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Four Reminders – Samsara

This is the last of the four mind-turning reflections, which have taken these from Madhyamavini’s blog. Samsara is often defined as the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth as depicted in the wheel of life. Or, you may understand it as the world of suffering, dissatisfaction and stress.

In literal terms, the Sanskrit word samsara means “flowing on” or “passing through.” It might be understood as the state of being bound by greed, hate and ignorance–or as a veil of illusion that hides true reality – as this ThoughtCo article discusses.


Suffering is part of my life.
Everything I experience is tinged with incompleteness.
I cannot escape unsatisfactoriness.
My life involves stress, striving and struggle.
The same is true of others.
Almost everyone I know is searching for something their lives do not give them.
Everywhere I see this.

People’s lives include many other kinds of suffering.
There is illness and physical pain: that goes with having a body.
There is the mental anguish of depression, fear, madness and many other afflictions. The possibility of such experience goes with having a mind.
All this is within the spectrum of experience I occupy.
This is human life, and these things can happen to me.

When I consider my experience I see that it’s in continual flux.
My body changes continually, a mass of processes that never settle.
My mind is an endless stream of thoughts, one after another.
Similarly, people change, situations alter, nothing endures.
The whole world is like this.
Nothing is solid, or final; nothing can be fully relied upon.
Consider this present moment, and you see this is true.
Look around and you see it is true everywhere.
I want the world to be substantial and knowable, but it isn’t.
This causes me to suffer.

These are the defects of samsara.
It’s futile to expect the world to make me happy: that expectation is the very source of my suffering.
I must change the way I see the world, and live on the basis of reality, not illusion.
The Dharma offers a way to do this.
It gives a path away from being trapped in samsara.
Therefore let me commit myself to practising the Dharma.

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