Friday, 29 February 2008

Wat Chaiwattanaram, Ayutthaya

Some distance from the other main temple sites of Ayutthaya, just across the river to the southwest of the city, is Wat Chaiwattanaram (or Wat Chai Wattanaram).
This temple is an excellent example of Khmer architecture in the Ayuthaya period and still in good shape. It's so intact that you get a good idea what a working temple might have been like some 300 years ago.
Location: Along Sikhun road near the terminus of Horattanachai and Naresuan
Hours: Daily 8am-6pm
Cost: 30B

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Enemies disguised as Friends

There are four types of people who should be known as enemies disguised as friends
  1. the greedy person
  2. one who speaks but does not act,
  3. the flatterer
  4. the squanderer.

The greedy person is an enemy disguised as a friend for four reasons.

  • He is greedy;
  • he gives little and asks much;
  • if he does what he should, it is only out of fear,
  • he pursues his own interests only.

He who speaks but does not act is an enemy disguised as a friend for four reasons.

  • He reminds you of the good done on your behalf in the past;
  • he talks of good he will do on your behalf in the future;
  • he tries to win your favour with empty words;
  • when the opportunity to help arises, he pleads helplessness.

The flatterer is an enemy disguised as a friend for four reasons.

  • He encourages you to do wrong;
  • he discourages you from doing right;
  • he praises you to your face
  • and speaks ill of you behind your back.

The squanderer is an enemy disguised as a friend for four reasons also.

  • He is your companion when you drink,
  • when you frequent the streets at untimely hours,
  • when you haunt low shows and fairs,
  • and he is your companion when you gamble.

A friend who always wants to take, A friend who says but doesn't do, A friend who uses flattering words, A friend who joins you in wrong -These four friends are really foes, And one who is wise, having understood this, Will avoid them from afar, As if they were a dangerous road.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008


Two people wait for a late bus.
One is frustrated,
while the other takes it easy...
Thus, the source of frustration cannot be the bus.
Is there an evil bus-driver out there to be angry at?
The seed of anger lies within.
The "late buses of life" are only conditions which
ripen our anger.
In the end, it is you who cause your state of mind.
The causes of (un)happiness are within your mind.
Take care of your mind then.
It is a garden -
you decide what seeds to plant and nurture.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

万佛节 泰国佛统府举行巡烛礼








Monday, 25 February 2008

Help Yourself

When you really feel the need to seek refuge, we must always keep in our minds that the Buddha can't help us without us helping ourselves first.

The phenomenon of merely praying for help is rampant, especially with students during the examination periods, without realising this simple and subtle truth-we are our best help, only if we try.

It is dangerous not to realise that, for then, not only is the problem left unsolved, we might start to shift the blame to those we expect help to come from.

The Bodhisattvas are always around but we should realise that it is best that we be our own Bodhisattvas-is that not the truest meaning of self-reliance in Buddhism?

The Buddha did not become a Buddha by prayer!

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Facts Facts on Buddhism

Meaning of name "Buddhism": System taught by the Buddha
Date founded: c. 520 BCE
Place founded: Northeastern India
Founder: Siddharta Gautama ("the Buddha"), an Indian prince
Adherents: 360 million

Size rank: Fourth largest world religion
Main locations: China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia
Major divisions: Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana
Sacred texts: Pali Canon (Tripitaka), numerous Mahayana sutras
Original language: Pali

Place of ritual: Temple, meditation hall.
Varies: Theravada is atheistic; Mahayana is more polytheistic.
Ultimate reality: None. Nothing is permanent.
Human nature:
There is no self or soul. Human existence is nothing more than a combination of five impermanent components (khandas).
Purpose of life:
Theravada - Become an arhat, escape the cycle of rebirth, and attain nirvana. Mahayana - Become a boddhisatva then help others attain enlightenment.
Rebirth or nirvana. Nirvana is seen simply as the cessation of suffering by some and as a heavenly paradise by others.

Friday, 22 February 2008

The 3 to 12 of Buddhism

Three Jewels/Three Refuges:
*The Buddha * The sangha (monastic community) *The dharma (truth or teachings)

Three Delusions:
*Ignorance * DesireAnger * hatred

Three Trainings:
*Moral discipline * Concentration * Wisdom

Three Marks of Existence:
1. Impermanence (anicca) 2. Unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) 3. No-self (anatta)

Four Noble Truths:
*All of life is marked by suffering. *Suffering is caused by desire and attachment. *Suffering can be eliminated. *Suffering is eliminated by following the Noble Eightfold Path.

Four Immeasurables or Sublime States:
*Equanimity (upekkha) *Loving-kindness (metta) *Compassion (karuna) *Sympathetic joy (mudita)

Four Reminders:
*Human life is precious *Death is inevitable. *The laws of karma cannot be avoided. *Suffering permeates all existence.

Four Bodhisattva Vows:

  1. I vow to rescue the boundless living beings from suffering.

  2. I vow to put an end to the infinite afflictions of living beings.

  3. I vow to learn the measureless Dharma-doors.

  4. I vow to realise the unsurpassed path of the Buddha.

Five Precepts:
*Do not kill *Do not steal *Do not engage in sexual misconduct *Do not lie *Do not use intoxicants.

Five Powers:
*Faith and confidence *Energy and effort *Mindfulness *Samadhi *Wisdom

Five Hindrances:
*Sense craving *Anger or ill will *Sloth and torpor *Restlessness and worry *Doubt and the inner critic

Five Dhyani (Wisdom) Buddhas:
**Vairochana **Akshobhya**Ratnasambhava **Amitabha **Amoghasiddhi

Six Perfections:
1)Concentration 2)Effort 3)Ethical behavior 4)Generosity 5)Patience 6)Wisdom

Six Realms of Existence:
*Hell-beings *Hungry ghosts *Animals *Humans *Anti-gods or demigods *Gods

Noble Eightfold Path:
*Right beliefs *Right aspirations *Right speech *Right conduct *Right livelihood *Right effort *Right mindfulness *Right meditational attainment

Ten Paramita:
*Giving or generosity *Virtue, ethics, morality *Renunciation, letting go, not grasping *Wisdom and insight *Energy, vigour, vitality, diligence *Patience or forbearance *Truthfulness *Resolution, determination, intention *Kindness, love, friendliness *Equanimity

Twelve Links of Dependent Arising: Ignorance *Karmic formations *Consciousness *Name and form *Six senses *Contact *Feeling *Craving *Grasping *Becoming *Birth *Aging and Death

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Spiritual Burnout

There are times when we feel spiritually low and burnout. While it is popular belief that this might mean it is time to "take a break" from any tedious spiritual training, I personally see that for a mature enough spiritual practitioner, there is no better time to really put his spirituality to the test. As the saying goes, "When you hit rock bottom, the only way is up." I mean, how can anyone who is serious about seeking liberation actually "take a break" from this goal? Of course this is a lot easier said than done. But what is truly worth doing will always require much effort; Enlightenment isn't going to come easy.

Imagine the Buddha as a Bodhisattva in His previous lives taking breaks from perfecting Himself! Is that not absurd? Being spiritually burnout is a sign that one has not been looking after his spirituality while he might think he had been doing so all along. There is no such thing as "too much" spiritual practice. Spiritual practice anyway, is to be integrated into everyday life. It is simply everyday living with a spiritual touch.

Great effort is needed not only to say, being able to meditate long and steady, it also means meeting totally down to earth responsibilities like being a better son and friend etc. Spirituality is not up in the heavens, it is here on earth where you stand right now. The next time you burnout, remember that your spirituality was probably never properly kindled in the first place! A good flame burns on unflickering and bright.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Makabucha Day 21.02.2008

For Buddhist, there are three important Buddhist celebrations: Makabucha Day (on February),Visakabucha Day (May) Asahabucha Day (on July).

Makabucha Day or (Buddhist All Saints’ Day) is a Buddhist holiday which takes place annually on the night of the full moon duringthe third lunar month of the year.

It first took place during the time of Lord Buddha over 2500 years ago when 1,250 monks all of whom were ordained by Lord Buddha himself decided to come back to see Lord Buddha at Weluwan Wanaram without prior appointment on the night of the full moon of the third lunar month after traveling around to teach about Buddhism. Because it was the first assembly of a large group of Buddhist monks, Lord Buddha gave them Owata Patimok which is considered the firstconstitution for all the laws of Buddhist monks. The 3 core teachings are:

  • Refrain from committing all kinds of wickedness

  • Be good and do good

  • Purify the mind

To allow Buddhists in Thailand an opportunity to perform religious activities on this special day, the Thai government makes Makabucha Day a national holiday. Buddhists across the country flock to temples for candle-lit processions as part of activities on this religious day. Other activities include alms offering and listening to monks' teachings. Activities are organised in almost every temple and the ones at most famous temples draw more participants, young and old alike.

There are many activities in which people can choose to participate - Early in the morning Buddhists give food to the monks. They may make merit by freeing fish and birds. During the day they listen to the teaching of Lord Buddha and practise meditation.
The evening they perform a religious activity called Wian Tian by walking clockwise 3 timesaround the Bot or the main building of the temple.Monks are holding a sacred thread and a candle while devotees carry a lighted candle, 3 incense sticks and flowers in their hands.

  1. The first round of the walk is to think of Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism (Phra Phut) .

  2. The second round is to think of the teachings of Lord Buddha (Phra Tham) ;

  3. the last round is to think of monks (Phra Song) who carry on and practise the teachings of Lord Buddha.

This candlelit procession is called การเวียนเทียนรอบโบสถ์สามรอบ.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

万佛节 21.02.2008







巴吞他尼佛寺大火 无伤亡

巴吞他尼府(Pathum Thani )一佛寺发生火警,火势延烧约1个多小时始被控制住,共焚毁9座僧舍,连住持僧舍亦受到些许损毁,幸无人伤亡。失火原因到底是所燃香烛倒下所引起,或因电流短路所致,警正调查真相中。



Sunday, 17 February 2008


泰国南部北大年府,有座林姑娘庙,香火特别旺盛,神灵显赫,有求必应。 “林府姑娘”,是供奉在北大年市中灵慈圣宫。 尤其是每年正月十五,来朝拜的信徒,来自四方八面,全国各地甚至,也吸引了来们来。也招徕了马来西亚和新加坡的香客,前去朝拜。

传说林姑娘是明朝时代人,他哥哥林道干於十五世纪中期,避难来到了北大年,他是个建筑及军火专家,他所铸造的大炮出色,其中几门 现在还展示在,曼谷的国防部前的广场。他因协助当时的苏丹(马来酋长),打败外敌,而受到苏丹的赏识,招他入赘,将公主许配于他。他因此而下老母、细妹在番邦大享人生,流连忘返。家乡的老母日盼夜挂,忧郁成疾。孝顺的林姑娘,因而冒险南下北大年,极力的苦劝哥哥,返乡去探母。林道干当时正沈迷於温柔乡 与成功欲中,那肯放弃美人与功名。妹妹再三苦苦恳求,都被他断然拒绝了。经过数月兄还是无动於衷。一天晚上,她来到哥哥正在建筑中的回教堂附近,在一棵 猴枣树上上吊自尽了。过后林道干后悔都不及,纪念妹妹,他将棵猴枣树干雕成了妹妹之像,又在附近安葬了妹妹遗体,建了陵墓。据说雕像目前还供奉在庙中。 而附近林道干正建筑的回教堂,每当建成了屋顶,遭到雷劈,到现在还不能能建成。林姑娘这种万里寻兄之深情孝道所成悲剧,使人感动万千。北大年地方的各族人 士,怀著崇敬的心情,纷纷到陵墓来祀拜,后来还在附近她建了神庙。数百年来,神灵显赫,人们有求必应,因而香火不断。但几十年前因发展公路的需要,由侨 社华团共议决定,迁入华人区“清水祖师灵慈宫”中。如今林姑娘“灵慈宫”已成泰南最有名的庙宇,善男信女由全国各地,四方八面,甚至星马外国前来朝拜, 林姑娘的名气,不但已名满泰国,而且已远传国外了。

** 北大年府(泰文:จังหวัด ปัตตานี,英文:Changwat Pattani)

Thursday, 14 February 2008









Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Samut Sakhon

Samut Sakhon is small province located on the Gulf of Thailand. It can be reached within 1h30min from Bangkok's Southern Bus Station.

Samut Sakhon was formerly called "Tha Chin" probably because, in the old days, it had been a trading port dealing with a vast number of Chinese junks.

ln 1548, a town named "Sakhon Buri" was established at the mouth of the Tha Chin River. It was a centre for recruiting troops from various seaside towns. The name of the town was changed into "Mahachai" when Khlong (canal) Mahachai was dug in 1704 to join the Tha Chin River at the town. Later, the town was renamed "Samut Sakhon" by King Rama IV but it is still popularly called "Mahachai" by the villagers. Samut Sakhon occupies a total area of 872 square kilometres; the town is located 28 kms. from Bangkok along Highway no. 35, the Thon Buri-Pak Tho Highway.

It is also accessible by train from the Wongwian Yai Railway Station in Bangkok.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Temple in Samut Sakhon ( central Thailand ) pt 2

Main door of the templeImage of LP Tuad

Temple was located after tha chin river, along highway no 33.
**The name of the temple is Wat Jaleonsukhalam( Wat Bangpaitie) - translated

Temple in Samut Sakhon (Central Thailand) pt 1

Temple was located after tha chin river, along highway no 33.
**The name of the temple is Wat Jaleonsukhalam( Wat Bangpaitie) -

Bad Mood

Don't think you have a valid excuse for "bad" behaviour when you are moody (in a bad mood).

Don't think you can just say something offensive, followed by, "Sorry, I didn't mean that. I'm in a bad mood today." You can't just walk away like that. Do you expect others to understand that and forgive you-again and again when you do it again and again?

We can control our moods- we are our master.
Master your Mind
beMastered by Mind.

Not a single angry word slipped out of the Buddha's lips even when the party He was talking to cursed and swore at Him. Nope-no moody blues for He who is ever mindful and is a master of His mind. Don't want any excuse from you again!


Saturday, 9 February 2008


A friend realised something rather amusing yet enlightening.
He became a more forgiving person when he realised that he had been letting himself off again and again, readily forgiving himself for his own misdeeds to others big and small, while being easily unforgiving and grudge-bearing towards others for their little mistakes. He realised how fat his ego was. It was as if he alone had all the right in the world to be wrong and forgiven, while the rest of the world should do him no slight wrong.
Being a forgiving person is part of the path of practice towards Enlightenment. Forgiveness liberates both pain and guilt. It unties knots of tensed negative karma, stops ill seeds from growing into greater hatred. Being unforgiving is nurturing our sense of hatred - which is no less than one of the three poisons that keep us swirling in Samsara's vicious cycles.
However, forgiving another does not mean we allow the same wrong to be repeated. We have to realise that while it could be our negative karma that we are wronged, we should put in the effort to prevent the person who did us wrong from doing more harm, creating more negative karma for himself. By being complacent, we could well be creating more negative karma for ourselves! Remember - forgiveness is "for giving". It is a gift of reassurance - it sets both parties' hearts and minds at peace.


Thursday, 7 February 2008


Some friends have visions or dreams of the Buddha,
where He is all magnificent,
smiling, beckoning…
But what would you do if you see the Buddha in person?
After bowing, paying respect?
Do you just gaze on in a daze of amazement?
Do you just bask in His glory?

Truth is, if you do not ask for the Dharma,
you are not a true Buddhist, not a Truth-seeker;
you are merely a Buddha worshipper.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

The 6 Senses

See with your Eyes every Sight.
Hear with your Ears every Sound.
Smell with your Nose every Smell.
Taste with your Tongue every Taste.
Feel with your Body every Feeling.
Think with your Mind every Thought.
Function pure untainted by Greed or Hatred.
Penetrate deep and mindfully into your experiences.
Relish every sensation.
But do not become attached.

Your six senses-
Be forever liberated by learning best you can from them, or be forever trapped by indulging worst you can in them.


Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The 9 Sacred Temple in Thailand

Remember I talk about visiting the 9 Sacred Temples in Thailand in my previous blog and I have explained that if we could visit these 9 temples in one day then it will be very good for us, but how good? And WHY?

The following are the list of "benefit" we get by paying the temple a visit.
  1. Wat Suhat - Good Vision

  2. Wat Chanasongkram - Vistory over difficult obstacles

  3. Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) - A prosperous life

  4. City Pillar Shrine - Discard bad luck and lengthen your life with good fortune

  5. Wat Kanlayanmit - A safe trip

  6. Wat rakhang - To become more popular and likeable

  7. Wat phra Kaeo ( Emerald Buddha ) - Wealth and rich rewards

  8. Wat Pho ( Reclining Buddha) - A happier and more peaceful life

  9. Chao Phor Seua Shrine - Offer more power and stature


One should not consider the faults of others,
nor their doing or not doing of good or bad deeds.
One should consider only
whether one has done or not done good or bad deeds.

The eye that sees
does not see
the eye that sees.
The eye that sees
others' faults and blindspots,
in this sense,
is too at fault.
It is too,
a personal blindspot.

Monday, 4 February 2008

True Friends

There are four kinds of stout-hearted people who should be known as true friends: the helper, the friend in both good times and bad, one who gives good counsel, and one who sympathizes. The helper is a true friend for four reasons. He guards you when you are off your guard; he guards your property when you are off your guard; he comforts you when you are afraid; and when something has to be done, he gives you twice what you require. The friend in both good times and bad is a true friend for four reasons. He tells you his secrets; he keeps the secrets you tell him; in trouble he does not forsake you; he would even lay down his life for you. The friend who gives good counsel is a true friend for four reasons. He discourages you from doing wrong, he encourages you to do good, he tells you things you have not heard, and he points out the way to heaven. The friend who sympathizes is a true friend for four reasons. He is sad at your misfortunes, he rejoices at your good fortune, he restrains others from speaking ill of you, and he commends those who speak well of you.

A friend who always lends a hand,

A friend in both sorrow and joy,

A friend who offers good counsel,

And a friend who sympathizes too -

These are the four kinds of true friends,

And one who is wise, having understood this,

Will always cherish and serve such friends,

Just as a mother tends her only child.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

恭喜发财 ! 万事如意 ! 身体健康 ! 财源广进!

As the CNY is round the corner and I've been rather busy at work and preparing for the CNY as well as the prayers (**拜天公, 接财神) on CNY Eve at home. Therefore, before I forget, I'll like to take this opportunity to wish all readers, A Very happy Lunar New Year!恭喜 ! 恭喜


Burmese Astrology

Burmese Astrology remains very popular in Myanmar and everybody knows their own signs for month, year, and especially day of birth. Myanmar astrology is based on the day of the week ... There are eight signs (the extra one is for Wednesdays) - Mon, Tues, Weds AM, Weds PM, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun.

A child’s name and personality are based on birth sign. Each of the eight day signs also corresponds to a cardinal point and at temples one can go to pray at the point (north, north east, south, south east, etc.) corresponding to one’s sign and at other points depending on the advice of an astrologer.

The exact origins of the eight animals of Myanmar astrology - the Garuda, Tiger, Lion, Elephant, Tuskless Elephant, Rat, Guinea Pig and Dragon - remain a mystery. Nevertheless, these animals are important in Myanmar astrology. They are much more than general signposts to the day and to the possible good or bad times ahead for us all. The eight animals of the Myanmar astrology are considered to be a reflection of the universe itself.

Sunday Born (names: Aung, Aye, Ei, Ohn)
Sunday is the day of the GARUDA (galoun), the mythical king of birds. The northeast direction is your own and lucky direction. Sunday is the day of the Sun. You are very definite in purpose and energy and go-ahead spirit is in your mind and in your soul. You are very stubborn. Anything that is difficult and laborious interests you. Too good and too generous to others is not good for you; people will take advantage of that. According to Myanmar believe Sunday Born are mostly blessed with luck!

Monday Born (names: Cho, Khin, Kyaw, Kyin)
Monday is the day of the TIGER. The east direction is your lucky direction. Monday belongs to the Planet Moon. In character your patience, perseverance, and solidarity are outstanding. You are always reliable. You are very ambitious. Your aim in life is to make success of things. Monday born are supposed to be very bright and alert!

Tuesday Born (names: Cid, Nyi, San, Zaw)
Tuesday is the day of the LION. The southeast direction is your lucky direction. Tuesday belongs to the Mars. You want to do work with some prestige and dignity attached to it. You are a natural self-promoter. Your idealism motivates you to seek challenges and to dedicate yourself to great and worthy causes. You attract people because of your honour and strength of character. In Myanmar it is widespread that Tuesday born have a "sharp tounge"...

Wednesday Morning Born (names: Shwe, Ye, Yin, Yu)
Wednesday is the day of the ELEPHANT. The south direction is your lucky direction. Wednesday belongs to the Mercury. In character you are hasty in temper, impulsive, independent, and you desire to be your own master. People here claim that Wednesday morning born are unpatient...

Rahu (Wednesday afternoon Born; names: Lay, Lin, Lwin, Win)
One born in the afternoon of Wednesday is called Rahu born. Rahu is the ascending node of the Moon, the day of the TUSKLESS ELEPHANT. The northwest direction is your lucky direction. You are a person who has a wide circle of acquaintances, but few close associates, as you do not make friends easily. You want to do work with some prestige and dignity attached to it. You are a natural self-promoter. You idealism motivates you to seek challenges and to dedicate yourself to great and worthy causes. You attract people because of your honour and strength of character. In character you are hasty of temper, impulsive, independent, and desire to be your own master. Your aim in life is to make a success of things. BUT Wednesday afternoon born are even more unpatient - that's what they say here!

Thursday Born (names: Moe, Myint, Po, Phyu)
Thursday is the day of the RAT. The west direction is your lucky direction. Thursday belongs to the Jupiter. Serious-minded in your approach, you quietly go about whatever you have to do. Ambition is your driving force. Your aim in life is to make a success of things. You are very ambitious. Thursday born? It is also said that they are patient!

Friday Born (names: Than, Thein, Thida, Thun)
Friday is the day of the GUINEA PIG. The north direction is your lucky direction. Friday belongs to the planet Venus. Sensitivity is one of your best virtues, and you empathize with the difficulties of others. You have the restless nature, and dislike being tied to any situation. Try to raise your performance to your full potential. You can show your abilities and talent favourable. It is believed that Friday born are quite talkative!

Saturday Born (names: Dwe, Htet, Ni, Nan)
Saturday is the day of the DRAGON. The southwest direction is your lucky direction. Saturday belongs to the Saturn. You are naturally very intelligent and quick-minded. You tend to be very hard-working, and this should bring you various rewards. You will probably find it very difficult to work in a group or a team. Try to be patient, you will become the leader of the group. In Myanmar most parents don't want their first child born on Saturday - as they believe it will bring "unluck" to their partnerships...

(Excerpts copied from Myanmar Information Committee, Yangon 1999)

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Embrace Your Karma

In the film "Little Buddha", there is the opening scene where a monk tells the story of a priest who sacrificed goats for offerings.

One day, he encountered a goat that laughed. The priest asked him in shock, "Why are you laughing? You are going to be killed!" The goat replied that he had been a goat for five hundred lives, and that in his next birth, he will be human again.

Then the goat cried. And the priest asked, "Why are you in tears?" The goat replied, "Five hundred lives ago, I was a priest like you, killing goats for offerings!" Of course, karma does not always operate so simplistically.

Whenever there is suffering in our lives, we should be happy that we are clearing our "previous karmic debts". We should be grateful and joyful, rather than sad and grumpy. It is much better to clear our negative karma as humans than as beings in the lower realms - as we get to accept the effects of our karma graciously and mindfully. This is important because it can lead us to better comprehend the law of karma, and to transcend it ultimately in liberation.


The 12 Interdependent causes and their effects

Beginning with ignorance, which is spiritual blindness, illustrated by an old and sightless man with a stick, unable to find his way.

The second picture shows a potter, his pots being symbolic of his own deeds (acting,speaking and thinking) with which he moulds his own karma, popularly called ~~ FATE.

The third picture depicts a tree and a monkey springing from branch to branch: this symbolises the major consciousness which in ignorant people springs uncontrolled from object to object. For this reason, by analysis leading to the understanding of inner and outer phenomena, Buddhist psychology aims at the full control of consciousness.

The fourth picture shows a boat with two people, symbolising name and form,spiritual and physical energy, inseparably floating on the stream of life.

The fifth picture is of a house with five windows and a door, symbolising the five senses and the faculty of thinking, those entrances (i.e.the sense organs) by which the outer world is perceived.

The sixth picture, a man and a woman embracing, demonstrates contact, the consequence of sensual perceptions.

The seventh picture is dedicated to the emotions by which one is stuck, as by an arrow in the eye.

The eighth picture, of a woman offering a drink to a man, illustrates desire, stimulated by perceptions and emotions and leading to the so-called thirst for life.

The ninth picture illustrates sensual entanglement: the longing to keep that which is desired, represented by a man plucking the fruits from a tree.

The tenth picture symbolises the procreation of a new life, here depicted by a beautiful bride.

The eleventh picture shows the consequence: procreation is followed by birth, a woman giving birth to a child, shown here in the natural crouching position.

The twelfth and the last picture
shows old age and death, the inevitable end of all earthly existence, illustrated here by bearers with a bier, the corpse swathed and in the fetal posture ready for the next rebirth and further misery in one of the symbolic six worlds.

Friday, 1 February 2008

The Wheel of Life - The Symbolic Six Worlds

The first of these transitory worlds is the abode of the so-called Gods. It is a temporal paradise achieved by good deeds, and it is illustrated in the uppermost sections of the Wheel. Here the Buddha with the lute is seen reminding the gods of their limited pleasures and guarding them against vanity and haughtiness, which encourages them to believe in their own imperishability. But these gods are not yet freed from sorrow;they too, after thousands of human years, are subject to old age and death. Their special suffering is the illusion of the eternity of their paradisal state: their misery lies in their eventual comprehension of the error.

In the upper half of the wheel, the World of Men is depicted: driven by egoism and ignorance, they suffer from the permanently repeated cycle of birth, sickness and death.
( The Buddha with the Begging bowl of a wandering monk comes to help them)

In the lower half of the wheel, the World of Animals illustrates their special suffering: oppression by the other beings. The devour each other and become beasts of burden.
( Here the Buddha holding a book appears to the animals)

The last world follows with the cold and hot hells. They are places of torment for all those who have committed evil deeds out of hatred and anger. But this infernal life, however long, is not eternal;after atoning for sins, rebirth into a better world is always possible. In the World of Hells an assistant of the Lord of the Dead weighs the deeds of the deceased who are entering his kingdom, but this is administrative work because the fate of the dead has already been decided by themselves.
(Here the Buddha appears, bearing a flame to bring light and hope to these darkest regions)

The fifth world is the realm of the insatiable, greedy ghost, suffering from hunger and thirst which they can neither appease nor quench; they present a ghastly picture with tightened throats and bloated bellies.
(Here the Buddha appears with a jar of nectar for the hungry ghosts)

To the right, the World of Titans is illustrated: they are permanently warring against the gods and fighting for the fulfillment of their desires; their suffering is the endless war, the result of envy and insatiable ambition.
(Here the Buddha appears with a flaming sword, and ministers to the titans)

The Wheel of Life - Detailed Note

Buddha Figure
The appearance of the Buddha commemorates the potential Nirvana, inherent in all beings, because all creatures- the proud gods, the insatiable monsters, the warring titans, suffering men, as well as the tormented beings in hell and the animals – have the possibility of attaining salvation in a future good rebirth in the World of Men.
The Bodhisattava
Avalokiteshvara – the lord who looks down in compassion, the Bodhisattava of Compassion who weeps as he beholds the manifold suffering of all beings in the six realms and three spheres of existence. The Bodhisattava is the link between the mundane and the Transcendental. He represents the drive within the mundane to fulfill itself in the Transcendental.
The Monster of Impermanence
The Monster of Impermanence appears above the rim of the Wheel, a ferocious face with three fiercely glaring eyes and a crown of skulls. Holding the Wheel of Life in his claws, he is a symbol of the transitory nature of all earthly phenomena.
The Roots of Evil
The motive force that drives a wheel is at its hub. Thus, at the hub of the Wheel of Life are the cock, the snake and the pig, the forces that keep it turning. They are known as the "Three Unwholesome Roots"because they corrupt us from within. The cock represents greed, the snake hatred and the pig ignorance, and it is these three that underlie all human bondage and misery.
The Dark Path
The picture-path to follow begins in the center arrow of the wheel. There, the three spiritual poisons are depicted: a black pig for ignorance, a green snake for envy and hatred and red cock for lust and greed. Whoever delivers himself up to these basic evils walks along the Dark Path leading to hells and bad rebirths.
The White Path
The other way is the Path of Bliss leading to better rebirths and upwards to final liberation. Both paths are illustrated by the ring surrounding the center of the picture scroll: saints and sages lead the virtuous along the Path of Bliss, and demons, armed with nooses, drag the sinners along the Dark Path. In this way, the ignorant and the sinful, by the twelve interdependent causes and their effects are mercilessly driven through the Wheel of Life.

The Wheel Of Life

The Wheel of Life illustrates in a popular way the essence of the Buddhist teachings, the Four Truths: the existence of earthly suffering, it’s origin and cause, the ending or prevention of misery and the practice path to liberation from sufffering.
The Wheel of Life describes the cause of evil and its effects. Mirrored in earthly phenomena just as it is experienenced by everyone from the cradle to the grave. Picture by picture it reminds us that everyone is always his or her own judge and is responsible for their own fate, because, according to Karma, causes and their effects are the fruits of one’s own deeds.
The circular composition of the Wheel of Life guides the viewer from picture along the black path or the white path. It leads him or her through the twelve interwoven causes and their consequences to rebirth in one of the so called Six Worlds. Projected on one plane, they fill the whole inner sphere of the Wheel of Life. But the meaning of this painting is to show the way out of these worlds of suffering into the sphere beyond.

Explanation of Sections:
Standing Buddha (right)
The Bodhisattava ( left)
The Monster of Impermanence ( holding the wheel)
The Roots of Evil ( center)
The Dark Path ( center left of the hub)
The White Path ( center right of hub)
The Symbolic Six Worlds ( inner circle)
The Twelve interdependent Causes and their Effects ( outer circle)

eckhart tolle