The graphic on the cover of Meat Wheel News is an adaptation of the 'Wheel of Cyclic Existence', a traditional Tibetan representation of the twelve links of dependent-arising. The pictures are from an old book of Bible illustrations. Dependent-arising is a Buddhist explanation of the inner workings of karma -- cause and effect. It is called called dependent-origination in some traditions. On this page there is a brief guide to the twelve links, and an explanation about the graphic.

Guide to the illustrations of the 12 links of dependent-arising
(clockwise from top right)

Link 1: Ignorance. (Traditionally represented by a blind man -- the root of suffering)
An old, blind Isaac being fooled by Jacob.
Link 2: Compositional Action. (A potter)
A sower of seeds.
Link 3: Consciousness. (A monkey, sometimes in a house)
David's wife at a window.
Link 4: Name and Form. (People in a boat)
The apostles watching Jesus save Peter.
Link 5: The Six Sense Spheres. (An empty house)
Picture from background of Elijah asking a woman for bread.
Link 6: Contact. (A kiss)
Abraham's servant presents an earring to Rebekah.
Link 7: Feeling. (An arrow piercing someone's eye)
Serpents attacking while Moses displays the brass serpent.
Link 8: Attachment. (Drinking beer)
At the feast of the King of Babylon, before Daniel reveals the writing on the wall.
Link 9: Grasping. (A monkey picking fruit)
Scouts in the land of Caanan gathering grapes.
Link 10: Existence. (A pregnant woman)
Mary enters Jerusalem with Joseph.
Link 11: Birth. (Woman giving birth)
Moses is rescued by Pharoh's daughter.
Link 12: Aging and Death. (A corpse)
The dry bones that Ezekial talked to.

An explanation of the graphic.

Richard Leps kept mentioning 'Meat Wheel' as a good band or album name. He found it in Chorus 211 of Jack Kerouak's Mexico City Blues (Grove Press, 1959). It reminded me of the circle of dependent-arising that is the subject of the Dalai Lama's 1992 book (with Jeffrey Hopkins), The Meaning of Life from a Buddhist Perspective (Wisdom Publications). On the cover the edition I had is a Tibetan painting of a traditional subject: The Wheel of Cyclic Existence with Five Sectors. It includes five pie-slice-shaped heavens & hells, surrounded by a ring of images that illustrate the twelve links of dependent-arising. I used the format of this ring as the basis for the meat wheel graphic. I scanned images from an old public domain book of Bible illustrations (Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us, by Charles Foster. Philadelphia, Holman; copyright 1897). I tried to find images that related to the Dalai Lama's descriptions of the links, and arranged them in the manner of the traditional illustration. Some links had obvious choices; for others, I may have stretched or misinterpreted the meaning. I don't have any particular knowledge of these matters, and I apologize if I have mislead or offended anyone. I ask them to forgive my ignorance. I'm just rolling along in the old meat wheel. -- Rick Ferriss, 8/00.

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Graphics and site copyright 2004 by R Ferriss
Ferriss & Leps can be contacted at