An vintage original master painting of a Tibetan Wheel of Life or "Bhavacakra" with a hanging pole surrounded by fabric.
Elements of The Wheel of Life
The Wheel of Life consists of the following elements:
- The pig, rooster and snake in the hub of the wheel represent the three poisons of ignorance, attachment and aversion.
- The second layer represents karma.
- The third layer represents the six realms of samsara.
- The fourth layer represents the twelve links of dependent origination.
- The fierce figure holding the wheel represents impermanence. It is also Yama, the god of death.
- The moon above the wheel represents liberation from samsara or cyclic existence.
- The Buddha pointing to the white circle indicates that liberation is possible.
Symbolically, the three inner circles, moving from the center outward, show that the three poisons of ignorance, attachment, and aversion give rise to positive and negative actions; these actions and their results are called karma. Karma in turn gives rise to the six realms, which represent the different types of suffering within samsara.
The fourth and outer layer of the wheel symbolizes the twelve links of dependent origination; these links indicate how the sources of suffering that the three poisons and karma produce live within cyclic existence.
The fierce being holding the wheel represents impermanence; this symbolizes that the entire process of samsara or cyclic existence is impermanent, transient, constantly changing. The moon above the wheel indicates liberation. The Buddha is pointing to the moon, indicating that liberation from samsara is possible.