JOURNEY NO 59   -   13th July 1978

 
Touring the Tenth Tribunal
Visiting the Common People’s Section
 
JiGong: On Earth there are many kinds of occupation and vocation; it is also the same in Hades. Today I’ll bring Yang Sheng to visit the “Common People’s Section” of Hades. Yang Sheng; quickly step on the lotus flower platform.
 
Yang Sheng: Yes, Sir, I’m safely seated. We can proceed now.
 
JiGong: We’ve arrived, Yang Sheng, get down.
 
Yang Sheng: Wow! this city is very busy and there are a lots of people moving about, everyone smiling and in happy mood. There is absence of soldiers of Hades in this place, freedom of movement everywhere. On the archway the words “Common People’s Section” are written. I don’t know what is going on inside?
 
JiGong: A human being whose merits and de-merits balance, who had no hatred but more love when alive, after death, his soul will be sent to stay in the Common People’s Section, no need to be reborn. In this Section, it is like on Earth, with merchants and farmers – these two occupations being the most important. During his lifetime, if a good person was either a merchant or a farmer, after death his soul will be sent here to be either a merchant or a farmer but conditions are not that advanced as on Earth and so he has to work very hard. We will now go inside to have a look.
 
Guard: How dare you deities intrude into my area?
 
JiGong: I’m JiGong and have an Order to bring a human being to visit your place so that when we return to Earth we can write a Book to exhort human beings to do good deeds.
 
Guard: This is a secret place. How can our secret be disclosed to outsiders?
 
JiGong: I have the Order. Go inside and announce our arrival quickly.
 
Guard: I beg JiGong to forgive me. I never realized I was in the wrong….
 
Officer in Charge: We beg the pardon of JiGong and Yang Sheng; we feel much ashamed for not coming to welcome you to our place.
 
JiGong: I must apologize for not informing you in advance of our coming.
 
Officer in Charge: Please follow me to see what goes on here.
 
Yang Sheng: Thank you, Officer, for welcoming us. Are you exactly like any Officer we have on Earth?
 
JiGong: Yang Sheng, don’t talk too much. He is the Head in charge of this section.
 
Yang Sheng: I observe that all buildings here are made of wood, unlike the big mansions we have on Earth.
 
Officer in Charge: It is more suitable for the souls here to stay in these wooden buildings.
 
Yang Sheng: In this place there are restaurants and sundry shops. The chaps here are very much like people on Earth but some keep their hair long, wear old-fashioned dresses, why?
 
Officer in Charge: In this Section, the souls are of different generations; that is why they still keep their old methods of living. Now I’ll bring you to see the fields.
 
JiGong: Although Earth and Hades are separated, yet the mind is the same. What occupation a good person had on Earth, he will also follow the same occupation after death.
 
Yang Sheng: I see that the farmers use manual labour working the farm here – no animals or machinery to help.
 
Officer in Charge: The souls here are not so lucky like those on Earth, they have to depend on their own hands and sweat and strength to work the farms.
 
Yang Sheng: How do they live here?
 
Officer in Charge: More or less the same as human beings. They have three meals (food and drinks). They are happy and satisfied with the seven passions (joy, anger, grief, fear, love, hatred and desire) and the six roots of sensation (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind). Therefore, there is marriage in this Section. No doubt life here is hard but they are now used to it.
 
Yang Sheng: I don’t know if they work here eternally?
 
Officer in Charge: No, they also grow old with age and when the time comes, they are retired and later will be reborn.
 
Yang Sheng: Human beings offer joss paper, candles, joss sticks, etc, when praying to deceased relatives; I don’t know if these are received by the souls in Hades?
 
Officer in Charge: This topic has been argued ceaselessly by human beings. Now I’ll make things more clear for the benefit of everyone. It is true that the living are in the habit of and believe in the practice of burning joss papers, candles, joss sticks and offering food-stuffs to dead relatives; but because the vast majority of the dead are not without sins, their souls in Hades cannot receive the burnt offerings, etc. There are an old saying that, “mud can turn into gold”. Now in this world, in the big cities, a square inch of land can sometimes be worth an inch of gold – this is very true. Talking about joss papers, etc, after burning they will turn into ashes which will become earth and will eventually turn into gold, fulfilling the requirements of the five elements, i.e. reciprocal producing and destroying each other as the case may be. When joss paper is burnt, the burnt gold/silver foil will become ashes and when absorbed by the earth the effect of dampness will turn into vapour of the five elements. In Hades, the souls will enjoy the benefits of the joss paper burnt through their five vitals absorbing the vapour as mentioned above. This is exactly like human beings absorbing nourishment for the promotion of body growth.
 
Yang Sheng: I’ve heard people say that they dreamt of their dead relatives asking for money, etc, to use in Hades. How would you explain this?
 
Officer in Charge: In Hades, the souls “eat” the vapour or fume of food offerings. The souls here must do work if not, they will be punished thereby their energy is lost. Therefore, to make up for this loss of energy as a result of the punishment they appear in dreams to their relatives still living on Earth, asking for food, etc; to replenish the lost energy. It is not necessary to burn a lot of joss paper, etc, for the dead – just a token burning will meet the case as a mark of respect and regard. The reason why the living make offerings in any form to the dead is to show their gratitude and respect for the dead; this is quite alright considering that the living are left with money by the dead, the benefits of which the dead cannot enjoy. But it is not necessary to overdo things by burning too much joss papers etc. It is sheer waste of good money. The souls in Hades suck the vapour or fume of the burnt joss papers, etc. they do not actually receive the joss paper to use in Hades because there is totally a different form of money for their use here.
 
JiGong: However there is another class of souls in Hades who can make use of the joss papers which are burnt by human beings on Earth. Remember, the souls of dead human beings who have acquired or cultivated morality or acquired ascetic attainments, do not require any offerings by the living. I hope people on Earth will understand this.
 
Yang Sheng: There is much truth in what you have said. There are many joss paper manufacturers who produce loss papers of different qualities; the sole aim is to make easy money. When these after burning, arrive in the banks in Hades, how are they put into use?
 
JiGong: Ha! ha! When the joss papers of different qualities are burnt and arrived in Hades, there are bound to be many “returned cheques” which means that the manufacturers who want to make easy money will have to answer for their misdeeds, after they died.
 
Yang Sheng: Is there any difference between the souls in the “Common People’s Section” and other sinful souls in Hades?
 
Officer in Charge: More freedom is allowed to souls in the “Common People’s Section” but they must obtain permission whenever they want to visit Earth, e.g during the 7th Moon they can take turns to visit. It is not the same in the case of sinful souls. They will have to be punished daily and except on special occasions then only will they be allowed to visit Earth. During the 7th Moon those sinful souls who have lesser sins are allowed to go out and enjoy.
 
Yang Sheng: Is that so?
 
JiGong: I would urge people on Earth to take up ascetic practices, to be aware of gospel truth, to live and let live – life is uncertain, not to be too practical, so that after death they need not have to come to the “Common People’s Section” to work some more. You must, therefore, understand perfectly well the meaning of birth and death so that it will not be necessary to undergo the many Transmigrations of Souls. Then only will you reach the ultimate. Our time is up and so we have to return.
 
Officer in Charge: Order all the staff to line up and say goodbye.
 
Yang Sheng: Thank you, Officer, for your kindness and for explaining matters to us. We have to return…
 
JiGong: We’ve arrived at Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, get down. Soul, return to your body.
 
End of Journey No 59