THOUGHT OF JIGME ZANGPO: WHEEL OF DHARMA, the twelve interdependent links..

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WHEEL OF DHARMA, the twelve interdependent links..

Disclaimer: I copied this text and photo from the facebook. I found text more important to read once.



WHEEL OF DHARMA.
the twelve interdependent links..

The dependant origination is one of the basic and most important teachings of the Buddha.
Since it is regarded as part of what we call "the first Turning of the Wheel of Dharma",
it is accepted and discussed in the same way in all the different schools of Buddhism.
The Buddha said that there could be persons, who are not Buddhas, who were not taught by Buddhas, but who nevertheless are able to find out by themselves about the Twelve Links. If such persons meditate or practice accordingly, they can become Arhats on their own. They are what we call the Pratyeka Buddhas, or "Buddha for themselves".
These twelve links are not only a description of the Buddhist philosophy of how the beings originate and evolve in samsara, but it also gives the way, the path to be liberated from this circling in the wheel of Samsara.

This wheel of life painting history...
It is said that about 2,500 years ago two kings ruled in India, in the area where the Buddha lived. King Bimbissara rules over the Magada Kingdom whereas King Utrayana lived a little further. These two kings were friends, and used to send gifts to one another. King Utrayana once sent a very costly armour to King Bimbissara. It was covered with so many precious stones that it was almost invaluable.
King Bimbissara was very much disturbed because he could not think of anything precious enough to send back in return. One of his ministers suggested then that he sent some portrait or teachings of a most holy and revered person who happened to live in his kingdom : the Buddha. King Bimbissara went accordingly to ask the Buddha for permission to have his a portrait drawn and sent to King Utrayana.
The Buddha agreed , adding that not only his portrait, but also other paintings and writings should be sent to King Utrayana. It is told that the artist was first unable to draw the portrait, because the Buddha was too glorious, producing rays of light impossible to catch on canvas. Asking the Buddha what was to be done, He answered that he would put his shadow on the canvas, from which the artist would draw the portrait. It is said to have been the first image of the Buddha.
He also gave instruction for the other painting, explaining that the artist should draw circle with five divisions, in which the five different realms of existence should be depicted. It should be encircled by the Twelve Links of Interdependant Origination, and the whole circle should be placed in the hands of Yama Raja, the Lord of Death. He then gave two stanzas that should be written under the drawing.
The present of King Bimbissara was received with the greatest reverence by King Utrayana, who was so impressed that he came to pay homage to the Buddha and followed his teachings.

In the centre of the wheel, we find three animals : a snake, a cock and a pig.
The pig bites the tail of the cock, which was originally a pigeon, the cock bites the tail of the snake that bites the tail of the pig.
These three animals represent the three basic mind poisons, which are attachment, aversion and stupidity. It is believed that the snake is an animal full of hatred and aversion. The bird, and especially the pigeon, is regarded as the animal with the greatest sexual attachment. The pig was considered as one of the most stupid animals, which is why he represents ignorance.
Though they are all linked together, it is believed that hatred or aversion comes from attachment, and that attachment comes from ignorance. The starting point is thus ignorance, generating attachment and aversion. These three are placed at the centre, they are the core of the painting to denote that the whole world, the whole universe, is controlled, caused by these three basic emotions.

Around this core, there is another circle, with two parts, one half white, the other black. These two refer to the deeds, the actions we perform that can be either virtuous or non virtuous.
The virtuous actions, which are less under control of the three basic poisons, are called "white deeds", whereas actions performed with a stronger influence of the three poisons are called the "black deeds". It is said that if our actions are black, we will be reborn in the lower half of this realm, whereas if our actions are white, we will be reborn in the upper part of the 6 or sometimes 5 realms of the world that are depicted in the next circle.

The upper part starts with the world of heavens, or the world of gods.
The world of gods is believed to be of three different categories : what is called the "world of desire", the "world of Form", and the "world of the Formless". It is believed that those who have done very virtuous deeds in this world will thereafter go to the Heaven of Desire. Those who not only did virtuous deeds, but also realised a stability of mind in meditation, will go to the Heaven of Form. Those who have gone deeper in the stability of meditation but kept certain subtle misconceptions in their minds will be reborn in the Formless Heaven.
Then comes the world of the semi-gods.
The persons who have more or less performed the causes that would have led to the world of gods, but remained jealous, will be reborn in the realm of the semi-gods, where they will have to guard it and fight a lot.
Then comes the realm of the human beings.
It is attained after lots of virtuous, meritorious deeds, but is overpowered by desire.
The three lower realms are the animal world, the world of hungry ghosts, and the hells.
These three are mainly attributed to the three mind poisons, the animal world to ignorance, the preta world to attachment and hell to hatred or aversion.
It is also said sometimes that if we have performed any action very strongly motivated by any of these three poisons, we will be reborn in hell. A lesser motivation will lead us to the realm of hungry ghosts, and a lighter motivation would cause rebirth in the animal realm.

Around this circle, we find depicted the Twelve Links of Interdependent Origination..

The first Link is ignorance represented by an blind old woman.
Ignorance is the basic, original cause of Samsara. It is represented as an old woman because it is said that our ignorance is very old, going back to beginningless times. And the nature of this ignorance is that we cannot see, we cannot understand, which is why the old woman is blind.

The second link is volition , represented by a man making clay pottery. Volition is actually the force that leads to action. It is more or less like karma, the desire that makes us work, do things. Here it is depicted like this, because volition originating from ignorance makes us perform certain actions, so that we are born into different places and realms. What we will become depends on what kind of actions we do, like a potter himself designs what he makes.

The third link is consciousness represented by a monkey. The monkey is one of the most mobile, active kind of animals, and likewise, our consciousness cannot stay anywhere for long..

The fourth link is what we call "nama rupa", or name and form, depicted as a man crossing a river with a boat. Name and form mean the five skandhas or aggregates that constitute a being, at the initial stage.
This stage comes actually just after consciousness. It is the process of becoming. Consciousness enters the form, which is just about to be born. It is depicted in such a way because name and form serve the consciousness in order to constitute a being, just like the boat is used by the man to cross the river.

The fifth link represents the five or six senses, illustrated by empty houses. The senses are like an empty village that the traveller can cross. Wherever he finds an empty house, he can stop and rest. In this way, the senses give the consciousness a place to rest, to stay for a moment before going on. This is why they are depicted as empty houses. The six senses are the abode, the base of the six consciousnesses.

The sixth link is touching, the contact between the object and the senses coming together, depicted as a couple kissing.
The seventh is the feeling generated by the contact, depicted as a person with his eyes pierced by an arrow.

The eighth one is attachment illustrated by a man drinking. It is said that when you drink, you can never be fully satisfied. Attachment can never be fulfilled. It is produced by feeling.

The ninth link is the grasping depicted by a man plucking fruits from a tree. The next stage after attachment is grasping, which forges the final kind of impression for your next birth.

In consequence, the tenth stage is what we call becoming, represented by a pregnant woman. At this stage, we have experienced the grasping, and the force is such that there is no other way but to take a new birth, all the relevant effects and causes have been gathered.

The eleventh stage is birth, a woman giving birth to a child, which needs no further explanation.

The last twelfth link is means old age and death, an old man carrying a dead body. As soon as one is born, one is carrying the burden of one's own death.

All these things are placed in the mouth of Yama Raja, the Lord of Death, because nothing in Samsara, nothing in the world can be permanent, it is all impermanent.

There is a moon drawn in the right upper corner which depicts Nirvana. If we practice or meditate upon these twelve links in reverse order, we can attain Nirvana. On the left side Lord Buddha is pointing to the moon, which represents the teachings of the Buddha, that indicate the way to reach Nirvana.

In the original drawing, , the two stanzas written at the bottom said :
"Take this up and give this up, enter the Buddha's teachings as an elephant in a lotus pond, destroy the forces of the Lord of Death. He who mindfully engages in this way of discipline will bring the end of suffering."