Voyages to Hell

translated by

Nguyen Khang & Bui H.Huu



Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on November 9th, 1976. Leap year of the Dragon (1976) 

Below there in the deep, damned souls are hanging
Impure blood flows as a flooding river
Morality was denied, sinners are now dangling
Their descendents inherit the fruit of their sins.

Buddha Tse Kong:     We are in mid-winter, and the cold is almost unbearable. With thick woolens and furs, the wealthy people feel comfortable near their fire-places, relishing hot meals and exquisite dishes. Meanwhile, the needy and the wretched are exceedingly miserable. They shiver in their thin, ragged clothing, their teeth chattering. Their present suffering results from a malevolent karma they created in their former life, and they will suffer the cold of each winter during this life. The people who are living in affluence should think of providing for the miserable homeless. By so doing, they practice their virtue of charity, amass merits and will acquire happiness and wealth in their next reincarnation. If they are content with their lot, and lead their lives egoistically without doing any good actions, the happiness and wealth they are enjoying from the good karma of their previous life will disappear, preparing them for an unhappy life as children of poor families. Let intelligent, wise men be aware of this fact. Yang Ts’ien, come along to the dais. We go to hell...  

TK:     Here we are. Get down, son. 

YT:      Sharp screams and wailings are heard resoundingly from here, they remind me of the cries of a hog which the butcher ties up by the legs for slaughtering by throat-cutting. 

TK:      Keep quiet, son. Here come the Mandarin-Governor and the General. Let’s go greet them. 

YT:      Our greetings, Excellency and General. Buddha Tse Kong and I are coming here by God’s order. Please assist me to write a book entitled: “Voyages to Hell”. 

The Mandarin:       Please, don’t be too formal. For a long time, we have been admiring the renown of your Temple with its merits in propagating religion, printing precious canonical books that teach virtue and salvation for mankind. Its achievements have stirred up the three worlds (heaven, earth, hell) and awakened man from ignorance. It is great to meet you here. We invite you to come in and have a look. 

YT:      Thank you, Excellency. So, this is the prison of “Upside Down Hanging” as it is written on the panel above the door. 

TK:      Yes, it is. Let’s follow the Mandarin and the General inside. 

YT:      I hear loud cries just as at a funeral. The grass on the large prison grounds is covered with blood. 

The Mandarin:      This is our prison, placed under the administration of the Third Palace. 

YT:      On the grassy ground, I see a row of stakes. They are joined to each other by high-strung steel  wires. The sinful souls are hung head downwards, their feet pierced through by the wire, from where blood is streaming. They howl and writhe, which makes their pain worse. Several of them have their blood dripping from their faces. They remain motionless. The sight of these rows of suspended bodies evokes the image of noodle-drying. Excellency, for what sins are these souls being punished? 

The Mandarin:      They are the people who overturned morality and corrupted virtues, disciples who despised their masters, people who disregarded the traditions or disdained the five cardinal precepts of ethics (humanity, fidelity, civility, rationality and loyalty). They come here in increasing numbers. Their contaminated, dripping blood gives birth to a species of bacteria which produce a kind of red mushroom. This same kind of mushroom can be found on earth. 

YT:      It’s shocking, that nauseous smell of blood. I just can’t stand it, and feel like vomiting. 

TK:      Try to be as calm as possible and get rid of any feelings that might jeopardize your writing of the book. 

The Mandarin:      I will have some sinful souls come here to tell you of their crimes. 

YT:      I am obliged, Excellency. 

The Mandarin:      General, bring down one of the sinners and have him come here. 

The General:      At your request. He is untied now. 

YT:      Sinful soul, what have you done to be hung upside down in this place amidst icy blasts of wind? 

The soul:      O God! I’m suffering from intense and unbearable pain. This hanging upsets my bowels and makes me feel nauseated. In my lifetime, I lived in the southern region of Formosa. My uncle, who was childless, adopted me as a baby, and I took him for my father. He fed me, brought me up, sent me to school where I finished my secondary studies. As his only son whom he loved dearly, he entrusted me with the management of his big grocery-store. When I was 37 years of age, one of my neighbors revealed to me that I was only a foster-son, not a legitimate child of my uncle. I had a sudden idea of going to live with my proper parents, and at that time, I began to embezzle my uncle’s money and transferred it to my parents. My proper father did nothing to prevent my misdeed. I found ways to sell all of my uncle’s valuable wares, and signed many checks to pay the suppliers. After that, I joined my parents and prepared to live an easy life. When my uncle learned of my dishonesty and my evil doings, he went into a rage. He dwelt on his losses, insulted heaven and earth and grew somewhat insane. When the checks bounced, and the creditors came in throngs to reclaim their money from my uncle whose bank account bore his name. Confronted with such a situation, and not being able to pay off his debts, my uncle committed suicide. Arriving in hell, his soul lodged a complaint against my father and me. The King of Hell accepted his request. One year after his death, my father and I were possessed by malicious spirits and we paid out all our fortune. In the end, the spirits impregnated our hearts and lungs and we died. Arriving in hell, we learned that our life span had been cut short because of our crime. The King of Palace was in a fury. He condemned me to this prison of “Upside-Down Hanging”. As for my father, I’m told he is being detained in another prison. 

The Mandarin:       How ungrateful you are! Your uncle had fed you and brought you up. You should have felt indebted to him. You betrayed him instead. You deserve the torments of this prison. What are you pleading for? General, send him back to the stakes, and bring down two others on the left so they can tell their stories to Mr. Yang Ts’ien who will describe them in his book. 

The General:       At your request. 

The Mandarin:      Here they come. Confess your sins to Mr. Yang Ts’ien who is from the Temple of the Sages in the living world. 

The Soul:       Right now, I experience much pain. Everyday, I undergo this torment of being hung by the feet. I have a mouth, but I’m not allowed to complain, my eyeballs are protruding from their orbits. I was a married man, and we lived in Tai Chu. However, I was also involved with a young girl. After a certain time, our romance was discovered. The girl was fatherless. Her mother lived alone, and though the latter was already in her forties, she looked quites attractive. Using various excuses, I managed to pay her frequent visits and seduced her with sweet words. I conquered her and slept with her. At last, we lived together openly, fully enjoying our carnal pleasures. I was somewhat blinded by pleasures, and could hardly control myself. And then, in a traffic accident, I was run over by a car and lost consciousness. At that moment, my soul was tied up by the chains of buffaloheaded and horse-faced demons. With their spears in hand, they escorted me to the Mirror-Revelator of Past Crimes where I shamefully witnessed the totality of my vile acts. I dared not look anybody in the face, as I was so ashamed of myself. The King of Palace, very angry, condemned me to 30 years’ imprisonment in this jail with the punishment of upside-down hanging. I have had two years, and still have many lengthy years to suffer. I try not to think of the time I shall be delivered from my woes. 

The King:       You are no better than an animal. Lust is the gravest sin of all. The fact of committing adultery with a young girl was already a crime. More than that, you sought to destroy the chastity of her mother too. You are worthy of capital punishment. After you serve your term in this prison, you will be condemned again to the Eternal Prison. You can no longer reincarnate in the world of the living. 

TK:      You have violated the natural law of social relationships and corrupted the ways and customs. Those who disrespect their masters, are rude toward their superiors, commit adultery with both mother and daughter, and are condemned to this prison. The punishment here is easy compared with those of the Eternal Prison, where they will never return. May human beings awaken as soon as possible and may they avoid committing the sins that lead them to this prison of upside-down hanging, after their death. Yang Ts’ien, it’s getting late, think of going home. 

YT:      My deepest gratitude to His Excellency and to the General. You have taught me a great number of things. We would like to say goodbye. 

The Mandarin:      Please forgive our mistakes. 

TK:      The lotus dais, Yang Ts’ien!... Go fetch your body.

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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