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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. pretas.and.devas

    pretas.and.devas New Member

    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. WWE LOVER

    WWE LOVER New Member

    There is only one real Hell - and it is full of cats, and you are forced into having severe allergies.
     
  3. pretas.and.devas

    pretas.and.devas New Member

    I guess all that's left to know is if all dogs go to heaven. :p
     
  4. poeticblue

    poeticblue Moderator

    No not really
     
  5. pretas.and.devas

    pretas.and.devas New Member

    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. vic smyth

    vic smyth New Member

    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. WWE LOVER

    WWE LOVER New Member

    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. Matty Mo

    Matty Mo New Member

    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. vic smyth

    vic smyth New Member

    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. pretas.and.devas

    pretas.and.devas New Member

    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. Matty Mo

    Matty Mo New Member

    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. vic smyth

    vic smyth New Member

    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),
    vic
     
  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

    Jim New Member

    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......
     
  21. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    You're right, dear Vic - religions can have a role to play. Nevertheless, I have never encountered one that didn't have these problems. And the day is coming when humankind will have progressed beyond the need for religions toward a more perfect relationship with what is True.
     
  22. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Sorry, dear Mac! I'm becoming cranky in my old age where religions are concerned ;-). I am tired of seeing religious leaders spout as truth their personal beliefs that are self-evidently nonsense, and are self-serving on their part to boot. God is love, God is all there is, and we are all eternally part of God. No need for faith and beliefs (no need for religions, either) once we know what is TRUE!
     
  23. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    You? cranky? No! ;)

    You must know by now that I have no love for mainstream religions as I've declared it often enough BUT dismissing all of them without being able to offer a substitute will just not do. Neither of us subscribes to 'religion' yet I'm a Spiritualist which is a legally constituted and recognised religion in several countries and you still speak about God which, surely, is a word taken from religion (my own preference being the word 'creator'). Without the scaffolding that church and religion provides for the God concept it's pretty pointless to speak about 'God' at all - even in terms of declaring that God is all there is.

    Without a framework of spiritual values, nouns and adjectives all notions of God would fail. No we NEED conventional religion(s) as a canvas on which we can over-paint 'the bigger picture' and against which we can show what's reality compared with what's conjecture, superstition, belief and churchianity. Like you it's taken years for me to grasp the concept of God and yet we each speak totally differently about that concept.

    Whatever the failings of whatever religion you pick, it's probably still necessary for centuries to come to have these institutions catering for those many souls in our midst who will not, can not, grasp what we discuss and debate. It's not their time yet and that's going to be the case for the myriad new and little-experienced souls who will enter this physical dimension in a future which stretches forward in time further than either thee or me can visualize, Roberta......
     
  24. vic smyth

    vic smyth New Member

    Roberta I understand where you are coming from. Though I try to come across as the Dalai Lama on this forum, in real life I rail against religions the same way you do. But in my Heart of Hearts I look towards the day that religion, spirituality and science can all come together just as the various paths leading to the top of a mountain all converge at the summit. Unfortunately we are still far from the summit at this point in time.

    Of all the points you mentioned the one that I slightly disagree with is the last one where religions do a disservice to the deities that they were founded upon. I tend to think, along with the Gnostics, the deities that founded the various religions were all trickster gods. No Omnibenevolent God would have Abraham sacrifice his son then at the last moment say, "Never mind, I was just kidding." Or have his 'Son' believe that it was God's will to go to Jerusalem and suffer a martyr's death. Or come up with a concept of Jihad, holy war. (I should add that of all the religions the one that makes the most amount of sense to me as a philosophy is Buddhism, and Buddha was an agnostic!)

    Of course this is just my worldview (subject to change based on my mood swings), your mileage may vary. But to those of you on the forum that rant against God, doubt Him, are bitter against Him and hate Him, you are not alone! I am hopeful that all of you will use this doubt, bitterness and hatred as an opportunity for unprecedented spiritual growth!

    Striving towards Lovingkindness (metta) the Dalai Lama I'm not,
    vic's myth
     
  25. serenesam

    serenesam Member

    I had some time to gather some quotes (saved from my Microsoft Word Doc):

    “All spirits tend towards perfection, and are furnished by God with the means of advancement through the trials of corporeal life; but the divine justice compels them to accomplish, in new existences, that which they have not been able to do, or to complete, in a previous trial. It would not be consistent with the justice or with the goodness of God to sentence to eternal suffering those who may have encountered obstacles to their improvement independent of their will, and resulting from the very nature of the conditions in which they found themselves placed. If the fate of mankind were Irrevocably fixed after death. God would not have weighed the actions of all in the same scales, and would not have treated them with impartiality. The doctrine of reincarnation-that Is to say, the doctrine which proclaims that men have many successive existence-is the only one which answers to the idea we form to ourselves of the justice of God in regard to those who are placed, by circumstances over which they have no control, in conditions unfavourable to their moral advancement ; the only one which can explain the future, and furnish us with a sound basis for our hopes. because it offers us the means of redeeming our errors through new trials. This doctrine is Indicated by the teachings of reason, as well as by those of our spirit-instructors. He who is conscious of his own inferiority derives a consoling hope from the doctrine of reincarnation. If he believes in the justice of God, he cannot hope to be placed, at once and for all eternity, on a level with those who have made a better use of life than he has done but the knowledge that this inferiority will not exclude him for ever from the supreme felicity, and that he will be able to conquer this felicity through new efforts, revives his courage and sustains his energy. who does not regret, at the end of his career. That the experience he has acquired should have come too late to allow of his turning it to useful account? This tardily acquired experience will not be lost for him ; he will profit by it in a new' corporeal life (p 121, The Spirits Book, Allan Kardec).

    “The doctrine of eternal punishment makes an implacable God of the Supreme Being. Would it be reasonable to say of a sovereign that he is very kind, very benevolent. very indulgent, that he only desires the happiness of all around him, but that he is, at the same time, jealous, vindictive, inflexibly severe, and that he punishes three quarters of his subjects with the most terrific tortures, for any offence, or any infraction of his laws, even when their imputed fault has resulted simply from their ignorance of the laws they have transgressed? Would there not be an evident contradiction in such a statement of the sovereign's character? And can God's action be less consistent than that of a man? The doctrine in question presents another contradiction. Since God fore-knows all things, He must have known, in creating a soul. that it would transgress His laws. and it must therefore have been. from its very formation, predestined by Him to eternal misery: but is such an assumption reasonable", or admissible? The doctrine of punishment proportioned to wrongdoing is, on the contrary, entirely consonant with reason and justice. God undoubtedly foresaw, in creating a given soul, that, in its ignorance, it would do wrong: but He has ordained that its very faults themselves shall furnish it with the means of becoming enlightened. through its experience of the painful effects of its wrong-doing He will compel it to expiate that wrong-doing, but only in order that it may be thereby more firmly fixed in goodness thus the door of hope is never closed against it, and the moment of its deliverance from suffering is made to depend on the amount of effort it puts forth to achieve its purification. If the doctrine of future punishment had always been presented under this aspect, very few would ever have doubted its truth. The word eternal is often figuratively employed, in common parlance, to designate any long period of duration of which the end is not foreseen, although it is known that it will come in course of time. We speak, for instance, of "the eternal snows" of mountain-peaks and polar regions, although we know, on the one hand, that our globe will come to an end, and, on the other hand, that the state of those regions may be changed by the normal displacement of the earth's axis, or by some cataclysm. The word eternal, therefore, in this case, does not mean infinitely perpetual. We say, in the suffering of some long illness, that our days present the same "eternal round" of weariness; is it strange, then, that spirits who have suffered for years, centuries, thousands of ages even, should express themselves in the same way? Moreover, we must not forget that their state of backwardness prevents them from seeing the other end of their road, and that they therefore believe themselves to be destined to suffer for ever; a belief which is itself a part of their punishment. The doctrine of material fire, of furnaces, and tortures, borrowed from the pagan Tartarus, is completely given up by many of the most eminent theologians of the present day, who admit that the word "fire" is employed figuratively in the Bible, and is to be understood as meaning moral fire. Those who, like ourselves, have observed the incidents of the life beyond the grave, as presented to our view by the communications of spirits, have had ample proof that its sufferings are none the less excruciating for not being of a material nature. And even as regards the duration of those sufferings, many theologians are beginning to admit the restriction indicated above, and to consider that the word eternal may be considered as referring to the principle of penality in itself, as the consequence of an immutable law, and not to its application to each individual. When religious teaching shall openly admit this interpretation, it will bring back to a belief in God and in a future life many who are now losing themselves in the mazes of materialism (p 402, The Spirits Book, Allan Kardec).


    760. Will capital punishment disappear some day from human legislation?
    "Capital punishment will, most assuredly, disappear in course of time; and its suppression will mark a progress on the part of the human race. When men become more enlightened, the penalty of death will be completely abolished throughout the earth; men will no longer require to be judged by men. I speak of a time which is still a long way ahead of you."
    The social progress already made leaves much still to be desired, but it would be unjust towards modern society not to recognise a certain amount of progress in the restrictions which, among the most advanced nations, have been successively applied to capital punishment, and to the crimes for which it is inflicted. If we compare the safeguards with which the law, among those nations, surrounds the accused, and the humanity with which he is treated even when found guilty, with the methods of criminal procedure that obtained at a period not very remote from the present, we cannot fail to perceive that the human race is really moving forwards on a path of progress.
    761. The law of Preservation gives man the right to preserve his own life; does he not make use of that same right when he cuts off a dangerous member from the social body?
    "There are other means of preserving yourselves from a dangerous individual than killing him; and besides, you ought to open the door of repentance for the criminal, and not to close it against him."
    762. If the penalty of death may be banished from civilised society, 'was it not a necessity in times of less advancement?
    "Necessity is not the right word. Man always thinks that a thing is necessary when he cannot manage to find anything better, In proportion as he becomes enlightened, he understands more clearly what is just or unjust, and repudiates the excesses committed, in times of ignorance, in the name of justice."
    763. Is the restriction of the number of the cases in which capital punishment is inflicted an indication of progress in civilisation?
    "Can you doubt its being so? Does not your mind revolt on reading the recital of the human butcheries that were formerly perpetrated in the name of justice, and often in honour of the divinity; of the tortures inflicted on the condemned, and even on the accused, in order to wring from him, through the excess of his sufferings, the confession of a crime which. Very often, he had not committed ? Well, if you had lived in those times, you would have thought all this very natural; and, had you been a judge, you would probably have done the same yourself. It is thus that what seemed to be right at one period seems barbarous at another. The divine laws alone are eternal; human laws change as progress advances; and they will change again and again, until they have been brought into harmony with the laws of God." [p 311-312, The Spirits Book, Allan Kardec].
     

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