The difference between the Buddhist swastika symbol and the Nazi swastika symbol


In Japanese Buddhism, the Manji is an ancient and important spiritual symbol.

The Manji (Sanscrit:  Svastika) represents the harmonious interplay of the many opposites in life – – heaven and earth, day and night, etc.

The horizontal line unites light and darkness, while the perpendicular line symbolically connects heaven and earth;  and these two combined, form a cross representing the universe in harmony beyond the limits of time and space.

From this harmony comes the power that creates and nurtures all things.

The ‘trailing’ lines at the ends of the cross represent the truth that the universe and all things in it are in a perpetual state of flux.

There two types of Manji — one a mirror image of the other.

The ‘counterclock’ Manji — with the ‘trailing lines’ running from the ends of the central cross to the left (called “Omote“) — represents infinite mercy.   This is the prevalent Buddhist Manji symbol in Japan:







The ‘clockwise’ Manji — with the ‘trailing lines’ running from the ends of the central cross to the right (called “Ura“) — represents intellect and strength.



The evil Nazis, twisting the true meaning of the “Ura Manji”, adopted it and tilted the Manji symbol at an angle of 45 degrees (corners pointing upwards and invariably in black).  Here is the much-hated Nazi swastika:


The Nazis ruined that symbol forever.


By the way, the universal svastika symbol also arose independently in southwestern Native American cultures as the Whirling Log.  It was also used especially by the Native Americans of the Mississippian culture:



The bottom line to all this is that this kind of symbolism and its universal concepts seems to have existed throughout in different cultures.



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29 thoughts on “The difference between the Buddhist swastika symbol and the Nazi swastika symbol

  1. […] More than a book, there is compassion, He walked and lotus sprang under his feet He forgot, and birds broke into song Singing the first dawn, fire burning In the light-storm-thunder of his third eye It was an intention he would not regret, Buddha Gautama, born into beginning-less time Spinning a swastika of love leftward turning. What’s the difference? […]


      • Hitler wasn’t outright evil. He used a false Christianity as a vehicle for his racist religion to convince good people of an inversion of reality (evil is good, good is evil), and used his racist religion (eugenics) to “enact evolution” through subterfuge and deception, until eventually becoming overtly evil. He appeared to be a savior, a hero. We have hindsight which is 20/20, but to those people at that time, the people that were brainwashed, he was as good as Jesus as far as they were concerned. He is what is called an “anti-Christ.” Meaning, in place of Christ. If Christ would have the best intentions in that position, “anti-Christ” would have the worst. The problem is that when someone bad steps in as a “savior” and everyone accepts it, just like with Hitler, it will be because people believed him to not be evil, probably because of his own posturing in public as ‘not evil’ in order to win votes. I.E. being in charge does not guarantee that the person in charge is actually a good person, but the blind following sheep of the world of politics allows slime-balls to step in in place of good guys all the time. Read this lad’s comment but imagine he is speaking from the perspective of someone living in Nazi Germany, someone who thinks everything is honkey dorey, and the ashes just began to fall and the smell just began to fill the air. Do you think that those people felt that they had knowingly followed someone evil, to help in doing evil things? I think maybe they began to realize that they were ignorant to what Hitler actually stood for, and began to realize their ignorance. See what he’s saying now? Nobody votes for ‘outright evil.’ They vote for the face of good, and then they get what they vote for. That’s if, voting has ever really mattered, but that’s a whole other bag of monkey balls.


    • Only if peace with North Korea, the lowest unemployment in over 20 years is dangerous, the lowest black and Hispanic unemployment rate since ever.

      On the other hand, Obama went from bombing 2 countries to 7 countries, launched one tear gas assault every month, and had unemployment above 8% longer than any other president in American history.

      On a final note, if you think Trump is Hitler (which by the way, the Nazis have far left ideologies like healthcare, affirmative action, abortion, and of course, gun control). I will still continue to support your freedom of thought and speech. However, if you think Trump is Hitler, and you still believe legal citizens should not carry guns to defend themselves from the government, I don’t know what to say anymore, your arguments are just oxymorons.


      • Terrance Yung,

        Firstly, I think it’s adorable that you believe that your teeny, little gun would do anything in the event that your government decided to turn against you considering they have airplanes, tanks, boats, etc. This either tells me you’re really stupid, or on the flip side, we both know you’re only trying to stall the debate with that terrible argument.

        Secondly, still on the guns issue, gun control has nothing to do with the left or the right; there are just as many left leaning countries with gun control as there are right leaning ones.

        Thirdly, I strongly suggest you re-read your history books as Hitler was on the authoritarian right not the left, affirmative action in the Third Riech? Are you for real? How far up your backside did you have to go to get that one? Oooh Healthcare! How dreadful! Oh the humanity! How dare the Government provide free health services to those in tight economic situations! It isn’t like it’s the Government’s job to take care of its tax-paying citizens…

        And just so that you don’t completely ignore any of what I said, allow me to clarify that I do not agree with either the left or the right, I think both sides are completely ridiculous. I stand pretty much on the center so calling me a “dirty leftist” or something just won’t cut it.

        Lastly, I suggest you look up the meaning of the word “oxymoron”.

        Kindest of regards,

        Professor Edward Frederick Reginald Joseph Crowley


  2. The west is all about materialistic ,and thus brought swastika sign without any solid relevent background history. The asian respect and revered the Swastika Sign by hindu, jain and buddhist followers from thousand s of years. It means – Goodness Intention In doing something new.. West has been destorting many fact of Asians history, So be careful.


  3. We the people here in the west are ready to gather ourselves and pull it together. No more lies. Before speaking a word, we will investigate deep into the truth, as to prevent perpetuating misinformation. The world needs us. NO MORE NONSENSE.


  4. My wife is Japanese. I I have seen one of this symbol, on the graves of her relatives in Ibaraki-ken. I always thought, it was her family crest. Thanks to your explanations, I know now, that this is not the case.


  5. To the author: Your article is incorrect and poorly researched. The swastika used by the German National Socialists was not taken from the Manji symbol. It is actually an ancient pre-Christian European sun wheel. It’s a spiritual symbol that represents the solar cycle as a circle divided into four parts by an inner cross, which itself represents the four seasons. The wheel is sometimes divided into six or twelve parts with the inner spokes, and was common throughout much of Europe before the Romans Christianized it. Even after Christianity swept through Europe, many of the ancient symbols and festivals persisted.

    Hitler saw this symbol engraved on the bricks of churches in Germany and chose it to represent the National Socialist movement in opposition to the Communist movement, which was atheistic in nature. Prior to Hitler’s rise to power the world saw what the Bolsheviks did to the Christians in Russia, and he was deeply concerned about the same fate awaiting Germany if nothing was done to stop them. During the 1930s the Jewish leader of the NKVD, Genrikh Yagoda, was responsible for the Holodomor – a man-made famine – that killed between 2 and 10 million Christians in the Ukraine. The Bolshevik revolution, while primarily depicted as a class struggle, was overwhelmingly Jewish and backed by the Jewish wall street millionaire Jacob Schiff. Hitler was well aware of the Jewish connection to Communism (Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky were all Jews), because Jews led a Communist revolution in Germany from 1918-1923. That is why he hated the Jews. Not because they were Jewish, but because they were spreading Communism and killing Christians.

    By the way, it is actually possible that the Manji symbol owes its origin to the pre-Christian European civilization. As you may be aware, the Indo-Europeans conquered large parts of what is now India and Pakistan, bringing with them elements of various Greek traditions such as sculpture and mythic heroes that became mixed with Buddhism. This was Gandhara. This unique mixture of European and Buddhist traditions was spread by Gandharan Buddhist missionaries, including (some say) to Japan. So the Manji symbol may actually owe its origin to the same swastika that Hitler was inspired to use for the National Socialist flag!

    Please correct your article.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Swastika is the Cross of the Buddha, the Tao, the Megami/Goddesses, the Wymyn/Women of Passion and Mysticism, Luna/the Moon, the Night, Zen, etc. – and goes back to 7,000 BCE at least… and will be around AFTER Nazism and all other Legalism, power coming out of the barrel of a gun, both ‘Left Wing’ AND ‘Right Wing’ alike, is but blood soaked memories. Time to reclaim the sacred Past for Future Learning and Meditation. Blessings of the Buddha, the Tao, the Kami/Gods, the Megami, Confucius, and the Zen Masters and Mistresses from this humble little Japanese American Shamaness to all who seek Wisdom and Honor from those who came before us. Cheers!


  7. First off, the topic is about the swastika. 45 degree – EVIL, static or 90 degree = GOOD. Simple. Yes there are varying degrees of this orientation and its meaning – but given the mentality of people here, and their propensity for deviating off topic, it will just muddy the water.

    The rest of you touting hitler/trump BS, stop talking – your stupid.
    Gun control idiots – stop talking, Gun control has NEVER been the issue and it never will. Its the person behind the gun. Guns DON’T kill – people do.

    99% of people that DO get guns to commit an illegal act kill or w/e, do so illegally (you watch some moron is gonna step in and question the figure of speech of 99% LOL!!!!). any 10yr old gang banger can get a gun anywhere – there goes the gun control. Again, there are varying degrees of how people get their weapon of choice to kill – but don’t want to muddy the water. keep it simple.

    I personally dont own a gun and never will. Don’t like them. However, I am glad that there are people in my schools, church and neighborhoods that do carry them. I feel safe. Thank you to you guys!

    So stop talking.
    Trump doesn’t have people line up to be killed, and last i seen, guns are still an inanimate object that need some type of interaction to fire.


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