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
  • 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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Thailand Set to Enter the Clash of Hosting the 2026 Youth Olympics

Thailand is all set to express interest in hosting the games in 2026

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Thailand may show interest to host the Youth Olympics in 2026. Pixabay

According to International News Thailand is set to become the latest country to enter the fray for hosting the 2026 Youth Olympics. India, Russia and Colombia are already vying to host the event and according to reports in the Thai media, Thailand hopes to launch a joint candidacy from Bangkok and Chonburi.

Kongsak Yodmanee, Governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, said they plan to send their intention to bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) within the next week, according to Thai newspaper Daily News.

Yodmanee further said that the bid will be done on an urgent basis so that Thailand can “catch up with India.” Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra had said earlier that India will increase its push for hosting the 2026 Games after the ongoing freeze in the sporting calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is yet to announce when they will reveal who gets the hosting rights for the 2026 Youth Games. Wikimedia Commons

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The Colombian Olympic Committee said in February that it had approved Medellín as a candidate for the 2026 Games, while Russia has reportedly earmarked Kazan.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is yet to announce when they will reveal who gets the hosting rights for the 2026 Youth Games. Hosting rights are normally provided about five years before the event which means that a decision could come as early as as 2021. (IANS)

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Lord Shiva: Man, Myth or Divine? Explains Sadhguru

Sadhguru stresses upon the fact that more often Shiva is described as a non-being

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Sadhguru
Sadhguru has stressed upon this fact that if you read through the Shiva Purana, you cannot identify Shiva as a good person or a bad person. Twitter

By Kashish Rai

“The word ‘Shiva’ means literally, that ‘which is not’. On another level when we say ‘Shiva’, we are referring to a certain Yogi, the Adiyogi or the first Yogi and also the Adi Guru, the first Guru.”

~ Sadhguru

“Shiva” who is known as Mahadeva is one of the chief deities of Hindus. He is considered as the supreme being within ‘Shaivism’, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. He is known as “The Destroyer” within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity that includes Brahma and Vishnu.

With context to the Hindu Mythology, Shiva is the supreme being who creates, protects and transforms the Universe~ But Shiva is beyond this identity. Who is Shiva? Is he a god or a construct of collective imagination? Or is there a deeper meaning to Shiva? Revealed only to those who seek? Jaggi Vasudev, an Indian yogi and author popularly known as “Sadhguru” explains it all!

Sadhguru says, “Today, modern science is proving to us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness. The galaxies are just a small happening – a sprinkling. The rest is all vast empty space, which is referred to as Shiva. That is the womb from which everything is born, and that is the oblivion into which everything is sucked back. Everything comes from Shiva and goes back to Shiva.”

Shiva
“Shiva” who is known as Mahadeva is one of the chief deities of Hindus. He is considered as the supreme being within ‘Shaivism’, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. Twitter

Sadhguru also stresses upon the fact that more often Shiva is described as a non-being. He is not described as the light but as darkness. Here, Sadhguru describes that the light is not eternal in comparison to the darkness. He says, “Light is not eternal. It is always a limited possibility because it happens and it ends. Darkness is a much bigger possibility than light. Nothing needs to burn, it is always – it is eternal. Darkness is everywhere. It is the only thing that is all pervading.”

Sadhguru tells that in some places in the west, Shiva is considered to be a Demon!

He says that if we look at it as a concept, there isn’t a more intelligent concept on the planet about the whole process of creation and how it has happened.

Shiva: Being the Adiyogi & One and The Same!

Sadhguru further explains that “Shiva refers to both “that which is not,” and Adiyogi, because in many ways, they are synonymous. This being, who is a yogi, and that non-being, which is the basis of the existence, are the same, because to call someone a yogi means he has experienced the existence as himself.”

When we talk about Shiva as “that which is not,” and Shiva as a yogi, in a way they are synonymous, yet they are two different aspects. Because India is a dialectical culture, we shift from this to that and that to this effortlessly. One moment we talk about Shiva as the ultimate, the next moment we talk about Shiva as the man who gave us this whole process of yoga.

Adiyogi
A Still of Adiyogi Statue of Lord Shiva at Coimbatore which is 112.4 ft tall. It has been recognized as the Largest Best Sculpture by the Guinness World Records. The founder of Isha Foundation, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev designed the statue and was inaugurated by Honourable PM Sh. Narendra Modi in 2017.

Shiva is Beyond Any Perception!

Sadhguru has stressed upon the fact that Shiva is beyond the image and perception of what people see in through Indian Calender art.

He says that, “Calender Artists have made him a chubby-cheeked, blue-colored man because a calendar artist has only one face. Why would a yogi like Shiva look chubby-cheeked? If you showed him skinny it would be okay, but a chubby-cheek Shiva – how is that?”

In the yogic culture, Shiva is not seen as a God. He was a being who walked this land and lived in the Himalayan region. As the very source of the yogic traditions, his contribution in the making of human consciousness is too phenomenal to be ignored.

 Devotional Manifestation: Ancient Shiva Temples

Sadhguru says that in India since the the Ancient times, temples were built mostly for Shiva. It was only in the last 1000 or so years that other temples came up.

He writes, “The word Shiva literally means ‘that which is not.’ So the temple was built for ‘that which is not.’ ‘That which is’ is physical manifestation; ‘that which is not’ is that which is beyond the physical.”

There are thousands of Shiva temples in the country, and most of them don’t have any form as such. They just have a representative form and generally it is a linga.

Dhyanlinga
A Still of Dhyanlinga, a yogic temple near Coimbatore, India. Twitter

“The Adiyogi Shiva does not belong to the past, he belongs to the future”

At many places, Sadhguru has stressed upon this fact that if you read through the Shiva Purana, you cannot identify Shiva as a good person or a bad person. He is Sundaramurthy, the most beautiful. At the same time, nobody can be more horrible than him!

Shiva is a terrible combination of everything put together…

(About Sadhguru: Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, a bestselling author & poet. Sadhguru has been conferred the “Padma Vibhushan” by the Government of India in 2017, the highest amongst the annual civilian awards, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.)

 

 

 

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Poverty and Inequality Rising Rapidly in Thailand: Report

Poverty, Inequality in Thailand on the Rise, World Bank Says

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"Taking the Pulse of Poverty and Inequality in Thailand," launched last week, says the country's poverty rate jumped from 7.2% to 9.8% between 2015 and 2018, adding nearly 2 million new people to the ranks of the poor. Pixabay

By Zsombor Peter

Thailand’s poverty rate has been rising in recent years despite steady, if slow, overall economic growth, a new World Bank report says, widening the gap between rich and poor in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

“Taking the Pulse of Poverty and Inequality in Thailand,” launched last week, says the country’s poverty rate jumped from 7.2% to 9.8% between 2015 and 2018, adding nearly 2 million new people to the ranks of the poor. Inequality, as measured by household consumption, also spiked in 2016 for the first time in four years and has eased little since.

Analysts see a direct link between those figures and the results of last year’s general elections, Thailand’s first since a 2014 military coup led by then-General Prayut Chan-ocha, now the country’s prime minister.

Pheu Thai, a party tied to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, won the second most votes and the largest share of seats in the popularly elected House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Assembly,  with strong support from some of the country’s poorest provinces in the North and Northeast.

A junta-appointed Senate and Election Commission finally tipped the contest to form a majority government in Prayut’s favor, but the numbers echoed the lasting disaffection of the country’s poor.

“Plummeting incomes were clearly a major factor in the opposition’s strong showing in the 2019 general election. That is why Pheu Thai did so well — especially given  that rural farmers and also urban households continue to be attracted by the populism of Thaksin,” said Paul Chambers, a political analyst and lecturer at Thailand’s Naresuan University.

Thaksin was first elected prime minister in 2001, after the shock of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, and reelected four years later only to be kicked out of office by a military coup in 2006. The telecoms tycoon now lives abroad, avoiding a 2008 corruption conviction that he disputes. However, the subsidies, cash transfers and other populist policies he pushed have left him and his proxies with a loyal following among the farmers of Thailand’s rural North and Northeast, who feel left behind by an urban elite cloistered mostly in the capital, Bangkok.

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The World Bank said many of Thailand’s poverty spikes coincided with regional or global financial crises or with drought but added that periods of political instability also tend to depress consumption and investment, which can drive incomes down and poverty rates up. Pixabay

“That is partly why Thaksin was able to rise in the early 2000s, because of grievances over this disproportionate allocation of resources,” said Harrison Cheng, an associate director with consulting firm Control Risks who follows Thailand.

He said the concentration of wealth and power in Bangkok has continued under Prayut.

The World Bank report backs him up. It shows poverty hovering steadily at about 2% between 2015 and 2018 in Bangkok while rising everywhere else, nowhere more so than in the strife-torn South. Riven by a Muslim insurgency, the South became the country’s poorest region in 2017, only just edging out the Northeast with a poverty rate of about 12%. The South again topped the Northeast in 2018 with a poverty rate just over 14%.

The report ascribes the latest rises in poverty and inequality to droughts, slow economic growth and falling incomes among both rural farmers and urban businesses.

The bank says Thailand has now seen four such spikes since 2000, more than any of the other nine Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries.

The report’s author, Judy Yang, attributes that, at least in part, to slow wage growth during the period, slower than in any of the bloc’s other large economies.

“If you are a household, what really pulls you out of poverty is getting a better-paying job, getting more income, getting labor market income,” she said.

What also sets Thailand apart is its political turmoil. The coup-prone country has seen four swings between military and civilian rule since 2006, governments cut short by controversial court orders and several rounds of mass protests, some of them deadly.

The World Bank said many of Thailand’s poverty spikes coincided with regional or global financial crises or with drought but added that periods of political instability also tend to depress consumption and investment, which can drive incomes down and poverty rates up.

Cheng, of Control Risks, said his conversations with clients confirm that Thailand’s volatile politics have kept many potential investors at bay, holding the economy back.

“A lot of the investors are staying away and taking a wait-and-see approach for a long, long time now,” he said.

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A man begs for money in central Bangkok, Thailand. VOA

“If they are not in Thailand already, they will be thinking very seriously about whether they should do so because what if there’s a change in government again? What if there are massive street protests like in 2013, 2014? Are you going to repeat the 2010 Bangkok standoff between the Red Shirts and the military?” he added, referring to Thaksin supporters by their color-coded apparel of choice.

Cheng said the constant and sudden turnover in governments has also fostered a habit of short-term policy prescriptions on poverty and inequality that have done more to soothe the symptoms than cure the causes.

Chambers and Cheng agreed that if the latest bout of bad numbers gets worse, Prayut’s problems will also be increased by swelling ranks of not just the poor but also of disenchanted voters.

The World Bank report proffers poverty and inequality figures only up to 2018 but adds that “trends beyond this year are not optimistic, given continued low economic growth rates and stagnant wages.”

Another severe drought devastated farmers last year as the country’s gross domestic product growth rank sank to 2.4%, its lowest since 2014. GDP forecasts for 2020 are even worse, owing much to the novel corona virus outbreak, which has hit the country’s important tourism sector hard.

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To counter those blows, Prayut’s government has ramped up and introduced new social welfare programs for the poorest households and last week approved a stimulus package expected to pump some $12.6 billion into the economy.

The World Bank recommends that authorities continue to strengthen the country’s safety net and create better jobs for low-income earners in the short term. In the longer term, it says giving all children equal access to health and education opportunities would be the best way to make future generations more prosperous and more equal. (VOA)