Wheel of Life Thangka, referred to as Bhavachakra, showcases the recurring phenomenon of life, death, and rebirth as taught in Buddhism. This intricate thangka painting is a well-known visual aid to help gain insight into Buddhist teachings.
The Wheel of Life Thangka usually contains a substantial circular shape, divided into sections and surrounded by decorative elements. Its core symbolizes the circle of life, referencing the endless cycles of birth, age, sickness, death, and rebirth. The outer rim illustrates twelve links of dependent origination, displaying the causes and effects that keep the cycle of existence going. The inner rim details the six realms of existence, which include deities, demigods, mortals, animals, ghosts, and hell.
The Wheel of Life thangka serves as a visual tool to contemplate the nature of suffering, impermanence, and the possibility of liberation in Buddhism. It encourages practitioners to reflect on their actions, cultivate virtuous qualities, and seek the path to enlightenment. The thangka's symbolism is purposefully complex so that students can uncover its meaning as they deepen their understanding of Buddhist philosophy. It serves as a constant reminder to create balance and harmony in one's life.