The Tibetan Wheel Of Life


The Tibetan Wheel of Life is one of the most well-known pictures in Buddhist art and can be seen in any temples all over Tibet and Buddhist countries surrounding the Himalayan region.

The wheel of life explains the substance of Buddhist religion, representing a very complete perspective of mundane existence in its depths and heights. It describes the beliefs of Four Truths: the existence of suffering, its cause and effect, the prevention of suffering and the practice path to release from suffering.

The Wheel of Life describes the cause and effects of evil, illustrating that one is responsible for one’s fate, for one’s own deeds are the fruits of one’s causes and effects.


1.Buddha Figure: Standing on the right, Buddha points the path to liberation from suffering. All the living creatures have the likelihood of attaining nirvana.

2.The Bodhisattva: Standing on the left, the Lord of Compassion cries as he witness all the sufferings of living beings in the six worlds and three spheres of existence. He is a representative of the drive to fulfill oneself in the Transcendental.

3.The Monster of Impermanence: Holding the wheel in his claws, he has a ferocious face with three red eyes and a crown of skulls. He symbolizes the transitory nature of all earthly sufferings.

4.The Roots of Evil: In the center of the wheel are the cock, the snake and the pig, and stands for greed, hatred and ignorance respectively. They are all the roots of evil.

5.The Dark Path : In the center right of the hub are 3 spiritual poisons: a black pig, a green snake and the red cock, which stands for ignorance, envy and hatred, and lust and greed respectively. Those who have the three evils will sentence to the The Dark Path which is going to the hell.

6.The White Path: In the center left of the hub is The White Path that leads to heaven and better rebirth or to final liberation.

7.The Symbolic Six World: In the inner circle are Gods, Human World, the World of Demi-Gods, The Animal Kingdom, The Hell and Hungry Ghosts

8.The Twelve Causes and Effects: In the outer circle are 12 links of originations :

  • On the top right is a blind man with a cane, and he is a symbol of ignorance of the true nature of the world.
  • The clockwise, represents that we forge our own fate by our actions through the workings of karma.
  • The monkey stands for the consciousness or the mind, wandering about without any purpose.
  • People boating on the river of life symbolizes that consciousness is giving rise to name and form.
  • The doors and windows of the empty house represent the developing sense organs.
  • Lovers embracing means that our 6 senses allow us to get tough with the world.
  • An arrow sharping the eye represents feelings.
  • A couple is making love and a man is drinking alcohol, and this symbolizes that attachment leads to happy experiences.
  • A monkey picking fruit represents that desire leads to an object of desire.
  • A man and a woman are making love, which represents that desire arises from existence.
  • A woman is giving birth to a child, which means that existence enters into birth.
  • An old man is carrying something heavy, which symbolizes that birth commonly goes to aging and death.

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