingers. The number four symbolizes the fundamental concepts and methods of Buddhism as contained in the Four Noble Truths: the existence of suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering. The four fingers also symbolize the four methods of inducement: giving, speaking lovingly, acting beneficially, and cooperating. These are the four virtues through which the bodhisattvas transform the beings of the world.

The five fingers altogether symbolize the common teachings of the five vehicles ─ humans, devas, shravakas, and pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and the Buddha. The five vehicles are expedient means, while the vehicle of the buddhas is the ultimate teaching; thus the five fingers are inseparable from the hand. One hand plus five fingers equals six, symbolizing the Six Paramitas of generosity, morality, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom.

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