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Hello Dr. Maté,

“The Mandala, the Buddhist Wheel of Life, revolves through six realms. Each realm is populated by characters representing aspects of human existence—our various ways of being. In the Beast Realm we are driven by basic survival instincts and appetites such as physical hunger and sexuality, what Freud called the Id. The denizens of the Hell Realm are trapped in states of unbearable rage and anxiety. In the God Realm we transcend our troubles and our egos through sensual, aesthetic or religious experience, but only temporarily and in ignorance of spiritual truth. Even this enviable state is tinged with loss and suffering.

The inhabitants of the Hungry Ghost Realm are depicted as creatures with scrawny necks, small mouths, emaciated limbs and large, bloated, empty bellies. This is the domain of addiction, where we constantly seek something outside ourselves to curb an insatiable yearning for relief or fulfilment. The aching emptiness is perpetual because the substances, objects or pursuits we hope will soothe it are not what we really need. We don’t know what we need, and so long as we stay in the hungry ghost mode, we’ll never know. We haunt our lives without being fully present.

Some people dwell much of their lives in one realm or another. Many of us move back and forth between them, perhaps through all of them in the course of a single day.”

I agree that life can crush people. The tooling we have due to the workings of evolution often makes us avoid people who are different from us. But how do we get off the wheel? As your article showed very well there are incredible problems in the world. Do you think that we might be better off with a more hopeful philosophy than Buddhism?

If I may, I would ask a personal question, was Buddhism something that pushed you to become a Doctor, or did you take an interest in Buddhism after you became a Doctor? Thank you,

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Can anyone get off the wheel of life? 214 Eddie Larry 05-Oct-18 18:45


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