Six Realms of Existence  


is Wheel of Life is an unique and superb representation of
Samsara, the world of Birth and Death, in it all kinds of living
beings exist and are classified into six types. Samsara is held
between the jaws of the King of Demons, Mara, who at empts
to rule the mind of mankind and holding them in a state of
delusion.
Within the spokes of the Wheel the Six Realms or Karmic
Destinations, which is known as Cyclic Existence, can be seen.
Cyclic existence is beginingless which means that each being
has lived countless lifetimes and as such there is no being who
has not been his mother or father at one existence or another.
Buddhism therefore teaches that every being is in fact a kind
mother being who has, in the past, shown great love, kindness
and protection to each one of us and that we should in turn be
ready to repay them with similar acts of kindliness. is is a very
important aspect of Buddhist practice that will help one to de-
velop compassion and the mind of enlightenment.
he ix ealms of xistence
e Realm of the Devas or Gods is the happiest state as those
who dwell there enjoy continual pleasure and sensual delight,
mitigated only by the fact that they too must eventual y die and
pass on to the other states once their karmic forces die out. Birth
into this realm is mainly due to one having lived virtuously and
generously towards others.


e Realm of the Asuras is populated by `jealous gods' or Demi-
gods' who should be as happy as the Devas, but their minds
are clouded with anger and envy over the bet er fortunes of the
Devas. A close look at the picture wil reveal that there is a tree
growing from this realm to that of the Devas. is is a `wish-
fulfil ing tree' whose fruits and flowers can fulfil every desire
which they are unable to get hold of. is causes them great frus-
tration, anger and jealousy and they therefore constantly wage
wars against the gods to claim the fruits of their tree. However
they are always defeated because the gods are far more powerful
due to their karmic legacy. Despite being a heavenly realm the
Asuras live in great suffering due to the delusion of anger and
jealousy. e suffering is further increased by their being born
with monstrous looks while their women are exquisitively beau-
tiful. is situation causes their females to yearn for the love of
the handsome gods and rejecting their own advances. Life in this
realm is always fil ed with quarrels, fighting and great violence.
e Human Realm is where we are. It is fil ed with the ups and
downs of life and we should be grateful for these conditions to be
around. ey bring about the awareness of the bliss of happiness
and the misery of suffering and therefore become the very causes
that lead to spiritual practice. It is therefore the most fortunate
realm to take rebirth into, the world where one is able to listen to
the Dharma and practise it to attain Buddhahood. In the heav-
enly realm the Gods are far too happily engrossed with their
pleasures to bother about further cultivation while the Asuras
are too much affected by anger, jealousy and dissatisfactions of
their existence. ose who are born into the lower or suffering


realms are too concerned with their pains and survival to think
about spiritual practice or enlightenment. Hell beings only await
the exhaustion of their karma to end their indescribable suffer-
ings while the Ghosts or Pretas are total y distorted by the deep
frustrations to satisfy their unsatisfied passions. Animals, while
suffering less, are born stupid due to the result of their wil ful
ignorance and are therefore unable to derive any benefit from
Dharma. ey live only by instinct and must face a daily reality
of searching for food or mate, and kil ing or be kil ed.
One's life thus move in endless cycles within these Six Realms
of Gods, Asuras, Human Beings, Animals, Hungry Ghosts and
Hell Beings so long as Ignorance is not uprooted and Enlighten-
ment gained.
In the centre of the Wheel is seen the ree Animals which rep-
resent the ree Poisons or Root Causes of an unenlightened ex-
istence. e Rooster represents passionate desire and attachment,
the Green Snake represents hatred, emity and aversion, and the
Boar represents the darkness of ignorance and ego-delusion, the
blind urge that drives beings round and round in the unend-
ing circle of births and deaths. ey are depicted as biting each
other's tails, linking in such a way that they too form a circle be-
cause Greed, Anger and Delusion condition each other and are
inseparably connected. We must learn to recognise these poisons
as the forces that control our quality of life and take proper steps
to quell and remove them. How we perform in each life is de-
pendent on these root causes, the result of which is quite clearly
depicted by the figures of the outer rim of this hub -- Virtuous

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