Tamrastambha, Tāmrastambha, Tamra-stambha: 1 definition



Tamrastambha means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Tamrastambha in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Tāmrastambha (ताम्रस्तम्भ) refers to the “hell of the copper cauldron” and is one of the “eight hells of fire and flame” forming part of the sixteen utsadas (secondary hells) sitauted outside of the eight great hells, according to the “world of transmigration” section in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVII).—Accordingly, “In the hell of the copper cauldron (tāmrastambha), the Rākṣasas, guardians of hell, ask the damned where they are going, and the latter answer: ‘We are unfortunate and we do not know where we are going; we are hungry (kṣudh) and thirsty (pipāsā)’. When they say they are thirsty, the guardians chase the damned with whip-lashes and make them sit on a red-hot copper stake (tāmrastambha); they open their mouths with pliers and pour in molten copper. If they say they are hungry, the guardians make them sit on a copper stake and make them swallow iron balls (ayoguḍa) which enter and burn the mouth, penetrate and burn the throat (kaṇṭha), penetrate and burn the stomach (antra); having burned the five internal organs (read Tsang, 130 and 18), they fall down onto the ground”.

Also, “In their previous lives, these unfortunates had stolen other peoples’ goods to have enough to eat; as monks, they sometimes pretended to be sick to get melted butter (ghṛta) or honey (madhu); without discipline (śīla), concentration (samādhi) and wisdom (prajñā), they had accepted many gifts and hurt people with slander (pāruṣyavāda). For all of these previous wrongdoings, they fall into the hell of the copper stake (tāmrastambha)”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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