Voyages to Hell

translated by

Nguyen Khang & Bui H.Huu



Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on the 26th of the second 8th month.  Leap year of the Dragon (1976)

The Trinity Council cares for all living beings
Hell’s structure constantly changes with time
Wickedness in life may operate out of sight
However, it can never escape the divine eyes.

Buddha Tse Kong:     Our trips to hell to get facts for the book have fatigued the deities and men. However, for the sake of salvaging mankind, we do not count our pain. We could say that: “Every work of benevolence is done with joy”. I am greatly impressed at the sight of the adopts practicing contemplative meditation every night until late hours. The Three Councils of heaven, hell, and virtuous men insure salvation for the whole universe: heaven provides blessings for the stars and the Milky Way. In the middle, the Sages and the Virtuous assist mankind. The netherworld helps salvage the souls and demons in hell. At this time, turmoil is reigning over the human world and the kingdom of heaven as well. The Saint Door opens widely, the genuine Tao is being propagated. Those predestined to the Tao are converted and allowed to pursue their regeneration. The non-predestined, on the other hand, continue to make fun of the Buddhas and move further from paradise. Casting my eyes upon the earth, I see Buddhist temples and centers for the practice of meditation mushrooming everywhere. The spirit of Tao is prevailing over every household. This is an epoch when religious culture is reborn, and the ancient doctrines respected and applied. A spectacle of favorable omen is offering itself. The demon-souls in hell are waiting for these moments to redeem their sins. Tonight, I take Yang Ts’ien for a tour to hell, so he can understand the situation and relate it to mankind. Get prepared, Yang. 

Yang Ts’ien:     I am, Master. 

TK:      We’re going to visit the 2nd Gate. Cheer up, son. 

YT:      Yes, Sir. And please, don’t hestitate to scold me soundly, should I allow myself to be foolish. 

TK:      I don’t go that far. Well, let’s go, son.... Here we are. Let’s get down. 

YT:      What is that place over there? I see big crowd of souls hurrying, with the buffalo-headed and horse-faced demons escorting others. 

TK:      This is the 2nd Gate. Let’s hurry! We’re going to meet the King of the Palace. 

YT:      In the middle of that group which is coming, I see a man of tall stature and strong body. He is dressed in a garment of ancient times similar to the ceremony- gown that people on earth used to wear for the cult of genii. He has a majestic and imposing gait, and from his entire body emanates a resplendent aureole. Generals and guards are walking by his sides. 

TK:      He is Ming Wang, the King of the 2nd Palace. Be on your knees, and pay him your respect. 

YT:      I am honored to be here before His Majesty and the Mandarins of the Royal Court. 

Ming Wang:    Dispense with the ceremonials. Stand up, please. You are most welcome, Buddha Tse Kong and Mr. Yang Ts’ien of the Temple of the Sages who take the time to call on me. This palace received the Celestial Edict quite early. And we know your Temple sent you here in order to write a book on hell. By the way, we just received a letter from Buddha Tse Kong, informing us of your visit. We were therefore ready to welcome you. Please, come in this way. 

TK:      We are grateful for your warm welcome. Yang Ts’ien, let’s follow His Majesty into the palace. 

 The King:     Here it is. I’m going to explain the activities of the ten gates of hell. They are the official centers of punishments. As a rule, the souls of the dead, after being carefully judged by the 1st Palace as to their merits and their sins, are handed over to the 2nd Palace. As for those wicked and knavish souls who have participated in all types of vice from their earthly days, hell only tries, for the moment, to correct the causes of their vice, knowing perfectly that they will never improve. When they come to our palace, we collate the register of their curriculum-vitae in hell with their committed sins. Thus, everything is clear, no doubt whatsoever. Since the situation in the human world has changed, hell must also modernize itself by increasing the number of cells. You may say: “Manners change with the times”. Many items of hell’s penal code have to be revised and amended to meet the needs of modern times, particularly to punish the guilty more efficiently. 

TK:      Phenomena change in heaven, formations change on earth, and the human world also changes after nature. Heaven and hell reflect everything instantaneously. The least gesture of man, a tree, an herb, all things reflect themselves in the sky, the way they do in a mirror. Hell too, receives the reflection from that mirror with matchless purity and accuracy. Don’t ever think that demons and genii are eliminated by the progress of science. The profane people, leaning upon the visible, pretend to exclude the invisible. But they soon realize that the invisible is master of visible. It is the immortals and buddhas of the invisible divine world who direct, whereas humans on earth are all activated by an extraneous force. 

YT:      So, that’s it. Every mortal thinks of hell as an imperceptible, therefore, nonexistent domain. In reality, hell appears neatly before my eyes. It is as marvelous as it is formidable. I suddenly find myself in a world completely different from mine. 

The King:     I am terribly busy. I don’t think I can entertain you any longer. I count on you, General. Will you have Mr. Yang Ts’ien inspect the prison? 

The General:     With pleasure, Sir. 

YT:      Among those souls before the gate, some carry a pillory on their heads, and their hands are chained. They look like criminals on earth. How pitiful for them! Over there, the King of the Palace who is presiding over a hearing, is banging his fist on the table and howling, just like husbandman shouting at his stubborn ox. 

The General:      Time is short. Please, don’t delay, Mr. Yang Ts’ien. Come with me. 

TK:      Don’t scrutinize things too closely, Yang. 

YT:      At this gate, a big crowd is gathering. Not a single chirping of a bird is heard. What are they doing there? 

The General:  The Bodhisattva of the Underworld, Pontiff of the Kingdom of Darkness, has had a conference established in every palace, because by this time, the Three Tribunes are dealing with universal salvation. In principle, those sinful souls who still have some good nature left, and prove their good conduct while in detention, are permitted to come, in turn, to the conference hall to listen to Immortals’ and Buddhas’ preaching. They must therefore be very careful and attentive. They walk quietly and dare not make noise. There, you see them coming in, one after another. 

YT:      Hell also takes care of the salvation of demon-souls by teaching them from holy books and preaching the methods of spiritual perfection. We can compare it to the terrestrial world where temples are found everywhere. They are dedicated to the cult of saints, and their seances of spiritualism are a means to distribute the saint doctrine. Many people lead a religious life in their homes. At present, the Immortals and Buddhas are really merciful, so much so that they spare no pain to come down as far as the dusty living world and the world of the dead, to provide salvation for living creatures, and for demon-souls as well. 

TK:      Let’s follow this group of demon-souls into the conference hall. 

YT:      Above the big door, I see a panel with this inscription: “Conference Hall No.1 of the Palace”. Before entering the hall, every demon-soul has to pass to the next room resembling a workshop, named “Sentry house”. Here, the demon-souls signal their arrival to the authorities of hell. Once this formality is done, they can enter the hall. 

The General:  This is the residence of the guard-officer. He is responsible for checking the entries and exits of the demon-souls. The souls without a permit to attend the conference are refused entry to the hall. Now, I’m going to announce you as visitors for the purpose of writing a book. Please, wait here. I’ve just announced you and registered your names. Follow me into the hall, and sit on the “honor mat” while waiting for the immortals and Buddha. 

TK:      And now, here is the “Chariot of the Way” carrying Bodhisattva Kuan Yin, the Saint-Mother of Southern Seas. Yang Ts’ien, bow and salute the Bodhisattva. 

YT:      Yes, Sir. Kuan Yin, the Supreme Goddess, has come to the pulpit and is preparing to preach. In the conference hall with benches of the same style as the pupils’, there are about two thousand attendees. They all seem jolly. Kuan Yin, the Supreme Goddess, is seen sitting on her dais of lotus, clad in a white silk robe, with a twig of willow in hand that she dips in an urn of holy water and mimics the gesture of sprinkling it over the audience. Gracious Master, what does her gesture mean? 

TK:      That’s the “religious shower” that impregnates every creature. It is called “asperges of holy water”. The ones who are predestined to the Way of Deliverance will be liberated naturally from the vicious cycle of transmigration. This is the mercy of God. He practices no discrimination whatsoever among the Four Categories of Creatures and the Six Ways of Transmigration. It suffices that a mortal comes back to the good path, mends his faults and restores his body and soul, and he will be salvaged by the “Arc of Mercy”. Such is also the deepest aspiration of Kuan Yin. Now, no more questions, will you? Listen to the sermon of Kuan Yin on “The Way that saves us from misfortunes”. 

Kuan Yin:        I am really delighted to notice the presence of living Buddha Tse Kong and of Mr. Yang Ts’ien of the Temple of the Sages. Mr. Yang Ts’ien, after hearing my sermon and upon your return to the terrestrial world, I hope you will exert all effort to educate the people by giving them good advice for self-perfection. Your Temple is attempting to educate humans. Its adept has consecrated all their spirit and vigor to the construction of the Arc of Mercy for the salvation of human creatures. Such a spirit is really admirable. In the future, they will certainly reach the place of saints and sages. I expect they will do their best to accomplish their noble mission. 

TK:      Bow quickly and thank her for her infinitely merciful advice! 

YT:      I thank you, Mother Kuan Yin, for all you have just taught me. As soon as I get back to the Temple, I will transmit your teachings to my brethren, and we shall show ourselves worthy of your confidence. 

Kuan Yin:        Now, I begin my sermon: Since the times of nothingness until the present, man was born in the world, and died. Then, he was reborn and died again. In spite of his body’s disintegration, his soul remains immortal. You are now in hell, but you still do not know that your body is but illusory. Only knowledge acquired by clairvoyance is true. Love and passion are difficult to eliminate. Humans nurture grief and anger. After that, they grieve endlessly. They must therefore conceive the world as a dream and an illusion. The bonds that tie the members of the same family are also the consequences of the law of causality. As for the law of retribution and sanction, it governs a cyle of good and evil. You should not forget yourselves by ignoring that law. If prejudices and bad actions persist in your spirit, if negative feelings remain in your hearts, you will be dragged into the infernal cycle of transmigration. We are now living in a decadent phase of religious morality. Human hearts have become deceitful and wicked. The tree of clairvoyance has become stunted; new born babies prove themselves more clever than before, but they are more apt to learn misdeeds and guiles as well. I do not want to divulge the secrets of God, but I have to say that the flame of the oil-lamp, exposed to winds, cannot exist much longer. Gradually contaminated by vices, man loses his pure nature. In spite of his marked intelligence, his clairvoyance is tarnished, and he does disservice to the Celestial Cause. Subversive and inhuman acts multiply day after day. Anarchy reigns over the world, moral laws are disregarded. You demon-souls, who have fallen in the deep sepulchral pit of death, your carnal body is lost, and the wicked karma is pursuing you. Try to understand that the shadow follows the man wherever he goes. Do not pretend that an image cannot be seen where there is no light. Every thought, every move, is reflected by psychic faculties, and produces its consequences to which the bad karma firmly ties you. Now, though sinking in the world of darkness, you still can preserve a minimum of your conscience which is not yet darkened. You must repent of your past misdeeds. I advise you to understand the Truth and endure the mortification of strenuous punishment, so that your past crimes can be eliminated. Suffer the pains stoically, and shake off all ill will. I shall come again to bring you my blessings. My sermon ends. 

TK:      (to Yang Ts’ien) Present her your farewell wishes, Yang. 

YT:      As you say. May I humbly thank you for your teachings of gold and jade. All of the demon-souls are also bowing to salute Kuan Yin, and a great number of them, excessively moved by the sermon, have shed bitter tears. 

TK:      The Supreme Goddess has given precious words to the demon-souls in order to advise and console them. Doubtlessly, she opens her “bodhi” heart, in the hope that all creatures will convert to the Way and attain enlightenment. If any of these still regret their profane life and hesitate to change, they will come down to hell and endure a wicked karma. It will then be extremely difficult to improve again. Well, time is short. Yang Ts’ien, let’s go home! 

The General:    Please forgive us for any shortcomings. 

YT:      I am a profane among you. Why use such a word as “forgive”. You humble yourself, General. (adressing Tse Kong) One more question, Master. Has every palace established its conference hall? And finally, how much time will the sinful souls have to acquit their sins and obtain their freedom? 

TK:      Well, the services of conferences established by the palaces of hell is a lower level. It is destined to probe the hearts and character of sinful souls, and see how deeply their regeneration reaches. Later on, there will be higher-level services for their betterment. Now, no more questions. It’s growing late. The dais is waiting. (to the General) - I appreciate very much your welcome, General.  Here we are back to the Temple. Alight, and enter your body, son.

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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49
Chapter 50
Chapter 51
Chapter 52
Chapter 53
Chapter 54
Chapter 55
Chapter 56
Chapter 57
Chapter 58
Chapter 59
Chapter 60
Chapter 61
Celestial Edict