Voyages to Hell

translated by

Nguyen Khang & Bui H.Huu

CHAPTER 39

VISIT TO THE PRISON OF MOUTH-PINCHING AND TEETH-WEDGING

Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on September 23rd, 1977. Year of the Snake 

Not many adepts are seriously devoted to religion
Trifling conversation replaces divine teachings
Do cultivate yourself, quietly, for depth, perfection
For lack of realization will lead you to isolation.

Buddha Tse Kong:    The spiritual path is hardly being observed. Religious persons become more and more scarce. Some hypocrites make believe that they possess a strong faith but in reality, they neglect regenerating themselves. Several fine speakers chatter like magpies, but what they say matches poorly with what they do. They are no better than rootless duckweeds bubbling on water and drifting at the mercy of the winds, which are unable to take root as do rice-plants or trees. Humans are advised to devote their time to self-cultivation. Then, they will progress just as having a good crop every year. But if they neglect the spiritual path toward self-regeneration, they will be like a blind man who solitarily plays his flute in the corner. Once engaged in the path of spiritual perfection, oneís heart must be sincere. The holy scriptures have taught: ďthose who do good, will gather good fortune in abundance, those who do evil, will reap misfortune to the point of saturationĒ. The Celestial Net with its wide mesh doesnít let anyone slip away. If one wakes up in time and returns to the good path, one still has a chance. If one doesnít, the autumn-wind will blow before long, dead leaves will then fall and one will be without a shelter against the cold. And then, the yard before oneís house will become deserted and dreary. Misfortune will come without delay. Now, itís time to depart for hell. Yang Tsíien, prepare yourself. 

Yang Tsíien:   Yes, Sir. May I ask why you donít look happy today? You must have taken some drinks, havenít you? 

TK:      With my keen eyes, I can see to the depth of manís heart. The fact that humans only think of material pleasures hurts me deeply. The three duties and the five cardinal virtues of Confucianism are therefore neglected. I must drink bitter alcohol in order to tolerate watching sink into disorder! 

YT:       Venerable Master, you are very altruistic and merciful. 

TK:      Come quickly on the dais, my boy. Alcohol itself intoxicates no one; only man himself seeks to get intoxicated. Feminine beauty doesnít try to charm anyone; only man himself willingly gets charmed. Money attaches itself to nobody. But man himself gets attached by it. Look! A strong gust of wind has just blown past. I feel sober now. Well, letís depart for hell... Here we arrive. Get down, Yang Tsíien. 

YT:      The Governor of the prison is already here to welcome us. My respects to His Excellency and to the Generals. Tonight, my Master and I are coming to visit your prison. We wish to be granted your assistance. 

The Mandarin:     Not too much politeness, please stand on your feet. Our prison punishes the sinners by pinching their lips with pincers and wedging their teeth with iron balls. The office of the 6th Palace had received the Celestial Edicts and was instructed of your visit to hell to write the book ďVoyages to HellĒ. 

TK:      By order of God, we come here and count greatly on your assistance. 

The Mandarin:    May I invite you to come inside. 

YT:      A large number of souls are seen in the prison. The guards are busy heating iron bars until red which they thrust into the sinnersí mouths before ramming them with thorny iron balls. Blood flows abundantly from the sinnersí mouths and they fall unconscious. 

TK:      The iron-bars are needed to open the mouths of these souls before thorny iron-balls can be crammed in. Though the souls have mouths they are unable to speak, or even to moan with their pains. 

YT:      Having oneís throat stuck with a fish-bone is already an unhappy event. Now, with a thorny ball driven by force into the mouth, the torment must be a thousand times more painful. May I ask you, Excellency, what crimes these sinners had committed to suffer atrocious torment? 

The Mandarin:    Ordinarily, the people who like to argue and show themselves superior to others, or seduce the girls with their honeyed tongues, cheat other people with untrue speech for the sake of money, or get addicted to opium, cocaine, and habitually criticize and hurt other people in conversations. All those people will not escape from the torment inflicted upon their foul tongues. Let me have some souls come forward to tell you their stories. 

TK:      They lose consciousness. With the use of my magic fan, they will soon be recovered. General, please pull the thorny balls out of their mouths so they can speak. 

The General:    Itís done. Venerable Buddha, you talk to them now. 

TK:      This is Mr. Yang Tsíien of the living world. He comes here to interview the souls in hell in order to write a book. Do relate the crimes that you had committed with your tongues to him. 

A female soul:   When in life, I was endowed with great eloquence in speaking, arguing and reasoning on a variety of subjects. My companions were fascinated by my speech and beauty. In spite of being a married woman, I was frequently courted by many suitors. One time, a young man declared his love to me. Knowing that he was a wealthy man, I made myself attractive and began to have a love affair with him. I caught his eyes by telling him how my husband was disloyal and ungrateful to me. As a result, I turned out to be an adulteress. And then, by using my captivating beauty and deceitful speech, I succeeded in acquiring a large part of his fortune. From then on, I sought to get rid of him by addressing him with rough, insulting words that rendered him desperately unhappy. Finally, his excessive despair led him to commit suicide. After his death, he took his revenge by complaining to the King of Hell who found it was his fault because he let himself become trapped in my clutches. As for me, the King accused me of being a cruel woman worthy of punishment. After that, his soul often came to earth to haunt me, which rendered my spirit unstable. For seven long years, I suffered from mental fatigue until the day my destiny came to an end, and I left the world. At the Citadel of Premature Death, I was confronted with my young lover. After judgment, he was incriminated for adultery with a married woman, while I was condemned to several prisons of hell. Then I was led to this prison, where the King of Palace charged me with using my foul tongue to bewitch the male sex, to harm and take advantage of other people. Here, my lips are pinched with pincers, my teeth wedged with iron jaws, and my mouth is crammed with a thorny iron ball. The anguish caused by this torment is beyond expression. 

TK:      You did pretend the role of cherishing and loving your young lover. Your tongue is that of a viperís. You deserve the punishment and have no right to complain. Now, second soul. Your declarations. 

The soul:   I was a tramp, a homeless man, and also an opium and cocaine user. I had to steal to pay for my drugs. After my death, I was condemned to this prison. I am very unhappy. In hell, I donít have any drugs to consume. Instead, I am daily forced to engorge an iron ball whose thorns tear my mouth painfully. I donít cease reproaching myself for having spent an undisciplined life. 

The Mandarin:    Though the term of the drug usersí imprisonment is usually very long, they canít wean themselves easily from the drugs and as long as these drugs remain in their bodies, they are incapable of freeing themselves for further reincarnation. Many people are presently addicted to opium, heroin, cocaine and other narcotics prohibited by law. Terrestrial law is severe enough but hellís is even more so. There are many sinners perpetually condemned to the Eternal Prison. I advise the addicted men of the world to repent instantaneously and get rid of the drugs, which are as corrosive to their bodies in life as they are detrimental to their souls in death. 

TK:      To the third soul, declare the bad karma of your life. 

The soul:     I had read a great deal in my life, and knew by heart a lot of dictums and adages. While conversing with my friends and acquaintances, I delighted in interrupting them and preaching morality with false arguments and distorted reasoning. I even made use of the fine teachings of the Sages to deprecate other people. After my death, the King of Hell reprimanded me furiously. He said, ďyou didnít utilize the words of the deities for doing good, but you overused them in fallacious discussions and blasphemy. It is an abuse of words, and you deserve to taste the savor of a thorny ball just as your thorny mouth used to injure your fellowmenĒ. I therefore have now a rammed mouth that canít speak. 

TK:      A wise, reasonable man can go any place. An irrational man, on the other hand, canít move a single step. Humans should speak as genuine morality wants them to. They are responsible if their words cause indirect death to other persons. They are murderers, neither more nor less. Nasty-tongued people are surely punished in hell. Now, the 4th soul. Why are you condemned here? 

The soul:    When I was living, I was as rich as Croesus. More and more desirous of gains, I loaned my money at a high rate of interest to the poor people in urgent need of money. The amount of money borrowed with prohibitive interest enlarged my properties. In case the debtors were incapable of repayment, I had them beaten by ruffians. After my death, the King of Hell charged me with greed, blood sucking, and profiteering from other peopleís poverty. He condemned me to engorge a thorny iron ball. The anguish is indescribable. 

The Mandarin:    You were wealthy, but your heart was of steel. You were merciless to your debtors and forced them to pay exorbitant interest rates. Your wealth was earned through foul means, so you have to engulf an iron ball and taste its foul savor. I advise the well to-do people not to loan their money at high interest rates. If they have money in surplus, they should render service to their fellowmen by demanding a low rate of interest. Service to other people is a pleasure that one can afford oneself. So, why not practice it? 

TK:      Well, Yang Tsíien. Itís not too soon for our return trip. Be ready!

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CONTENTS

Forward
Introduction
Preface
Summary
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
Postface

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