Naraka (Sanskrit: नरक; Pali: निरय Niraya) is a term in Buddhist cosmology usually referred to in English as "hell" (or "hell realm") or "purgatory". The Narakas of Buddhism are closely related to diyu, the hell in Chinese mythology. A Naraka differs from the hell of Christianity in two respects: firstly, beings are not sent to Naraka as the result of a divine judgment or punishment; and secondly, the length of a being's stay in a Naraka is not eternal, though it is usually incomprehensibly long, from hundreds of millions to sextillions (1021) of years.
A being is born into a Naraka as a direct result of his or her accumulated actions (karma) and resides there for a finite period of time until that karma has achieved its full result. After his or her karma is used up, he or she will be reborn in one of the higher worlds as the result of karma that had not yet ripened.
Physically, Narakas are thought of as a series of cavernous layers which extend below Jambudvīpa (the ordinary human world) into the earth. There are several schemes for enumerating these Narakas and describing their torments. The Abhidharma-kosa (Treasure House of Higher Knowledge) is the root text that describes the most common scheme, as the Eight Cold Narakas and Eight Hot Narakas.
|Kanji||地獄 / 奈落|
|Sanskrit||नरक (in Devanagari)|
|Pāli||निरय (in Devanagari)|
Each lifetime in these Narakas is twenty times the length of the one before it.
Each lifetime in these Narakas is eight times the length of the one before it.
Some sources describe five hundred or even hundreds of thousands of different Narakas.
The sufferings of the dwellers in Naraka often resemble those of the Pretas, and the two types of being are easily confused. The simplest distinction is that beings in Naraka are confined to their subterranean world, while the Pretas are free to move about.
There are also isolated and boundary hells called Pratyeka Narakas (Pali: Pacceka-niraya) and Lokantarikas.
The Dīrghāgama or Longer Āgama-sūtra (Ch. cháng āhán jīng 長阿含經), was translated to Chinese in 22 fascicles from an Indic original by Buddhayaśas (Fotuoyeshe 佛陀耶舍) and Zhu Fonian 竺佛念 in 412–13 CE. This literature contains 30 discrete scriptures in four groups (vargas). The fourth varga, which pertains to Buddhist cosmology, contains a "Chapter on Hell" (dìyù pǐn 地獄品) within the Scripture of the Account of the World (shìjì jīng 世記經). In this text, the Buddha describes to the sangha each of the hells in great detail, beginning with their physical location and names:
The Buddha told the bhikṣus, "There are 8,000 continents surrounding the four continents [on earth]. There is, moreover, a great sea surrounding those 8,000 continents. There is, moreover, a great diamond mountain range encircling that great sea. Beyond this great diamond mountain range is yet another great diamond mountain range. And between the two mountain ranges lies darkness. The sun and moon in the divine sky with their great power are unable to reach that [darkness] with their light. In [that space between the two diamond mountain ranges] there are eight major hells. Along with each major hell are sixteen smaller hells.
"The first major hell is called Thoughts. The second is called Black Rope. The third is called Crushing. The fourth is called Moaning. The fifth is called Great Moaning. The sixth is called Burning. The seventh is called Great Burning. The eighth is called Unremitting. The Hell of Thoughts contains sixteen smaller hells. The smaller hells are 500 square yojana in area. The first small hell is called Black Sand. The second hell is called Boiling Excrement. The third is called Five Hundred Nails. The fourth is called Hunger. The fifth is called Thirst. The sixth is called Single Copper Cauldron. The seventh is called Many Copper Cauldrons. The eighth is called Stone Pestle. The ninth is called Pus and Blood. The tenth is called Measuring Fire. The eleventh is called Ash River. The twelfth is called Iron Pellets. The thirteenth is called Axes and Hatchets. The fourteenth is called Jackals and Wolves. The fifteenth is called Sword Cuts. The sixteenth is called Cold and Ice.""
Further evidence supporting the importance of these texts discussing hells lies in Buddhists' further investigation of the nature of hell and its denizens. Buddhavarman's fifth century Chinese translation of the Abhidharma-vibhāṣā-śāstra (Ch. āpídámó pípóshā lùn 阿毘曇毘婆沙論) questions whether hell wardens who torture hell beings are themselves sentient beings, what form they take, and what language they speak. Xuanzang's 玄奘 seventh century Chinese translation of the Abhidharmakośa śāstra (Ch. āpídámó jùshè lùn 阿毘達磨倶舍論) too is concerned with whether hell wardens are sentient beings, as well as how they go on to receive karmic retribution, whether they create bad karma at all, and why are they not physically affected and burned by the fires of hell.
Descriptions of the Narakas are a common subject in some forms of Buddhist commentary and popular literature as cautionary tales against the fate that befalls evildoers and an encouragement to virtue.
The Mahāyāna Sūtra of the bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha (Dìzàng or Jizō) graphically describes the sufferings in Naraka and explains how ordinary people can transfer merit in order to relieve the sufferings of the beings there.
Chinese Buddhist texts considerably enlarged upon the description of Naraka (Diyu), detailing additional Narakas and their punishments, and expanding the role of Yama and his helpers, Ox-Head and Horse-Face. In these texts, Naraka became an integral part of the otherworldly bureaucracy which mirrored the imperial Chinese administration.
Diyu (Chinese: 地獄) is the realm of the dead or "hell" in Chinese mythology. It is loosely based on a combination of the concept of Naraka, traditional Chinese beliefs about the afterlife and a variety of popular expansions and reinterpretations of these two traditions.
Diyu is typically depicted as a subterranean maze with various levels and chambers, to which souls are taken after death to atone for the sins they committed when they were alive. The exact number of levels in Diyu and their associated deities differ between Buddhist and Taoist interpretations. Some speak of three to four "courts"; others mention "Ten Courts of Hell", each of which is ruled by a judge (collectively known as the Ten Yama Kings); other Chinese legends speak of the "Eighteen Levels of Hell". Each court deals with a different aspect of atonement and different punishments; most legends claim that sinners are subjected to gruesome tortures until their "deaths", after which they are restored to their original state for the torture to be repeated.Jigoku
Jigoku may refer to:
Hell Girl (Jigoku Shōjo), a Japanese manga and anime which ran from 2005-2006
Gate of Hell, a 1953 Japanese film
Jigoku (film), a 1960 Japanese horror film
Jigoku: Portrait of Hell, a 1969 Japanese horror film
Jigoku: Japanese Hell, a 1999 Japanese horror film
Diyu, the realm of the dead or "hell" in Chinese mythology
Naraka (Buddhism), the hell of Buddhist belief
The hot springs of Beppu, ŌitaNaraku
Naraku may refer to:
Naraku, Iran, a village in Bushehr Province, Iran
Naraka (Buddhism), one of the underworlds of Buddhism
Naraku (奈落), a character in InuYasha
Ninja Slayer's ninja spirit, from Ninja Slayer
Naraku from Senran Kagura video game franchiseRaurava
Raurava denotes a hell in
Tapana may refer to:
Tapana, a hell in Naraka (Hinduism)
Tapana, a hell in Naraka (Buddhism)
Tapana (film), a 2004 Telugu romantic-drama filmUtpala
Utpala may refer to:
Utpala (astronomer), 10th-century mathematician-astronomer from India
Utpala (Paramara king), a 10th-century king of Malwa region in India
Utpaladeva, 10th century Shaivite philosopher-theologian from Kashmir
Utpala dynasty of Kashmir, India; ruled between 8th to 11th centuries
Naraka (Buddhism), the concept of hell in Buddhism
Utpala Sen, Indian actor
|Romanization||Jigoku / Naraku|
Topics in Buddhism