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The Ladders of Hell
The Vajra Yogini says,You need to educate yourself on the hell worlds. As we visit, I can show you the protected path out. Then you can look at these worlds from a safe distance, and return.
Many cultures have both saints and sinners who visit the hell worlds. Such visits may not be beautiful but they can be informative. The Buddhist hells are endless caverns full of stalactites and stalagmites, and rivers of fire. Each river, lake, pit or mire extends infinitely in all dimensions to make room for the souls bound by black karma. There are worlds of incarnation like the stars in the galaxies, like grains of sand along an infinite beach.
Hells are made of extremes: cold and hot, isolation and crowding, violence and frustrated desire. There are cold hells, hot hells, hells where purification is exaggerated into torture, and hells where people drown in filth. By whatever extreme a sentient being has justified causing the pain of another, that extreme will be revealed.
There are rivers of suffering and destruction. The secret sins must be ripped out from their hiding places, and made public. There are rivers of shame and guilt and lakes of blame and self-defense. Whole caverns echo into infinity, "It was not my fault."
The lords of hell are personifications of destruction, sin, and torture. They can see through blame. Justifying the harming of innocents is the first step to the hell worlds.
Deities can save souls from hell. It is a great selling point. If you become a slave to a god, the god can swallow your bad karma, or put it aside until you become unworthy, and liberate you from hell. Deities may sell permanent heavens, but that is only for souls not subject to temptation. When those in heaven turn away from their gods, black karma is returned to them, as weighted chains which may pull these souls into the hells.
The greatest temptation is malice. Anger, lust, greed, pride - all are problems. But malice has no justification as the others do. It is simply joy in another's pain. Each religion has its chosen unforgivable sin - this is the sin I would claim is worst. It can be combined and bolstered by other sins, but it is powerful on its own.
Hell is dark, full of blackness and ignorance. It is not a single place but a galaxy of worlds where the life-histories of sentient beings are balanced. Sometimes beings are trapped there unjustly, due to accident rather than malice. There are fail-safes but most trapped souls do not know about them. Then they can be caught there for eons amidst the waterfalls of hot lava and the dust storms of blindness and sin.
How does the trapped soul get out of the hell worlds? The easiest way is to call upon a powerful deity and ask for help. However if the soul is familiar with meditation, he or she can use an empowered mantra as a ladder out. Torture by the administrators and guardians of the hell worlds may be distracting, but if the soul can step beyond its own problems and come to know the environment, he or she can find the secret ladders out of hell that look like mist and smoke to the distracted mind. They are there. The imprisoned soul must learn to look for and use them.
The path of liberation requires the person to know all worlds, not only the pleasing ones. One must know the prison to help the prisoners.
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