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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17 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.


  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

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