Thursday May 24, 2018

Do you Know? A Park in Thailand represents the Hell of Buddhism

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Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden. Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
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  • In Buddhism, a sinner remains in hell until his/her sins are not spent by punishment
  • Naraka has 8 large pits and each pit have 16 sub areas forming a total of 136 pits altogether
  • In the Park, corrupts are given the heads of pig, and thieves are given head of birds and then warden axe them off

Buddhism is a religion of peace but as hell and heaven go side by side, it has its own representation of horror as well. Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden or Thailand’s horror park represents the Hell as described in Buddhism. Known as ‘Naraka’, this park in Thailand represents the hell of Buddhism.

The park is well known for sending chills down your spine. Located in Saen Suk village of Thailand- located 100 kilometers from Bangkok, the park features a statue of Lord Buddha at the entrance with a sign “Welcome to Hell”. The statue of Buddha is followed by two devils- a man and a woman.

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In Buddhism, a sinner remains in hell until his/her sins are not spent by punishment. According to Traiphum Phra Ruang, a newly dead person is taken to Phya Yom, who will tell your fate after comparing the good deeds and bad deeds.

Phya Yom. Image Source: thailanguagetuition.co.uk
Phya Yom. Image Source: thailanguagetuition.co.uk

According to it, Naraka has 8 large pits and each pit has 16 sub areas forming a total of 136 pits altogether. Each sin has a separate pit and a separate punishment. The wardens were found wearing Buddhist clothes and are Buddhist monks. The statues in the park are of size of a human being.

The park depicts punishment of each sin. For example, a woman is penetrated with a spear to compensate for birth control and injection. Cheating is punished by removal of eyes. A rapist is punished by shoving tridents at his genitals. The murderers are punished with a spear penetrating through their heart. For regular alcoholics, boiling oil is poured down their throats. Those who undermine Buddhism have their head axed. Corrupts are given the heads of pig, and thieves are given head of birds and then wardens axe them off. Some statues shows that they burn sinners in boiling oil.

Punishment scene (source: www.atlasobscura.com)
Punishment scene (source: www.atlas obscura.com)

The most interesting part of the garden is a donation box located at the end of the park. It states that whoever gives alms and yellow robes to Buddhist monks will be born in the religious period of Bodhisattva. Near each sin, there is a donation box, which encourages forgiveness with the help of charity.

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Despite of depicting punishments, the park also encourages a sense of being good in an individual. It shows that good people are rewarded with good food, flower and also Lord Buddha smiling over prayer of sinners. The park also accompanies shrines of Lord Shiva sitting on Kailash mountain.

-This report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Oh my god! This is something really weird. You cannot depict hell (if it exists) so openly. But in a way it refrains people from doing bad if they fear god

  • Joey Anderson

    Thais are spooky race wish I never went to Thailand. And wish they would all die and burn in hell

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Oh my god! This is something really weird. You cannot depict hell (if it exists) so openly. But in a way it refrains people from doing bad if they fear god

  • Joey Anderson

    Thais are spooky race wish I never went to Thailand. And wish they would all die and burn in hell

Next Story

Buddhist Monk Losang Samten Uses Colors to Spread Message of Peace

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

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Samten
Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten uses colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism. VOA

According to one estimate, there are a 5 quintillion, 5 hundred quadrillion grains of sand on earth, a number so large it must be approaching infinity. This makes sand an appropriate medium for the construction of spiritual images of the universe.

Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten does just that, using colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. VOA

Decades of mandalas

Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama.

“When I was a teenager, age of 17,” he told VOA, “I had a privilege to enter His Holiness Dalai Lama’s monastery … in India. I have been studying sand mandalas ever since then. So it’s a long time.”

VOA found Samten painstakingly layering grains of colored sand at the gallery of the Philadelphia Folklore Project. The particular mandala he was working on was the mandala of compassion, or unconditional love.

Far from random designs, mandalas have been perfected over centuries.

“These are uniquely designed many, many, many, many, many years passing to an artist to another artist to another artist to another artist,” Samten said. “The color has a meaning, the shape has different meanings. Not my design; it didn’t come out of my own idea.”

When Samten created a sand mandala at the American Museum of History in New York in 1988 at the request of the Dalai Lama, it was the first time the 2,600-years-old ancient ritual art was seen outside of monasteries. Since then, Samten has made sand mandalas in museums, galleries and universities across the U.S. and many parts of the world.

“They are used to enhance the spiritual practice through image and meditation, to overcome suffering. Mandalas represent enlightened qualities and methods which explain this path, making them very important for the spiritual journey,” Samten wrote on his web site.

Nothing is permanent

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama. VOA

“In the winter of 1959, [we] crossed Mount Everest, it took us two months to cross,” he told VOA. “You cannot travel during the day and so scared and not enough food not enough clothes. I was age of 5. I saw, I mean unbelievable dead bodies, people dying without food. I became a monk at age 11 when I was in school, refugee school.”

Samten left monastic life in 1995 and became the spiritual director at the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. He says the patience of the creative process, can lead observers to find calm determination within themselves.

“When I am doing this mandala at universities and schools, many kids came to me, (saying) ‘when I saw you doing the sand mandala, that help me so much to finish my education, patience …’ I have a lot of stories,” he said.

Monk Samten
Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. VOA

Beauty comes and goes

After a sand mandala is completed, it is dismantled ceremoniously.

“Dismantle has many different reasons,” Samten said. “… One thing is, dismantle is a beauty, whatever we see as a beauty on the earth, never be everlasting as a beauty and impermanent, impermanent, comes and goes. It’s like a season.”

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Or like sand, ever changing in the wind.

Samten often invites children to participate in the ceremony.

To gallery visitor Traci Chiodress that was part of the charm of the event.

“I think it’s powerful to see something so beautiful created, and then taken apart, and to be done in a community with a group of people of different ages,” she said. “I just think it’s an important type of practice.” (VOA)