The Wheel of Life, also known
as the Bhavacakra, is a symbolic representation of the cycle of existence or
samsara in Buddhist cosmology. This intricate and circular diagram is often
depicted in Thangkas and serves as a visual teaching tool. The Wheel is divided
into six realms, each illustrating different states of existence, namely gods,
demigods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell beings.
At the hub of the
wheel are three animals representing the three poisons: a pig (ignorance), a
rooster (attachment), and a snake (aversion). Surrounding the wheel are twelve
links, illustrating the chain of dependent origination or the cycle of birth,
death, and rebirth.
The Wheel of Life
emphasizes the cyclical nature of existence and the importance of breaking free
from the cycle through enlightenment and liberation. Devotees use the Wheel as
a meditative tool, contemplating the various realms and the causes of suffering,
ultimately seeking a path towards liberation and awakening.
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