Instructive paintings illustrate some aspect of religious doctrine. The most common form is the Wheel of Existence, but such paintings can also include medical and astrological charts or images of ritual implements and meditative postures.
The Wheel of Existence is the most comprehensive visual teaching tool explaining the cyclical process of life, death, and rebirth (samsara). It is directed toward the general public and can be found painted at the entrance of nearly all temples and monasteries. The scenes within are pictorial expressions of the laws of karmic cause and effect, the idea that our own actions—both virtuous and wicked—bring about reward or retribution and determine our fate in the next life.