The concept of Hell (Diyu) in China is based in Buddhism, and consists of an underground maze with eighteen levels. Souls are taken here after death to atone for human sin. Once the soul has been cleansed of its sin, it can rejoin the living by means of reincarnation.
I visited Guandu Zhen (Guandu Old Town), south of downtown Kunming, where, in the centre of the town, I saw Vajra Pagoda (built in 1457) and a few temples that surround it. The following photographs are of the spectacular images of “Hell” I came across in a mural in one of the temples.
sorry, with VPN it works. Jesus Christ, these images. Will send you some from medieval ages, they look frightening simile. best Klaus
i fell in love with hell in china – after seeing these amazing (clearly contemporary) images. a couple of the temples at guandu zhen are old. the temple with these murals is a newer one. the photos are so evocative and made me very interested in learning about the mythology/belief of hell.
Tamar, is this concept of hell similar to the Jewish thinking of hell?
generally, there is reward and punishment in the afterlife – but not heaven and hell. jewish mystics described a spiritual place called “Gehinnom.” this is usually translated as “Hell,” but a better translation would be a place where your soul is cleansed. acts we do in our lifetime leave imprints on our soul. the good we do in the world elevates our soul; every wrong-doing leave a stain. if we do not fix our wrong-doings before we die then our soul must be cleansed. the bottom line is we are expected to repent for our sins. from what i know our physical bodies turn “back” to dust” and our souls return to god.