A Diagram And Explanation Of The Animals Life Cycle Snakes Roosters and Pigs – Oh My – Symbols Themes And Teachings of the Tibetan Wheel of Life

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Snakes Roosters and Pigs – Oh My – Symbols Themes And Teachings of the Tibetan Wheel of Life

Each day we turn the wheel of life and samsaric processes. Like cogs in an illusion clock, we blindly circle it’s karmic center as we move from one realm of life to another. This is the basic teaching described within the Buddhist tradition known as the ‘Wheel of Life’. Between it’s spokes are chronicled the twelve links that depend on origin. Each links an extraordinary situation that is interrupted only by the degree of unhappiness or dissatisfaction.

The ‘Wheel’ represents the Buddhist perspective on a life lived in ignorance of the ultimate truth. He is held by the clutches of ‘Yama’, the wrathful deity known as ‘Lord of Death’. He is the manifestation of Samsara; a seemingly endless cycle of renewal. Outside of the Wheel stands the Buddha as a guide pointing the way to freedom.

To understand the lesson it is better to start the test at your station where there are three roots of deception. The first is hatred, represented by the snake, the second ignorance represented by the rooster and the third greed represented by the pig. Around the central hub is a ring representing the karmic states of the world. The numbers on the left ascend to the higher levels of the world, due to good deeds, as the numbers on the right descend to the lower realms, due to bad or impure deeds.

Moving outside the next ring is the largest and is divided by six spokes. Within each section six areas of extraordinary experience are illustrated. The top half, from left to right, shows the three higher kingdoms of the world; humans, gods and goddesses. The lower half depicts the three lower kingdoms; animals, hungry ghosts and hell-men. It may help to think of these areas as examples of mental states.

Within each section is a different kingdom image into which sentient beings are reborn; divas, gods or goddesses (a deity is depicted as an antagonistic or envious god), humans, animals (creatures that have the ability to devour insects), hungry spirits (shown as having small mouths with big belly – unable to fulfill. hunger), hell beings (there are eight different hells possible and each one is a product of mind). These divided realms relate to six distinct states of mind: Pride and jealousy fall within the realm of gods and goddesses. People have three different emotions; naivety, pride, craving, jealousy and anger. Small areas of animals, hungry spirits and hellish beings are associated with ignorance, love and anger.

Beyond this is the highest ring that describes the twelve levels of ‘reliable origin’. The first stage describes the basic ignorance of the true nature of sentient beings. He was described as a blind man with a cane. Moving clockwise around the wheel works of karma as follows. The image of the potter who knows the pot, (destiny). Later, the aimless wandering of the soul is shown by a monkey climbing a tree, swinging from branch to branch mindlessly.

Further progress to the concept of self-awareness leads to self-awareness, (name and form). This is illustrated by the image of people traveling in a boat. The next stage is shown in a picture of an empty house with open doors and windows. This shows the developing body parts; sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch and thought. These senses, in turn, allow us to establish contact with the world around us as illustrated by the image of lovers embracing. From contact Make sure to categorize feelings; pleasant, unpleasant or charcoal. This is described as a pointed arrow. Feelings give love or attachment which is symbolized by a couple falling in love (sometimes described as a drunken man). Attachment leads to grasping by a monkey (heart) picking fruit. It’s a mere presence that you get up to grab. This is a picture of a man and a woman making love. The spontaneous existence ends in birth, the gateway to the samsaric realm, it is represented by a woman in childbirth. Finally birth naturally leads to old age and death which is depicted as a burdensome old man.

This is the only teaching Buddha wrote in his own hand. Drawing a picture in the sand reinforces the important principle that every event is temporary. At first glance the study paints a poor picture. However within its structure are lessons that encourage knowledge. It is this awakening that leads to a complete release from what seems like an eternal trap of almost mindless wandering. We are dreamers lost in our own dreams and we do not know that we are dreaming. To understand and recognize the individual roles and participation within this system empowers each of us to discover the innate freedom that exists within us; our body is Bodhi.

The man stopped and asked the Buddha,

“My friend, what are you? Are you a celestial being or a god?”

– “No,” replied the Buddha.

“Well, then, are you some kind of magician or sorcerer?”

Again the Buddha answered, — “No.”

“Is it a man?” – “Of course not.”

“Well, my friend, then what are you?”

Buddha replied, “I am awake.”

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