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The Third Court of Hell

The Third Court of Hell

C023/9546

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Credit

SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

In traditional Chinese beliefs “Naraka” is the Buddhist concept of hell in the afterlife. Under this doctrine, the soul must pass through ten stages, in the form of the ten Courts of Hell. All souls are judged on the type and extent of their evil deeds, and the degree and duration of their punishment is determined. The Third Court of Hell, governed by Sung-ti-Wang, includes tearing out eyes, hanging head downwards and bone scraping. After the punishments, the souls are prepared for reincarnation by the process of metempsychosis, involving the taking of the “elixir of forgetfulness” to remove all previous memories. The reborn souls enter Nirvana after crossing the “Bridge of Helplessness”. From “Recherche sur les Superstitions en Chine” by Henri Doré, Shanghai, 1914.

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