JOURNEY NO 14   -   20th November 1976


Touring Hades of Coldness
JiGong: Autumn is coming to an end and winter will soon take its place; the weather is changing. Human beings do not know how to adjust to suit the seasons and so sickness is the result. Today I will bring Yang Sheng to visit the place called “Hades of Coldness”. I don’t know if Yang Sheng can stand the cold season there.
Yang Sheng: Dear Master, as I have just recovered from a bout of influenza, may I humbly suggest that we postpone this trip to the cold place till a more appropriate date and instead let us visit a more suitable place. What is your opinion?
JiGong: How dare you postpone going to Hades of Coldness when I have already made suitable arrangements with the Officials there for our visit today? If you think you cannot stand the coldness there, do not be afraid; I will give you three pills to swallow – let us not delay this visit.
Yang Sheng: Thank you, dear Master; I have swallowed your magic pills. Wow! I feel very warm and I do not feel cold at all now.
JiGong: Quickly step on the lotus flower platform.
Yang Sheng: I am ready; we can start.
JiGong: We have arrived now; get out now.
Yang Sheng: I see a stretch of wilderness, no sign of life, no fresh and green trees, just a few branches, just an expanse of whiteness. What is this place?
JiGong: This place is near the Hades of Coldness. That is why it is barren and throughout the year snow falls. Follow me on the left side half way up the hill and we will reach the Hades of Coldness.
Yang Sheng: This vast wilderness has no road; the grass and trees are dead and the further we go, the colder it becomes. I do feel cold; is it because your three magic pills are slowly losing their effects here?
JiGong: It is because the medicinal effect of the magic pills is circulating inside your system and very soon you will feel fine. Therefore, do not be afraid; the pills effect can last for 3 days and I can assure you I will not allow you to die of cold.
Yang Sheng: There are blocks of houses; all made of wood, painted black and on the roofs are large snow flowers. At the entrance are two big wooden pillars supporting a huge beam with the words: “Hades of Coldness”. A road leads to the houses but there are no enclosures to surround them.
JiGong: The enclosures are totally unnecessary it is so cold here and the limbs of the souls are numbed, so much so, that they can hardly move about or escape.
Yang Sheng: On the road there are a few soldiers of Hades herding some male and female souls; are they going to this Hades of Coldness?
JiGong: You are right; in front the General and Officer are coming. Yang Sheng quickly prepare to pay your respect.
Yang Sheng: My respect to you, General and Officer. We have received a decree to come here to tour Hades. May I request you to conduct us around?
Officer: Don’t stand on ceremony. Just now we received our Master Chu Jiang Wang’s order; we know that JiGong and Sheng Xian Tang’s Yang Sheng will be visiting us after which you will return to Earth to write a Book telling human beings to do good deeds. Please both follow me.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much.
JiGong: Let us go directly to Hades of Coldness; not necessary to enter these houses.
Yang Sheng: This Hades of Coldness is surrounded by two mountains; the inside looks like a collections of thousands of swimming pools and those many more further away cannot be seen. Inside the swimming pools are male and female souls – they wear only singlets on the upper parts of their bodies but the lower parts cannot be seen because they are covered by frozen ice. Their faces are pale, lips blue-black and hands trembling. The cold is so intense that they don’t even have the strength to cry; just moaning sound coming out. There are two souls constantly looking towards our direction as if wanting to say something to us. May I ask, dear Master, if we can help and save them from the intense cold?
Officer: I will help a few souls out and you can speak to them.
Yang Sheng: Good. Can I ask you, old soul, if you can stand this coldness?
Old Soul: I am wearing just a singlet and I am so cold that I don’t even have the strength to speak. My hands and legs are numbed and I am on the verge of shock.
Officer: General, please give him a bowl of ginger soup to drink so that he can be more steady.
General: Here, quickly drink this ginger soup. Tell these gentlemen why you are here so that they return to Earth they can write a Book to advise human beings to do good deeds.
Old Soul: When I was alive, I liked to collect stamps and old coins, curios and antiques. When I was 45 years old, I befriended someone. Whenever we could spare the time we used to drink tea and tell stories – in fact we were like brothers. One day before going abroad and fearing that his collection of stamps and old coins might get lost or be stolen, he asked me to keep them for him. Being greedy, I quietly kept his collection in another place. When he returned he naturally asked for the return of his property but I replied, “I am very sorry. Two weeks ago, someone stole not only your collection of stamps and old coins but also stole my own valuable collection.” When my friend heard this, he felt very sad. There was nothing he could do. When I was 58 years old I contacted cancer of the liver and eventually died. My soul came to Hades. They took me in front of the “Magic Mirror” which showed everything I had done when I was alive! Hoe could I deny? So the Head of the Second Tribunal, Chu Jiang Wang sentenced me to Hades of Coldness for a term of 5 years. Here my body is being frozen everyday by the snow until I feel so terrible; too late for repentance. Will you please plead to the Officer on my behalf to remit my sentence? Yes or no?
Yang Sheng: Please, Officer, remit his punishment, if you can.
Officer: This is the law of Hades; if Chu Jiang Wang does not issue an Order, we just cannot do anything. Old soul, when I offered you the drink of ginger soup just now, it was already a favor. Therefore do not ask for any more favors. Yang Sheng, you can now ask this old female soul why she is here.
Yang Sheng: This old female soul is so frozen that she can hardly stand up but is lying on the ground. How can she answer me? General, why not let her drink ginger soup?
General: Very well. Here, quickly drink and answer the questions put to you by Yang Sheng here if not, your punishment will be heavier.
Old Female Soul: Ow! I cannot stand this cold; like the coldness in a mortuary. Just look at certain parts of my body, some parts white, some parts blue-black – no trace of blood at all. When I was alive, I operated a prostitution establishment. I bought a dozen or so young girls for the purpose of prostitution. Some of them came from the villages, some ran away from their homes, some ran away from schools. I forced them to entertain men to earn money fro me. If they disobeyed, I punished them terribly. In this way I earned much dirty money. When their families wanted to redeem the girls, I demanded large sums of money which they were forced to pay. Those who were not redeemed had to remain prostitutes for life. When I was 51 years old, because of my heavy smoking and drinking, I contacted congestion of the brain and subsequently died. Because of my sinful deeds, instead of my lifespan reaching 61 years, I lost 10years and died at 51. For punishment for my sins, I was first sentenced to 5 years in Ordure (Dung and Urine) Pool in Hades after which I was sentenced to 31 years here, I don’t know what other sentences will be meted out to me as punishment. When I come to think of my present sufferings in Hades, I begin to hate myself and ask why did I ever commit so many sins when I was alive.
Officer: We will now call the soul of a young girl. General, please give her ginger soup so that she will be able to tell these gentlemen why she is here in Hades of Coldness.
General: Yes Sir…. I have given her the ginger soup.
Yang Sheng: Can I ask you, young soul, why are you sent to this Hades of Coldness?
Young Soul: When I speak out, I feel ashamed and I begin to hate myself. At the age of 18, I joined an opera troupe and performed in all sorts of places. I performed strip-teased acts and thereby attracted a lot of customers; when business was slack, the troupe dispersed and I was forced to become a “private” call girl, strip-teaser and prostitute. One day I met a rich merchant and became his mistress. When I was 36 years old, we had differences and we separated. I could not face it all and to be done with it, I committed suicide by drinking poison. After my death I was sentenced to Wang Si Cheng (City of those who died Unnatural Deaths) for 5 years after which I was sentenced to this Hades of Coldness. Until now, I have been here for 3 years, another 12 more miserable years to go to complete 15 years. Everyday my lower limbs are frozen and my heart has a feeling as if pricked by needles. I would, therefore, advise women on Earth not to follow my bad example.
Officer: When this soul was alive she did not follow an honest living but preferred a debauched livelihood thus tarnishing the customs of accepted society. When she was alive, she preferred to undress and so, when dead her soul is sent here to suffer in this Hades of Coldness. After she has served her term here she will be sentenced to other Tribunals. Therefore, I hope that female human beings will learn from this and will not follow her bad example. General, quickly send these three souls to the swimming pool of Hades of Coldness.
Yang Sheng: Owing to the constant presence of mist and fog here, I am feeling quite cold.
JiGong: Time has come for us to return to Sheng Xian Tang.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much; Officer and General; goodbye.
Officer: That’s alright; no need for me to send you off; I presume you can slowly find your way.
JiGong: Yes, thank you. Yang Sheng, quickly step up the lotus flower platform.
Yang Sheng: Dear Master, I am ready; we can proceed.
JiGong: We have arrived at Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, get down. Soul return to your body.
End of Journey No 14