“Copper/Iron Knife Face-Scraping Prison”
Those who are ascetic practitioners are constantly encountering all
sorts of difficulties and obstacles but they are advised to
persevere and in the end they will be amply rewarded. Yang Sheng;
get ready to visit Hades.
you, dear Master, for your good advice. I am aware that those who do
not have determination cannot succeed especially in ascetic
practices because they have to surmount all sorts of hardships and
obstacles. Nevertheless, dear Master, set your mind at rest about
me. I am now safely seated on the lotus flower platform, so we can
We have now arrived; you can get down. Today we are visiting the
place called “Copper/Iron Knife
The Officer and General are coming. I will go and pay respects to
them. I am a disciple of Sheng Xian Tang. Today JiGong has brought
me here to tour your Prison so that when I return, I can write a
Book to urge human beings to do good deeds. Officer and General,
please help me.
Please rise; there is no need to stand on ceremony. I am very happy
to receive JiGong and you, so please follow me to see the inside of
The name of this place is “Copper/Iron Knife Face-Scraping
Prison” where souls who do not understand the meaning of modesty,
or those who do not care for their face-skin are sent for
punishment. Please do come in.
this Prison, the Ox-head-horse-faced soldier of Hades are herding a
great number of souls, male and female, young and old, everyone
looking downcast, frightened and ashamed. All of them have to report
at the door before being allowed to enter.
No need to look around so much; just follow the General inside.
Ouch! There is a lot of agony sound coming from inside; all the
sinful souls being bound hand and foot to iron pillars and the
soldiers of Hades are using copper/iron knives to scrape their face
skin – just like the abattoirs scraping the skin of animals. All
the souls are yelling; their faces, without the face skin, are
bloody and unrecognizable. The patches where the face skins are
scraped off reveal the flesh. May I ask Officer for what kind of
sins are these souls sent here to receive this punishment?
It is quite difficult to explain but it would be better if the
various souls were to tell their individual stories to you.
is a good idea because this will be abundant evidence for each type
Here, Male Soul, quickly step forward and relate your sinful story
to this good man from Earth.
Sheng: Can I
ask Mister, why you are being punished in this Prison?
When I was alive, my parents died early hence I did not have the
benefit of a good education. Therefore, by force of circumstances, I
had to work when quite young and because all work was hard, I did
not like working. I thought that it would be better to become a
beggar, going from house to house, thereby not necessary to work
hard for a living. I imagined I could pass the day by begging but
because of my good physique, I was afraid people would not be too
willing to give me alms. So, at the beginning, I began to eat in
lesser quantities for two months, just eating broth with plenty of
gruel so that my body could become reduced in size and weaken. I
smeared mud on my face, wore torn clothes, pretended to be lame and
then went out begging from house to house. I explained to the
householders that I was an orphan, no one to take care of me and
that I was lame. Therefore, those good people took pity on me and
gave me money. In this way, I was able to collect a few hundred
dollars a month. Everyday on returning home from begging, I
stealthily became happy and satisfy inside myself over this
achievement of getting easy money without great effort whatsoever.
At night, I changed over to good clothes, went to the market place
for good eating and then to womanizing. As time went by, I became
more avaricious and asked the good people to give more instead of
the usual few cents. They began scolding me but I did not care about
their scolding. When I died eventually, Song Di Wang sentenced my
soul to this Prison for punishment, scraping off my face skin –
very painful indeed! It is already too late for me to repent for my
You are like swine. When you were alive, you did not follow the
correct path, that’s why your soul will have to suffer now. When
still young, you pretended to be lame and being thick-skinned, went
about begging. Any young man with ambition, unless forced by
circumstances of extreme poverty, will not stoop so low and sell his
face to go begging. Not only going begging for money, you squandered
your ill-gotten money on good food, good dresses, dancing and
womanizing. You are really repellent; when alive you did not care to
save your skin, and so when dead, you will now be without your face
skin, that’s why your face skin is being scraped out. Therefore,
those human beings now alive should realize the necessity and honor
of saving face skin. Quickly go inside, and I will summon another
soul for Yang Sheng to hear his story.
you very much, Officer. I wish to ask this Mister, why at this age
of about 30, you are dead so early and why is your soul sent to this
When I talk about it, I feel very ashamed. When I was alive, I
disgraced my ancestors. When I was about 17 years old, I studied up
to Secondary School. I associated with bad company and followed
friends to enjoy ourselves at the park. On seeing young girls, I
tried to become fresh with them, spoke vulgar language; they scolded
me, calling me “short lived urchin, uneducated and not saving face
skin”. In spite of such abuses, I was very happy inside. I liked
to walk in dark alleys and took advantage to molest girls usually
embracing them from behind; or when riding bicycle, I would go near
girls and touch their bodies. Once I raped a girl. In neither of
these exploits was I ever caught by the police, but, once when I was
riding a bicycle I rode close to a girl and extended my arm and
molested her, the girl gave a loud scream. I got frightened and both
the bicycle and myself fell into the drain and I got drowned. When
my soul was brought before Ming Wang he was very angry and punished
me to a premature death, earlier by 10 years, thereby sending me to
this Prison. I have been here for more than 5 years and I have to
serve another 13 years. For my other sins, I have to be sentenced to
other Prisons; I don’t know where, how and for how long. Can I
request you, good man to speak to Song Di Wang on my behalf for a
No need to talk so much. Who asked you, when you were alive to be so
filthy? You did not know the meaning of courtesy, modesty,
righteousness, - all these you did not know at all. All these
failures of yours arose from the obscenity of your nature. You are
now given a well-deserved punishment. After you have served your
sentence here for your obscene behaviour, you will have to appear
before other Tribunals to be sentenced for your other sins for
raping girls. General, quickly send this second soul back to Prison.
We are running out of time and so we have to return to Sheng Xian
If we happened not to have entertained JiGong and Yang Sheng
sufficiently well, we beg to be excused.
can you say that? I have to thank Officer and General for your kind
Quickly step on the lotus flower platform.
Sheng: I am
safely seated; we can now return.
We have arrived at Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, you can get down and
soul, return to his body.
- End of
Journey No 17