The Buddhist Hell With discussions on: -The Wheel of Life -Buddhist Gods -Buddhist Ghosts -Intricacies of the Buddhist Hell -Role of the Buddhist Hell Presented by Quentin Kelly, John English, and Chucky Ashraf
Buddhist concept of Life • Everything in the world is a phenomenon and is constantly changing. • Time is understood as a series of individual moments. • Death is simply the movement from the last moment in one life to the first moment in the next life. • The law of Karma is a law of nature whereby each action is necessarily followed by reward or punishment.
Karma • Life consists of interwoven activities that produce causes and effects. • Death does not terminate this cycle. Our deeds continue to accumulate following death and influence our status in the next life. • Until enlightenment occurs, we are “locked” in an endless cycle of death and rebirth , Samsara, within the “wheel of life.”
The Wheel of Life • A representation of the six destinations, or realms, that one may enter at the onset of each life. • The realms exist as a six-layered hierarchy: Gods, Humans, Animals, Titans, Hungry Ghosts, Denizens of Hell. • Where we are placed at the onset of each new life is determined by our accumulation of past positive and negative acts/deeds.
The Buddhist Concept of Hell • As seen in the wheel of life, Hell is just one of the six primary realms in the cycle of Samsara. • Hell is not the location for eternal damnation. • Just like the Buddhist world view, there are many levels and sublevels in Hell.
Hell is the coldest and hottest of places, consisting of eight fiery levels and eight icy levels. • When a being is born in Hell, they experience pain. • Pain is the way in which justice is carried out as a result of negative karma (acts of ill-will in previous lives).
The different levels of Hell • The Buddhist idea of Hell has evolved over time. Different theories have evolved, but all maintain the similar essential elements we have discussed. • Some have attempted to describe the eight different levels of hell; the names of the sublevels of hell and the punishments that occur in each.
The First level of Hell • Known as the “Hell of retributive justice.” • The destination of persons who have taken any form of life or eaten meat. • Punishments include being beaten with iron claws; Smothered in mud and feces while repeatedly stung by millions of insects simultaneously being forced to eat boiling shit.
The Second Level of Hell • Known as “The Hell of the black rope.” • Destination for murderers and thieves. • Punishments include being lashed with whips of fire and hacked with axes. • A dog with burning teeth exists in this region of hell, which primarily feeds on the flesh of those being punished at this level.
The Third Level of Hell • The destination of rapists and spouse beaters. • The punishment for pedophiles is to watch the children they have raped undergo Hell’s punishments.
The Fourth Level of Hell • Known as the “Hell of screaming.” • Destination of merchants who cheat their customers. • Punishments include being inflicted with 404 diseases as insects crawl into the body to devour it from the inside.
The Fifth Level of Hell • Known as the “Great Hell of Screaming.” • Destination for those who have lied about their ill-intentioned actions. • Like level 4 of Hell, but ten orders of magnitude worse. • Punishments include the impalement of burning sticks into the anal cavity.
The Sixth Level of Hell • Known as the “Hell of Burning.” • Punishments include having one’s body cooked into human yakitori.
The Seventh Level of Hell • Known as the “Great Hell of Burning.” • Destination of those who are chronic liars about many, many ill-intentioned actions. • Punishments include receiving a burning stick up the buttocks that is twice as hot and lasts longer than the stick up the buttocks experienced in level 6.
The Eighth Level of Hell • Also known as “The Great Hell of Unlimited Suffering.” • Located so far deep in the earth that it takes 2000 years falling to reach it. • Destination of prisoners: Buddhists who were burned at altars, people who let others die of thirst, and children who kill their parents. • Punishments include being burned, eaten alive, and being dropped off mountains.
The Avici Hell • The Hell that has the most suffering. • The Avici Hell contains innumerable layers, each with different names and different punishments. • Examples of several different layers: -the hell of Crying Out, the hell of Pulling Tongues, the hell of Dung and Urine.
Punishments within the Layers of the Avici Hell • Hell in which tongues are stretched out and plowed through by cattle. • Hell in which excrement and urine are endless. • Hell in which fiery spears stab repeatedly • Hell in which bodies are stretched by iron mules.
Rebirth and Justice in Hell • The cause of rebirth in hell is the accumulation of deeds instigated by ill-will in previous lives. • The degree of unwholesome karma determines the length of time spent and amount of pain experienced in Hell. • Beings are reborn into a different realm of the wheel of life following the extinguishment of unwholesome karma in Hell.
The Eye of Justice • The punisher’s third eye is that which investigates the deeds of previous lives. • His objective is to help those who experience the temporary sufferings of Hell find enlightenment in their next life. • The punisher is actually Buddha in another form.
The Psychological Influence of Hell • Buddhism claims there is no order in the world. • Moreover, there are no gods to model moral perfection after. Thus, Buddhists do not strive for ideal moral behavior. • Yet, Hell creates a type of conventional order which scares humans into “right” moral behavior (reward/punishment model).
Ghosts • In certain traditions, each time a person dies, their spirit spends an unspecified amount of time as a conscious ghost seeking rebirth. • As a result, Buddhist monks traditionally chant special prayers to dead spirits, urging them to stop wandering the places where they died, and to detach themselves from loved ones - so the living can enjoy peace, and the dead can begin the purification process in Hell.
In other traditions, a Ghost’s purpose is to escort living people, who are soon approaching death, to Hell.
Many Thais believe ghosts are wandering tsunami-hit beaches, spooking taxi drivers, making the Andaman Sea hungry for more victims, and jinxing an economic recovery for devastated resorts.
Buddhist Gods • Unlike Western understanding of God. • gods are simply another destination in the hierarchy of the wheel of life. • gods have a finite lifetime, although they do live a considerably longer and more satisfying life. • Interestingly enough it is the realm of humans, not gods, that is the most desirable position. Balance of pleasure and pain.
A very special thanks to: www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/dharmadata/fdd19.htm www.vexen.co.uk/religion/buddhism.html www.trocadero.com/Rhett/items/383109/en2store.html www.corkscrew-balloon.com/02/07/1bkk/05b.html www3.tky.3web.ne.jp/~edjacob/ojoyoshu.htm www.boingboing.net/2004/04/23/photojourney_through.html http://www.buddhanet.net/wheel2.htm http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/qanda05.htm http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/snapshot01.htm http://www.buddhanet.net/funbud10.htm http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?method=4&dsid=2222&dekey= Ghost+Festival&gwp=8&curtab=2222_1 http://www.hungryghost.net/descrip.html http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/encyclopedia/g/gh/ghost.htm http://www.biol.tsukuba.ac.jp/~macer/EJ144/ej144f.htm