Welcome to the Culture Corner
Welcome back to the Culture Corner with Tao Jones. If you’re new to the Culture Corner, this is a little column that is your guide to the world. It’s great to be a hero, but if you don’t understand what it is you’re trying to save, then it’s a little harder to appreciate it. That’s what I’m here for. Each column, I’m going to take a part of Chinese culture in our games and explain it in a little more depth.
So You Died and Went to Hell. Or: A Travel Guide for the Recently Deceased
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they find their body undergoing some changes. There’s nothing to worry about. It’s perfectly normal, and everyone goes through it at some time or another. Perhaps you no longer breathe, or your heart stopped beating, or you find maggots growing where there were no maggots before. If this is the case, you are probably dead.
You may wonder what happens next. Well, according to traditional Chinese beliefs, you’ll have to leave your body behind and go visit a place called Dìyù. It’s got a large number of names, but it’s usually just translated as Hell. It’s not as bad as it sounds. There’s actually a funny story about this. See, when Christian missionaries went to China, they told people that people who did not accept Jesus would be sent to Hell when they died. Of course, according to Chinese beliefs, everyone, no matter who, goes to Dìyù after death. They thought “Hell” was the proper English term for the Chinese afterlife, so they adopted that word. Again, it’s not as bad as it sounds. This Hell isn’t the kind where your sins will bring you torment that lasts for eternity. It’s the kind where your sins may bring you a torment that eventually ends. It’s still a bit unpleasant, but it’s preferable to the alternative.
The first thing you’ll see after death are a pair of intimidating guys named Ox-Head and Horse-Face. They look exactly like their names suggest. They’re also never seen apart. They’re the guardians of Hell, often depicted as a vast network of underground caves and tunnels. They’ll escort you to the office of King Yama, god of death and ruler of Hell. He’s dressed like a judge, and that’s exactly what he’s there to do.
He’s like Santa, but without a Nice list.
For the full details on what happens next, head to the full version of the article.