The Wheel of life or Sepa Khorlo

The Bhavachakra, the Wheel of Life or Wheel of Becoming, is a mandala - a complex picture representing the Buddhist view of the universe. To Buddhists, existence is a cycle of life, death, rebirth and suffering that they wanted to escape altogether and to achieve enlightenment.

The Creature holding the wheel of life is known as Yama Raja or Shinjay Choegi Gyab or the lord of death. It is held by him as all creatures in the wheel of life must die numerous deaths before they achieve realization and enlightenment.

Centre of the Wheel: The Three Poisons

The main aim in Buddhism is to escape endless cycle of birth, death and suffering’s. The way to escape this endless cycle is to get rid from the three powerful poisons which can be seen in the center of the wheel. The three powerful poisons are represented by a Roaster (Desire), Snake (Anger) and a Pig (Ignorance).  Pig represents ignorance - being the most foolish of animals, since it always sleeps in the dirtiest places and eats whatever comes to its mouth. Similarly, the snake is identified with anger because it will be aroused and leap up at the slightest touch. The roaster used as a desire because it is very attached to its partner. These three animals represent the three main mental poisons, which are the core of the Wheel of Life.

Second Layer: Positive and Negative Actions

The second layer outside the center is divided into two parts: the white semi-circle and the black semi-circle. The white semi-circle depicts Buddhist practitioners facing upward to the heaven whereas the black semi- circle depicts the ignorant beings that are being driven down to hell. 

Third Layer: Six Realms of Samsara

The third layer from the center is divided into six parts that represents different life forms that we may take depending upon our own karma (good deeds and bad deeds). It is the cycle of reincarnation. The six different realms can be divided into two parts: the upper realm and the lower realm. The six realms are: Human, God, Demi God, Hungry Ghost, Animal and Hell.

  • The Human realm is considered to be the best realm as we have a very good opportunity to practice dharma. We have ability to achieve good karma and to work towards attaining enlightenment.
  • The God and Demi God realm is not ideal realm. Legend has it that there exist a wish fulfilling tree whose roots are fixed in the demi God realm but the fruits are grown in God’s realm. The Gods are ignorant as all their desires are met by the tree and if they don’t practice Buddhism then they are likely to fall in Hell realm. (Pride).
  • Demi Gods are constantly waging war against the Gods. They were very much discontent, angry and jealous. They try to cut down the tree but only in vain.
  • Hungry Ghost or yeda are the creatures with needle- like throat and gigantic stomach. They are hungry and thirsty but are not able to quench their thirst and stop their hunger due to lack of food and their lack of ability to sallow even a small grain of rice.  Greedy beings who don’t share and hoard wealth are likely to born in this realm.
  • The animals are also ignorant and too preoccupied to study dharma. There is no peace and order in this realm.
  • Hell is the last and least desirable realm and is divided into 2 parts: hot hell and cold hell depending upon the deeds.

Fourth Layer: Twelve Links

The outermost circle represents the 12 interdependent human existences that we have to convert the negative actions into positive actions.

  1. Blind man with a walking stick

If a man is blind then he does not know which way to go and shows the ignorant. And so if the man is ignorant then he does not know what is good and bad and likely to suffer again and again. So we have to convert the negative energy to positive by consulting the master. So when we are educated then we will not be ignorant and we will know how to convert into positive energy.

2. Potter making pot

It depends upon our self how to shape our life as same as the potter shaping the pot. Some says the fate does not favor but it’s in our hand to shape the fate and get out of ignorance.

3. Monkey Jumping from one tree to another

It shows the consciousness. It’s in our hand to tame our own mind by not letting like a monkey jumping from one tree to another. So we take into positive thinking by having good and constant mind. 

4.  Man crossing with ocean with a boat

Human life itself is a samsara, be it king or queen, actor or actress they are not happy all the time because life itself is a suffering’s. So if we need to cross the ocean of suffering we need a perfect boat / ship to cross the ocean. We need perfect boat because the old boat is likely to get broken and die. Likewise if we want to get out of suffering’s and wanted to go to heaven, we need to practice good dharma so that dharma will act as a boat will led to heaven

5. The house of five windows

The house of five windows symbolizes the five senses of human organs. This means with our five senses of organs we work positively in achieving dharma

6. Couple making love

Since we have five senses of organs we have feelings of love, pain, taste, hatred and so on. The couple making love shows the attachment and love, where you forget to practice dharma.

 7. A man hit his eye by an arrow

When you get hit by an arrow, it is an emotion of pain. The love and pain always exist in the human world and so it is a sensation. So life is about the sufferings.

8. A women offering a wine

In Buddhist point of view, the main cause of sin and suffering is the alcohol. If we take little bit of alcohol then it is a taste and we feel like to take more and more which leads to suffering.

9. The man grasping a fruit

When a man is having basket full of fruits but he still desire to have more. So the human desire is unlimited and led to sufferings.

10. A women becoming pregnant

Because of the five sense of organ, when we see somebody beautiful or attractive then we marry which is believed to be a contact and that’s how women got pregnant.

11. A women giving birth

A women after giving birth , be it any one then the age comes , Being Human being , age, sickness and suffering’s is natural.

12. Old age and death

This shows that once we are born we have to die and death is natural that no one can stop. This is the day to day life in a human world.

So the conclusion says that because of the ignorance it leads to negative action which is the result that we are born again and again in this samsara. 

Upcoming Festival Tours

Thimphu Festival: Oct 07- 09, 2019

Thimphu Festival is one of the biggest festivals in the capital city of Bhutan and draws a major tourist attraction from around the world.

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Jambay Lhakhang Drup 13- 16 Nov, 2019

The Festival of Jambay Lhakhang Drup in central Bhutan is the most spectacular mid-night sacred naked dance (tercham) and draws a lot of tourists every year!

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