Buddhism 101: Six Realms of Existence – Ep. 127

In Buddhism, the most popular mandala is that of the Wheel of Life, a visual representation of the Six Realms of Existence. Traditionally the six realms into which a sentient being can reincarnate in its endless succession of lives. In this podcast Mark Epstein + Professor Thurman detail the Six Realms in Buddhist Cosmology and how to work with them as metaphors for the different psychological states of the human mind.

Using Pali, Sanskrit & Tibetan sources Mark Epstein connects the ancient Buddhist mind training system with modern Psychology, Psychotherapy & Mental Health insights.

Concludes with two guided meditations by Robert AF Thurman on selflessness & the three keys of self-analysis.

Buddhist Wheel of Life Six Realms Image © Manfred Sommer via Flickr
Tibetan Wheel of Existence Photo © Manfred Sommer, All rights reserved.

Recorded at the 2016 Tibet House US program “Addiction, Depression & Recovery” with Robert AF Thurman & Mark Epstein at Menla Retreat in Phoenicia, New York.

“The Six Realms are the Human, Animal, Hell, Heaven, Hungry Ghost and Jealous God Realms. While some people take these realms literally, it is also possible to work with them metaphorically, as metaphors for the different states of mind through which we all pass in a given day. Hell realms are times of emotional torment; Heaven realms are times of happiness. Hungry Ghost realms are times of yearning or craving in which we feel like we can never be satisfied. The trick, from a Buddhist perspective, is to learn how to be in each realm without holding on and without pushing away, accepting things just as they are. This is best learned in the Human realm, where we have the intelligence and the will to attempt such things.”

Mark Epstein M.D.

To listen to more recordings from this & other past programs please consider becoming a Tibet House US Member.

To learn more about the work of Mark Epstein M.D. join him & Bob at Menla in 2017 or please visit his website: www.markepsteinmd.com.

The song ‘Dancing Ling’ by Tenzin Choegyal from the album ‘Heart Sutra‘ (2004) by Ethno Super Lounge is used on the Bob Thurman Podcast with artist’s permission, all rights reserved.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

The so-called "Tibetan Book of the Dead" has been renowned for centuries as a classic of Buddhist wisdom and religious thought. More recently, it has become highly influential in the Western world for its psychological insights …


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