The Middle Way

Zen Spot #26 -- Mindfulness, meditation and an invisible German Buddhist Temple January 23, 2018 12:07

Brilliant colors

Artwork and symbols play a special role in living a spiritually-centered life. They are anchors, offering a silent connection to a set of personal beliefs that make our lives more rich and complete. The Dharma Wheel, in particular, is the symbol that reminds me that adherence to a simple set of guidelines can improve one's life.

I love its symmetry, versatility and meaning. It can be both a highly personal spiritual icon and a universally accessible image enjoyable for its simplicity, shape, color, materials, finish and presence. It offers endless visceral possibilities that can connect with any viewer. One need not be a Buddhist to appreciate the Dharma Wheel. It helps, however, to have an open searching heart.

The same can be said for the colors and designs around which Buddhist iconography is built. In particular, bright reds, yellows, blues and purples adorn temples and architecture.

German Zen?

I recently returned from a nine day trip to Europe, with a two day stop in Freiburg im Breisgau in southern Germany. It’s a wonderful town — the kind that, within two hours of entering, one can tell a life well-lived would be easy to find.

Founded in 1120, the city has a rich history, remarkable for its affluence from the very beginning. Among examples of the city’s wealth are the Bächle, small, freshwater stone runnels that line the streets. The town center is exclusively pedestrian, so the Bächle are a hazard only to those who spend their time looking up to marvel at the architecture. Legend holds that those who accidentally step — or fall — into the Bächle are destined to marry a local and live happily among the warmest of its citizens.

Few of the structures in Frieburg are brightly colored. In fact, most homes and shops are muted. Friendly, wonderful, welcoming and cultured, but muted. The building in the image above was no exception — dark, somber, muted.

Not a temple

Downloaded from my smartphone, I imported the image into Photoshop and adjusted the colors by increasing both the saturation and the contrast. A Buddhist temple revealed itself.

I was reminded that the world is a temple and, just after I took this picture, while still looking up at the structure, I stepped in a Bächle.


About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit

Invented by DharmaMechanic