The Five-Minute Buddhist Books

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Yama & Naraka

Yama & Naraka: Death and Hell

Yama is the personification of death, or, in the more religious versions of Buddhism, as a the god of the dead. He’s usually depicted with green or red skin, and reigns over Naraka, the Buddhist version of Hell.

Naraka is “hell” for Buddhists. People go to Naraka due to bad karma as a result of their actions. Although they can stay there a long time, their time in “hell” is not permanent. In a way, Naraka may be more comparable to ideas of purgatory than hell, but there are elements of both ideas here. There are also both hot and cold hells involved, so if you are reading about Naraka, you may see references to either hot or cold places.

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