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The Mandala (“Wheel of Life”) represents the “Realms of Desire” in the Buddhist Universe. The “Realms of Desire” includes realms of heavens, asuras, humans, Beasts, Hungry Ghosts, and Hell. The “Wheel of Life” is held by Yama, the Lord of Death. Yama is shown to be biting its teeth into the wheel symbolizing the “Realms of Form” may be destroyed at anytime. A buddha (located to the upper right coroner of the Mandala) with the index finger of his right hand pointing upward indicating the practices of Buddhism can liberate sentient beings from the endless cycle of life and death. Sera Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet In the innermost circle, a ring is formed by three animals: a pig representing greed; a snake representing hatred; and a rooster representing delusion. These three natures (poisons) are what drive sentient beings to remain in the “Realms of Desire” and undergo the endless cycle of life and death. The middle ring representing the “Realms of Desires” has six divisions. Heaven, Human, Asuras, Beast, Hungry Ghost and Hell. The outer-most ring is divided into 12 divisions, and it symbolizes the 12 Karma Formations (the links of dependent origination). The Buddha taught that everything arises and exists in dependence on other things. Enlightenment can be attained only by freeing oneself from all of the 12 karma formations. Craving, Feeling, Contact, Six Senses, Name & Form, Consciousness, Act of Volition, Ignorance, Old Age & Death, Rebirth, Becoming and Clinging.

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