Wheels of Life

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Sanskrit: bhāva (भाव)

The Wheel of Life, or the bhavachakra, is a traditional mandala representation of samsaric cycle of existence, depicted in a complex picture describing existence as a cycle of life, death, rebirth and suffering that they seek to escape altogether.

The Sanskrit meaning of “bhava”, means emotion, sentiment, state of body or mind, disposition. It also means, in some context, “becoming, being, existing, occurring or appearance”. The word “chakra” means “wheel, circle and cycle”

It can be found on the outside walls of Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries in the Indo-Tibetan region. Legend has it that the Buddha himself designed the first illustration of the wheel of life, and offered it as a gift to King Rudrayana.

Painting Description:

The wheel of life has 7 different layers or elements, each representing various aspects of the world (samsara).

  1. The center: The pig, rooster and snake are the three poisons.
  2. The second layer represent both positive and negative karma ( action/deed )
  3. The third layer represents the six realms of samsara
  4. The fourth layer represents the twelve links of interdependent origination
  5. The monster holding the wheel represents impermanence
  6. The moon above the wheel represents liberation from the samsaric cycle of existence
  7. The Buddha pointing to the moon indicates that liberation is possible

The Wrathful Dharmapala of Hell Yama, Lord of the Underworld, represents death and holds the wheel in his hooves.

The six realms are

  1. The Realm of Gods
  2. The Realm of Asuras
  3. The Realm of Hungry Ghosts
  4. The Hell Realm
  5. The Animal Realm
  6. The Human Realm

In the upper right-hand corner of the Wheel of Life, the Buddha appears, representing hope for liberation. Often he is shown pointing at the moon representing enlightenment.

Painting: Hand Painting with Pure 24 carat gold.

Size: Approx 80cm x 100cm.