Western converts to Buddhism often don’t want to hear this, but there is a hell according to traditional Buddhist teachings, and we are all potentially headed there, if our actions violate the Buddha’s teachings.
While hell in Buddhism is only temporary, its duration can last for eons, depending on the negative karma we’ve accumulated. As Buddhists, we need to be mindful of the karmic consequences in this life and the life to come:
A Naraka differs from the hell of Christianity in two respects: firstly, beings are not sent to Naraka as the result of a divine judgment or punishment; and secondly, the length of a being’s stay in a Naraka is not eternal, though it is usually extremely long, as measured in many millions or billions of years.
A being is born into a Naraka as a direct result of his or her accumulated actions (karma) and resides there for a finite period of time until that karma has achieved its full result. After his or her karma is used up, he or she will be reborn in one of the higher worlds as the result of karma that had not yet ripened.