In this mudra the thumb and index finger of both hands touch at their tips to form a circle. This circle represents the Wheel of Dharma, or in metaphysical terms, the union of method and wisdom.
The three remaining fingers of the two hands remain extended. These fingers are themselves rich in symbolic significance:
The three extended fingers of the right hand represent the three vehicles of the Buddha's teachings, namely:
- The middle finger represents the 'hearers' of the teachings
- The ring finger represents the 'solitary realizers'
- The Little finger represents the Mahayana or 'Great Vehicle'.
Significantly, in this mudra, the hands are held in front of the heart, symbolizing that these teachings are straight from the Buddha's heart.
This mudra is displayed by the first Dhyani Buddha Vairochana. Each of the Five Dhyani Buddhas is associated with a specific human delusion, and it is believed that they help mortal beings in overcoming them. Thus, Vairochana is believed to transform the delusion of ignorance into the wisdom of reality. By displaying the Dharmachakra mudra, he thus helps adepts in bringing about this transition