JOURNEY NO 33   -   15th July 1977
Touring the Fifth Tribunal Again
Re-visiting the Gouging Heart Prison
JiGong: In this world there are people who are not capable of achieving any meritorious deeds or attaining any success in anything, yet when they see others progress or achieve fame, they become jealous. To hide their own weakness of failure, they take to criticizing and finding fault with the achievements of others. They take pleasure in pointing out the weak points of others. They also like to run down the religious beliefs of others. When such people die, their souls will be sent to the Gouging Heart Prison (to extract their dirty hearts for being jealous of the success of others and for bad-mouthing religious beliefs of others), for purification. Today we will tour Hades again. Yang Sheng, do get up on the lotus flower platform.
Yang Sheng: I obey your order, Master, I am safely seated and so we can start….
JiGong: We have arrived, quickly get down.
Yang Sheng: Truly, we can see the Gouging Heart Prison right in front of us.
JiGong: Today, to save time and not to disturb Sen Luo Wang, we will go straight to the 16 small Gouging Heart Prisons. The Officer has opened the gate to receive us.
Yang Sheng: We will enter.
Officer: Welcome to JiGong and Yang Sheng for coming here again today. Do enter and have a look.
Yang Sheng: This Prison’s punishment is really very frightening and severe. Starting from the First Tribunal to this Tribunal, I have heard of nothing except extreme grief and deep sorrow, particularly so, on reaching this Gouging Heart Prison where the suffering of the souls gets more intense.
Officer: The heart of a person is under the direct control of himself. The gouging heart punishment is so terrible that there is no other suffering to compare with. The injured heart can cause fright to the six roots; therefore the soul’s suffering is so terrible that no pen can describe it. (The six roots are 1] ear 2] eyes 3] tongue 4] nose 5] body and 6] mouth)
JiGong: Let us go inside to gather more data from the souls for our Book.
Officer: Please remain outside the Prison proper while I bring a few souls out for you to interview them. I will instruct the Generals to suspend temporarily, the process of punishing the souls and to use the “revival fan” to fan and revive some so as to bring them back to their original form.
General: Yes, Sir.
Officer: Quickly untie the bondage of 3 souls for them to come here and relate their sinful stories to JiGong and Yang Sheng.
General: I have 3 souls out. Here; souls, quickly follow the Officer out of the gate.
Officer: This is JiGong Huofo and Sheng Xian Tang’s Yang Sheng. They have received an Order from Heaven to write a Book about Hades in order to teach human beings to do good deeds. Quickly tell your sinful stories so that they can incorporate them in the Book. Quick! Quick!
1st Soul: When I was alive, I was working as a government servant. Because I was not able to earn a good record and promotion, I became jealous when I saw fellow workers get promotion to higher positions in government service, I thought that my immediate superior, by overlooking me, had treated me unfairly; therefore I began thinking of taking revenge on those colleagues who got promotion. I told my superior officer untrue stories about my colleagues and at every opportunity I carried tales. Four years ago, I contacted cancer of the liver and then died. The soldiers of Hades brought my soul before the Magic Mirror where all my sinful deeds, when I was alive, were reflected. My soul was then sent to the Fifth Tribunal where Sen Luo Wang, being very angry, scolded me saying: “You were incapable, you lacked modesty, were jealous of the ability and attainments of your colleagues; you carried tales about them. This shows that you had a poisonous heart.” He accordingly sentenced me to this Prison to suffer. During the day and even at night, the Soldiers of Hades came to punish me by gouging out my heart. The pain is so great that I have a feeling as if my liver and intestines are being severed. When I was alive, I did not believe in retribution and now that I am dead, I am undergoing so much punishment and suffering.
JiGong: Human beings must understand that they should never have a jealous heart. You, by being jealous, had destroyed the close relationship of society which can be likened unto “a horse which injured the mob,” i.e; one who acted in a way detrimental to public welfare. You chaps should have learned from the ways of virtuous and wise men thereby gaining knowledge and progress, otherwise you will be subjected to your present fate; having your heart gouged out and undergoing such great suffering.
Officer: Second Soul, quickly speak out and say what sins you had committed when you were alive.
2nd Soul: When I was alive, I was an ardent believer of Buddhism; I read a lot of literature on Buddhism. Following this I came to look upon people of other religions as heretics and despised them. To those who believed in Taoism, I told them that their religion was a lower order, far beneath that of Buddhism and that after death, they had no chance of going to Paradise. Some of my friends gave me literature transcribed from planchette writing but I refused to look at them saying that these were writing from a heretical religion. By running down other religions, I thought that I understood what Buddhism stood for and that I was very intelligent. How was I to know that after death I was not to be accepted by Western Paradise but instead, was cast into this Prison? When I died, my soul did not see any Buddhist representative to receive me; instead, two evil spirits arrested me and brought me to the Fifth Tribunal. When Sen Luo Wang saw me, he was very angry and scolded me; “You were a devotee of Buddha and also having gone through the usual Buddhist penance, did not have a heart for others and the religion of others, but hated and belittled other religions. You did not understand that the laws of Buddhism stand for the equality of all religions. If any religion teaches morality and discourages evil deeds, then that is a true and proper religion. You thought that the laws of Buddhism were boundless, but so are the laws of other true religions. Why did you always indulge in self-praise and consider yourself as being cleverer and more intelligent than others?”
Because of my egoism, self-exultation and swollen-headedness, I always despised others and looked down upon them, not knowing that I had gone against what Buddhism stands for. I sincerely hope that fellow Buddhists will not follow my bad example because my efforts to become a good Buddhist were channeled in the wrong direction.
JiGong: It was a pity that, unknowingly, you went against your conscience in trying to defend and promote Buddhism. Now that you have experienced the gouging of your heart, after you have served your sentence here, you will have to undergo further punishment by way of the extraction of your tongue.
Officer: Third Soul, quickly tell what sins you did when you were on Earth.
3rd Soul: I was the leading planchette handler of a certain temple. At the beginning, I was very sincere and honest in handling the planchette and the deities gave me much inspiration. Later when the temple management did not give me due respect and consideration, I asked myself what was the purpose of my sincerity in being the leading planchette handler? Accordingly, I told the management that planchette writing was a  fake and was directly under the control of the handlers; therefore they should not believe in deities. When they heard this they lost faith and stopped going to the temple. After seven years, I fell sick and later on, died. The Soldier of Hades brought my soul to the Fifth Tribunal and Sen Luo Wang scolded me: “You were a leading planchette handler and although you were not given due respects by the management of the temple, you should not have said that planchette writing was a fake, thereby offending the deities. You, therefore, had committed grievous sins and I have no option but to sentence you to the Gouging Heart Prison for a term of 15 years; this is to punish you for your evil heart in offending the deities. After you have served the sentence, you will have to be sent to another Prison for your other sins.”
Ah! It is already too late now for me to repent! Can I ask a favor from JiGong?
JiGong: Planchette writing actually represents deities’ communication and nothing bad should be spoken about it. The main and most important purpose of planchette writing is to teach people to do good and to lead an ascetic life. The permission of Yu Huang, the Jade Emperor must first be obtained before any planchette writing session can be held. Therefore, to belittle planchette writing session is also insulting deities and is a very great sin which cannot be pardoned. As our time is rather limited, Yang Sheng, please prepare to return to Sheng Xian Tang.
Yang Sheng: Thank you, Officer and General, for your kind assistance. I am afraid we have to say goodbye now.
Officer: We are much honored to have you with us and we are very glad to be of some assistance. Please come again.
JiGong: This Gouging Heart Prison is very important and so we will have to visit you again.
Yang Sheng: I am safely seated on the lotus flower platform, dear Master, we can start.
JiGong: We have arrived at Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, get down. Soul, return to your body.
End of Journey No 33