Tibetan Wheel of Life

-Represents Samsara - world of suffering

Outside the Wheel

  • the Buddha - the enlightened one - the one who is 'awake to the truth' and has broken free from the world of Samsara 
  • rabbit represents story from Jataka tales in which a previous incarnation of the Buddha sacrificed himself to save another's life. 

Yama - Lord of Death

  • whole of Samsara is in the grip of Yama. 

Central Circle - 3 poisons

  • pig = ignorance - not understanding the truth 
  • cockerel = greed, craving = cause of suffering
  • snake = hatred 
  • 3 poisons 'turn' the wheel, life of samsara is driven by the poisons

Inner half-circles

  • people moving up represent postive Karma
  • people moving down represent negative Karma 

The Six Realms 

They can be interpreted in different ways -

1) Literally - some Buddhists believe they are actual places you can be reborn into

2) Lifestyles - they represent the kind of general lifestyle that people might have 

3) Psychological - they represent states of mind - in this case you could move into several realms in one day.

  • Heaven - the realm of the Gods - the rich and the famous are worshipped by some people
  • Asuras - the jealous warriors - they are desperate to get into the…


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