The Gankyil (Tibetan: དགའ་འཁྱིལ་, Lhasa IPA: [/kã˥ kʲʰiː˥/]) or "wheel of joy" (Sanskrit: ānanda-cakra) is a symbol and ritual tool used in Tibetan and East Asian Buddhism. It is composed of three swirling and interconnected blades.
In addition to linking the gankyil with the "wish-fulfilling jewel" (Skt. cintamani), Robert Beer makes the following connections:
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.
The "victory" referred to above is symbolised by the dhvaja or "victory banner".
The divisions of the teaching of Dzogchen are for the purposes of explanation only. Realization is not something that must be constructed; to become realized simply means to discover and manifest that which from the very beginning has been our own true condition: the Zhi (gzhi) or Base. And, in particular, in Dzogchen－which not a gradual Path－the Path consists in remaining in the unveiled, manifest condition of the primordial state or Base, or in other words, in the condition which is the Fruit. Theis why the Gankyil, the symbol of primordial energy, which is a particular symbol of the Dzogchen teachings, has three parts which spiral in a way that makes them fundamentally one. The Gankyil, or "Wheel of Joy", can clearly be seen to reflect the inseparability and interdependence of all the group of three in the Dzogchen teachings, 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.
Wallace (2001: p. 77) identifies the ānandacakra with the heart of the "cosmic body" of which Mount Meru is the epicentre:
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.
Attributes connected with the three humors (Sanskrit: tridoshas, Tibetan: nyi pa gsum):
These three aspects are the mūlaprajñā of the sādhanā of the prajñāpāramitā, the "pāramitā of wisdom". 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 (kṣetra) of the second turning of the dharmacakra.
An important Dzogchen doctrinal view on the Sugatagarbha qua 'Base' (gzhi) (refer: Duckworth, 2008) that foregrounds this is 'essence' (ngo bo), 'nature' (rang bzhin) and 'power' (thugs rje): the triune of which are indivisible and iconographically represented by the Gankyil. 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 Triratna, Triple Jewel or Three Gems are triunic are therefore represented by the Gankyil:
The three higher trainings (Tibetan:ལྷག་བའི་བསླབ་པ་གསུམ་, lhagpe labpa sum,or Wyl. bslab pa gsum)
The indivisible essence of the Three Dharma Seals (ལྟ་བ་བཀའ་རྟགས་ཀྱི་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་གསུམ་) is embodied and encoded within the Gankyil:
As the inner wheel of the Vajrayana Dharmacakra, the gankyil also represents the syncretic union and embodiment of Gautama Buddha's Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma. The pedagogic upaya doctrine and classification of the "three turnings of the wheel" was first postulated by the Yogacara school.
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, boar and fowl. Gankyil is to Dharmachakra, as still eye is to cyclone, as Bindu is to Mandala. The Gankyil is the inner wheel of the Vajrayana Dharmacakra (refer Himalayan Ashtamangala).
The Gankyil is symbolic of the Trikaya doctrine of dharmakaya (Tibetan: ཆོས་སྐུ་,Wyl.Chos sku), sambhogakaya (Tibetan:ལོངས་སྐུ་ Wyl. longs sku) and nirmanakaya (Tibetan:སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་ Wyl.sprul sku) and also of the Buddhist understanding of the interdependence of the Three Vajras: of mind, voice and body. The divisions of the teaching of Dzogchen are for the purposes of explanation only; just as the Gankyil divisions are understood to dissolve in the energetic whirl of the Wheel of Joy.
This classification determined the exposition of the Dzogchen teachings in the subsequent centuries.
"Three spheres" (Sanskrit: trimandala; Tibetan: 'khor gsum). The conceptualizations pertaining to:
The triunic continuua of the esoteric Dzogchen doctrine of 'sound, light and rays' (སྒྲ་འོད་ཟེར་གསུམ་ Wylie: sgra 'od zer gsum) is held within the energetic signature of the Gankyil. The doctrine of 'Sound, light and rays' is intimately connected with the Dzogchen teaching of the 'three aspects of the manifestation of energy'. Though thoroughly interpenetrating and nonlocalised, 'sound' may be understood to reside at the heart, the 'mind'-wheel; 'light' at the throat, the 'voice'-wheel; and 'rays' at the head, the 'body'-wheel. Some Dzogchen lineages for various purposes, locate 'rays' at the Ah-wheel (for Five Pure Lights pranayama) and 'light' at the Aum-wheel (for rainbow body), and there are other enumerations.
According to the history of the origin of tantras there are three lineages:
The Gankyil also embodies the energy manifested in the three aspects that yield the energetic emergence (Tibetan: རང་བྱུན་ ) of phenomena ( Tibetan: ཆོས་ Wylie: "chos" Sanskrit: dharmas) and sentient beings (Tibetan: ཡིད་ཅན་ ):
In Bon, the gankyil denotes the three principal terma cycles of Yungdrung Bon: the Northern Treasure (Wylie: byang gter), the Central Treasure (Wylie: dbus gter) and the Southern Treasure (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 southern Tibet, and the Central Treasure from texts revealed in Ü-Tsang near Samye.