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King Yama

If you have read the Journey to the West, maybe you have idea who is King Yama, and the post of his. According to ancient China mythology, King Yama is the judge of the dead, who presides over the hell and is responsible for the life, death and transmigration of human beings.

It is said that he had a book listing the length of life of every individual, and that's also the reason why the Monkey King
broke into hell and tore one page off that book. When someone's life in the mortal world has come to an end, King Yama would order fearsome guardians of hell to bring the newly dead to the hell for judgment. If the person was a good guy, he would be brought to heaven and enjoy good wealth, if he wasn't, he would be sent to the hell for punishment.

Before the Buddhism was introduced into China, there was no concept of King Yama. The The term Yama originally means "trussing up" in Sanskrit, referring to trussing up sinners. Meanwhile, due to the interactions between Buddhism and Taoism, various King Yama with Chinese flavors were developed, the Ten Kings of Hell, who have their own functions and powers as well as ways to punish sinned ghosts.

in Chinese folk culture, there are lots of popular sayings about King Yama.
1."when King Yama is away, the ghosts are free to do whatever they want"
means his underlings run wild when someone in charge is absent.

2."it's easy to meet King Yama, but the devils are hard to tackle"
means low-ranking officials are even more difficult to deal with than their superiors

3."if King Yama rules that your life ends at the third watch (midnight), you can't live to the fifth (dawn)"
reflects "the fatalistic belief about the length of life". means the length of life is sentenced.