What do the suttas say about Hell?

AN 9.68 says:

“Mendicants, there are five destinations. What five? Hell, the animal realm, the ghost realm, humanity, and the gods. These are the five destinations."

What takes place in Hell?
Is one Hell different from another Hell?
How long would one stay in Hell?
Where could one go from Hell?

There is a very good book for this, The Buddhist Cosmos, which you can buy or download for free.


It has a very descriptive overview of the hell realms of which there are a few. Im sorry I can not give a greater synopsis at the moment, but I wanted to share as the hell it describes is truly terrible from what I remember.


Edit: Page 315- 3:3:6 NIRAYA REALMS OF TORMENT


‘Hell’ in the suttas seems to range/vary from here-&-now hell at the senses bases (SN 35.135) to Dante’s-style hell (MN 130).


Thanks for the link to The Buddhist Cosmos book. It is very in-depth and covers the questions I asked. When it comes to Hell, the book’s references are from suttas, Jataka tales and commentaries.

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Ajahn Sona has a series of 10 talks with Ajahn Punnadhammo (the author of Buddhist Cosmology) on his book. Here is the one on The Hell Realms.