The Psychology of Confusion and the Path of Liberation

About the Buddhist Wheel of Existence

Bhavachakra (Sanskrit) – Srid pa’i ‘khor lo (Tibetan) – Bhava cakka – (Pali) – Liu dao (Chinese)

The Wheel of Existence is an ancient Buddhist teaching device that illustrates the realms of confusion, samsara, as well as its causes, conditions, and mechanisms. It is said to have been created by the disciple Maudgalyayana according to the instructions of the Buddha himself, and is traditionally painted outside a Buddhist temple as a reminder of the suffering of samsara, and to arouse determination to be free. The wheel describes the six realms of existence – the temporarily blissful realm of the gods, the demi-gods, the humans, the painful hell-realms, the hungry ghost realm and the animal realm. These are not geographic locations, but experiences generated by confusion and hence the Buddha is depicted as pointing to the Moon which symbolises freedom from confusion. The outer periphery illustrates twelve causal links that create the individual experience of samsara. Next are the six large sections that illustrate the abovementioned six realms. Around the hub, there is a white semi-circle illustrating the positive actions that lead to the happiness of the higher realms and a black semi-circle illustrating the negative actions that lead to the painful lower existences. In the centre are three animals symbolising ignorance, attachment and aversion.
About the authors:
Jakob Leschly is educated in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and presently teaching for Byron Bay Buddhists/
Siddhartha's Intent Australia. Stefan Mager is involved with the Aracaria Biodynamic Farm (aracaria.com.au) project.
Published in Australia by aracariaguides.com - email: info@aracariaguides.cominfo@aracariaguides.com
Aracariaguides is a part of the 20 year Aracaria Biodynamic Farm Project (aracaria.com.au).
Copyright Jakob Leschly and Stefan Mager. ISBN No 978-0-9775771-8-7