Tag Archives: Avici Hell

Avīci Hell

Perhaps the best known hell-realm within Buddhism is Avīci Hell. It’s the most ferocious and unrelenting dominion that houses the most grievous perpetrators such as those who commit matricide and patricide, rapists, in particular one Ananda (not to be confused with Gautama’s cousin)—who raped his own cousin, the Theri Uppalavanna, heinous murderers (certainly serial murderers have a special place reserved for them in Avīci) and overt slanderers against the Buddha and the Buddhadharma—most notably Devadatta from our last blog. Even though Devadatta eventually becomes liberated from Avīci, whose time is measured in kalpas (a unit of time that describes how long it takes the universe to destroy and recreate itself), he’s still therein suffering from its fire and brimstone.* read more

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Devadatta—the Buddhist Judas

There have been many personages who have been consigned to the Buddhist Hells, but perhaps none more notorious than one of the Buddha’s own disciples—Devadatta, who clearly resembles that of a Buddhist Judas. Devadatta was a cousin and brother-in-law of Gautama Siddhārtha and also the brother of the Buddha’s chief disciple—Ānanda. Devadatta conspired to break ranks with the original Sangha and attempted to form his own community with 500 other monks. In time he enjoyed supernormal powers of the mundane plane (puthujjana-iddhi), and convinced of his own superiority, decided to assassinate Gautama Buddha. Devadatta attempted to kill the Buddha himself by dropping a large boulder upon him from on high, but the Blessed One walked away unharmed. Undeterred, Devadatta set upon him an aggressive elephant named Nālāgiri, but the Blessed One simply covered Nālāgiri with the loving compassion of his own mind, wherewith the mighty creature bowed to the ground and worshipped him. Thereafter, however, the tables soon turned on Devadatta. Kokālika, a main disciple of Devadatta, died of ulcers all over his body and was reborn in the Lotus hell because he spoke ill about the Buddha’s disciples Sāriputta and Moggallāna. As for the fate of Devadatta himself: read more

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Abandon all hope Ye who enter here

Chapter three of the Lanka kicks-off with the three-fold nature of the “projection body”, or manomayakaya. “There are three kinds of projection bodies. And what are these three kinds? They are the projection body that experiences the bliss of samadhi, the projection body that realizes the essential nature of the dharmas, and the projection body that whose natural state is motionless.” (Red Pine, pg 167) The first is present when the waves of the vijnana are brought to rest, making FULL STOP to discriminatory phenomena; Mind is at rest in IT’s true Unborn Nature and one’s former samsaric will takes a back-seat as the Super-essential Will of the Unborn Mind rises and takes full precedence. The second is present when the yogin, or adept, enters the eighth stage of recollecting liberation, or Right Concentration: here the realization dawns that although “empty” of all phenomena, the Super-essential Self (Unborn Mind), has the creative power to animate all the varied-realms of dharmatic reality. The third is present when the Yogin, or adept, has a thoroughgoing grasp of the exact “nature” of the “Unmoving Principle” behind the manomayakaya–it is suprapositional and always utterly dynamic, but indeed “motionless” which is the antithesis to the “moving principle” that is mired in all the obstructions of phenomena. In this fashion, the ultimate teachings of all the Buddhas are brought to bear in the bliss of this Noble self-realization, expediently rising to the fore for the benefit of all sentient beings. The concluding gathas (verses) drive home a keen awareness that these Mahayanic teachings, which in themselves are reflections of the Total Unborn Mind Realm, or dharmadhatu—is not represented through any sound, form, projection (image), nor EVEN the “realm of imagelessness”!!! (Suzuki) On the other hand, it is a teaching vehicle through which the Creativeness of the Unborn Will expediently musters activities that are born out of deep Samadhis for the sake of sentient beings. read more

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