Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Truth of Avici Hell

The Parinirvana Sutra says:

"Among the 8 great Hells, the worst is known as Avici Hell. Because one experiences immense suffering without any interval, thus it is given such a name."

The Ksitigarbha Sutra says:

"Avici Hells are hells reinforced with iron surrounded by iron walls, 8 millions miles wide and 1 million miles high. These Hells are fully filled with burning flames and are jointly linked up together with other Hells of different names. Among them there is one Hell by the name of Avici. The area of this Avici Hell is eight thousand square miles. The whole of this Hell, with iron walls, is packed with burning flames. Iron snakes and dogs with hot fire in this Hell run from the East to the West. Also, there is an iron bed and when one is cast there, he can see his own body filling it. Therefore, all beings are subjected to punishment according to their sins."

In Buddhist cosmology, Avici Hell is considered the worst and most severe of all the hell realms in existence. The Sanskrit term "Avici" means without interval, referring to the unceasing torments that sinners in that hell experience for an unimaginably long time. What type of beings get reborn into such a terrible place? Those who have committed any of the 5 heinous sins, namely:
1. Murdering one's father
2. Murdering one's mother
3. Killing an Arahant
4. Shedding the blood of a Buddha
5. Creating discord within the Sangha

Which brings us to a young Canadian girl in the news, Jasmine Richardson, charged with ganging up with her boyfriend to murder her parents and little brother in 2006. The 12 yr old Jasmine became the youngest person ever charged with a multiple murder in Canadian history. The reason for the senseless killings is due to her parents disallowing her from seeing her 23 yr old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke. She was angry at being grounded, and after seeking help from Jeremy, they hatched a plan to kill all the people obstructing their paedophilic relationship. They eventually succeeded in murdering the rest of Jasmine's family members, although it was Jeremy who carried out most of the killing. The only thing Jasmine did was to "stab her little brother". Jeremy finished off the job by slitting the boy's throat. Nevertheless, on July 9th 2007, Jasmine was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder in the killings. She would be sentenced to a maximum of 6 years imprisonment and 4 years of probation, which is the maximum penalty for a person under 14 years of age next month (August). As for Jeremy, his trial would probably start only next year, and according to Canadian laws, he would be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty of the murders.

Despite the vivid descriptions in the scriptures, Avici Hell is not so much as a place that people who have done great evil go to after they die, but it is right there in their very minds. In Jasmine's case, the moment the thought of hatred arose in her mind towards her parents, the pit of Avici Hell had already opened wide for her to fall into. One thought leads to another, which is no different from her falling deeper and deeper into Hell. When the thoughts transform into action, she had already landed on the burning iron bed inside Avici Hell. The torment began right then. Now, after being arrested, charged and sentenced by a worldly court, it is not life in prison that would bring her the greatest suffering, but the mental guilt that would plague her every single day for the rest of her life. That is truly a long lasting suffering that is Avici, without interval. And we all know where all that guilt is going to take her mind-stream upon the dissolution of her body.

More fearsome than any weapon on Earth, is the thought of hatred. Consuming everything in its path, it would not be extinguished until both subject and object are plunged into great suffering. Endless is the sea of suffering, yet simply turn around and the shore is right before you. Will the young Jasmine ever have the chance to turn around? Let us pray that her dead parents and brother will one day forgive her for her sins.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog. It has really taught me a things I would never have been able to find on my own.

aminor0amajor said...

if Avici is in the mind of sinners, some people enjoy, even having great pleasure, in killing others. Do they go to hell too?

Wayne said...

The moment the thought of killing people for fun arises in their minds, they have already reached the gates of hell. They just don't know it yet.

Roy said...

Hi Wayne,
I really enjoyed reading your blog. Do you have any other avenues to share your buddhist teachings(e.g facebook, msn, websites)?
PS: 地狱未空, 誓不成佛

Anonymous said...

Is it true that you also go into the Avici Hell for verbal criticism and censure of other people? I read on Youtube that that is the case.

Anonymous said...

If the five sins are committed then and then only one is reborn in Avici hell, other there are other hells where one are born for verbal criticism and censure of other people.
I think Lord Buddha taught people about the avici hell, so they he would help them learn about the avici hell and how one is reborn and suffer in Avici hell.

Holly Wood said...

What kind of hell is there for those who burned puppies alive for food causing great suffering?

Unknown said...

What about the poor pigs cows and chickens you eat everyday without remorse despite knowing what happens to them?