The wheel of life, Trongsa dzong,Buddhist art of Bhutan. photo by Stephen Shephard, 2006, Creative Commons
The wheel of life, Trongsa dzong, showing the realms of Samsara. Buddhist art of Bhutan. photo by S. Shephard via Creative Commons

In Hinduism and Buddhism one speaks of Saṃsāra. Saṃsāra is a Sanskrit word, the literal meaning of which is “a wandering through” [1]. Samsara consists of continuous cycles of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

In Sanskrit, enlightenment is called moksha, as liberation or freedom from Samsara. In psychological terms, freedom from samsara expresses liberation from the object attachments and object identifications that are superimposed upon the true nature of the Self.

Western psychology locates the ego within a world of object representation and object identifications. The ego knows the world according to the senses: sound, smell, sight, touch, taste. The senses point outward toward the object world. To make sense of the object world the mind creates object representations: color, weight, size, shape, form, name, location, etc. We know objects by the names we give the objects and by the predicates we use to describe them.  

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