Short Zen Story of Hell

From Chapter III: The Universe is the Scripture of Zen of The Religion of the Samurai by Kaiten Nukariya (1913), on the extensive Sacred Texts web site.

A Zen master was asked by a Samurai whether there was hell in sooth as taught in the [Buddhist] Scriptures. "I must ask you," replied he, "before I give you an answer. For what purpose is your question? What business have you, a Samurai, with a thing of that sort? Why do you bother yourself about such an idle question? Surely you neglect your duty and are engaged in such a fruitless research. Does this not amount to your stealing the annual salary from your lord?" The Samurai, offended not a little with these rebukes, stared at the master, ready to draw his sword at another insult. Then the teacher said smilingly: "Now you are in Hell. Don't you see?"

Personal comments: It seems to me that a habit of staying in a spiritual Hell, as described above, will remain a habit even after death -- hence taking a person to the "after-life Hell." I have experienced myself some aspects of a non-physical realm of Hell. There is disagreement between some who say Hell is eternal, and some who say any spirit can change and escape Hell. All I can say is, Hell is not a fun place.

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