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Accounts of Hell from Different Religious Traditions

Discussion in 'Spiritual Growth & Development' started by pretas.and.devas, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. I've recently started to get interested in so-called negative NDEs in which subjects report visiting Hell or hellish realms. Although material is sparse I have really only been able to find accounts from people who were either Christian before the event or lived in a Christian culture. Even though their experiences do not seem to me to be dependent upon their belief I would be interested to know if anyone is familiar with accounts happening to Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, or Jains. Be well!
  2. There is only one real Hell - and it is full of cats, and you are forced into having severe allergies.
  3. I guess all that's left to know is if all dogs go to heaven. :p
  4. poeticblue

    poeticblue Moderator

    No not really
  5. Since I don't want to mess up the board with numerous posts I would like to share an account that I have known about for some time but which, in light of my recent studies, has been of renewed interest. It is an excerpt of the Devaduta sutta (source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.130.than.html) and seems to find ehoes in modern accounts I have read. I talk a little more indepth about it here in my blog http://pretas-and-devas.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-theravada-buddhst-view-of-hell.html but almost all you need to know to formulate an opinion is here. Sorry for the long post!

  6. Truth seeker

    Truth seeker Member

    Hittler must be the guy in the story or I cant imagine who could be, maybe a mexican drug cartel hitman, they have made some things like in the story..
  7. I believe that Hindus have a god of death, sort of a gatekeeper to the underworld. There are accounts of Hindus having NDEs where they are brought before this god by a guide, the god very rudely says to the guide, "that's not the right person, send them back and find me the right one".
  8. Only 99% of them go to Heaven. The other 1% are placed around the boundaries of Hell, ensuring that the cats don't escape.
  9. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Oy - Thanks for putting that image in my head ;-)!

    Some fear-based religions relish putting out these horrendous notions because that's all they've got. But there is no evidence at all for a fiery hell - the closest we get is a hollow-heaven sort of hell to which people condemn themselves, but from which they immediately escape just by calling for help. (The outer darkness, of course, does exist - but it's cold rather than hot.)

    My favorite (if I can use that word) hell-warning came from a nineteenth-century Catholic priest who wrote a fevered rant about what happens to unbaptized infants. It includes the nice detail that while these babies are roasting in hell forever, they periodically are allowed to glimpse heaven and all the happy children there who died after being baptized, but then they have to go right back into the fire. I would add, of course, that a few decades later the Catholic church decided that unbaptized babies don't go to hell, but go just to limbo - into nothing, basically. But how many parents were made to suffer by that sadistic fool and his insane threats? When your base concept is fear and not love, you've got to crank up the fear pretty high!

    Thanks for the post, dear pretas.and.devas (and welcome, by the way!) - not too long, and a great contribution!
  10. Wow, how sad that is to hear, Roberta. It doesn't surprise me that this happened back then but what's really sad about it is how much hold religion tended to have on people in the 19th century and I'm certain they felt the priest's words were infallible.

    Religion may not be as extreme, on the whole, today but there still seems to be a lot of "man made" beliefs in hell.
  11. I have read a number of accounts where NDE'ers have experienced unpleasant realms similar to what Dr Eben Alexander mentioned in his book. These are referred to as hell, the outer darkness, the underworld etc. That is why, in my worldview, having a savior figure such as Jesus, Amitabha Buddha, or Kwan Lin as a part of one's belief system is helpful. Or, as Roberta says, just calling for help, trusting that a benevolent spiritual being, maybe even a personal guardian, will be there to help in the transition. Of course there is no reason that one cannot call for help on a daily basis in prayer and/or meditation as a way to prepare for this, learning the art of dying, as George Harrison put it.

    End of lecture...

    With Lovingkindness (metta),
    vic's myth
  12. Carol and Mikey

    Carol and Mikey Golden Hearts

    Mikey tells me all dogs go to Heaven! And in regards to "hell", it's all in your "mind" according to Mikey! There is no eternal "damnation". There is always loving help available! If we want to improve ourselves, we can according to Mikey. :)
    Carol and Mikey 'in Spirit"
  13. Thanks to everyone for their replies. ust to clarify, in the teachings of the Buddha there is no notion of eternal damnation. Rather, as a result of our intentional actions we suffer in hell(s) until the energetic effects of those actions has been spent. It's similar to hitting an eight-ball with a cue ball. Depending upon the amount of force applied and the amount f resistance and other condition the eight-ball will only travel so far--it will not travel on unimpeded forever. I, myself, have no problem with the notion of Hell just as I have no problem with believing in the real of earthbound spirits (petas), animals, gods (Heavens), etc...The thing about Buddhadhamma is that all of these destinations are unsatisfactory because they are subject to change. That is why the Buddha taught the path to Nibbana(Nirvana) as the escape from suffering. Just my two cents and thanks again for everyone's replies. Metta!
  14. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Dear friends, because of my extraordinary experiences in childhood I have always been very interested in religions. I majored in religion in college (who else here can say that ;-)?), and as part of my afterlife research I have basically been reading religious teachings all my life. I can say now without equivocation that EVERY RELIGION IS WRONG. You can put that statement right in the Wikipedia definition of every one of them! Here is why:

    1) Religions are human. They are based in someone's discoveries or somebody's teachings, and then built by fallible humans out of dogma based on those original ideas. If anyone doubts that this has happened to Christianity big-time, go back and read the red letters in the Gospels without reference to Christian interpretations, and compare what Jesus actually said with what the churches now teach. There is not even a reasonable resemblance!

    2) Religions are of their own times. It's odd, when you think about it. We accept the possibility of progress in every other area of our existence, and we freely understand that the people who lived in Samaria and Judea 2000 years ago were Iron Age primitives, but still Christianity as a whole won't admit that some of those old interpretations were wrong. Most Christians insist that magically everything that made it into the Bible must be "the inspired word of God," and deny God the right to give us new revelations as our understanding progresses and grows. Go figure!

    3) Religions are belief-systems. They establish dogmas and insist those dogmas have to be believed and followed. They put stress on "faith," when actually faith is thin gruel indeed. We wouldn't accept taking on just belief what our doctors or our politicians or our bosses say. So why on earth do we consider religious faith to be useful, and even virtuous?

    4) Religions don't seek. Jesus says, "Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you." You can see throughout the Gospels that he is desperate for us to make precisely the same journey that you and I are on now. So, why don't Christians do that? For the reason given just below, in my opinion:

    5) Religions are big business. BIG business! So much of what is wrong with Christianity comes from the fact that modern-day Christianity is mostly about maintaining the money-stream. Don't believe that? Ask yourself what would happen to the message in your own church if people stopped shelling out. And look at the wealth of the Catholic Church, which could so easily be spent to help the poor. 'Nuf said.

    6) Religions are insulting to whatever deity they choose to follow. If you don't believe that, then do a thought-experiment with your own religion. Put yourself into the shoes of its deity. For example, you're the Christian God, and you are really ticked off at all these miscreants - you aren't going to forgive them for their sins, no matter what - but then your best-beloved Son tells you that He is willing to take all their sins upon Himself and let you enjoy watching Him be horribly murdered, and that makes you feel better. If just my saying that makes you recoil in horror and even hate me for saying it, then you get my point. How is it that you are more loving and more forgiving than God? You're not. Again, 'nuf said.

    There was a time in human history when religions were helpful in turning us a little bit away from materiality and encouraging us to believe there might be more. But religions have outlived their usefulness, in my opinion. As our beloved Wayshower told us 2000 years ago, we don't need religions - we can approach God on our own. And now, at last, we can seek and actually find the truth!!
  15. This is another reason I love this site and the people that share on it. So many wonderful people with different backgrounds and beliefs but all seeming to understand that our differences don't make us any less connected to one another. Thank you for sharing, pretas.and.devas
  16. That's a very strong statement. I can agree with you on just about every one of your points, still, I think that religion serves a useful purpose for many people. To love someone, you also have to try to understand them, respect them, and accept them, even if you don't join them. Else we just have another version of a holy war on our hands.

    With Lovingkindness (metta),
  17. Pinkroses

    Pinkroses Member

    I believe there is some truth to every religion and that they all share some common beliefs, such as the belief in a higher power and an afterlife of some sort. I think it's important to have some religious foundation and to be connected to God, so that is where choosing a religion fits into the grand scheme of everything. As far as which religion to follow, that's just a matter of personal preference since all paths ultimately lead to the same place.
  18. Jim


    I agree 100% with what Roberta wrote above. The primary benefit of having experienced a religion is for perspective - to see what is not useful. Now, that's not to say some people don't do some good in the name of religion, Mother Teresa being a shining example. Good messages are taught in religions as well, but there is a great deal of bureaucracy and money-motivated decisions that make this approach to spirituality onerous. As Roberta has said, the usefulness of organized religion has run its course. There is more soul growth in a spiritual life than a religious life, the path is much more direct (less bureaucratic), and the way to live that life is known from Jesus' teachings, Mikey, and similar sources. - Jim
  19. Celera

    Celera Active Member

    I agree with most of what Roberta says except for two things --

    Every religion is at least partly wrong. Every religion is at least partly right.

    The use of religion as a source of wealth for a few at the expense of the many is not a modern invention. Although being a televangelist is more efficient than the older methods.
  20. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    Roberta declared "I can say now without equivocation that EVERY RELIGION IS WRONG." Probably so but in my view mainstream religion does have a role to play even though I have criticised it on many, many occasions.

    For many folk, such religions are all they have or all they could handle in terms of the 'bigger picture'. For all the failings of any religion, most provide a framework of behaviour and standards and some even give a degree of insight into life and maybe the so-called afterlife....

    One thing's for sure. The message about life and the afterlife does not appeal to everyone and that's likely down to their being at a level of spiritual evolvement that simply doesn't enable them to understand what's taught - 'it's not their time' is often how it's put and that's simple but frequently accurate. A certain degree of understanding and experience is almost certainly needed first and that may mean more than one physical life.

    That said, then, the notion of hell is likely to differ according to our upbringing and religious conditioning. Near Death Experiences appeal to many but they don't necessarily give a clear impression of life in the etheric. That's just one reason I have misgivings about coming to afterlife discussions with those who have a background of NDE accounts as their start points. Those points made, however, NDE interest does give some individuals access to some spiritual truths which they might otherwise not encounter so NDEs are not all bad.

    BUT comparing each religion's expression of Hell, and any particular religion's accounts of near death experience, is probably pointless other than as a technical exercise. Adherents of each religion are likely to be so conditioned that they may see what they have been taught they will see and report back those images as facts.

    Heeding such colored, biased, prejudiced visions as if they're informational would be a case of the blind leading the blind and that doesn't appeal to my reason......

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