I had been curious about the symbol 卍 and why it is so commonly seen in Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Only recently did someone tell me that the symbol is pronounced in Chinese as “wan” (as in 万).
Master Sheng Yun has a better discourse on this:
The swastika in Buddhism symbolizes infinity, perfect harmony, and totality, in terms of both time and space. It is also one of the Buddha’s 32 marks of greatness, the signs of perfect merit and blessings, representing the Buddha’s perfect wisdom and complete compassion.
I was also puzzled why the Nazi Party Flag has a similar symbol - it seems incongruous that there will be any connection to Buddhism.
A quick Google gives a explanation:
The swastika was widely used in Europe at the start of the 20th century. It symbolized many things to the Europeans, with the most common symbolism being of good luck and auspiciousness. In the wake of widespread popular usage, in post-World War I Germany, the newly established Nazi Party formally adopted the Hakenkreuz (German: [ˈhaːkn̩kʀɔʏts], meaning “hooked-cross”) in 1920.
The fascination of the German people with Aryanism arose when artifacts with swastikas on them were found near the Trojan city of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann. The Nazi party was looking for the symbol that would preferably catch the attention of all of Germany and the swastika had that potential. It became a symbol to unify the German people, to a conjecture about their ancestors, Aryan identity and nationalistic pride. It also allowed the Nazi party to establish their anti-Semitic views, as well as terrify Jews and the enemies of the Nazi state.
So now I know.