Samsara
The Wheel of Life (Bhavacakra)


The Wheel of Life (also known as Bhavacakra or the Wheel of Becoming), as shown above, is a representation of Samsara, the process of coming into existence as a differentiated mortal creature. This is familiar to most of us as most people have an understanding of Buddhist belief in "reincarnation," (though Buddhists really believe in rebirth). Continual rebirth is Samsara, referred to as "continual wandering" in the link, and this is neither negative or positive, but a recurring event which is necessary for a person to reach enlightenment

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The above diagram is a interpretation of the Wheel of Samsara, showing the operation of the wheel. The wheel itself is turned by the inner animals, the rooster, pig and snake, representing the greed, delusion and hatred that keep man trapped within the wheel, not allowing a person to reach enlightenment because of these basic instincts. The inner sections of the wheel are the different worlds, the six realms, of which a person can be reborn into, based on their previous actions. Karma decides where you will be placed in these realms, as shown in the diagram. A person born into the Hell realm, for instance, was reborn into that realm because they had a lot of feelings of terror or depression in previous lives. However their view of Hell is different from the main Christian beliefs, as one can ascend to a higher realm after all their negative karma is gone. Human rebirth is seen as the best rebirth you can receive in Samsara as you have many possibilities and are most likely to receive enlightenment in this stage. None of the sections of the inner wheel are the end goal, even those in the heaven realm have not reached enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal. Lastly, the outer layer consists of the conditions and causes of a rebirth and the accumulation of karma, either positive or negative. Depending on how you did in these 12 areas, you will be reborn in the different realms and your karma maintained in your previous lives will transfer. This means that how well you progressed in these 12 areas will perpetuate in your next rebirth and so on.