The Wheel of Life Thangka, also named Bhavachakra Thangka, is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist painting which portrays the cycle of life and the route of samsara. The term "Bhavachakra" is interpreted as "Wheel of Becoming" or "Wheel of Life". This artwork is circular and incorporates various realms and figures.
This Wheel of Life Thangka often displays a large, divided circle decorated with intricate designs. Its center typically illustrates the circular cycle of life, from birth to maturity and illness to death, and then rebirth. Additionally, its outer ring usually contains 12 symbols representing the causal chain that drives the cycle. The inner border frequently indicates the six realms of existence: deities, demigods, mortals, animals, ghosts, and hell.
This Wheel of Life thangka is designed to help individuals reflect upon the concepts of suffering, impermanence, and liberation in Buddhism. Practitioners can use the visual aid to consider the consequences of their actions, contemplate virtuous qualities, and work towards enlightenment. Its detailed symbolism gives students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of Buddhist teachings while contemplating the image. This representation serves as an ongoing reminder to strive for harmony and balance in life.