JOURNEY NO 43   -   5th January 1978

          Touring the “Hand-Baking Small Prison”
JiGong: The cold season is now with us and we can see snow flakes everywhere. The year is coming to a close. I urge human beings to give up their butcher’s knives and stop doing evil deeds. Today, we must prepare to tour Hades again; Yang Sheng, quickly get up on the lotus flower platform.
Yang Sheng: The weather is rather cold and I’m afraid I can’t stand it. Can dear Master please give me some of your pills of Immortality?
JiGong: You must not succumb so easily to your imagination. Anyhow I’ll give you one pill. Swallow it quickly and then get up on the lotus flower platform.
Yang Sheng: Thank you dear Master. Please excuse me for my sheer ignorance. I’m safely seated and so we can start….
JiGong: We have arrived; get down.
Yang Sheng: What Prison are we going to visit today? I cannot see any Officer anywhere but a number of soldiers of Hades are herding sinful souls here and there.
JiGong: We will proceed a little further and then you will know.
Yang Sheng: Oh! Before us is the Red-Hot Bricks Prison. We had already visited this Prison lately, are we visiting again?
JiGong: No, today we will visit the “Hand-Baking Small Prison” which is reached by a side road from the Red-Hot Brick Prison.
Yang Sheng: The more we walk, the more hot vapour affects us. How then can we go further? I understand that this side road is hot, then how can I, a human being, walk on it? My human feet will be covered with blisters.
JiGong: What is there to fear when I am here? The hot earth can change to cold earth.
Yang Sheng: Then, dear Master, please show your magic art! We have now reached the side road, the surface is red in color like the color of a brick kiln; how can one walk on such a road?
JiGong: See the magic I am going to perform; “With my magic fan, I wave over the red hot earth which will change into cold earth.” Now we can walk over it!
Yang Sheng: Truly, your magic does work. The red hot earth road quickly transforms into a cold earth road. In front of us, those sinful souls suddenly realize that the road is no longer hot and, taken by surprise, they begin to walk faster.
JiGong: You have to follow me quickly otherwise, when the magic power begins to lose its effect, you will be in trouble.
Yang Sheng: I follow dear Master very closely and quickly and now we have reached the place. At the left side of the road are Officer and Generals waiting to welcome us.
JiGong: They are the Officer and Generals of the Hand-Baking Small Prison – quickly go up and pay your respects.
Yang Sheng: My humble respects to you; I am Sheng Xian Tang’s Yang Sheng. We have received the Order to visit Hades with my dear Master JiGong, to see how sinful souls are dealt with according to your laws here so that when we return to Earth, we can write a Book for human beings to read whereby they can do good deeds. We have come here today to seek your kind help in our mission.
Officer: We extend to both of you a very warm welcome. Your Book, Diyu Youji when duly published, will make us glorified and honored. Please follow me inside the Prison for a look around.
Yang Sheng: Thank you, Officer. On the top of the Prison are the words “Hand-Baking Small Prison.” Guards are stationed at the gate.
Officer: Please enter.
Yang Sheng: I can hear the sorrowful crying of sinful souls.
JiGong: The crying in all Prisons is always sorrowful. The crying in Hades is somewhat like the crying of human beings who are seriously sick and about to die. The crying is so pitiful for they hope that someone will come to their rescue.
Yang Sheng: Inside this Prison, the instruments are very scientific. Both hands of a sinful soul are strapped to springs the other ends of which are fastened to iron rails – the hands can be lifted up but the springs pull them down towards the iron rails. The iron rails are baked until red hot. The soul tries to lift his hands and run along the rails but the springs pull the hands back making the soul fall down sprawling on the red hot rails. Thus the hands are burnt, causing the body to sweat and the soul to cry aloud.
Officer: In earlier times, this Prison used to iron out the hands but to keep up with the modern methods of sins committed by present day human beings, this Prison has been modified and brought up-to-date. I will call a few sinful souls so that they can tell you their own sinful stories.
Yang Sheng: Both Hades and Earth have the same principles – you say you are smart, but there are others who are smarter than you.
Officer: Look here, sinful souls; pay good attention. Today, JiGong and Sheng Xian Tang’s Yang Sheng have come to visit us to find out how we handle cases here so that they can write a Book to instruct human beings on how to lead a better life. You have to tell truthfully what sins you had committed when you were alive.
1st Soul: When I was alive, I was very romantic – often way-laying young girls and women in lonely places and fondling them with my hands. I did this fooling around about 12 times and when I died; I was sent to this Prison.
Officer: You had devilish hands and therefore deserve to be suitably punished. Second sinful soul, quickly come and tell your story.
2nd Soul: When I was alive, I took the pleasure in instigating people to resort to litigation so that I could earn money as a petition writer. After my death, Tai Shan Wang, when I appeared before him, was very angry saying that my hands were responsible for causing people to take legal action and so my hands have to be baked in this Prison as a punishment. I implore JiGong to intercede on my behalf.
JiGong: You were such a good petitioner writer when alive; why not write a petition to Tai Shan Wang to help you out?
Officer: You have no right to ask for help from all and sundry. Third soul, come and tell your story.
3rd Soul: I was a gambling house operator when I was alive, getting a fat commission. Not satisfied with getting good commission from the takings, I juggled with the gambling apparatus thereby getting extra profits and I thus became quite rich, spending my wealth right and left on women, wine and songs, going against the law and right thinking. I was also involved in secret society activities. How was I then to know that after my death, Tai Shan Wang would be very angry with me and would sentence me to this Hand-Baking Small Prison for a term of 30 years? I really don’t know if I will be able to go through this severe punishment here. 
JiGong: Not satisfied with operating a gambling house, you also designed gambling apparatus to cheat the gamblers – your evil sins are beyond comparison. After completing the punishment here, and on rebirth, your two hands will be disabled. I sincerely hope that human beings will not take to habitual gambling. Fourth Soul, come tell your story.
4th soul: When I was alive, I used to issue dud cheques thereby cheating people. I thought that after issuing dud cheques and running away to live in other places I could not be traced and brought to book, not knowing that after death, Tai Shan Wang became very angry with me and sentenced me to be punished here.
Officer: You must realize that you have to repay every single cent you owed people when still alive; otherwise, after death and your soul is sent to Hades, you cannot escape the punishment which awaits you here.
JiGong: There are many people on Earth who are fond of issuing dud cheques. When they die they will have to be sent to the Prisons in Hades to be punished. After their punishment term expires and on rebirth, they will take the form of cattle and horses to toil and repay those whom they had cheated. From ancient times to present day, this cycle order has been the same and there is no escape. This is known as retribution. I hope human beings will take note of this.
Officer: Fifth Soul, you don’t seem to have any dignified attitude now. Quickly tell what sins you had committed on Earth.
5th Soul: Officer, please do not ridicule me. When I was alive on Earth, I was a member of a secret society that always caused trouble and disturbed public order. Whenever I disliked a person or found anyone staring at me, I at once punched him. Fighting to me was like eating food. When I died and my soul came to Hades, Tai Shan Wang immediately called an Ox-head-horse-faced soldier to punch me and asked me if I now admit defeat. Come to think of it, it was indeed unjustified that I should have been so rough to others when I was alive.
Officer: When you were alive, you were strong and had a very hot temper. You always resorted to fighting, and disturbed public order, using your fists to settle scores. Now I am asking you to test if your fists are harder or the iron rails are harder to lessen your hot temper!
JiGong: Our time is up. Yang Sheng, prepare to return.
Yang Sheng: I have to bid goodbye to Officer and Generals – thank you very much.
Officer: It is our duty to be of assistance. All Generals, line up.
JiGong: Yang Sheng, quickly get up on the lotus flower platform.
Yang Sheng: I am safely seated, 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 43