it is symbolic of primordial energy and represents the central unity and indivisibility of all the teaching, philosophical and doctrinal triune of Dzogchen (and quadrune of the greater Buddhadharma such as the Four Noble Truths and the 'Four Joys' of the Bonpo). It is an attribute of the Snow Lion.
According to Norbu & Shane:
- The Gankyil, or ‘Wheel of Joy’, can clearly be seen to reflect the inseparability and interdependence of all the groups of three in the Dzogchen teaching, but perhaps most particularly it shows the inseparability of the Base, the Path, and the Fruit. And since Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, is essentially the self-perfected indivisibility of the primordial state, it naturally requires a non-dual symbol to represent it.
According to Déchen & Ngak’chang:
- The structure of Dzogchen teachings is always in groups of three – such as base, path and fruit – but although they are divided in this way their indivisibility is emphasised by symbols such as the melong (me long) and of the ga’kyil (dGa’ dKyil).
Nomenclature, orthography and etymology
Gankyil དགའ་འཁྱིལ (Wylie: dga'_'khyil), (equivalent Sanskrit: ananda-chakra), pronounced "ganshey" or "ganshee", is formed from the words dga' ("joy, elation, rapture, bliss, ecstasy, beauty, total happiness" i.e. the opposite of dukkha) and 'khyil ("swirling; circle, ring, bracelet, coil,mandala, a place where water flows"). Thus, it may be rendered into English as "bliss-whirling" or "wheel of joy".
Sam-Taegeuk (三太極) (삼태극)(Samtaegeuk) (통일 한국의) (서울)
- The gakyil or 'wheel of joy' is depicted in a similar form to the ancient Chinese yin-yang symbol, but its swirling central hub is usually composed of either three or four sections. The Tibetan term dga' is used to describe all forms of joy, delight, and pleasure, and the term 'khyil means to circle or spin. The wheel of joy is commonly depicted at the central hub of the dharmachakra, where its three or four swirls may represent the Three Jewels and victory over the three poisons, or the Four Noble Truths and the four directions. As a symbol of the Three Jewels it may also appear as the 'triple-eyed' or wish-granting gem of the chakravartin. In the Dzogchen tradition the three swirls of the gakyil primarily symbolize the trinity of the base, path, and fruit.
- In the center of the summit of Mt Meru, there is the inner lotus (garbha-padma) of the Bhagavan Kalacakra, which has sixteen petals and constitutes the bliss-cakra (ananda-cakra) of the cosmic body.
Ground, path and fruit
- 'ground' or 'base' (Tibetan: གཞི, Wylie: gzhi)
- 'path' or 'method' (Tibetan: ལམ, Wylie: lam)
- 'fruit' or 'product' (Tibetan: འབྲས, Wylie: 'bras)
Mula kleśa of the Twelve Nidānas
- Tibetan: མ་རིག་པ་ ma rig pa),(Sanskrit: Avidyā
- Tibetan: ལེན་པ་ len pa),(Sanskrit: Upādāna
- Tibetan: སྲེད་པ sred pa),(Sanskrit: Tṛṣṇā
Three humours of traditional Tibetan medicine
- Desire (Tibetan: འདོད་ཆགས། ’dod chags) is aligned with the humor Wind (Tibetan: རླུང་། Lung rlung, Sanskrit: vata - "air and aether constitution")
- Hatred (Tibetan: ཞེ་སྡང་། zhe sdang) is aligned with the humor Bile (Tibetan: མཁྲིས་པ། Tripa mkhris pa, Sanskrit: pitta - "fire and water constitution")
- Ignorance (Tibetan: གཏི་མུག gti mug) is aligned with the humor Phlegm (Tibetan: བད་ཀན། Badkanbad kan, Sanskrit: kapha - "earth and water constitution").
For the Bonpo, the Gankyil denotes the three principal 'terma' (Tibetan:གཏེར་མ།) or "treasure" cycles of Everlasting Bon, the 'Northern Treasure'Tibetan: བྱང་གཏེར་(Wylie: byang gter), the 'Central Treasure' Tibetan: དབུས་གཏེར་(Wylie: dbus gter), and the 'Southern Treasure'Tibetan: ལྷོ་གཏེར་ (Wylie: lho gter).
The Northern Treasure is compiled from texts revealed in Zhangzhung and northern Tibet, the Southern Treasure from texts revealed in Bhutan and the southern area of Tibet, and the Central Treasure from texts revealed in central Tibet close to Samye Monastery.
Learning, Reflection and Meditation
- Study ( Tibetan: ཐོས་པ་ thos + pa)
- Reflection ( Tibetan: བསམ་པ sam+ pa)
- Meditation ( Tibetan: སྒོམ་པ་ sgom pa)
Hence, these three are related to, but distinct from, the Prajñāpāramitā that denotes a particular cycle of discourse in the Buddhist literature that relates to the doctrinal "field" (Sanskrit: kṣetra) of the second turning of the Dharmachakra.
The Dzogchen teachings focus on three terms:
- View (Tibetan: ལྟ་བ་ lta-ba),
- Meditation (Tibetan: སྒོམ་པ་ sgom pa),
- Action (Tibetan: སྤྱོད་པ་ spyod-pa).
To see directly the (absolute) nature of our mind is the View; the way of stabilizing that View and making it an unbroken experience is Meditation; and integrating that View into our daily life is what is meant by Action.
Where essence is openness or emptiness (ngo bo stong pa), nature is luminosity, lucidity or clarity (as in the luminous mind of the Five Pure Lights) (rang bzhin gsal ba) and power is universal compassionate energy (thugs rje kun khyab), unobstructed (ma 'gags pa)
The Three Roots are:
Three Dharma Seals
Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma
The gankyil is the energetic signature of the Trikaya, realised through the transmutation of the obscurations forded by the Three poisons (refer klesha) and therefore in the Bhavachakra the Gankyil is an aniconic depiction of the snake,
- Semde Tibetan: སེམས་སྡེ་ (mind class/[[mind cycle);
- Longde Tibetan: གློངས་སྡེ་ (Dzogchen)|Longde (space class/space cycle); and
- Mengagde Tibetan: མན་ངག་སྡེ (oral instruction class/poral instruction cycle)
The conceptualizations pertaining to:
- The Lineage of Buddha's Intention, which refers to the teachings of the Truth Body originating from the primordial Buddha Samantabhadra,
- The Lineage of the Knowledge Holders corresponds to the teachings of the Enjoyment Body originating from Vajrasattva and Vajrapani, whose human lineage begins with Garab Dorje of the Ögyan Dakini land.
- Lastly, the Human Whispered Lineage corresponds to the teachings of the Emanation Body, originating from the Five Buddha Families.
- rolpa (Wylie: Rol-pa), which may be perceived as the thoughtform of "the eye of the mind", or the transpersonal imaginal manifestation
- tsal (Wylie: rTsal, which may be conceived as the manifestation of the energy of the individual, as apparently an 'external world.
Historical context and cross-cultural cognates
Herbert V. Günther, when writing about Buddhist triunes, states that "...the magical number Three, [is] so deeply rooted in our very being" and references this inference by citing the Russian mathematician V.V. Nalimov (1982: p. 165-168) who according to Gunther provides a concise presentation of why "all of us prefer the trinity: trilogy, triptych...".