river of three crossings ［三途の河］ ( sanzu-no-kawa): A river that people are said to cross on the seventh day after their death. It has three crossing points—a bridge, a ford, and a spot where there is only deep serpent-infested water. Where one crosses depends on the weight of one’s offenses while alive. Those who performed acts of good while alive cross over a bridge adorned with seven precious substances. Those whose karmic balance of good and evil is relatively even cross at a ford. Those who committed great evil must wade through deep water infested with hideous serpents. On the bank, a male demon and a female demon dwell under a large tree. The female, called the garment-snatching demoness, strips the dead of their clothes, and the male, called the garment-suspending demon, hangs the clothes on a branch of the tree to determine the weight of their offenses. The concept of the river of three crossings is not found in Indian Buddhism, and therefore it is thought to have originated in China. In Japan, it became popular from the middle of the Heian period (794–1185) through the Kamakura period (1185–1333). Accounts of the river of three crossings differ slightly according to the source.