Voyages to Hell

translated by

Nguyen Khang & Bui H.Huu

CHAPTER 47

VISIT TO THE PRISON OF TONGUE-CARVING AND MOUTH-GASHING

Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on February 3rd, 1978. Year of the Horse 

How dull is manís rivalry
Why not cultivate your insight, itís tax-free
The waves ripple infinitely
And the leaves fall with impermanency.

Buddha Tse Kong   After reading the above quatrain, some people would probably accuse me of idleness. My words come from the common people, and I donít have any other way to say it. Being active is nice, but we must know when to refrain and not to be like a man who keeps climbing a ladder and finally falls down to the ground and gets crushed. Humans must realize that manís life is brief. We can enjoy our riches and properties only for a score of years. None of us can live forever. One fine morning, our limbs cease moving, every affair come to a standstill. Our descendants will invite us to move elsewhere. ďThe wavelets of the Long River pursue each other interminably while human beings cede one after another; newcomers replacing the deceasedĒ. If we fail to be aware of this fact, then it will be too late. Time goes by, and our bodies will decompose into dust. Letís go to hell, Yang Tsíien. Come on to the lotus dais. 

Yang Tsíien:   At your request, Sir. From that nearby temple, we hear resounding prayers, and the dreary music of the requiem must accompany some deceasedís soul to Nirvana. 

TK:      Right. The sounds of prayers exhort the living to wake up, and the dead to realize their departure forever... Letís go now.... Here we are. 

The Mandarin:    I acclaim your visit to my prison, Venerable Buddha Tse Kong and Mr. Yang Tsíien. This prison, named ďTongue-Carving and Mouth-GashingĒ is placed under the control of the 7th Palace. I know you are executing Godís order for the preparation of a book on hell. Your merits are admirable. 

YT:      Thank you to say so. But by myself, I shall never be able to accomplish my mission. My trips to hell are made possible by the guidance of my Venerated Master, and also by the precious assistance of the Governors of Prisons. I feel deeply grateful for their favors. Tonight, I hope that you will provide me further information. 

The Mandarin:   Of course, our door is widely opened to welcome you and we are ready to render you service. Please step in for ample observation. 

YT:      Thank you. We are now at the door. Two ranges of guards are rendering the honors. From inside the prison, wailings are echoing tragically. The demon-guards are driving iron-hooks into the mouths of the souls, jacking up their jaws, hooking the tips of the tongues and pulling them out. The souls howl with pain. After that, with a sharp cutlass they carve their tongues bluntly. Fresh blood flows abundantly over the sinnersí chests. Thatís not all. The guards pierce the soulís cheeks with stilettos and shoot a wire through which is fastened to a stake: the souls moan wildly for a little while, then fall unconscious. How tragic and dreadful a torment! 

The Mandarin:    The tongue communicates with the heart. With the tongue cut off, the heart suffers terribly. The sufferer of such torment distorts his limbs and even excretes feces and urine. 

YT:      Hell must study very carefully on the way to reform the sinners. It must diagnose the patient first before giving him the prescription. How subtle it is! I wonder what these souls have done to be given this punishment? 

The Mandarin:   These sinners have committed the karma of the mouth. Iíll order some sinful souls to narrate there past crimes, so you can record their stories in your book. 

YT:      Thank you very much, Excellency. 

The Mandarin:   Here they are. Please ask questions, Mr. Yang Tsíien. 

YT:      My woman, can you tell me why you are here? 

The soul:    Itís all because of my uncontrolled mouth. Other than that, I didnít commit any other sin. 

TK:      Your mouth and your tongue had killed many people. Now do you pretend to have no responsibility? If you refuse to confess, your sin will be worse. 

The soul:    You are right. I really must declare everything. In my life, I did hate everyone. Many times, I sowed discord to separate people, or used my tongue to harm others, and created disharmony in the family so that siblings were separated and children were abandoned by their parents. Apart from that, I committed nothing else. 

The Mandarin:    You had been nicknamed the ďlong-tongued babblerĒ. As a woman, you didnít try to keep a virtuous mouth. On the contrary, you spoke at random to destroy the familial unison of other people. You gave yourself up to alcohol, quids of betel, and opium. Your speech was inconsiderate, you shouted at people, sometimes whispered in their ears. All of your words were fallacious and dishonest. Your venomous tongue has to be cut off, which reduces you to muteness and prevents your mouth from uttering any word. You must regenerate yourself and cultivate the ďthe mouth of virtueĒ. 

TK:      The human tongue is a sharp blade. Hell has so far cut off many womenís tongues, just because they are vulgar and gossipy, causing a lot of catastrophes. The woman with an evil temper and gruff speech that endangers other people should contain and correct herself, if she doesnít want to be reformed by the buffalo-headed and horse-faced demons. I hope that the women in the terrestrial world will try to soften their tones and avoid creating discord with their associates. 

YT:      I ask this gentleman the reason you were led to this prison. 

The soul:   I had an irritable temper when in life. Every time, I felt thwarted or had to deal with some tactless, vexing remark, I didnít hesitate to insult the person rudely. I spared no one, even the aging people. Apart from this defect, I committed no other sin. The King of Hell accused me of using my unruly mouth and dangerous tongue to insult people, and of committing an unforgivable sin. So, I deserve to be in this Prison of Tongue-Carving and Mouth-Gashing. The torment is painful beyond expression. I hope that living men take my case for a lesson and will not say bad things about other people. They will be condemned to hell and suffer my pain if they donít change right now. 

The Mandarin:    A proverb goes like this, ďa wicked heart is imperceptible to human eyes, but a wicked mouth is heard by human earsĒ. A vicious mouth can offend the people very easily. It can arouse divergent opinions that jeopardize good relationships among men. Thence, this saying ďa wound caused by a cutlass can heal and scar quickly whereas a vexing word is never forgottenĒ. While insulting foolishly, the offender ignores the presence of anyone around him. If he canít control his mean words, he risks to behave incorrectly. If the person is capable of committing grave sins, then it is because he neglects the Five Precepts on relationships between leader and subject, father and son, husband and wife, brothers and sisters, and among friends. For those who wish to regenerate, their speech should be even more moderate. They should never speak inconsiderately, because their good deeds and merits will become meaningless. After their death, they will have their place in hell where the torment of tongue-carving and mouth-gashing will be reserved for them. 

YT:      Now, I ask this Buddhist monk. Have you been here for reciting prayers? 

The soul:   Buddha Amitabha! Prayers of woe, O, prayers of woe! I remember the time I adored the sublime Buddhist dharma. I was later baptized and converted to a monk. I carefully studied the holy books, and acquired some knowledge of Buddhism. I also wrote a few books and went up to the pulpit to preach Buddhism. I sowed discrimination between religions, and thought that Sakya Muni alone was the Supreme, whereas the genii, saints and other entities were inferior gods. To me, they were heavenís phantoms, or heterodox beings, not belonging to the orthodox Buddhist dharma. So, it was useless to pay them respect. Many people listened to my teachings and I was proud of myself. I underestimated the Immortals and slandered other religions. When reading the scriptures textually, I misinterpreted them sometimes. After I died, my soul was unable to free itself. Dear Buddha, I pray you to save me. 

TK:     You are an unworthy disciple. Buddha doesnít accept disciples like you. Buddhist dharma bears a liberal character. Because of the degree of evolution and missions, the genii and saints are called different names. Master, genii and Immortals are the highly evolved beings who have cultivated themselves to spiritual perfection, and they all have the same vocation of rescuing mankind. They are enlightened and liberated beings, just as Buddha who had alluded to the image of the Kingdom of Happiness. In this period of spiritual decadence, many people talk about spiritualism. They even form their own circle of disciples, but misinterpret religious books, and sow dissension among people. They inculcate a blind faith in their disciples who in turn, disparage the other religions. They are human beings, but filled with discrimination and prejudice. Now, monk, you have stirred up the clouds of red dust, and the tides of separatism. Your sins are unforgivable. The priests and religious masters are advised to aim for the cultivation of souls and bodies. They should never create false opinions by preaching their religious doctrine and discrediting other religious sects. Those who publish insinuating books should repent in time or burn their books and toss away their pens. They should clean their mouth and begin to say correct words. Otherwise, they will be sent to the Prison of Tongue-Carving and Mouth-Gashing to taste the bitter flavor deserved by evil mouths and tongues. Itís quite late, Yang Tsíien. Be ready to go back. 

The Mandarin:     Excuse me for any negligence Generals, stand on ceremony to greet the guest. 

YT:      My deep thanks to His Excellency and to the Generals. May we say goodbye to you. Venerable Master, I am ready. 

TK:      The temple is in sight. Prepare to return to your body.

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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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