[Woman with Baby]

This stage represents birth, and the natural progress of the imagery is obvious. Beings come into existence in one realm or another according to their past karma. When we consider the dependent origination to this point we can see how this karma unfolds through several stages and how desire drives the engine of becoming.

Birth can be into any of the realms of existence, depending on the karma of the being. Meritorious deeds of generosity, renunciation and wisdom lead to birth in the higher realms of humans and gods. Evil deeds of hatred, cruelty, greed and lust lead to birth in the lower realms of animals, ghost and demons.

Only the supramundane paths and fruits (nibbana) lead out of the realms of birth and death altogether.

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