Entries Tagged as Hell

Hell Beings & Torture Depictions - Added

April 12, 2011 ·

Hell Beings & Torture Depictions: a set of painted cards on rough paper with various hell scenes. Two of the images were previously uploaded to the HAR website. The set must have been created for some ritual use as each card is also numbered on the back, however it is difficult to say how many cards there were in total. Hell depictions were especially popular in Mongolia where most of the best sets of hell depictions are found. (See the Hell Main Page and Hell Outline Page).

Tags: Hell · iconography

Yama in Hell, Judge of the Dead - Some Questions & A Simple Outline

March 06, 2010 ·

Yama in Hell as understood in Himalayan & Tibetan Buddhism and subsequent artistic representations might appear at first glance to be a simple topic, not too profound, nothing complicated, and so it seems.

Here are some basic questions:

1. Who is Yama according to Buddhism?

2. How is Yama described?

3. Is Yama a living being, a personification, a deity, or a god?

4. Is the Buddhist Yama the same as the Hindu Yama (is there a Hindu - Vedic/Puranic - Yama)?

Tags: Hell · iconography · outlines

Yama: Judge of the Dead, King of the Law

February 19, 2010 ·

A page has been created to display the various images of Yama that are found in Himalayan and Tibetan style art. They are a selection of different artist depictions of Yama, the 'judge of beings', from the Hell Realm depictions found in the Buddhist Wheel of Life paintings. Yama is understood to be a living being, actually the King of the Preta (ghost) realm, who functions as the judge of beings entering hell. The reason why he is catagorized as a ghost is because no being can actually exist in hell unless they have been born there due to bad actions committed in previous lives (karma). In various versions of Hinduism Yama is categorized as a god and in Indian literature Yama and Yami, a brother and sister, are associated with hell. The Wheel of Life and these depictions of Yama are based on Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism and this particular Buddhist understanding of the person of Yama and the hell realm is based on the Abhidharmakosha writings of Vasubhandu.

Description based on art depictions:
1. Name: Yama, King of the Law (of Karma)
2. Status: King of the Preta Realm
3. Life Status: living being of the Preta Realm
4. Function: Judge of beings entering the Hell Realm
5. Appearance: wrathful (raksha-like)
6. Colour: blue or dark red
7. Hand Attributes: butcher's stick & mirror
8. Attendants: (two) Deer-face & Raksha-faced figures

In Buddhist Tantric systems the popular Hindu divinities are quite often employed as minor worldly 'gods' filling the ranks of the outer retinue of many complex Buddhist Meditational Deities and their mandalas. Also, in a number of the Buddhist mandalas of wrathful deities such as Hevajra and Chakrasamvara the eight Hindu gods are placed in the eight surrounding cemeteries. Yama, as the Hindu god of hell is included in this group of eight.

Also included on the Yama page are three Wheel of Life paintings that depict 'Death' - the terrifying personification of death (samsara, cyclic existence) who holds the Wheel of Life between the two hands, held up to the mouth, about to be swallowed. In these paintings the figure of 'Death' is depicted without any wrathful ornaments as is proper according to orthodox iconography. Painters will often decorate the personification of Samsara in Wheel of Life paintings with the same ornaments as a Buddhist wrathful deity, such as the crown of five skulls, ribbons, bracelets and anklets, etc. However, this figure holding the Wheel of Life is merely a personification of death, impermanence, and the misery of cyclic existence. This wrathful angry figure is not conceived of as being a living entity like Yama in the Hell realm, or a Hindu god, or a deity of any type.

Images & Topics Relating to Hell:

Hell Main Page

Hell Outline Page

Wheel of Life Main Page

Wheel of Life Outline Page

Yama Main Page

Tags: iconography · Hell

Hell: Subjects & Depictions Outline Page

May 07, 2009 ·

A HELL Outline Page has been added to the site. It is a work in progress with more images and image sets to be linked. With luck those images will be uploaded tomorrow and more content and context added over the weekend.

Tags: Hell · outlines