The Gate is Opened!August 1, 2008 at 11:07 pm | Posted in itchy backside | 2 Comments
Tags: Culture, Uniquely Singapore
WORDS OF CAUTION (Again….:p) :The following post contains scary and disturbing imageries not suitable for the faint hearted…. 8)
Yes! Today is the first day of the Lunar Seventh Month, also known as the Ghost Month or Ghost Festival. This is the time where Buddhists and Taoists believe that the Gate of Hell is opened and spirits of the dead wander the earth and have holidays. 😀 During this period, believers adhere to the many taboos…like not going out at night, not having any weddings, and of course, not asking people to go to hell…hahah…and many more. Non-believers will also try to avoid these activities, just in case lah…hahah..:p
In Chinese mythology, the Hell is referred to as Di Yu 地狱, and is a maze of underground levels and chambers where souls are taken to atone for their earthly sins.
Itchyfingers happened to go to Hell some times back…errr, not literally went to Hell lah! Haha…In Singapore we are lucky as we dun have to literally go to Hell in order to know what’s going on down there…:p Many of us would remember the scary visits to Haw Par Villa’s Ten Courts of Hell when we were little kids.
Based on popular Chinese beliefs, when one dies, two guards or escorts from Hades (牛头马面) will come and take your soul.
Notice Itchyfingers on the masthead had transformed into a pair of guards from Hell? 8)
According to the plaque at the entrance, when the spirits arrive, “Ox-Head” and “Horse-Face” would chase them into the gate of hell with a steel spear and ivory stick to face the various punishment given by the Yamas, or the Emperors of Hell.
Each court in the Ten Courts of Hell is ruled by a Yama, or King, who dishes out different kinds of punishment befitting the sins committed in one’s life. Well, I must say the Kings of Hell are one lot of very creative beings, cos the kinda punishment they used are really ingenious..:-D
You would imagine crimes like murder, rape, robbery, drug abuse or adultery are considered as serious enough for one to be condemned to Hell. But reading the plaques at the different courts, you would be surprised to find that petty “crimes” or vices like gambling, ungratefulness, inconsideration, lying and even tax evasion would also send you straight to Hell! This is due to the great influence of Confucianism, where morals and ethics are considered as important ways of life and failing to comply with those guides is as serious as crimes like murder. Wow lao leh! Like that I think most of us would be doomed and for sure I would be spending my afterlife in Hell! :O
There were also many kinds of other punishment that involved fire and water.
I think whether you are a believer or non-believer of Hell, retribution or reincarnation, the Ten Courts of Hell serve as a reminder to people to try to do good and be a better person. Revisiting the Ten Courts of Hell again after all these years certainly brought back memories for Itchyfingers.