Hitler got me

Amid the hushed beauty on the grounds of a Buddhist temple in Seoul, this shocker:



A swastika right on the Bongeunsa temple.


So, turns out the swastika has been around longer than the Nazis.

Not by a few years.

Try 5,000. Maybe even 12,000.

Hitler got me — I thought it was his.

Is it, like, pretty much widely known that the swastika was not thought up by the Nazis?

It’s described right there in the Holocaust Museum in D.C. — which I’ve been to, mind you — and I didn’t know (remember) this. It’s been described in the mainstream press, and I didn’t know this.

It’s been used as a religious symbol in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Odinism (pagan religion).

It’s also been seen on ancient artifacts in Europe.

The word comes from a Sanskrit word for ‘good fortune’ — a totally unironic meaning in most swastika uses, and an absurdly ironic meaning in only one.

I like how a Buddhist monk described to the Korean Times how the wheel-like image symbolizes the idea that the truth never stops moving: ‘We use it to signify truth, to show that nothing is stationary. Everything is impermanent. Truth is moving everywhere all the time. It is dynamic.’

So then Hitler rolls it out and starts killing millions of people.

Imagine what all those religions must have been thinking as he waved the swastika flags around.

That’s some massive SMFH.

In addition to being embarrassed at not knowing this, I’m also a little bit pissed.

Here are some last pics from the trip:

Entryway to Bongeunsa Buddhist temple
buddhist temple panorama
Pano of the temple grounds


palace selfie
at Gyeonbokgung Palace (dates back to a dynasty from 1300s)
korean girls
couple of way-better-dressed tourists
last dinner
last dinner in Seoul
gangnam selfie
Gangnam, was the hippest area in Seoul until I started taking selfies there

Have a good day.

2 thoughts on “Hitler got me

  1. Of course you know by now that the tilted swastika is the symbol of the Nazi Party.

    You did not research any of those religions before you visited Asia?

    Sorry, but I am a librarian, and believe in no excuses for not knowing.


  2. that the nazi symbol was tilted and the buddhist symbol isn’t doesn’t change the fact that they commandeered a symbol that had long stood for truth and impermanence — and that was the source of my shock. this whole post was basically an admission of my ignorance — so i’m glad you noticed it! it was a work trip, not a pleasure trip primarily. thanks for reading.


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