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If There's A Hell Below...

Buddhism technically is a philosophy, but like most religions it has some very graphic depictions of the afterlife, especially when your life wasn’t spotlessly clean…

Once you’ve kicked the bucket it all starts with your appearance in front of Phra-Yom, apparently he’s the God of Hell and Death…

He will check his records in a huge book or on-screen and judge you accordingly to all your wicked ways.

And then the fun starts…

If you have been disrespectful against your parents, you’ll end up as a ‘Bpraed’, an altered humanized monster with a ridiculous small mouth and huge hands and feet.

Adultery is a serious sin for which one is going to pay dearly, that’s for sure as they’ll end up climbing spiky trees while being attacked by nasty birds and assorted pests.

This makes me wonder how having a minor wife is being judged…

Killing noisy neighbors or anyone else for that matter results in suffering the same in Hell.

Those who indulge in the nightlife, including boozing, gambling, taking drugs, rampant fornication, and sex tourists will all end up drinking molten hot copper cocktails for an eternal happy hour…

You participated in stealing, lying, illegal downloading, trolling, spreading fake news, and conspiracy theories?

Payback time in the afterlife, you’ll be pierced by sharp spears!

There’s lots more, all of it distinctively unpleasant, including ending up with animal heads...

The pics above I took earlier this month at Wat Bang Kho while cycling in Nonthaburi.

This temple only has a small Hell park, but in 2016 I visited Wat Phai Rong Wua, Suphan Buri, and there I found the real deal as you can see from my old pics!

A lot of the sculptures are crude but therefore perhaps even more effective.

Like the Christian authorities in the European Middle Ages, Buddhists too believed that by making the afterlife ‘visible’, believers would be encouraged to lead decent (& docile!) lives.

As a kid I went to The School with The Bible in Loosdrecht and vividly remember a huge wall decoration showing the wide and narrow path you’d have to choose after your demise.

Granted, none of the depictions of what you’d encounter on the wide path were as graphically explicit as those shown in Buddhist temples and scriptures or in that Hieronymus Bosch painting; The Garden of Earthly Delights.

However, it still made an impression on me as a tiny 6-year-old brat...

There are several other temples featuring Hell Gardens, such as Wat Saen Suk in Chonburi, Wat Muang in Ang Thong, Wat Kai in Ayutthaya, Wat Puet Udom in Pathum Thani, Wat Thawet in Sukhothai, Wat Mai Plai Huai in Phichit, Wat Tham Ta Pan in Phang Na, and even the well-known White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)in Chiang Rai has a vivid Pit of Hell.

All this vivid suffering makes visitors hungry of course...

Bringing your offspring here for educational purposes is dubious, either they end up psychologically scarred for life, or like this little boy, couldn't care less!

Artist Impression.

My vision of Hell is rather different, I envision myself cycling for eternity across poor roads, while occasionally being attacked by vicious Hell hounds and encountering irregular internet connection (at critical junctions my mobile’s GPS suddenly fails)… Hmmm, sounds familiar already!

What is yours?!

Some links:

A more in-depth overview:

Another comic artist - Mats Stromberg - came up with these Hell 'stickers':

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