Questions about hell

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still_wandering
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Questions about hell

Post by still_wandering »

Greetings.

Ive noticed in the depictions of the hot hells Ive seen there are two types of residents...those being tormented and those providing the torment.

Could anyone explain the significance of this to me?

I mean, they are both in hell, but in very different situations.

How do these roles come to be? Do these hell beings swap roles, or is it pretty stable throughout their sojourn? What kind of relationship do the two role-players have with each other? Why is their even a need for a deliverer of torment there?...as the depictions of cold hells Ive seen the being's torment is delivered simply by the harshness of their exterior world.

It seems one group there is suffering much more than the other, would this be an accurate observation?
SarathW
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by SarathW »

Hello SW
Good question.
According to Buddhism, when a person perform an un skill action on some other person, both will have a mental and physical pain.
In other words both are in hell due to their past unwholesome actions.
:thinking:
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cooran
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by cooran »

One of the Suttas about who ends up in Hell:

Parikuppa Sutta - In Agony
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Dhammanando
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by Dhammanando »

still_wandering wrote:Ive noticed in the depictions of the hot hells Ive seen there are two types of residents...those being tormented and those providing the torment.

Could anyone explain the significance of this to me?

I mean, they are both in hell, but in very different situations.

How do these roles come to be?
There is said to be a class of living beings known as “mansion-dwelling ghosts” (vemānikā petā). These beings are experiencing the ripening of mixed bright and dark kamma. Thanks to the bright kamma they get to spend half their day as devas flying around in mobile celestial mansions (vimāna) and disporting themselves with heavenly nymphs etc.. Thanks to the dark kamma they spend the other half of the day as petas of one kind or another (there are many kinds). One kind of vemānika peta is required to spend the miserable half of the day in hell as an indentured servant of Lord Yama. It is his duty to carry out the tortures on those who have been reborn in hell through the ripening of some dark kamma.
still_wandering wrote:Do these hell beings swap roles, or is it pretty stable throughout their sojourn?
It’s stable.
still_wandering wrote:What kind of relationship do the two role-players have with each other?
The nerayikas are in extreme pain and terror. The nirayapālas are not in pain, but being petas they are of course unable to derive any pleasure from their infliction of torture. Why then do they do it? My guess is that they're probably so pissed off at being dragged away from frolicking with their nubile nymphs in their mobile mansions, that they can't help but take it out on the poor nerayikas.
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If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
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Coyote
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by Coyote »

Do the nirayapālas (and Yama) accumulate akusala kamma as a result of their actions of torture?
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santa100
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by santa100 »

Coyote wrote:Do the nirayapālas (and Yama) accumulate akusala kamma as a result of their actions of torture?
Guess it depends on their state of mind while doing it. If there's sadistic pleasure or enjoyment from seeing the suffering of others, that'd be bad kamma. If it's just to carry out one's duty as "law enforcers" to restore and maintain justice, then probably not..
theend
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by theend »

santa100 wrote:
Coyote wrote:Do the nirayapālas (and Yama) accumulate akusala kamma as a result of their actions of torture?
Guess it depends on their state of mind while doing it. If there's sadistic pleasure or enjoyment from seeing the suffering of others, that'd be bad kamma. If it's just to carry out one's duty as "law enforcers" to restore and maintain justice, then probably not..
This reminds me of a few lines in Ven. Nanavira Thera's "Commonplace Book":
--Why do you punish?
--I am a Judge, and it is a Judge's duty to punish.
--It is a Judge's duty to punish, true; but is it your duty to be a Judge?
santa100
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by santa100 »

For the context of the OP, more like "Is it your kamma to be a judge?" instead of "Is it your duty to be a judge?"
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Mkoll
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by Mkoll »

santa100 wrote:
Coyote wrote:Do the nirayapālas (and Yama) accumulate akusala kamma as a result of their actions of torture?
Guess it depends on their state of mind while doing it. If there's sadistic pleasure or enjoyment from seeing the suffering of others, that'd be bad kamma. If it's just to carry out one's duty as "law enforcers" to restore and maintain justice, then probably not..
I think it's still bad kamma do physically torture others, even if your superior in a bureaucratic hierarchy tells you to do it.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
santa100
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by santa100 »

Mkoll wrote:I think it's still bad kamma do physically torture others, even if your superior in a bureaucratic hierarchy tells you to do it.
Back to the "law enforcer" simile. Do we know the exact kamma of a police officer? He might have to shoot some dangerous armed robber to save some peoples' lives. He certainly bear the negative kamma of killing beings. But he might also generate the positive kamma of protecting/saving other peoples' lives. How about those who restore/enforce "justice" down in hell? Without those nirayapalas, who will implement the law of kamma to Hitler, PolPot, Staline, etc. down there? It's certainly is a terrible "profession", but it's an important one, and someone gotta do it right?
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Dhammanando
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by Dhammanando »

Coyote wrote:Do the nirayapālas (and Yama) accumulate akusala kamma as a result of their actions of torture?
Oh yes. I mean one can't intentionally hurt someone and not perform an akusala kamma.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta
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Mkoll
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by Mkoll »

I'm not sure about how bad kamma bears fruit in hell-realms so I'm not going to speculate on how it works for all involved. I take the detailed descriptions of them with a grain of salt.

I think the comparison between a good, non-corrupt police officer who would only use violence as a last resort to save others from suffering and someone who physically tortures people to cause them great agony because it's his "duty" is a poor one. One could argue that the police officer's use of violence is not completely bad kamma but I don't think one can argue that the same for the torturer. I'm talking about the human realm here.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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Dhammanando
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by Dhammanando »

santa100 wrote:Back to the "law enforcer" simile. Do we know the exact kamma of a police officer? He might have to shoot some dangerous armed robber to save some peoples' lives. He certainly bear the negative kamma of killing beings. But he might also generate the positive kamma of protecting/saving other peoples' lives.
Yes. We have here a pre-volition (pubbacetanā) to save innocent lives, which then gives rise to a volition to kill someone who is about to take innocent lives. The effect of the pre-volition (or in modern parlance, the motive) is twofold: firstly it mitigates the degree of unwholesomeness involved in the killing; secondly it is itself wholesome mind-door kamma. It does not, however, have the power to transform the akusala act of intentional killing into a kusala one, as some Mahayanists misguidedly aver.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta
santa100
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by santa100 »

And I'm talking about hell. Once an extremely evil person like Hitler got reborn into hell, that'd already indicate he's reborn into a place where violence is used as a last resort. In other words, Hitler already exhausted all his good kamma, and he's bound for a destination to repay his kammic debt. It'd be illogical to say the hell "officer"'s kamma is "completely bad" since the root cause to the terrible punishment comes from Hitler himself. So basically, there must be a difference in the weight of kamma between a person who enjoys torturing innocent people versus a hell officer who carries out the "sentence" against Hitler dutifully, without any sadistic pleasure or maybe even with a little bit of guilt while doing it. Anyway, I'm just speculating here. It'd be great if someone could provide references on the kamma and future state of those poor nirayapālas..
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Mkoll
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Re: Questions about hell

Post by Mkoll »

You've changed from saying it's "probably not" bad kamma in post #6 to "weight of kamma" in post #14 so it sounds like you've changed your position.

And Ven. Dhammanando has already answered the question of whether bad kamma is being performed in that case or not. It is.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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