The Wheel of Life A Buddhist teaching
At the very centre, the hub, of the wheel the driving force of human suffering is depicted using three animals. Although essentially different sides of the same, metaphorical, coin they are shown in the dualistic fashion in which the unenlightened view reality.
The Cockerel symbolises grasping/greed.
A snake symbolises the opposite of greed/grasping specifically, hatred/aversion.
The Cockerel is the act of appropriation of what we want whilst the Snake is the rejection or pushing away of what we don't want.
The pig symbolises ignorance or confusion. Confusion that arises until one decides whether to grasp or reject the object or experience.
If only we could 'let go' or at least attenuate our likes and dislikes we would live a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life.
The Six Realms
The realms symbolically represent the various psychological states that one may inhabit.
The God Realm; where everything comes effortlessly and aesthically pleasing.
The Titan Realm; similar to the god realm but lacking contentment, full of envy and grasping.
The Preta Realm; often referred to as hungry ghosts and symbolic of neurotic behaviour, characterised by never feeling satisfied.
The Hell Realm; the antithesis of the god realm characterised by suffering so intense that one is barely able to function.
The Animal Realm; basic animal drives are symbolised here, specifically, seeking food, procreation and sleeping.
The Human Realm; symbolic of a balance of all the realms but not so overwhelming that one is not open and able to practise the spiritual life.
A blind person represents ignorance of the way things really are.
In depence of ignorance our habitual patterns filter and colour reality.
A monkey swinging from vine to vine represents the most basic form of consciousness dependent upon habitual patterning.
Next comes name and form. The boat represents the 'form' that carries the 'name', object and subject.
In dependence of 'name and for' arises the six base senses (Buddhists include the mind as a sense) depicted as a house.
With the arising of the five senses there comes the experience of contact.
Feeling gives rise to thirst/desire and arises due to contact via the sense bases. Symbolised by an arrow in an eye... Ouch!
Thirsting pictured by a drink.
Reaching for an apple is the traditional depiction for grasping.
Upon grasping the seed of becoming is sewn symbolised by a pregnant female.
In dependence of becoming comes birth and...