Voyages to Hell

translated by

Nguyen Khang & Bui H.Huu



Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on April 29th, 1977. Year of the Snake 

Wickedness is ruled by demons,
A thousand ruses can’t be hidden long
To the King of Hell, face as ice and iron
To late, to realize how sinners were dumb.

Buddha Tse Kong:     The last time, I was busy. I had asked Master Yang Tshieng to replace me and accompany Yang Ts’ien on his trip to hell. It was the first time the two Yang’s had an occasion to go together to the 5th Palace. The trip was performed impeccably. It has been demonstrated that two religious hearts can harmonize easily and that the Way is profound and immense. It is hopeful that humans realize the advantage of reading the facts in this highly precious canonical book. One must lend an attentive ear to the rumors that spread out like the vibrations of a stringed musical instrument, and judge them seriously, because words and writings are inadequate to depict all the subtlety and mystery of the Tao. It’s like a man eating a watermelon. He must bite into the pulp to relish the succulent and cooling taste of the fruit instead of contenting himself with nibbling it rind. Tonight, we’re going for a tour to hell. Yang Ts’ien, on the dais. 

Yang Ts’ien:    At your request, Master. You had previously taught me that Immortals and Buddhas had the divine power of doubling themselves. Why didn’t you exercise your ability of ubiquity and duality? 

TK:      Ha! Ha! That divine power, I always had it. But I intentionally asked Master Yang Tshieng to replace me for once, simply to create an agreeable variety for the humans’ minds. Now, it’s quite late. Let’s cut short our chatting, and set off. 

YT:      I’m ready, Master. 

TK:      Here we come to the 5th Palace. Let’s go down. The King of the 5th Palace and his mandarins are coming down the steps to welcome us. Let’s go greet them.           

The King:    Be on your feet, Mr. Yang Ts’ien. I am really happy to welcome you, Buddha Tse Kong and Mr. Yang Ts’ien. Please come inside for some relaxation and then we shall talk together. 

TK:      As of tonight’s visit to the 5th Palace, we have accomplished only one half of the mission entrusted us by the order of God to prepare a book. We expect to receive your collaboration for achieving our task gloriously and perfectly. 

The King:     Venerable Buddha, what you said is right. We are living in an era of mechanics when man’s conscience is not as it was formerly. Morality is lost. Fortunately, sacred temples are being erected, institutions are opened to disseminate religious dogmas and methods of spiritual perfection, conformably to the will of God. The endeavors made by your Temple for spiritual education have brought forth salvation to innumerable persons. Your merits in the dissemination of moral culture are highly admirable. The honor is yours for being designated by celestial order to participate in writing the book “Voyages to Hell”. The prisons of the ten Palaces of Hell have been instructed of your mission since the 15th of the 8th month of the Year of the Dragon. Shall we come inside for some rest and discussions? 

YT:      We thank you very much for your hearty welcome, Sir. Outside the Palace, I see a big crowd of souls with their faces all pale with terror. A number of them are looking in our direction. 

TK:      The King of the 5th Palace, with a face as hard as iron, is very impartial. For a long time, he has been well known to the world of mortals for his rigidity in the application of punishment. Upon hearing his name and title pronounced, the sinful soul are terrified and becomes a prey to unspeakable distraction. 

The King:    Won’t you come in to feel more at ease? 

YT:      Thank you, Sir. 

The King:     Please, take seats. Orderly Mandarin! Serve us some tea of immortals and fairies, will you? 

The Mandarin:     At your orders. Here is the tea. Help yourself to it, Sir, honorable visitors. 

YT:      I am thirsty, and am happy to have a cup of it. It’s really wonderful. Its aroma is delicious. 

The King:    I like to drink this tea which is also called “Bodhisattva with an iron heart”. 

TK:      His Majesty’s words imply a figurative meaning. Do you think you can understand it, Yang Ts’ien? 

YT:      I see what His Majesty is alluding to. A legend circulates among humans that under the Song dynasty, there lived a mandarin named Pao Kong who was renowned for the impartiality of his judgments in hearings. His face had the coldness of ice, and his heart was as hard as iron. The tea His Majesty is offering us symbolizes these traits of character and reminds us of the methods used by that illustrious magistrate whose reincarnation we find in our host. 

The King:     Well, the erudition of the holy-scriber is certainly without contest. Your religious wisdom and your level of comprehension are out of the ordinary. You interpret my story splendidly. 

YT:      It’s just guesswork, Sir. 

The King:     I am really delighted in entertain you, gentlemen. The situation of the human world changes from hot to cold. It is pretty changeable. Nowadays, the people only think of disputing honors and profits. The good principles inspired by God have vanished. Everywhere, we see nothing but subterfuge, envy, and hate among men. In order to amass money, people refuse no misdeeds. Activities for promoting human desire and passion are commercialized. All kinds of markets are developed for gaining personal interests. Pleasure-houses, restaurants, night-clubs are mushrooming; pretty girls are employed to kindle sexual desire and vice in the male sex. The authorities of hell, in their day-and-night rounds have witnessed so many immoral acts that their uncountable numbers can’t be engraved accurately on an entire bamboo-forest. There exist night-clubs and amusement-centers where an excess of pleasure leads people to distress, even to death. I am responsible for the administration of the 5th Palace which is baptized a “Place of Iron Face and Impartiality”. I examine the causes and handle justice with equity and a maximum of seriousness. I noticed that the sinful souls incarcerated in this prison were terrified at my just and severe verdicts. Therefore, if people are unwilling to return to the good path, they may some day come to my palace for some time. At that time, they couldn’t reproach me for my implacableness in chastising them. My palace is equally surnamed “The Great Penitentiary of Groans”. In fact, all of the detainees in these prisons do nothing but cry and moan. It has 16 cells named “Heart-Wrenching” Prisons. They are particularly reserved for those who, in their terrestrial life, committed unforgivable crimes related to the heart: knavish heart, wicked heart, spiteful heart, revengeful heart, lustful heart, jealous heart, partial heart, selfish heart, wolf’s heart, dog’s heart, bestial heart. When dealing with all these ignoble sinners, I order my guards to open their chests and wrench out their hearts. These punishments are really horrible, I admit the fact. It is not because I am without mercy, but the karmic law has reserved such torment for those criminals. It’s growing late now. I promise to take you to the Heart-Wrenching Prison next time. 

TK:      Indeed, it’s growing late. Yang Ts’ien, let’s go home. 

YT:      We are deeply grateful, Sir, for your warm welcome and your precious information. My respectful salutations. 

The King:     I order the civilian mandarins and officers to stand in line for the salute. 

TK:      Once again, I present my appreciation, Sir. Yang Ts’ien, the dais. 

YT:      I am on it. Shall we start, Master? 

TK:      The Temple is in sight. Prepare to go down and re-enter your body.

Back ] Next ]




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