JOURNEY NO 34   -   17th August 1977
          Touring the Fifth Tribunal Again
          3rd Visit to the Gouging Heart Prison
          Coinciding with the Opening of the Gates of Hades
JiGong: At the beginning of the 7th Moon (or month of the lunar calendar) the Gates of Hades are opened wide for the souls of the departed to visit Earth again to enjoy themselves. That is why the 7th month is often called the “Ghosts’ Month”. It is advisable that during this month human beings should be more careful about going outside the house, especially at night time, in order to avoid crossing the path of the souls of the dead. Now that the Gates of Hades are wide open, our journey to Hades for the purpose of writing the Book, is bound to be impeded somewhat because we may cross the path of devils; but because I am JiGong the Monk, who will escort you, there will be less obstacles; therefore, Yang Sheng you need have no fear.
Yang Sheng: Devils are the souls of dead human beings taking another form. It seems strange and yet fearful to most people but I am not afraid.
JiGong: If that is so, it is quite O.K. Quickly get up on the lotus flower platform and we can part.
Yang Sheng: I am safely seated, dear Master, we can start now….
JiGong: We have arrived, quickly get down.
Yang Sheng: Before us is “Gui Men Guan” and the side door is open. Many souls are rushing to get out through the open door, their faces are so cheerful and happy to breathe the fresh air outside.
JiGong: The side door of Gui Men Guan will be opened only during the 7th month when the souls of the “common” people are allowed to get out through this side door in batches and when they are out, they behave like birds being set free from their cages – so happy and free.
Yang Sheng: Why is it that this group of souls which are now coming out tries to avoid us?
JiGong: It is because in our body there is Yu Huang’s Order which emits a flashing light. That is why they avoid and make way for us.
Yang Sheng: Is it a fact that during the 7th month all souls in Hades are set free?
JiGong: Not so. During the 7th month only the souls of the “common” people are allowed to go out through the side door because when they were alive, they were more or less average, i.e. they were not famous or had earned merit; neither were they very sinful. So, in ordinary days they are concentrated in the average or “common” people’s section here but they are not allowed to leave it – they are allowed to just exist day in and day out. Only during the 7th month, on receipt of the District Officer’s Amnesty, are certain groups of these souls allowed to get out and not otherwise. Speaking of the demonism in Hades, it is on the 15th day of the 7th month that group after group of eligible souls are allowed to partake of the lavish food offerings given by human beings on the Feast of the Hungry Ghosts. The meaning of “Pudu” is to relieve souls out of purgatory. Buddhists call this festival “Yu Lan Pen Hui”; Taoist call this festival “Zhong Yuan Pudu”. The official workers in Hades generally have their regular fixed holidays which are different from the holidays given to souls. This is more or less the daily run of affairs in Hades. Yang Sheng quickly get up on the lotus flower platform again because we are going to the “16 Small Gouging Heart Prison”.
Yang Sheng: I am safely seated. So we can start….
JiGong: We have arrived, get down.
Yang Sheng: Yes, Sir. The Officer and Staff have come to welcome us. My respects to you, Officers and Generals, we are here again and request that you kindly give us your usual assistance.
Officer: Please don’t stand on ceremony. This is the 7th month and because of the congestion of souls, I am afraid you both had some difficulty coming here.
JiGong: Not so. On our way we came across groups of souls who were rather happy and I am proud to say that freedom is really very noble and priceless.
Officer: Please come inside and I will summon a few souls for you to interview them.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much. I observe that this time the souls appear to be more grief and sadder than the last time when we came.
Officer: It is because this is the 7th month and souls who are less sinful are allowed to leave this Prison to enjoy on Earth; but in the case of these remaining souls here, they understood, when they were alive, that during the 7th month all souls are set free to go and enjoy themselves on Earth. They did not know that they will be detained here and will not be allowed to go out to enjoy. They envy those lucky souls who are allowed to go out whereas they are still kept back in this Prison. The Soldiers of Hades here have no sympathy at all, but instead, they continue to gouge out the hearts of these souls. Therefore they have good reason to be sad or sadder. I hope human beings will understand that it pays to be good always and not to do evil or commit sins like these souls here who are suffering. Because we do not have much time to spare I can only ask two souls to come and relate their sinful stories.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much. The Soldiers of Hades are so cruel that they slit open the chests and blood flows out as from a pipe, I dare not see.
Officer: I have asked two souls to come here. Look here, you souls, quickly tell JiGong and Yang Sheng what sins you had committed when you were alive so that they can report your stories in their Book for human beings to read and learn to do good deeds and avoid evil.
1st Soul: Coming to think about it, I feel much ashamed of myself and have no face to face people. When I was middle-aged, my wife died and I began thinking of marrying again. One day, outside my village, I came across a young girl on the road and when I saw her, my yearning for her was boundless; looking around, I did not see anybody. I quickly ran towards her and embraced her at the same time dragging her to a nearby sugarcane plot with the intention of ravaging her. She struggled and shouted for help and begged me to set her free. At that time I lost my reasoning and threatened to kill her if she dared to disobey my advances. At last she obeyed me and I did the inevitable. After that I felt sorry for my action and although the girl did not report to the police, the very thought tortured me and I could not forgive myself. Not long after, I fell sick and soon died. When my soul reached Hades, Sen Luo Wang was very angry with me and because I admitted my errors, I was not brought before the “Magic Mirror” but was brought straight away to the Fifth Tribunal to be sentenced to the Gouging Heart Prison for 10 years to gouge out my amorous and lustful heart. I have been here for already 4 years; every day I repent and regret. I made only one mistake and I have to suffer forever. What is the use of my repenting now?
Officer: Ravishing a virgin means that you have spoilt her whole life; there is no other crime to match this. Although you are now dead and have repented, it is already too late and useless as the not repairable damage has been committed and there is no amnesty whatsoever. You have to receive and accept the penalty for your own sins, therefore you should not murmur against Heaven and Earth and hate others. I wish to advise human beings never to indulge in such obscene affairs. In case any one has committed such a sin he should immediately confess to the Deities and swear never to repeat it and beg for forgiveness; or alternatively, donate 10,000 copies of this Book – “Yu Huang Da Tian Zun” – for free distribution to those who require them. Then only can the sin be lightened. Bring the 2nd Soul to tell his sinful story truthfully, otherwise I will have to inflict severe punishment.
2nd Soul: I bear deep hatred for myself which I find difficult to express because when I was on Earth, for the split second, I made a terrible mistake for which I am now suffering terribly. I beg JiGong to help me out.
JiGong: When you were alive, you took delight in furthering your many romantic pursuits; now you have to suffer in repayment – all created by yourself. I really don’t know how I can give an amnesty to you in mitigation for your sins. It is better for you to confess your sins.
2nd Soul: If JiGong does not help me, I have no other alternative but to confess. I was a taxi driver by profession, had poor education resulting in my frequently doing irresponsible deeds like whoring, gambling, drinking and many other undesirable bad habits, especially the licentious and indecent. Inside my taxi, I fitted a tape recorder/amplifier and often played back obscene tapes whenever any single beautiful girl or prostitute booked my taxi thereby exciting and enticing the girl. Some girls on hearing the play-back scolded me calling me “devil without morality” or “lady enticer”; when I hear these remarks I did not, in the least, feel ashamed but rather I felt elated. One night, I had a young as a fare; on looking at her, my passion rose and I immediately switched on the play-back tape and drove the taxi faster and brought her to the out-skirts of the town. I stopped my taxi and brandished a knife to threaten her first and intimidate and ravage her eventually. Urged by this sort of easy prey, I committed the offence of rape three more times. Unfortunately, five years ago, I met with an accident which ended my life. My soul there and then saw the Ox-head-Horse-faced Soldiers of Hades come for me, chained me up and dragged me down to Hades. I was brought before the First to the Fourth Tribunals for investigation and when I came to the Fifth Tribunal, I was sentenced to a 30-year term in this Gouging Heart Prison, every day suffering and every day repenting. I hope that Yang Sheng returns to Earth, he will advise human beings thus, “Whatever sins you commit on Earth, your soul will have to suffer when you die – every misdeed committed will have to be accounted for.” Now I do not hate or blame anyone except myself for my lack of education which resulted in my committing such great sins.
Officer: You had committed very great and unpardonable sins thereby causing your life-span on Earth to be cut short by 10 years; that was why you suddenly met with an accident resulting in your immediate death so that your soul could be brought to Hades for early punishment. After you have served your 30-year term in this Prison, you will be sent to “A-Bi Diyu” (the lowest Hell according to Buddhism from which there is no escape) to be there forever.
Human beings must give this case very careful consideration and must try their very best not to follow the bad example. Of all the sins that are committed by human beings, lewdness is the worst – men and women who co-habit out of wedlock are not pardoned according to the law of Hades. You must not only realize this but must follow the right path.
 JiGong: This gouging heart punishment is worse than any other types of punishment in Hades; it is even 19,000 times more severe. Human beings must remember that whatever deeds they do, they must not go against their conscience otherwise, swift and sure, as according to Heaven’s retribution, his sins will find him out. Time is running short, Yang Sheng, prepare to return.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much, Officer and Generals.
JiGong: Quickly get up on the lotus flower platform.
Yang Sheng: Yes, Sir; I am securely seated. We can start….
JiGong: We have arrived at Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, get down. Soul, return to your body.
End of Journey No 34