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Theme: Suffering

The Wheel of Life depicts the six different realms that makeup cyclic existence. These realms are divided into three higher realms and three lower realms with the three higher realms consisting of the realms of the gods, demi-gods, and humans and the three lower realms being the realms of animals, hungry ghosts, and hell beings. Each realm has an overriding afflicting emotion that causes suffering. Within the three lower realms hell beings are ruled by anger, hungry ghosts by greed, and animals by stupidity. In the Higher realms, gods are ruled by pride, the demi-gods by jealously and the humans by desire. While Buddhist view these realms as very real, these afflicting emotions can also relate to different mindsets that lead to suffering in our own lives.

Image Credit: Wheel of Existence; Tibet, early 20th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art, C2004.21.1

Mindfulness Meditation Series

Himalayan practitioners have, for centuries, used meditation to quiet the mind, open the heart, calm the nervous system, and increase one’s ability to focus. Now, western scientists, business leaders, and the secular world have embraced meditation as a vital tool for brain health. Learn more

Presented in partnership with Sharon Salzberg and the New York Insight Meditation Center.

About the Speaker

“Each of us has a genuine capacity for love, forgiveness, wisdom and compassion. Meditation awakens these qualities so that we can discover for ourselves the unique happiness that is our birthright.â€

— Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, has been a student of meditation since 1971, and guiding meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Sharon’s latest book is Real Happiness At Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace. She is weekly columnist forOn being, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and is also the author of several other books including the New York Timesbest-seller, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program, Love Your Enemies, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, and Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.Sharon has been a regular participant in the Rubin’s many on-stage conversations. This is her first formal meditation session at the museum. For more information, please visit