On Hell Wardens

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On Hell Wardens

Postby plwk » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:03 pm

I was in a class today on the Devaduta Sutta and the lay Dhamma teacher mentioned that in the Pali Suttas, there is no mention of the hell wardens having any specific kind of name or appearance, that the popular notions of two prominent hell wardens known as 'Ox/Cow Head' and 'Horse Face' are from the Mahayana.

Maybe, just maybe, my memory is faulty, but I think that I have read on these two descriptions from some Sutta I can't seem to recall on. Anyone? :thanks:
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: On Hell Wardens

Postby Dmytro » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:50 pm

Hi plwk,

There's no names.

The ruler of the great hell is called Yama or Yamaraja. But there is not only one Yamaraja for one Mahaniraya; there are actually four Yamaraja who are in charge of the four gates. Thus for eight great hells there are altogether thirty-two Yamaraja. Apart from these Yamaraja there are a number of hell-guardians called Niraya-pala.

The duty of the Yamaraja is to consider the case of each hell creature and give orders for punishment; the Niraya-pala’s duty is to inflict the penalties typical of each hell on the hell-creatures. Yamaraja and Niraya-pala are actually not hell beings but belong to the heaven of Catummaharajika.

They are described as Vemanikapeta, the beings that sometimes enjoy the fruitions of their meritorious kamma in heaven and sometimes suffer the results of their evil deeds in hell. By particular kinds of karnma they are sent to perform their duties in this realm of misery by inflicting penalties on the hell creatures.


http://www.mahindarama.com/e-library/31planes1.htm
http://www.mahindarama.com/e-library/31planes.htm

The Wardens of Hell

These hell warden also belong to the class of Catumaharaja Deva. They are either ogres or demons. Their regular duties include sending minor sinners to Yama for trail and carrying out cruel punishments to serious sinners. Since hellfire is a form of utuja rupa caused by evil deeds, only the sinners and not the hell wardens are scorched by the heat.


http://www.reocities.com/ekchew.geo/AbhidhammaC11.html

Petas, by the name of Vemanika. Though they were Petas, their Abode being one which was installed by both merits and demerits, kusala and akusala mingled together, they had the benefit of enjoying all the pleasures pertaining to devas for a period of seven days, and then for the next seven days they had to pass through various kinds of severe pain and suffering, similar to those receiving punishment in Hell, alternately.


http://www.mahasi.org.mm/e_pdf/E19PDF.PDF

Yamadeva and Niraya-pala are from Catumaharajika Heaven; these beings sometimes enjoy the fruitions of their meritorious kamma in heaven and sometimes suffer the results of their evil deeds in hell.


http://www.dhammastudygroup.org/msg/026k.txt
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Re: On Hell Wardens

Postby plwk » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:48 pm

Thank you dmytro
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: On Hell Wardens

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:15 am

plwk wrote:Maybe, just maybe, my memory is faulty, but I think that I have read on these two descriptions from some Sutta I can't seem to recall on. Anyone? :thanks:


Were you perhaps thinking of the two hell-hounds, Sabala ("Mottled") and Sāma ("Black")? Their names are given in the Nārada Jātaka, and earlier in the Ṛg Veda, as Lord Yama's two watchdogs Śyāma and Śabala.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: On Hell Wardens

Postby plwk » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:56 am

Thank you Bhante but not really though I have read before on those two Yamadutas from confusing Vedic lore but have not encountered the Jataka one yet. I checked out the mentioned Jataka here and here but except for the former's mention on dogs, there was no mention of their names.
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: On Hell Wardens

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:12 pm

plwk wrote:Thank you Bhante but not really though I have read before on those two Yamadutas from confusing Vedic lore but have not encountered the Jataka one yet. I checked out the mentioned Jataka here and here but except for the former's mention on dogs, there was no mention of their names.


It's the 545th Jataka, whose full name is the Mahānāradakassapa Jātaka, though it's commonly shortened to Nārada Jātaka.


    Tampissa lokantaranirayaṃ vitthārena vaṇṇetvā ‘mahārāja, micchādiṭṭhiṃ avissajjento na kevalaṃ etadeva, aññampi dukkhaṃ anubhavissasī’ ti dassento gāthamāha:

    Sabalo ca Sāmo ca duve suvānā,
    pavaddhakāyā balino mahantā;
    Khādanti dantehi ayomayehi,
    ito paṇunnaṃ paralokapattan ti.

    Having described that lokantara hell in detail, he said, "Great king, if you do not wholly give up your wrong view, you will come in for still further suffering. Seeing which, he spoke a verse:

    "Two dogs Sabala and Sāma,
    Large in body, great and mighty,
    Devour with their iron teeth
    Him who departs from here to that world yonder."
    (J-a.vi.247)

.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: On Hell Wardens

Postby gavesako » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:36 pm

I think I saw them once somewhere... The green and black guy in this clip!

Homer Simpson Sells His Soul to the Devil for a Donut :popcorn:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3ZcZ2h4Ths

(hell realms seem to be a universal archetype)
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: On Hell Wardens

Postby plwk » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:18 pm

Thank you Bhante Dhammanando for the specs of the Jataka. Yes Bhante Gavesako, stark similarities in many cultures and caricatures :)
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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