Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life in Buddhist Hell(s)

( The Hell Realm is depicted as a place partly of fire and partly of ice. In the fiery part of the realm, hell beings (narakas) are subjected to pain and torment. In the icy part, they are frozen.

Interpreted psychologically, hell beings are recognized by their acute aggression. Fiery hell beings are angry and abusive, and they drive away anyone who would befriend or love them. Icy hell beings shove others away with their unfeeling coldness. In the torment of their isolation, their aggression increasingly turns inward, and they become self-destructive. More>>
In fact, the idea that there are only six realms in Buddhist cosmology is a gross over simplification. The Buddha outlined 31 Planes of Existence. But this, too, is a simple outline. A closer examination of any of these general planes reveals that there are indeed many more worlds and layers within them.
The "Animal Realm," for example, has countless species and undersea, underground niches few people have any idea about. Similarly, the Realm of Hungry Ghosts (petas, pretas) is very diverse. The majority of planes are inhabited by devas (light beings). But the majority of beings are packed in lower realms. The hells differ, just as the celestial worlds do, according to the karma that effected rebirth there. Like the Human Realm, there are almost as many worlds as individuals to experience them. No realm is permanent but can last so long as to feel eternal.

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