At the weekend, while out looking for peaceful, spiritual images - like the one above - for a commercial client, I entered the Chua Pho Linh on Dang Thai Mai for the first time. The temple is one of the most beautiful in Hanoi in my opinion. It's quiet, peaceful, has lots of cool statues and old brass buddhas, and its own lotus flower pond. However, to enter the pagoda you have to walk past some rather brutal murals of various punishments meted out to sinners, or non-Buddhists? I don't know. But they're along these lines:

Which isn't so bad. I've seen that happening in real life:


But it gets worse. There are the naked, handless folk on pillars, holding spiked boulders above their heads for eternity:

And 'Ye Impalede Unfortunatese':

Then there are shaven-headed wanderers who must roam the forever-lands with their sad eyes, burping fire, and gaining only temporary respite from their hot oesophagi with mouthfuls of whiteness  - maybe snow, maybe cloud, but certainly fleeting.

Some may be up-ended and sawn in half by blue-skinned demons. Alas!

Pity those who are gavaged forever and ever and ever with hot, flaming sausage meat. Or gravy? Beef madras? Who knows. Pity them whatever that hellish fluid might be.

And what about those souls whose destiny it is to be axed into pieces and have hounds feast upon their intestines? Pity them also.

But the saddest fate of all is surely reserved for those who are smashed and turned completely into jam. For they must have the evilest, stickiest souls of all.

Anway. It's a lovely temple, and I'll definitely be going back there in future. It's nice there.


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