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Tangka Wheel of life

The twelve elements of conditional co-production

The same topic in detail: Conditional co-production (Buddhism).

The outer ring of the Wheel of existence presents twelve symbolic images representing the twelve rings of the wheel of the conditional co-production. These, clockwise from top, are:

  • ignorance: an old blind woman with a stick who leaves the house and goes towards a ravine.
  • karmic coefficients: a potter at work.
  • consciousness: a monkey jumping from house to house.
  • name and form: represented as two men on a boat at the mercy of the waves.
  • you are the basis of the senses: a house with six windows, which put you in contact with the outside world.
  • contact: a couple that copulates.
  • feeling: a man running with an arrow stuck in one eye.
  • lust: a man at the table raising a glass of alcohol.
  • attachment: a monkey that picks fruit from a tree.
  • to be, to become: a lying woman who invites mating.
  • birth: a woman in labor.
  • old age and death: a man carries on his shoulders a corpse wrapped in a sheet in an open cemetery among corpses and animals.


The entire wheel is represented firmly gripped by the claws of Yama, Lord of Death.
Above, usually in the right corner, the Buddha Śākyamuni indicating towards an external point, an absolute elsewhere. Sometimes in the field Vajrayana, this is marked with the symbols of the Sun and the Crescent. Otherwise it is also possible to meet a representation of a Bodhisattva, to indicate his willingness to help and assist the Buddha's message.


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