Wheel of Metempsychosis

Wheel of Metempsychosis

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: In traditional Chinese beliefs “Naraka” is the Buddhist concept of hell in the afterlife. Under this doctrine, the soul must pass through ten stages, in the form of the ten Courts of Hell. All souls are judged on the type and extent of their evil deeds, and the degree and duration of their punishment is determined. Following the Tenth Court and after drinking the Elixir of Forgetfulness, the souls cross the Naihe Qiao or “Bridge of Helplessness” before climbing on to the “Wheel of Rebirth” (also called the Wheel of Metempsychosis, Reincarnation, or Life). Once on the wheel, their future, either as a human or other form of existence will be determined by the point from which they can dismount. The Wheel has been one of the most popular visual images of a basic concept in the world of Buddhism for two thousand years and has undergone many interpretations. Keywords:

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Keywords: afterlife, bridge of helplessness, buddhism, chinese, courts, dorã©, elixir, forgetfulness, hades, metempsychosis, mythology, naraka, nirvana, psychostasis, punishment, rebirth, reincarnation, soul, styx, superstition, torture, wheel of rebirth

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