Avici

< Nirvana Sutra > Verse 19

The worst of the Eight Hells is called “Continuous Hell” (Sansakrit).

It has the meaning of “Continuous Suffering”, thus the name.

No more thing called “Time”, No more thing called “Space”, and boundless suffering for the fallen souls.

Said the Buddha:

“He who is in Continuous Hell never dies, Longevity is a big hardship in the “Continuous Hell”.

“What is that hell known as Avici?”

“Firstly, the punishment is meted out day and night, kalpa after kalpa, without a moment’s interruption or relief. Thus Avici.

“Secondly, one person can fill it completely, and many people also can fill it completely. Thus Avici.

“Thirdly, there is punishment using such devices as forks, clubs, hawks, serpents, jackals, hounds, mills, grinders, saws, chisels, files, choppers, boiling pots, iron nets and cords, and iron mules and horses. Other hideous tortures and punishments force these miserable beings to cover their heads with their own skin after being flayed alive, after which hot molten iron is poured onto their bodies; and when they are hungry they are forced to swallow chunks of iron and drink molten iron when thirsty. This unimaginably horrible torture goes on and continues throughout years and kalpas numbering in nayutas. In this manner they suffer continuously with no cessation whatsoever. Thus Avici.

“Fourthly, irrespective of whether these sinners are male or female, barbarian or civilized, whether young or old, noble or mean, whether nagas or gods, devas or ghosts-all will receive the retribution of sinful karma. Thus Avici.

“Fifthly, if a person falls into this hell, he will die myriads of times and be revived myriads of times each day and each night from the time of his initial entrance unto hundreds of thousands of future kalpas, and he will never have any relief or rest whatsoever from his suffering and torture even for one instant. It is only with the exhaustion of his sinful karma that he will finally be able to gain rebirth. Owing to such continuity of suffering and torture, this hell is, therefore, known as Avici.”

Are we living in that hell?

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