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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16 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? […]


  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.


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