Tuesday December 11, 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

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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

Next Story

Thailand Considers Same-Sex, LGBT Couples Rights Bill

If the law passes by then, Thailand will be the first country in Asia to fully legalize country-wide same-sex unions.

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LGBT, Thailand
Thai LGBT community participates in Gay Freedom Day Parade in Bangkok, Thailand. VOA

Thailand’s government is considering a proposed Life Partnership Bill, which would guarantee same-sex couples rights similar to couples in traditional marriages, including the use of one’s spouse’s surname, property rights and the right to end the partnership.

The move is seen as a milestone in efforts to improve legal rights for those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, or LGBT, community, which comprises an estimated 8 percent of the population, or about 6 million people.

For hotel receptionist Patipant Chuthapun, who lives with his partner in the northern city of Chiang Mai, the proposed partnership law is a welcome one.

In the lobby of the boutique Isty hotel in the city’s urban core, the 23-year-old worker feels most at ease with his sexual identity, while he can openly greet foreign tourists, including gay and lesbian travelers.

“At first, when I worked at the hotel, I felt like I had to hide my identity because I wasn’t sure if the guests would look down at me. But they seem to be more open and accepting to the way I am,” he said.

What was more challenging to Chuthapun was telling his parents about his sexuality when he was a teenager going to school in the conservative farming community, where more than 90 percent of Thais practice the conservative Theravada Buddhism.

“We have problems with the family, and they don’t accept who we are because Thailand is not as open as Western countries,” said Chuthapun.

“Now, we have the law, and our families have heard about it and they are starting to open their hearts for us.”

Current marriage laws reflect a traditional interpretation of gender and family arrangement with reference specifically to men and women.

LGBT groups have been holding public hearings and rallies at major centers across the country, ahead of a government decision on whether to have the new civil partnership bill go before a legislative assembly this year.

The bill was first drafted in February 2013, but proceedings were sidelined a year later, after a May 2014 coup and subsequent government reshuffle.

Marriage, taiwan, LGBT
Lin Chinxuan, right, holds a reflector as Austin Haung, 32, photographs Kao Shaochun, left, and John Sugden during their pre-wedding photoshoot in Taipei, Taiwan, Nov. 11, 2018. Chinxuan and Haung are a couple and together they run Hiwow studio photographing LGBTQ couples. VOA

Now, the renewed hearings have caught the attention of many in the LGBT community, including Patawee Triwijan, a resort worker and Chuthapun’s live-in boyfriend.

“In the past when we first lived together, we had to pretend to be like others and say that we were just friends. So, when we went out in public, we didn’t dare to hold our hands to show our affection,” said Triwijan, as he monitored a popular LGBT website for updates on the proposed law.

“Things are changing now because we have more support. and we aren’t afraid to hold our hands in public,” Triwijan added with a smile.

At the Chiang Mai Rights and Liberties Protection Department, the staff is busy compiling recommendations gathered from hearings in the northern regions of Thailand.

“We opened the public hearing stage for every group, for LGBTs and for the government that has to implement this law if it is passed,” said Director General Phuchit Jaruwat.

“We discussed the challenges and limitations that this will have — if passed — and open up to opinions of what we need to make the law work best in our society.”

“Thailand wants to have the same standard of rights for the LGBT community so that all members of society have the same status.”

pride flag, LGBT
The rainbow pride flag of the LGBT community. Wikimedia Commons

Gay rights groups say the bill is a positive step but that they will continue to push, hoping that the measure is a sign of more rights to follow.

“Thailand looks a lot like a paradise for the LGBT community but in reality, we don’t have any written laws or regulations to support our community. So, we are faced with many problems in Thai society that we need to fix,” said Ratthawit Apiputthiphan, director of Mplus, an aid group for the LGBT community.

Aside from the stated benefits, the act raises the age of legal consent from 17 to 20 and does not include joint adoption or parental rights.

“For the latest same-sex marriage law, they need more adjustments and changes to make it more complete for the LGBT group,”Apiputthiphan adds.

“For example, when a partner gets sick, we can sign the documents for his treatment and for adoption, to allow us to adopt children.”

“We want to have all equal rights, the same treatment as ordinary men and women. It seems like they have this law just to label us.”

Also Read: Same-sex Marriage Referendum Gets Rejected In Taiwan

A 2014 country report that was reviewed by USAID and the United Nations Development Program, or UNDP, noted that in Thailand’s southern provinces, where followers of Islam largely congregated, attitudes toward the LGBT community were more conservative and unfavorable. The document, Being LGBT in Asia: Thailand Country Report, also said, “Legal and policy reform is seen as difficult both because lawmakers tend to be conservative and, because the constitution and country’s laws are seen as sacred.” (It noted the opinions did not reflect the official policy positions of USAID or UNDP).

Although the date for the vote is still unconfirmed, Gen. Phuchit Jaruwat, the rights and liberties protection director, said, “We hope to have the bill finalized and for a vote before the end of the year.” If the law passes by then, Thailand will be the first country in Asia to fully legalize country-wide same-sex unions. (VOA)