JOURNEY NO 28   -   6th May 1977
Second Tour of Prison of Poisonous Bees
JiGong: When Deities visit Earth their intention is to recruit suitable disciples for the furtherance of ascetic practices so as to cultivate the divine element within oneself to revert to the original condition at the beginning of time, so that eventually, human beings can attain future bliss towards becoming a Deity, Saint or Sage. Ascetic practitioners should consider themselves very lucky to be able to receive the divine instructions from Deities and must put what they have learnt into practice; but there are quite a number of them who, instead of following the right path to Paradise use the good name of the Deities to swindle and bluff innocent and God-fearing women. Such people have committed great sins. It does not matter what religion an ascetic practitioner embraces but he must diligently follow the instructions dictated by his chosen religion. Yang Sheng, today we will tour Hades again. So, step on the lotus flower platform quickly.
Yang Sheng: I am securely seated, which part of Hades are we visiting today?
JiGong: We will re-visit the Prison of Poisonous Bees. Quickly close your eyes… We have arrived, get out.
Officer: Welcome to both of you, JiGong and Yang Sheng; we are very pleased to see you again.
JiGong: Nowadays there are many people who use the good name of Deities to get money, especially from ignorant women, thus spoiling the splendid and solemn respect due to Deities. Therefore, we have come again to this place to investigate further other aspects of the pretence so that we can include factual stories in our Book.
Officer: Very well; please follow me inside and I will summon a few sinful souls to tell Yang Sheng their stories.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much Officer. There are so many poisonous bees flying about as if the sky is covered black by them and stinging on the sinful souls until the bodies become swollen and the eyes seem to be swimming in their sockets on the head.
Officer: Not only the bodies get swollen and the heads go swimming but the sinful souls will feel feverishly hot and will fear the cold because of the poison produced by the bees. General, quickly summon a couple of sinful souls so that they can tell their stories.
General: Yes, Sir… I have brought three sinful souls.
Officer: Here, sinful souls, listen very carefully. This is JiGong Huofo and this is Yang Sheng, who had received the Order to write the Book, Diyu Youji (Journeys to the Underworld) for human beings to read and learn thereby. I want all of you to tell your stories as to why you are sent here to be punished – remember to be truthful and don’t hide any facts.
Yang Sheng: Can I ask this Mister why you are suffering in this Prison?
1st Soul: I should not have committed the sin for which I am now being punished. When I was alive, I was one of the Elders of my village. When there was a proposal to build a temple in our village, I undertook to collect money from the villagers for the good cause. I was not very careful about the accounts and so I put aside a certain portion of the contributions for my own use. Not until I was dead, did I know that making use of part of the religious contributions for my own personal purpose was a very big sin for which I am now sentenced to this Prison to be punished. These poisonous bees have no pity for us and in my case, they sting me until my body is swollen. I would, therefore, advise human beings on Earth that they cannot play about with monetary contributions which are intended for religious purposes. They must be honest and straightforward in such dealings. Now that I am stung by these poisonous bees, this is truly my recompensation. I think in my lifetime I had not committed any other sin except this one only.
Officer: As a village Elder, it was your duty to help the villagers as best as you could but you helped them to help yourself. The erection of the temple was to provide a place for the villagers to worship the Deities but you took the opportunity to make money out of the good purpose. Really your sins cannot be forgiven. Second Soul, come up and tell your story quickly.
Yang Sheng: Can I ask you, holy man, why being of the religious order, instead of going to the Western Paradise, you are now thrust into this Prison?
2nd Soul: Amitabha! Sinful, Sinful. I was ordained as a priest at the age of 15 after having received the necessary Buddhist teachings and instructions but I had no respect or regard for the Buddhist culture. When pious people contributed money to the temple, I stole some which I privately set aside for my personal use – some money I used for the temple and some I used for myself. When I was employed to say prayers for the souls of the dead to get rid of the calamities, I did so anyhow, not following the prayer books in detail. The length of the prayers often depended upon the amount of money paid – more money, longer the prayers; less money, shorter the prayers. I was not too eager to say prayers for the poor, giving all sorts of excuses like having prior engagements, etc. In the case of wealthy patrons, I was very happy to be of service and worked very hard to recite the prayers. Because of my greed for money when I was living, at death, Buddha did not care for me and so I was sentenced to this Prison. This is why I am suffering greatly here.
Officer: Belonging to the holy order, you should have been as ascetic practitioner and should have improved your morality instead of which your canal thoughts never died, always craving for worldly gains. You worshipped money instead of worshipping Buddha – altogether different methods of worshipping. That is why you are suffering in this Prison.
JiGong: To become a follower of Buddha, one has to discard one’s natural-born name; that is why all monks are given the common surname “shi”. This is a very solemn practice. Once a person renounces the world and joins the monkhood, one should think differently, concentrating on ascetic practices and doing good, but in your case, you still had worldly intentions and inclinations, forsaking the Buddhist teachings. I must impress on some holy people that if they still stick fast to worldly pleasures and inclinations, they will have no chance whatsoever of entering the Western Paradise after death. Time is rather limited, Yang Sheng, we have to return and we will come again next time.
Yang Sheng: Thank you, Officer and General, for giving us so much assistance – we now have to return.
Officer: In case we have not entertained you sufficiently well, do please excuse us. Please come again.
JiGong: Yang Sheng, quickly step on the lotus flower platform.
Yang Sheng: I am safely seated, Master, we can proceed now.
JiGong: We have arrived at Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, get down. Soul, return to your body.
End of Journey No 28