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In Buddhism, Avīci (Sanskrit and Pali: "without waves"; also transliterated Avichi, Japanese and Chinese language: 無間地獄, むげんじごく and 阿鼻地獄, あびじごく) is the lowest level of the Naraka or "hell" realm, into which the dead who have committed grave misdeeds may be reborn. It is said to be a cube 20,000 yojanas to a side.[1]

People reborn in Avīci generally have committed one or more of the Five Grave Offenses:

  • Intentionally murdering one's father
  • Intentionally murdering one's mother
  • Killing an Arhat (enlightened being)
  • Shedding the blood of a Buddha
  • Creating a schism within the Sangha, the community of Buddhist monks and nuns.

Buddhism teaches that rebirth into Naraka is temporary, while the offending being works off the karma they performed. Similarly, rebirth into Avīci hell is not eternal. However, suffering in Avīci is the longest of all the levels of hell, by some accounts over 1018 years long. Some sutras state that rebirth in Avīci will be for innumerable kalpas (eons). When the offending being passes away after one kalpa, he is again reborn in the same place, undergoing suffering for another kalpa, and on and on until he has exhausted his bad karma.[2] For this reason, Avīci hell is also known as the "non-stop way" (無間道).

Nichiren famously wrote that Buddhist monks who questioned the daimoku would be sent to the Avici hell for heresy.[3] Outside of Nichiren, it is extremely rare for a Buddhist monk to condemn anyone to Avici hell.

References

  1. ^ Buddhist cosmology: philosophy and origins‎ - Page 47 by Akira Sadakata
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ http://lotus.nichirenshu.org/lotus/lectures/lotus_20.htm

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