Voyages to Hell

translated by

Nguyen Khang & Bui H.Huu



Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on February 16th, 1977. Year of the snake (1977) 

Wholly, by man’s insatiable lust for gain
They all begin their course of shame
Turned gamblers, parracide, possessed
Brought by greed rather than merits and efforts.

TK:     We arrive to the destination. Let’s go down. 

YT:      I see before us a placard written “Prison of Sinew-Cutting and Bone-Chopping”. The Mandarin-Governor and his officers are waiting to welcome us at the door. My greetings, Excellency and Generals. I am Yang Ts’ien, accompanied by my Master, Buddha Tse Kong. We visit your prison tonight as reporters. Your information is highly appreciated. 

TK     By order of God, I take Yang Ts’ien to hell for writing a book titled “Voyages to Hell”. At the present time, religion is in decadence. Materialism is in vogue, whereas spiritualism erases itself into oblivion. All stratagems and guiles are utilized to satisfy men’s greed. They refuse no crimes to amass as much money as possible. Where is the conscience God had given us? It is really sad to hear these words every place “conscience surrenders to money”. The Temple of the Sages had received the order to proceed with the expansion of faith by publishing religious and ethical books in order to save the men in perdition and lead them back to the right path. Its masterpieces of morality have been appreciated by our Father, God the All-Mighty, who recently issued a special edict bidding it to prepare the book “Voyages to Hell”. I have the mission to accompany Yang Ts’ien and show him the realities of hell. We would feel greatly obliged if you would assist us in our task. 

The Mandarin:     Perfect. I see you are dedicated to the accomplishment of your task. Besides, I have had a message about this matter, and I think everything is ready. 

YT:      Look, Master! Those cruel demons are cutting the sinews of the souls’ arms and they shriek appallingly. The victims are tied securely to stakes in the form of crosses, and they can’t budge an inch. 

The Mandarin:     You are in the prison called “Sinew-cutting and Bone-chopping”. With sharp-edged, hard cutlasses, the demon-guards begin by cutting the sinews of the arms, dissecting the flesh which they throw to “steel dogs”, finally, chopping under the arm-bones. This torture makes the sinful souls suffer to the extreme. 

YT:      I see many souls fall unconscious and a little farther, black dogs are crunching their arms. In the living world, the dogs never eat human flesh. At mealtime, they used to crouch under the dining table, and content themselves with the bones of chickens, pork, or fish their masters tossed to them. Excuse me, Excellency, where are these black dogs from? 

The Mandarin:     They are called “steel dogs”. They are terribly ferocious and eat nothing but the flesh and bones of sinful souls, a fact which is never seen in the human world. They are raised in all palaces of hell to punish the souls who are devoid of any sense of morality and virtue. The Asiatic people used to say “wolf’s entrails and dog’s heart”. They allude to this kind of dogs in hell. On the contrary, the dogs of the living world are much different from these. They are loyal and intelligent. Some dogs of rare breed have their intelligence so highly developed that they behave like men and even sleep in their masters’ beds. 

YT:      I understand perfectly. Disloyal and dishonest men are inferior to these dogs of precious breed. 

TK:      I’m going to use my miracle-fan to revive these dying souls. Look! 

YT:      How miraculous! These sinful souls recover their initial body form and come back to life. 

The Mandarin:     I have at your disposal three sinners. They will tell the reasons for their condemnation here after their death. Now, you are the first to speak. We are ready to hear you. 

The soul:     O! What a poignant pain! Right at this moment, my children and grandchildren on earth can’t imagine what is happening to me in hell, especially how atrociously I am suffering. They all think death is the end of everything, and beyond it there is nothing but a void. I was a tea-dealer in my life. I had the dark thought of increasing my profits by cheating on the weight. With my skill in maneuvering the balance, I succeeded to weigh 14 ounces instead of 16 for each pound (Chinese) and thus gained two ounces. I continued to perform this trick throughout my life, though I knew perfectly that measures should be accurate, and that the one who cheats half-a-pound in this life will have to repay 8 ounces in his next life. I heard neither the voice of my conscience nor the advice of my friends, and I paid no attention to the punishment that was waiting for me. At last, death befell me. My soul was arrested and escorted to hell. I was led to stand before the mirror revelator of past crimes where all the dishonest acts of my past were reflected. The King of the 4th Palace inflicted upon me a sanction of ten years of imprisonment in this prison of “Sinew-cutting and Bone-chopping”. Day after day, the torment repeats itself. The demons sever my sinews, chop my arm-bones and slice my flesh in the way a housewife scales a fish. I am remorseful, but I know it’s too late. I appeal to the merchants of the world to conduct their business honestly. Weight-cheating is heavily punished in hell. The most trifling misdeed can’t pull the wool over the eyes of the deities. The King of Hell hates the cheats like us. He watches us closely, and the demons are merciless. 

The Mandarin:    You are well aware of what you did, aren’t you? Now, the demons help you reform your hands once and for all. Now, the second soul. 

The soul:      Yes, Excellency. When in life, I missed schooling because I was poor. I made a living by buying old objects and used items for re-sale. Everyday I rode my tricycle in the streets, bought pieces of waste paper, iron scraps of all types, worn out clothing, torn footgear, etc. One of my companions told me that the gain on waste copper, bronze and iron would be small if I was too honest, and that I should cheat on the weights to gain more profits. I did as I was advised and with dexterous hands, I succeeded to play my trick without being caught. A ten kilo weight item weighed only seven kilos on my balance. The dealers of used wares knew nothing of my magic. They were content to clear out their rubbish. I lived a fraudulent life and earned a lot of money. Upon my death, my soul was led before the infuriated King of Hell who vehemently accused me of cheating in commerce and corrupted virtues. I was condemned to 15 years of imprisonment. The torment is renewed everyday; the infernal guards despise and insult me mercilessly. I am really miserable. Have pity on me, Mr. Yang Ts’ien. I beg you to mediate for my grace so I can be released a little sooner. I prostrate humble before you. 

YT:      Please, Master, this soul seems to have confessed in all frankness. He deserves some mercy. He is in tatters, which moves me a lot. Can you do something for him? 

TK:      All this is of the authority of the Mandarin-Governor. We’d better not meddle in what concerns him. 

The Mandarin:     Your hands are unclean, remember. The demons cut your sinews, chop your bones and slice your flesh to teach you the accuracy of weights, even the lightest ones. Don’t moan, be stoical in your suffering. Show yourself worthy of a man and cease your supplication. Now, to the next soul, the third one. We are attentive. 

The soul:     My husband was a government employee of high grade. While he was busy in his office, and my children were at school, the women of my neighborhood taught me how to play mah-jong. At first, I was ignorant of the rules of the game, but little I became well-versed in playing not only mah-jong but also all types of cards. The money I lost in card-playing was not important. More deplorable was the fact that I gave no care whatsoever to my husband and my children, and I left my household without a mistress. I spent nearly all my time in gambling-dens. My husband tried to persuade me to stay at home, but to no avail. I turned a deaf ear to him, and frequent quarrels occured in my family. Four years ago, I suffered from heart disease and died. The King of Hell’s judgment sent me to this prison. I still have six months to go. I appeal to the women of the living world, advising them to think of virtue, particularly of their task as homemaker. They should try to remain as “home-angels” instead of imitating my example, if they don’t want to taste bitter things in hell, with their bodies mutilated and their arms chopped off.

The Mandarin:     A housewife is the mistress of a household. She has a sacred duty. It’s a pity that you neglected your duty as a housewife and gave yourself up to gambling. You had corrupted the manners and customs of society. The only thing that saved you was that you didn’t cheat in gambling as did a professional gambler and the King of hell granted you reasonable punishment. 

YT:      And the professional cheats, where are they detained? 

The Mandarin:      They are not of my province. It is the job of King “High Mount” of the 7th Palace. I advise humans to change in time if they have the passion for gambling. Their sins will be forgiven if they print and distribute the volumes of “Voyages to Hell”. 

TK:      It’s rather late. Let’s think of returning to the Temple.  Yang Ts’ien, extend you thanks to His Excellency, then hurry to the dais... Here’s the Temple. Your body is waiting for you, 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