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By Charles S. Prebish, Damien Keown

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From the way the Buddha defined it the main criterion seems to be one of intention or free choice. ” These have two forms, good and bad, giving a total of six in all. Actions motivated by greed (r�ga), hatred (dve�a), and delusion (moha) are bad (aku�ala) while actions motivated by their opposites—non-attachment, benevolence, and understanding—are good (ku�ala). It will be recalled that these are the same as the “three poisons” depicted at the centre of the wheel of life (bhavacakra) shown above.

Karma is concerned primarily with the moral dimension of those teachings and denotes primarily the consequences of moral behaviour. For Buddhism, karma is thus neither random—like luck—nor a system of rewards and punishments meted out by God. Nor is it destiny or fate: instead it is best understood as a natural—if complex—sequence of causes and effects. 360) as karma-niyama: this means that it is seen as just one aspect of the natural order, specifically as one function of the universal law of causation known as dependent origination (prat�tya-samutp�da) which will be explained in chapter three.

As the wheel of sa�s�ra moves around, beings migrate through the various realms of rebirth in accordance with their karma, or the good and evil deeds committed in each life. The scheme of the six realms is commonly depicted in the form of a wheel known as the “wheel of life” (bhavacakra), which sets out the relative position of each of the six domains. Diagram showing the six realms of rebirth depicted in the wheel of life If we look at the circular diagram of the wheel of life, we see three realms below the line and three 31 The Six Realms of Rebirth Contents | Chapter 1: �start | �end above.

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