I will be going on holiday in a couple of week’s time, which does not give me long enough to complete another Lamrim cycle before I depart. So I thought I might have a little fun looking at the Wheel of Life in the intervening time.
The diagram of the wheel of life reveals all of Buddha’s teachings in a sublime work of art. Each element has immense meaning if we understand how to read the diagram of the wheel of life correctly. Suffering and its causes are here. The cessation of suffering and its cause are here also.
The purpose of this meditation is to think about the very centre of the diagram of the wheel of life. At the hub of the wheel of life there are depicted three animals, which represent the three poisons. There is a pig, which represents ignorance, a snake which represents anger, and a bird which represents desirous attachment. The bird and the snake are shown coming from the mouth of the pig, because these two poisons arise from ignorance.
Ignorance is as the heart of the wheel of samsaric suffering. Specifically self-grasping ignorance, which is our instinctive view that all things are inherently existent, or exist in themselves, independently from all other phenomena. All of our delusions arise from this ignorance, because we believe things exist in the way they appear to us, and then assent to this appearance by believing it to be true. From there, we act naturally, and develop attachment to things that are attractive and aversion to things that are unpleasant. These actions plant contaminated seeds of experience in our mental continuum, and we suffer in cyclic existence.
I visualised this ignorance as a disgusting source of contamination, vomiting suffering out of the heart of the wheel of life. It soiled every single other thing in the diagram.
I thought about how ignorance is the absolute root of all my suffering, and I imagined plunging into the hub of the wheel of life and destroying my ignorance. I will destroy it.
I imagined having destroyed it – what then? Well then I would be completely free. I would not create any negative actions – I would become free from samsara. It was beautiful to be free.
But I was not there yet. I revisualised the ignorance at the hub of my samsara and made the determination ‘I will destroy you. I will realise the true nature of phenomena and I will destroy you.’ I felt completely determined to spend the rest of my life on one single endeavour – to destroy my self-grasping ignorance. I focused on this feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings see and understand the diagram of the Wheel of Life, and develop the wish to destroy the axle of ignorance.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to remember that everything is deceptive (because things do not exist in the way that they appear) and that the only way to be completely free from the cycle of samsara is to destroy my self-grasping ignorance once and for all.