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Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra. Chapter V. The names of different kinds of hells

At that time, Samantabhadra Maha Bodhisattva requested Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva saying, “My meritorious One, please be kind enough to relate to devas, dragons and all beings of the Samsara world, in the present and the future, the names of different Hells and the kinds of punishment for committing sins so that beings in the future genera­tions will realise the result of evil deeds and therefore will avoid evil.”

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva replied, “My compassionate One, under the supernatural powers of the Buddha and your kind support, I now give you the names of Hells and the kinds of punishment for sinners in brief —

1. The Great Avici Hell

At the East of the Mahachakravala mountain which is extremely cold, for there is neither light of the sun nor the moon, there is a great Hell by the name of Great Avici.

Punishments in this Hell comprise of pain, form, birth and death. Such punishments continue without intermission.

2. Hen of Interminable Punishment

Where the wailing and screaming of sinners is heard because of pain.

3. Hen of Four Corners

Where hot and burning iron-walls surround this Hell and with flames of fire falling on the sinners like heavy rain­drops. After the sinners are burnt to death, they are reborn for further sufferings.

4. Hen of Filing KNives

This Hell is surrounded by mountains made of Knives. In the air, there are millions and millions of sharp walls with curved Knives which will fall on the sinners. When the Knives fall on the sinners’ bodies, the bodies will be slashed to pieces.

5. Hen of Burning Arrows

Where millions of Burning Arrows pierce through the sin­ners’ hearts and bodies.

6. Hen of Crushing Mountains

Where sinners will be crushed to pieces between two Mountains.

7. Hen of Knife-Like Spears

Where sinners’ bodies will pierced through by these Spears.

8. Hen of Iron-TRAins

Where sinners’ bodies are turned and run over by the burn­ing iron-wheels of these Trains.

9. Hen of Burning Iron-Beds

Where sinners’ bodies are placed on these Beds to be burnt to death.

10. Hen of Iron-Cows or Oxen

Where sinners are pierced or stepped over by the horns or hoofs of these Cows or Oxen.

11. Hen of Burning Iron-Clothing

Where sinners are wrapped up by the burning Iron­Clothing.

12. Hen of Thousands of Burning Iron-Swords

Where sinners are forced to lie on them which pierce through their bodies. Knives are also seen flying fr om the air, hitting the sinners’ bodies and cutting them to pieces.

13. Hen of Burning Iron-Asses

Where sinners are forced to ride on them.

14. Hen of MoLten Brass

Where sinners have Molten Brass poured into their mouths.

15. Hen of Brass Pillars

Where sinners are forced to embrace the burning Brass Pillars.

16. Hen of Burning FlAmes

Where sinners bodies are burnt by the Flames falling on them like rain-drops without any chance for them to escape.

17. Hen of Tongue-Ploughs

Where sinners’ tongues are used as Ploughs to plough the land.

18. Hen of Iron-Saws

Where the heads of sinners are sawed.

19. Hen of Burning Iron Ground

Where sinners are forced to walk on it with bare feet.

20. Hen of Iron EagLes

Where sinners’ eyes are pecked by Iron-Eagles.

21. Hen of Burning Iron-Bans

Where sinners are forced to swallow the Balls.

22. HeLL of QuarreLs

Where sinners are burnt with iron-claws and always seen in fights with one another.

23. Hen of Iron-Hammers

Where sinners are smashed by the Iron-Hammers.

24. Hen of Great Anger

Where sinners are made to fight against one another angrily.

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva said again, “My compassionate One, inside the Mahachhakravala there are innumerable such Hells of Punishment. Again, there are —

25. Hen of WaiLing

Where sinners are thrown into the burning tanks with mol­ten iron and they wail on account of severe pain.

26. Hen of Plucking Tongues

Where sinners’ tongues are plucked by Iron-Hooks.

27. Hen of Urine and MANure

Where sinners are driven into the pit of Urine and Manure.

28. Hen of Brass Locks

Where sinners are locked against the Iron-Mountain and made to run.

29. Hen of FiRe ElephAnts

Where sinners are chased by burning Elephants.

30. Hen of FiRe Dogs

Where sinners are bitten by them.

31. Hen of Fire Horses and Fire Cows

Where sinners are chased or stepped on by the burning animals.

32. Hen of Fire Mountains

Where sinners are forced to walk between them and be crushed into ashes.

33. Hen of Fire Rocks

Where sinners are forced to lie on the Iron Burning Rocks with such Rocks pressed against them.

34. Hen of Fire Beds

Where sinners are forced to lie on them.

35. Hen of Fire Beams

Where sinners are hanged on them.

36. Hen of Fire EagLes

Where sinners are attacked by them.

37. Hen of Fire Saws

Where sinners’ bodies and teeth are sawed.

And again —

There is a Hell where sinners’ skins are stripped.

There is a Hell where the blood of sinners is sucked.

There is a Hell where the feet and hands of sinners are burnt.

There is a Hell of iron-trees with sharp thorns where sinners are dragged against the burning thorns.

There are Hells of burning iron-houses where sinners are to be locked within them and then burnt to ashes.

There is a Hell of iron-wolves which either run after or stamp on sinners’ bodies and even bite them to pieces.

Inside such Hells, there are various kinds of small ones, either one, two, three, four or even up to hundreds and thousands of smaller Hells with different names.”

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva then told Samantabhadra Maha Bodhisattva and said, “My meritorious One, the above Hells are formed purposely to punish all beings who are of the bad habits to commit sins, either through their actions, words or thoughts. The power of Cause and Effect is so great and inevitable. It can be compared to being as big as Mount Sumeru and as deep as the great ocean. Evil sins are obstacles preventing us from practising meritorious deeds to aim for Buddhahood. That is why all beings should be cautious not to commit even the smallest sin. Never think that a small sin will not get any punishment in return. After one is dead, he or she will be cast into the Hell to be punished even for the smallest evil deed done. Close relatives, as that of a father and his children, may find themselves cast into different Hells. When they meet at the same Hell, however, they are not permitted - as well as being reluctant - to suffer on behalf of their beloved ones. By the supernatural power of our Honoured One, the Sakyamuni Buddha, I am now only relating to you the punishment of different Hells in brief. I hope you will be kind enough to listen to me.”

Then Samantabhadra Maha Bodhisattva replied, “I have come to know about the punishment of evil deeds through actions, words and thoughts long ago. I earnestly hope that my compassionate One will kindly speak about the law of Cause and Effect so that every being of the future generation will learn the lesson from you to abstain from doing bad deeds, but to practise meritorious ones by aim­ing to attain Buddhahood.”

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva said again, “My compassionate One, the punishments in Hells are as real as such. There are Hells wh ere the tongues of sinners are used as ploughs. In some of the Hells, the hearts of sinners are pulled out and eaten by Yaksas. In some Hells, the sinners have to be put into boiling tanks and be boiled to death. In some of the Hells, sinners are forced to embrace burning brass pil­lars. In some of the Hells, sinners are circulated by burning flame.”

Inside some of the Hells, it is extremely cold and sinners are frozen to death. In some of the Hells, sinners have to float among the dirt of urine and manure. In some of the Hells, there are flying iron weapons which crush the sin­ners’ bodies. In some of the Hells, there are burning spears which pierce through the suffering sinners. In some of the Hells, the bodies of sinners are knocked against by iron sticks. In some of the Hells, the hands and feet of sinners are made to hold or walk on burning irons. In some of the Hells, the bodies of sinners are curled around by iron snakes. In some of the Hells, sinners are chased by iron dogs. In some of the Hells, sinners are forced to ride on iron asses.

People who have committed sins by killing, theft, adultery, lying, slandering, abusing, gossipping, craving and anger have to be cast into the above Hells for punishment with­out any chance of escape.

My compassionate One. The weapons of punishment in the various Hells are innumerable in kinds, either made of brass, iron, stone or fire. The stubbornness of all beings are as strong as brass, iron and stone which are difficult to break. The power of Cause and Effect on sinners is as dan­gerous as fire which will spread rapidly and burn things to ashes. If I am to speak about the sufferings of Hells in detail, there are hundreds and thousands of various kinds of sufferings in each Hell. Evidently, there will be more sufferings in more Hells. Under the supernatural power of our Honoured One, the Sakyamuni Buddha, and at your kind request, I am now only relating the sufferings in Hells very briefly. If I am to speak about the sufferings and pun­ishments in Hells in detail, I cannot fully express them even through kalpas and kalpas.”