jundo cohen wrote:
Well, yes, my Soto corner of Zen has certainly threatened folks with hell fire at times in its history, and I think the same of many Mahayana and Vajrayana (if I may speak as an outsider) schools ...
I have seen the "hells" and "heavens" that folks make for themself, and those around them, in this life. I do not know if there are literal "heavens" and "hells" which await us after we die, but I have seen people create real bits of heaven and hell in this life, for themselves and those near them, by their actions.
Just a few of the many Buddhist Hells (Naraka) found in Mahayana literature are the following (although I know that folks here will correct errors in details of the following descriptions) ...
* Arbuda – the "blister" Naraka. This is a dark, frozen plain surrounded by icy mountains and continually swept by blizzards. Inhabitants of this world arise fully grown and abide life-long naked and alone, while the cold raises blisters upon their bodies. The length of life in this Naraka is said to be the time it would take to empty a barrel of sesame seed if one only took out a single seed every hundred years.
* Nirarbuda – the "burst blister" Naraka. This Naraka is even colder than the one above, and here the blisters burst open, leaving the beings' bodies covered with frozen blood and pus.
* Saṃghāta – the "crushing" Naraka. This Naraka is also upon a ground of hot iron, but is surrounded by huge masses of rock that smash together and crush the beings to a bloody jelly. When the rocks move apart again, life is restored to the being and the process starts again. Life in this Naraka is 10,368*1010 years long.
* Raurava – the "screaming" Naraka. Here beings run here and there looking for refuge from the burning ground. When they find an apparent shelter, they are locked inside it as it blazes around them, while they scream inside. Life in this Naraka is 82,944*1010 years long.
Here some images of so-called "Buddhist Hell" from an amusement park in Singapore (although I have seen similar images in some temples in China, Japan, Tibet and Korea when visiting there) ... images that would make even a Fire & Brimstone preacher in the Bible Belt faint ... here are some. Just like in the West, images of "hell" like this were often used by Buddhist preachers to get people to "be good".
Although the above images are from an amusement park funhouse, very similar images are found in serious artwork in many temples across Asia, including here in Japan.
Who knows, could be. I will take my chances, focusing on avoiding the hells of this world.
Wow. I was under the impression that Buddhism was a peaceful religion. Stuff like this is why I still have yet to take the precepts after a year and a half of study with a Sangha. I left Catholicism due to the doctrines set forward in which one is required to worship a God who punishes people with torture for their sins. Now, while I realize that in the Buddhist tradition karma is what determines rebirth, doesn't it seem just a little f*cked up that so many Buddhists think that if you get drunk you're going to Hell? I guess I'm going to the Blister Naraka, considering that I get wasted from time to time at parties. Yeah, I'm not going to lie. I do. Now does this mean I'm going to Hell? If so, why the hell (no pun intended) is this religion somehow considered more peaceful and tolerant than Christianity or Islam?
I mean how can people ACTUALLY believe -- using logic and reasoning -- that there is ACTUALLY a place where you go after you die and you suffer horrible physical agony in such gory, explicit and specific detail? It smells like bullshit to me.
I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just dissapointed. I left Christianity because it was, for me, a bunch of fear-mongering and illogical drivel. I went to Buddhism because I thought it was really about ending suffering. How does fearing a very long, painful torture end our suffering? Isn't fear a defilement in Buddhism to begin with?
Why don't you go to Somalia or North Korea and try and sugar coat the reality there with whatever religion floats your boat.