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In Buddhist thought, the basic causes of suffering, pain and unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) are known as the Three Poisons: greed, ignorance and hatred. These are often represented as a rooster (greed or attachment, rāga), a pig (ignorance, moha) and a snake (hatred or aversion, dvesa). All negative states of consciousness are seen as ultimately grounded in one or more of these three unwholesome roots and from these the whole cycle of existence evolves. The three poisons are symbolically drawn at the centre of the Buddhist Wheel of Life, found on the outside walls of Tibetan temples and monasteries.
I am a Buddhist, though not a very good one. My teacher, Lama Choedak Rimpoche, introduced me to the Three Poisons. Though I find other aspects of Tibetan Buddhism to be too 'supernatural', the elegance and simplicity of there being three foundation unwholesome roots to our consciousness appealed to me and rang true.
Each work contains the six-syllabled Sanskrit mantra, om mani padme hum, written hundreds of times. It can be thought of as a kind of medicine.
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