Observations of Retribution of
Human Beings Resulting from Previous Karmas
At that time, Queen Maha Maya, mother of the Buddha, asked Ksitigarbha
Bodhisattva respectfully with clasped hands, "My divine One, human beings in the
Samsara world commit different sins. What retribution do they receive for their
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva replied by saying, "There are millions and
millions of worlds. In some of them, you will find Hells as we have in our Samsara world.
In some of them, there are no Hells, like the Sukavati (Western Paradise). In some of
them, there are females whilst in others there are none.
In some, you will be able to hear the preaching of the Buddha, but in
others people are not privileged to listen to the Dharma In some, there are Saravakas,
Arahats, Pacceka Buddhas, etc. whilst in others, these do not exist. Consequently,
sufferings in different Hells are numerous and cannot be explained in detail."
Queen Maha Maya asked once again, "I only seek to know the types
of suffering for beings of the Samsara world."
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva answered, "My Sacred Mother, I will relate
to you in brief. The retribution of Karmas of human beings in the human world are
innumerable. Beings born disobedient to their parents or associated in bad ways, are cast
into the Avici Hell and will continue to suffer from kalpas to kalpas with no means of
escape. People who do harm to the Buddha by destroying His images and speak of the Triple
Gems disrespectfully or having no respect for the Teaching of the Honoured One, would be
cast to the Avici Hell from kalpas to kalpas with no means of escape.
Human beings who do harm to the sacred temples, commit adultery with
monks or nuns or kill or harm others in sacred places, are cast into the Avici Hell for
eternal suffering. Any being, following the practices of a monk with no pure embrace of
the Dharma, bullying others or committing various
kinds of sins, is cast into the Avici Hell for similar punishment.
Those who are prone to steal things from temples such as cash, rice, food, clothing or
anything would similarly be thrown into the Avici Hell for continuous sufferings."
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva repeated to Queen Maha Maya, "Any of the
above named groups of sinners are punished perpetually."
Queen Maha Maya asked Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva once again, "What is
the meaning of Avici Hell?"
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva replied, "Sacred Mother, there are
different Hells within the Mahachakravala. Besides the eighteen big Hells, there are some
five hundred others to be found with different names, and still another thousand Hells.
Avici Hells means Hells reinforced with iron surrounded by iron walls, eight millions
miles wide and one million miles high. These Hells are fully filled with burning flames
and are jointly linked up together with other Hells of different names.
Among them there is one Hell by the name of "Avici". The area
of this Avici Hell is eight thousand square miles. The whole of this Hell, with iron
walls, is packed with burning flames. Iron snakes and dogs with hot fire in this Hell run
from the East to the West. Also, there is an iron bed and when one is cast there, he can
see his own body filling it. Therefore, all beings are subjected to punishment according
to their sins. Then, there are the Yaksas (Demons) with eyes similar to that of electric
bulbs and hands in the shape of steel claws to scratch the sinners Yaksas pierce the
sinners' bodies, throw them into the air and the fall kills them. There are also iron
eagles which hook the eyes of sinners, and iron snakes which curl round sinners
necks. Long nails are pierced into the sinners limbs, their tongues are pulled out
by iron thongs, and their intestines are sawed up. Molten steel is poured into their
mouths. Hot iron wires are used to bind their bodies. Sinners suffer according to their
evil actions by encountering innumerable births and deaths for kalpas and kalpas without
any hope of escape. When this world comes to an end, sinners will be transferred to
another world, and in the new world they endure more punishment.
The punishments in the Avici Hell are as mentioned above and those
subjected to them undergo the following five orders:
Sinners to be punished throughout the day and night for kalpas after kalpas without any
break. This answers to suffering without an end of time.
To be spread over the "Bed of Punishment" in one form or other with no limit
Sufferings without limit as in the use of weapons for punishment, such as iron-fork,
iron-sticks, iron-snakes, iron-eagles, iron-foxes, iron-dogs, iron-saws, iron-hammers,
iron-pans, iron-wires, iron-ropes, iron-asses, iron-horses, iron-balls, melted-iron, as
well as various kinds of iron weapons.
Whether they be males for females, civilised or uncivilised, old or young, rich or
poor, devils or spirits, or even devas must suffer for their unforgivable sins committed,
according to their karmas without any difference.
To be cast into this Hell for kalpas and kalpas to suffer different kinds of
punishment, day and night endlessly, i.e. life without any break, and with no means of
escape until their retribution of Karma comes to an end.
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva told Queen Maha Maya, "This is but a brief
description of a visit to Hell. To quote the names of Hells, the types of punishment and
instruments used will take a period of one kalpa."
After listening to Ksitigarbhas discourse, Queen Maha Maya
retreated respectfully with clasped hands and was seen in great sorrow.