The Wheel Of Life Buddhism Assignment Discovery

The Wheel of Life is a great exercise and tool for helping you create more balance and success in your life. It is often used in coaching and is a great foundation exercise when goal-setting. Below, you can download the free wheel of life template which is used by more than 3,000 people every month.

The Start of Happiness’ guide on the Wheel of Life helps 

approximately 3,000 people every month

find balance in their life and take action for making change.

Below is a quick video I put together to explain how to use the Wheel of Life.

 

Welcome to your Wheel of Life!

As a starting point for creating balance, happiness and success in your life, the Wheel of Life is the perfect tool to begin your journey. Using this tool, you will be able to reflect and gain some insight into the balance of your life and how satisfied you are in life’s different areas. Following on from this self-reflection, you can utilise this exercise to further delve into why your wheel of life looks the way it does, what you would like your wheel of life to look like, and further into how to make this happen.

This Wheel of Life Exercise is not to be confused with the Buddhist Wheel of Life. The Wheel of Life used in Buddhism focuses more on an awareness of your mental state. In our Wheel of Life that is commonly used in coaching and goal-setting, it’s purpose is to identify how you’re currently spending your time and how satisfied you are in the different categories of your life.

Before we get started, this post has a supplementary tool which can be found in the Success Starter Toolkit. Enter your details below to gain access to the Success Starter Toolkit and download your free Wheel of Life templates, guide and action plan.

 

The Building Blocks of the Wheel of Life

Essentially, the Wheel of Life is divided into different areas or categories that are important to you. What you see above is a common example of the Wheel of Life, split into major categories of life including Business/Career, Finances, Health, Family & Friends, Romance, Personal Growth, Fun & Recreation, and Physical Environment. There is a scoring system behind using the Wheel, where you simply reflect and rate your satisfaction levels out of 10, where 1 is closest to the centre of the circle and 10 is at the edge of the circle. The above diagram is colour-coded to simplify it and also make it aesthetically pleasing… feel free to change this as you wish!

Note that the categories on the Wheel are a suggestion. You will find that with the above you will be able to score yourself in the majority of key areas in your life. However, before you rush into it and complete the Wheel, you may like to have thought whether there are any other categories or specific areas you would like get an understanding of, such as Spirituality or Contribution to Society. Perhaps you may want to have Family & Friends as two separate categories to understand each more specifically. Below is an example of what your Wheel of Life may look like.

 

Photo credit: Personal Excellence

Remember, this is about you finding happiness and balance in your life so it will need to be clear and simple for you to understand.

One of the biggest benefits of the Wheel of Life is the pictorial representation it gives of your satisfaction with life. When your Wheel is completed, it will give you a spider-like diagram or ‘inner-circle’ of your satisfaction levels and allows you to quickly and easily identify any gaps between where you are now and where you want to be.

Now that you understand the building blocks of the Wheel, let’s go ahead and actually complete it!

 

Step 1 – Setup

Print off one of the above Wheels to use as a template, or simply draw your own on a piece of paper. To download the free wheel of life templates,  please access the Success Starter Toolkit.

 

Step 2 – Complete the Wheel

Score your satisfaction levels against each of the different categories you have on your Wheel. Take your time doing this, I would recommend 15 minutes or so. Put yourself in a place with no distractions and reflect on your life as a whole. To help you with this exercise I have provided some thought prompter’s.

Business, Career & Studies:Is your career where you want it to be by now? Are you heading in the right direction?

Finance & Wealth: Are you earning enough income to satisfy your current needs? Are you financial setup for future growth in wealth?

Health & Fitness: How physically healthy are you? Are you satisfied with your level of fitness? Are you satisfied with your diet?

Social & Friends: Are your friends supportive of you? Are you engaging friends and socializing to your satisfaction levels?

Family: Is your family supportive of you? Are you supportive of your family?

Love: Do you feel loved? How often are you expressing love to others?

Recreation & Fun: Are you enjoying your life and making it fun? Are you satisfied with the level of activity that you do?

Contribution: How would others rate your contribution to society or them as individuals?

Personal Growth: How focused are you on personal growth? Are you satisfied with your direction? Are you trying new experiences and seeking to learn?

Spiritual: How connected are you to the inner and outer world? Are you satisfied with your relationship with your spiritual being?

Self-Image: Do you think of your abilities highly? Do you respect and love yourself? Do you appreciate yourself?

 

Step 3 – Reflect

You should now have a completed Wheel of Life. It may look something like the below.

 

Take a moment to appreciate your Wheel of Life. What does it look like? Are there any surprises to you?

If you have scores of 8 to 10 for any of the categories, congratulations! You are very satisfied in this particular area. It’s important you maintain what you are doing to ensure you remain satisfied in this area, however don’t overlook that there may be areas for improvement. This is important to ensure you are not limiting your potential for even further growth and satisfaction in this area.

If you have scores of 5 to 7 for any of the categories, you are reasonably satisfied in this particular area but there is definitely opportunity to explore ideas to move this up the scale.

If you have scores of 0 to 4 for any of the categories, you are not very satisfied in this particular area and you will need to explore ways of enhancing your satisfaction here. No need to get down about these scores though, as scores of 0 to 4 are full of opportunity! I find this as quite exciting when someone has a lower score as often is the case the individual has not fully explored opportunities that are available to them. It’s also the area where the individual can grow the most and get the most value!

I encourage you to answer the below questions:
Why did you score yourself in each category the way you did?
What is my ideal score for each category to achieve in the next month, 3 months, 6 months, one year?
Where are my biggest gaps in satisfaction levels?
Which area of my life do I primarily want to focus on to enhance my satisfaction levels?

An important thing to remember is that this is your Wheel of life. Is your current wheel crooked or is it balanced?

What happens when you try to move forward and you have a crooked wheel? How efficient and effective are you going to be in life if you can not move forward in a balanced way?

It is very easy to become extremely satisfied in one area, but at what cost?

For example, you can spend all your time and energy working on your career and make some fantastic progress. Perhaps you will even become extremely satisfied with your finances and wealth. However, what may happen to your relationships? Your health and well-being? Are you having fun along the way?

The key is to find the balance and that is the beauty of the Wheel. To do this, you want to grow your Wheel, not balance your Wheel by trading off in some areas of your life. It’s about moving forward, challenging yourself and pushing your boundaries to expand your Wheel and make it bigger while maintaining a balance.

 

Step 4 – Action!

Based on the above, it’s time to put the wheels in motion! (How’s that for a pun??)

The Wheel of Life exercise is the perfect starting point for goal-setting and this is why so many life coaches, career coaches and executive coaches use it as a tool.

You now have a visual snapshot of how satisfied you are in different areas of your life. Through reflection, you have now identified your biggest gaps between where you are now and where you would like to be.

Commit yourself to taking action TODAY. What are the specific actions or steps that you are going to take to enhance your satisfaction in your desired area? Write what you will do down on the same piece of paper that your Wheel is on. Keep your Wheel close by in a place that you can easily refer to on a daily basis.

Track your progress! The Wheel provides a snapshot in time of your satisfaction levels and ultimately happiness. Complete the Wheel on a regular basis so you can easily track your progress. I recommend at least once every 6 months, depending on what your goals are and when you have aimed to achieve them.

Get access to the Success Starter Toolkit and download the Wheel of Life templates, supporting guide and action plan.

For the Comments

How was your Wheel of Life? What sticks out for you? Is there anything that jumped out at you that you didn’t not realise in your life? Do you know what you need to do create balance or expand your Wheel? Share your thoughts and comments below! I look forward to the conversation!

Start the Happiness!

Brendan

 

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Karma and the Wheel of Life

By Ken Holmes


Why are some people rich yet some poor, some happy yet others in misery, some lucky and some unlucky? Moreover, why are some pure, innocent beings afflicted with terrible misfortunes whereas evil tyrants remain healthy and rich? These are difficult questions for most faiths, believing in a just and compassionate God, to answer. The Buddhist explanation is to see this life as but one in a series of many. In this existence, one is reaping the harvest of seeds sown by actions (karma) of past lives, while at the same time planting new seeds to ripen in the life to come. There is no natural evolution in this process, hence a higher state of existence can be followed by an even better one or a worse one, depending entirely upon how it is utilised. Going up or down from one life to the next and returning again and again to the same patterns of action, through habit, and thereby reaping again and again the same results, this endless round of existence is represented by the 'wheel of life'.

Among the almost endless possibilities of existence in the cosmos, a human birth is considered to be very special. It is while human that most karma is created, with other states being mainly the experience of the results of human actions. Animals and other non-humans do create some karma, but it is quite weak. As the force of karma depends upon the motivation behind it, the karma of humans is, on the contrary, strong, since they possess intelligence and free will.

Unlike many other religions, Buddhism does not think of external beings who reward or punish one for altruistic or selfish acts. Future benefits or handicaps are shaped entirely by the nature of action itself, through its ongoing influence upon the mind. Just as good cherry seeds, as they fall to the ground, have the power to produce delicious fruit, some time in the future, and aconite seeds have the power to produce deadly poison, so do our acts already contain a quasi-genetic programming of future happiness or suffering. The ground onto which they fall is our ongoing continuum of consciousness. Like a complex garden, a human (or other) existence is the ripening, side by side, of many different things planted in the past. Some, like mighty trees, have been developing over many generations. Others, more like small flowers and mushrooms, are much more temporary phenomena.

The word karma is the Sanskrit term for action, encompassing not only the initial action itself, but also all its consequences. Thus it is called 'karma, cause and effect'. A seed does not cease to exist when it falls into the ground: it just disappears from sight, to develop later into a shoot which eventually becomes a fully-matured plant. Like buried seeds in winter, the imprints of actions rest dormantly in the 'storehouse consciousness', as potential prime causes of future experience. When this psychological potential meets with certain supportive circumstances - the equivalent of the seed being awakened by the spring sun and rain - results start to emerge. Thus it is not until one meets the trigger of certain people or places that a specific karma from past lives will start to manifest.

One must distinguish between 'virtuous' karma and 'untainted' karma. Virtuous acts produce, in the long term, pleasant results for their doer, such as long life, good health, wealth and friends for their doer. Unvirtuous acts produce suffering. Since both virtuous and non-virtuous actions are performed with the fundamental triplistic delusion of there being a doer (ego), a doing and a done-to (other persons and the world) - both belong to the illusion of worldly existence (samsara). Thus virtue and non-virtue determine the experiential quality of one's samsara yet cannot, in themselves, free one from samsara. Both belong to the category of 'tainted' karma (tainted by ego). Actions performed within the lucid clarity of voidness, in which there is no triplistic delusion, are known as 'untainted' karma. These can free one from samsara.

Another special category of karma, known as 'karma of immobility', applies uniquely to concentration meditation. By remaining calm, poised and one-pointed, one is not doing anything, in the ordinary sense, but rather undoing habits of action and not-doing things which perpetuate worldly reflexes. This lucid inactivity forms a vital part of the path to personal liberation. Scriptures describing it map out the various stages of mastery that emerge from it, while alive, and the possible rebirths into purely mental states that human meditation can engender.

The Wheel of Life depicts the six main types of conscious beings found in the universe. Its inner ring portrays the three main causes for being reborn: craving, aversion and ignorance. The outer ring shows the twelve main stages through which initial ignorance leads to worldly suffering. These are known as the twelve links of interdependence. The whole wheel is held like a giant mirror in the hands of Yamantaka, the Lord of Death, since at death, when the mind leaves one type of existence and embarks on a journey which will end up in a new existence, possibly in another realm, the previous life's actions become all-determinant.

The Wheel is mainly used to depict the real states of existence taught in the first Noble Truth: the Truth of Suffering. However, it can also be considered an allegory for the six main states of a worldly mind and the type of relationship they create with the people and places that make up one's life. The three upper realms are paired with their counterparts in the lower realms.

The Tree Upper Realms

The Deva Realm

One is reborn a god (deva) as a joint result of doing many good actions but being proud. The good deeds - in particular acts of generosity and pure conduct - bring splendour and wonders. The pride brings first a feeling of natural superiority and then, when the good results come to their end, unbearable sadness. The bodies and powers of the gods vary according to their previous karma. Most have beautiful and naturally perfumed bodies of light, upon which spontaneously appear garlands of celestial flowers and various fineries. In delightful garlands and palaces, they sport with their consorts and enjoy the most subtle pleasures of the senses. A day in one of these heavens lasts for hundreds of human years and the deva's lifespan is long indeed. But as it approaches its end, the bodies start to produce unpleasant odours and other gods avoid the fading deva. The flower garlands deteriorate. Worse, the god can see his or her next incarnation, so tawdry, dark and limited compared with its present condition. Heartbroken, incredulous and overwhelmed by self-pity, they have nothing to do but await the inevitable fall. Thus, the deva realm exemplifies the cycle of pride however it manifests.

The Buddha manifests in this realm playing a lute delightfully. This represents the need to gain the respect and attention of the proud before any message can get through to them.

The Asuras

also have good karma and are like demi-gods. Whereas the gods' good karma is tarnished by pride, the asuras' is spoilt by jealousy and some people refer to them as 'jealous gods'. Envying the superior joys and possessions of the gods, the asuras wage war on the latter, in the hope of deposing them and usurping their palaces. However, lacking the karma to possess such splendour, they are defeated and humiliated. Jealousy is like this everywhere, bringing the anguish of envy itself, competitive battles and eventual defeat.

The Buddha manifests to the Asuras with a sword of primordial wisdom in his hand. This symbolises that the jealous respond primarily to force and need to learn to channel their competitivity into a quest for wisdom, defeating ignorance rather than other beings.

Humans

As rare as a star in daytime, a human rebirth is considered to be the rare result of much good karma. Sometimes compared to a wish-fulfilling gem, it is considered the most precious existence of all, because of its tremendous potential. Unfortunately, this potential is rarely exploited and the gem is like a buried treasure. The majority of humans are so busy with their desires and projects that they are not even aware of spiritual possibilities. However, being exposed to more suffering than are gods or demi-gods, humans do have a better chance of giving rise to compassion: one of the most vital keys to spiritual development. Their main sufferings are those of birth, ageing, sickness and death, along with those of striving to fulfil their needs, not getting what they want, getting what they do not want and preserving what they have.

The Buddha appears to humans bearing his alms bowl and staff, the symbols of the ascetic life. This shows them that, in their world of multiple choices, the finest option is to follow the way of the sage.

The Three Lower Realms

Animals

"Most of them live in the sea" is the remarkable comment from early Buddhist scriptures, in times when most people ignored the existence of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and had no knowledge of submarine life. One is reborn an animal as a result of ignorance: fostering delusion rather than truth. They fall into two main categories. Wild animals live in constant fear and spend their time seeking food or eating each other. Domesticated animals are enslaved by humans. Their nature is one of submissive acceptance of their lot, the counterpart of the acquisitive dissatisfaction of the Asura.

The Buddha appears to the animals bearing a book, showing that the only way out of stupidity is the development of clear reason and the cultivation of knowledge.

Pretas

are spirits, born into states of frightful deprivation through former greed. With distended stomachs and needle-like throats, they search for ages for food and then only find disgusting scraps, or else see their find disappear before their eyes. Others manage to eat or drink but are burnt by they ingest as though it were molten metal. Unlike humans and animals, these spirits are aware of their former births and the greed which threw them into this condition. Their destitution is the counterpart of the complexity of possessions in the human realm. The Buddha appears to them bearing gifts and bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, as Khasarpani, feeds them soothing nectar. This symbolises the need to draw the greedy and mean to truth by manifesting generosity.

Hells

are, like the Preta worlds, states of severe hallucination into which the mind is thrown once it leaves the body and has passed through the post-death experience. It is the bitterness and anger imprinted in the mind, through past malevolence and hatred, which generate the hellish environment experienced. Some of these nightmares take the form of hot hells, with various agonies of burning and torture. Others take the form of frozen wildernesses, in which frostbite is the worst enemy. All seem to last for endless ages and many take the form of pain which leads to death then revival, only to pass through the whole cycle again and again. This is the opposite of the luxurious indulgence of the gods.

"Who could have created the beings there and the hellish weapons? Who made the burning iron ground? The Great Sage has taught these, and similar things, to be the fabrications of an unwholesome mind."

Bodhicaryavatara


The Buddha appears in the hells bearing the flame of purification, a sign of finding liberation from suffering by relating to it in an enlightened way.

The Basic Poisons

Just as a whole and healthy body loses its power when stricken by a tiny amount of poison, so does the mind lose its limitless wisdom due to 'mind poisons' (klesa) and thereby wanders in the confused illusions of the six realms. There are three basic poisons - ignorance, craving and hostility - represented by the pig, the cock and the serpent at the centre of the wheel. The three poisons feed off each other, as do the animals in the circle.

The Links of Interdependence

The twelve main stages in the cycle of rebirth are represented by the twelve icons forming the rim of the wheel:

ignorance - the blind leading the blind
karmic creations - a pot being thrown
consciousness - a monkey in a room with six windows
name and form - a boat
the six doors of perception - a house
contact - people embracing
feeling - an arrow piercing an eye
involvement - a man being served tea by a woman
craving- gathering fruits
becoming - two people procreating
birth - a woman giving birth
ageing and death - a corpse being carried to the funeral pyre.

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