While searching some Buddhist inspired pictures of Naraka I often found hell guards torturing others... Question is where are they on the rebirth cycle. Are they ausras? And if they are created to hurt people how can they ever find a good rebirth.

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    Sometimes these characterizations and personification should be taken with a grain of salt. Have compassion towards all. Mar 19 '16 at 15:20

We read about young children in certain countries being kidnapped, then trained as soldiers to kill and harm others with guns and knives. Despite their young age, and been brain washed to destroy life, these young children nonetheless commit grave unwholesome kamma. Then some of these children go on to be leaders within such armies, forcibly recruiting other children.

While Buddhist doctrine attribute being born into such environments as a result of past kamma, it stresses the importance of cultivating compassion towards all, and that everyone has been born in similar situations in the past. Also, if not vigilant we could once again end up in those situations again.

To me, the hell guards in the nirayas are similar to such children. They seem to have no/little choice in the matter, than to inflict suffering upon others. Perhaps, like the occasional child soldiers that we read about, that are fortunate to escape such hells on earth, become rehabilitated and go on to help others, there could be some hell guards who do escape. In Mahayana Buddhism there are stories of Bodhisatvas who travel to hells to save those in hell, both guards and prisoners. Much like some people we see on earth.

In Buddhism a person's fate is rarely sealed. A spark of dhamma, be it a wise word, a kind deed, could be enough to set a being on the path of liberation.

So have compassion towards all, the punished and the punisher. Samsara is full of dangerous environments.


Yes, they are Asuras. They are not created. They are also hell beings who become stronger from time to time due to their past good Karma and assume a position of command. At other times, they suffer like the rest.

They are not hurting people(humans). They are hurting beings who are at the bottom of the scale of virtue. So the Karma they get is comparatively less. In any case, they don't get any opportunity to do good. So, unless a past good Karma resurfaces, they have to wait till the end of the world to escape from hells.

  • Are you saying that in time there is an end to the world(Earth?) in the Buddha's teaching or are you saying past good karma must resurface for the Hell Guard or they will be in the hell realm for ever as the world wont come to an end?
    – Lowbrow
    Mar 13 '16 at 13:11
  • Yes, the world system gets destroyed at the end of this Kalpa. It's a well known teaching in Buddhism. Past good Karma has to come forward to escape from hells. If bad karma keeps coming up, they won't be able to escape until the world ends. Mar 13 '16 at 17:36
  • Oh yes, everything ends in Buddhism :) but do you know in what way the world ends? Is it the end of just the Hell Realm, the Earth or the entire universe and all of time?
    – Lowbrow
    Mar 14 '16 at 17:38
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    It's described in the Sapta Suriyuggamana Sutta. This time the world will end in fire. 6 more suns(stars) will come near us and burn everything to a crisp. Not only hells, but all the heavens and the 3 Brahma realms of the first Jhana will get destroyed. At other times, the world system gets destroyed by water and air. Mar 14 '16 at 18:49

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