JOURNEY NO 25   -   25th March 1977

Touring the Mouth-Piercing Prison

JiGong: In one’s life there must be occasions of sorrow, happiness and anger, meeting and parting. It is not an easy matter to be involved in ascetic practices. The person must maintain a sincere, free and easy heart and must also perform moral deeds. It is useless for one to speak about morality and not to carry out or put into practice. Today we will tour Hades. Yang Sheng, step on the lotus flower platform quickly.
Yang Sheng: Dear Master, why is it that you are constantly heaving sights today.
JiGong: Human beings’ hearts are not the same and their intentions also are different, and also are their speech. Let us take the example of pickled plum: some say they are sweet, some say they are sour, some say they are saltish, some say they are neither sweet nor sour, while others say they are tasteless. Therefore, when people hear this and hear that their hearts get confused and don’t know what to do.
Yang Sheng: Ah! You being virtuous, and indulge in ascetic practice, need not bother too much about things; instead you should quiet down the heart and stand obediently to Heaven’s decree. That will be OK.
JiGong: You are much smarter. I seem to have suddenly become infatuated and bewildered. Let us not talk too much but please get up on the lotus flower platform.
Yang Sheng: Yes, Sir….
JiGong: We have arrived, get out.
Yang Sheng: Officer and General are coming. I am Sheng Xian Tang’s Guan Di Gong’s disciple and have arrived here with JiGong to pay you a visit. Will you please help me?
Officer: Welcome. The name of this place is Mouth-Piercing Prison and is under the control of the Fourth Tribunal. We have received instruction from Wu Guan Wang that JiGong and Yang Sheng are visiting us today. Should we fail to entertain you properly please pardon us.
JiGong: Officer, please don’t be so humble. We are touring Hades for the purpose of writing the Book and we are here now to request Officer and General to help us in our mission.
Officer: Yes. Sir; please follow me to the Prison to see what goes on.
Yang Sheng: On the gateway are words: “Small Mouth-Piercing Prison”. I am afraid the souls are suffering.
Officer: Let us enter quickly.
Yang Sheng: True enough; inside this Prison I can hear voices crying in pain like the clash of thunder to the ears, making my ears deaf. Some souls are strapped to pillars and the soldiers of Hades, using sharp skewers are piercing the cheeks with great force as if wanting to murder them. The screaming by the tortured souls is like the screaming and screening coming from the animal slaughter house. I don’t know for what kind of sins they had done to warrant such cruel punishment?
Officer: I will release a couple of souls so that you can ask them.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much, Officer.
Officer: Here, I am ordering you, sinful soul, to tell Yang Sheng why you are here.
1st Soul: My mouth is very painful. I had already confessed my sins to Wu Guan Wang and now you want me to repeat my confession.
JiGong: I am a monk and have to beg for alms; and now I am like begging you to let us hear your story. Why can’t you oblige?
Officer: This monk you see here is none other than JiGong Huofo who has been ordered to tour Hades and write a Book. If you don’t quickly relate your story; that would amount to disobeying orders; and do you know what punishment is? You will be sent to the deepest Hell where there will be no escape at all.
1st Soul: Oh, so after all, this monk is JiGong Huofo. When I was alive, I used to hear about him. Please pardon me for not knowing you earlier. Now that I know your identity, I will tell frankly what I had done on Earth. I had very good voice and was a talented singer. My service was in great demand especially in night clubs, restaurants and places of entertainment. I was often requested by pharmacists to sing in various localities to help advertise their products. To retain the interest of the audience and customers, I restored to singing indecent and obscene songs, suggestive gestures and mimics. When I died, my soul was brought before Wu Guan Wang who said that I had committed sins, those types of undesirable and objectionable songs and actions instead of singing ordinary, descent or patriotic songs, etc, thus exciting the audience and injuring public morals. That is why I am here in this Prison for 10 years. Everyday I have to undergo piercing of my cheeks which pains me very much – really, although I have a mouth, I find it difficult to speak. Again, when I was alive I was very romantic and for this, I have to undergo another type of punishment as what the Officer tells me that I feel very sorry. I hope that the existing living singing stars will not sing dirty and obscene songs but will sing songs which teach people to be good. Otherwise when they die their souls will be sent to this Mouth- Piercing Prison and they will have to sing songs of a different tune(crying) everyday.
Officer: I wish to send a message to the existing singers to sing only decent songs and songs which will be of use to the public and patriotic songs. They should not sing songs which are dirty and obscene. If my advice is not heeded, an oral sin has been committed and their souls will be sent to this Prison. I will now summon a second soul to tell her sinful story to Yang Sheng.
2nd Soul: My mouth is very painful and the wound is dripping blood. To begin with, when I was alive, I had bad temper and when I got married I very often quarreled with my husband. Every time I opened my mouth, I cursed Heaven and Earth. I also frequently quarreled with my neighboring womenfolk. My greatest sin was instigating the neighbors to quarrel thereby breaking up their families. In one instance, I quarreled with a neighbor and to get revenge, I spread unfounded rumours that the woman of one house had an affair with a male neighbor. From one mouth to another, the rumour spread until nearly everyone came to know about it, ending with the parties concerned divorcing. Because of my sin in spreading false rumours, at death, my soul was sent to this Prison for 8 years. There are other sins which I have no desire to talk about.
Officer: That is well and good – you see, your mouth has produced through the wounds so much dirty blood water already. No need to say too much now, because your own mouth has confessed the damaging rumours you had spread.
JiGong: It is getting late and so we must prepare to return to Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, have you any more questions to ask?
Officer: You, tell your story to Yang Sheng quickly.
3rd Soul: When I was alive, my father was a Chinese physician using herbs to cure the ailments of his patients. Observing my father’s methods of practicing medicine I soon picked up bits and pieces appertaining to his profession. When my father died, I naturally took over and told the patients that I had acquired the knowledge of curing patients. I said that I was able to cure all sorts of sicknesses but had to collect the rare herbs and medicines from distant places, so the medicines would be very expensive. They believed what I said; some were actually cured while others were not cured although I had collected money from them in advance. Some even wanted the prescription slips themselves but I told them that were hereditary, being handed down from my forefathers; if they wanted, they could buy the ready-made medicines from me but not the actual prescription slips. In this way I made good profits by selling the ready-made medicines at high prices. When I died, Wu Guan Wang sentenced my soul to this Mouth-Piercing Prison for punishment.
Officer: You did a good job by selling prepared medicines to cure people but you sold them at very high prices. On the other hand you charged too much thus damaging your morality. Therefore you had committed sin. I would advised those who have hereditary prescription slips for curing various types of sicknesses to make them available to people who really need them for their own use, instead of keeping them secret or making plenty of money by selling the prepared medicine themselves. Another thing is that people must not make huge profits by selling common medicinal herbs at high prices. If my advice is not followed, when such sinful people die, their souls will be sent here for punishment in this Mouth-Piercing Prison.
JiGong: Time is up; we have to return. Let us thank Officer and General and say goodbye to them.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much, Officer and General, for entertaining and instructing me so well.
Officer: If you do not think that we have entertained you properly, than I wish to invite you to our place on your next visit.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much.
JiGong: Step on the lotus flower platform quickly.
Yang Sheng: I am safely seated, dear Master, we can now proceed.
JiGong: 1] Human beings must stop telling lies and talking bad about others behind their backs.
1] Women and girls must be gentle and virtuous and must cooperate among themselves.
3] Do not disturb or instigate other families.
4] Do not scold elders behind their backs.
These four maxims everyone must understand. Otherwise when they die, their souls will be sent to the Mouth-Piercing Prison. It is always appropriate to say “Thank you” or “I am sorry” where and when applicable so that misfortune can be avoided and good luck takes its place. We have arrived at Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, get down; Soul return to your body.  
End of Journey No 25