August 27, 2014

As a child raised in a “Christian” home, I was told every Sunday in church that the way to ensure eternal life was to believe in the Bible and Jesus. If I didn’t believe in these things, I was going to end up in Hell, a horrible place full of horrible people being tortured for eternity. I was free to choose to believe or not to believe, but if I made the wrong choice I was fucked. Forever. This idea never sat well with me, especially when I realized that other cultures had different ideas about what makes punishable behaviour. Chinese Buddhist Hell is a place that makes way more sense than Christian Hell. In fact, it makes Christian Hell seem like a scam to make more money for the Church. Rather than punishing people for not believing in a weird sexist storybook, in Chinese Buddhist Hell you are punished for doing really shitty things during your life, repeatedly, to the point that your soul becomes so weighted down with bad karma that you sink into one of 18 levels where you are punished until your karma is served off. A kind of rehabilitation scheme for your soul. So if you’re a pedo, you’re going to be boiled alive in a cauldron of oil, a thought that I find quite enjoyable. If you talk a bunch of shit, you’re going to have your tongue ripped out by demons. If you pretend to be someone you’re not, you’ll be steamed like so many little buns. If you are a powerful oppressor, you’ll be ground in a mill into powder, over and over again, until you’ve paid off your billions in thievery. All in all, I like the sound of this place, especially since I always thought that being as nice a person as you can was the best way to avoid Hell – I mean, who wants to believe that all those child molesting priests are going to be enjoying some fucking paradise after they finally die? I would much prefer them to be burned and bubbled in a rolling vat of oil. After the jump, check out the Eighteen Levels of Hell, complete with ancient depictions of each level of torture…

Buddhist_Hell_13

Text via Wenhousecrafts

Hell is said to be a world at the bottom of the universe, or more precisely, at the inner most layer of the cosmos. And Hell itself is again divided into many layers (or say, many levels), each characterised with a particular kind of terror. Following is one of many versions of the Hell’s floor plan:

Chamber-of-Tongue-Ripping

The First Floor:
Name: Chamber of Tongue Ripping
Function: Those who stir up troubles by gossiping will find their tongues being ripped out.



Chamber-of-scissors

The Second Floor:
Name: Chamber of Scissors
Function: Those who break the marriage of others will have their fingers cut off.



Chamber-of-iron-trees

The Third Floor:
Name: Chamber of Iron Trees
Function: Those who cause discords among family members of other people will find their body being pierced by hooks and hung upside down on iron trees.



Chamber-of-mirror

The Fourth Floor:
Names: Chamber of Mirror
Functions: Those who escape the earthly punishment will find their true shape being displayed in the mirror, and the old karmic debt will have to be paid with high interest.



Chamber-of-steamer

The Fifth Floor:
Name: Chamber of Steamer
Function: Instigators and hypocrites will find themselves being steamed in a steamer.



Chamber-of-Arsonists

The Sixth Floor:
Name: Forest of Copper Column
Function: Arsonists will get themselves stuck to a scorching hot copper column.



007-Mountain-of-Knifes

The Seventh Floor:
Name: Mountain of Knifes
Function: Those who kill sentient beings with knife will find themselves climbing a hill of knifes.



hills-of-ice

The Eighth Floor:
Name: Hill of Ice
Function: Cold-blooded schemers and ungrateful suckers, including those who ill-treat their partners and elders, will find themselves naked in this freezing cold environment.



cauldren-boiling-oil

The Ninth Floor:
Name: Cauldron of Boiling Oil
Function: Sex offenders such as rapists, lechers and adulterers will find themselves being fried in boiling oil.



The above are the upper nine floors belonging to the East Hell. Further down is the West Hell with another nine floors.


chamber-of-ox

The Tenth Floor:
Name: Chamber of Ox
Function: Those who abuse animals will find themselves being bullied by animals.



chamber-of-rock

The Eleventh Floor:
Name: Chamber of Rock
Function: Those who abandon or kill newborns will find themselves being crushed under a rock and soaked in filthy water.



chamber-of-pounding

The Twelfth Floor:
Name: Chamber of Pounding
Function: Those who wilfully waste food will find themselves being pounded like crops.



Pool-of -Blood

The Thirteenth Floor:
Name: Pool of Blood
Function: Those who do not respect others will find themselves soaked in blood. It is said that those who died of bleeding are actually given a preview of their afterlife.



town-of-quitters

The Fourteenth Level:
Name: Town of Quitters
Function: Those who commit suicide will find themselves wandering in this town of misery where the wind of sorrow and rain of grief blasting day and night. They are the ones slipping off the normal incarnation paths and will live in the gaps of the worlds for a long, long time.



Chamber-of-Dismemberment

The Fifteenth Level:
Name: Chamber of Dismemberment
Function: Those who disturb the deceased by digging tombs will find their body being torn into pieces.



Mountain-of-Flames

The Sixteen Floor:
Name: Mountain of Flames
Function: Those who steal, bribe and rob will find themselves surrounded by the lasting inferno.



yard-of-stone-mill

The Seventeenth Floor:
Name: Yard of Stone Mill
Function: Those who abuse their power and oppress the people will find themselves being ground into powder.



chamber-of-saw

The Eighteenth Floor:
Name: Chamber of Saw
Function: Those who exploit the loopholes in the law to cheat and engage in malpractice in business will find themselves being sawed into half.



From the Buddhist point of view, being a sufferer in Hell is just one of six ways of living, and once a hell mate paid off its karmic debt, it will become light enough to rise up and be reincarnated into other forms of existence.

Hell, though terrifying, is as solid and as illusive as this human world. Since it is a universally shared perception, like the sun the moon and indeed the universe itself, it won’t burst into Nothingness because you do not believe in it, just as the moon won’t disappear because you do not see it – unless, of course, it is a moon or a hell in your dreamland and being sustained by your solo consciousness.

Meghan

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing alongside her husband Sean.

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  • Burton

    Have you read Dante’s Divine Comedy? There is a concept called “Contrapasso” that plays heavily in the Inferno section. Basically, in each level of hell, sinners are punished in a way that reflects the crime committed. For example, the souls of suicides become trees, and their limbs are constantly broken off, representing the destruction of their own bodies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gordon.annihilation Gordon Annihilation

    There is a rundown theme park in Singapore called “Haw Par Villa”/Tiger Balm Gardens & besides being a garish hodge-podge of bad sculptures & crazy colours, it boasts of an exhibit depicting these levels of hell & it’s kinda bad-assed. The fact that hardly anyone visits it & it does get a little creepy there after dark only serves to make it more of an anomaly in this tightly-run society obsessed with all things new, shiny & safe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gordon.annihilation Gordon Annihilation

    There is a rundown theme park in Singapore called “Haw Par Villa”/Tiger Balm Gardens & besides being a garish hodge-podge of bad sculptures & crazy colours, it boasts of an exhibit depicting these levels of hell & it’s kinda bad-assed. The fact that hardly anyone visits it & it does get a little creepy there after dark only serves to make it more of an anomaly in this tightly-run society obsessed with all things new, shiny & safe.