Chapter 1-10
Chapter 8

                                                                               CHAPTER 8                                                                                                                 VISIT TO THE CITADEL OF PREMATURE DEATH                         Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on the 16th day of the second 8th month.                                      Leap year of the Dragon (1976)                                                                                                                         POEM                                                                                                                                                                 How pleasant to comfort oneself with two full moons                                                                             Who can care for those poor damned souls in hell?                                                                                 Because they committed themselves to undesirable death                                                                     They mourn their bitter fate and now suffer like hell.                                                                             Buddha Tse Kong: This is a leap year. We have beheld the full moon two times this month. It is just one month since the day we received the Edict of God prescribing the preparation of the book “Voyages to Hell”. Time is fleeting like water flowing. Humans should be coming out of their errors and illusions. The moon may be full and bright many times, but how could humans have the opportunity to contemplate two mid-autumn full moons in their life, as they are doing in this leap year? Under the splendor of the moonlight, people are strolling and chatting. But their enjoyment is far from full if they cast a glance back to hell, and see nothing but dense darkness and hear only the resounding wailing and moaning of demonical souls. They are loath to set eyes on such spectacles. Now, Yang Ts’ien prepare yourself for a promenade in hell.             Yang Ts’ien: I am at your request, sir. Time elapses so quickly. It has been one month and yet we have not accomplish one tenth of our task in collecting materials for our book. I fear we’ll fail to fulfill our mission.                                                                                                                               TK: It suffices we hold firm our faith. Didn’t the ancient sages say: “ By dint of sharpening a bar of iron, one can obtain a needle”? My boy! If the Tao within you remains immutable, all of the ten palaces of hell will open wide their doors before you. You need only cast a glimpse, and then you will understand everything perfectly. Shake off all such disturbances, will you? Now, the dais!                                                                                                                                                              YT : I’m on it. Let’s go... TK: We have arrived. Come down. YT: Is this the Citadel of Premature Death you spoke of? The front door is closed tight. Above it, are engraved the words: “Citadel of Premature Death”. May we enter and see what is going on?                                                              TK : Why not? To go through this door is precisely our purpose tonight. Follow me.                        YT : But this door is carefully locked. What shall we do?                                                                         TK: It will open automatically, just the way supermarket-doors do on earth. The souls of victims of violent death due to unnatural or unjust causes suffer a justified wrath and their pure essence, thus troubled, cannot escape. When the demons lead those confused souls to this place, negative energy attracts and repels, creating a repercussion that opens the door widely. All things in the Kingdom of Darkness, and of anywhere else result from the reaction of the elements Yin and Yang that govern every creature. They adapt together, or they change, according to the craving of a man’s heart. But you and I shouldn’t rely on a like effect, as far as the door is concerned. I’ll give a blow of my rush-fan, and it will open for us.                                   YT: Your power is frightening, Master. Can you possibly lend me your rush-fan sometime? I’ll take it to earth and perform a “magic show” with it, which certainly will dumbfound the spectators.                                                                                                                                                          TK: Abstain from such a desire to make yourself conspicuous, my son. The one who nurtures such a dark thought is easily haunted by demons. Exercising religious virtues doesn’t need an exhibition of miraculous power. Tranquility of the soul and a sound, fair reasoning are enough. By living a single day without any trouble and possessing a calm, lucid spirit, you can consider yourself a diminutive sage or a small-sized saint. No need for you to own my fan. You will do nothing but attract chagrin and annoyance.                                                                                               YT: You have opened my eyes, Master. I’m really grateful for it. I’m ashamed of my foolish desire. I see a group of people coming. Who are they?                                                                            TK: They are the Governor, the General, and other dignitaries of the citadel-administration. Let’s go greet them.                                                                                                                                           The Mandarin-Governor: Our greetings to Venerable Buddha Tse Kong and to saint-scribe Yang Ts’ien, of the Temple of the Sages. This citadel is really honored by your visit.                     The General: Welcome to Buddha Tse Kong and Mr. Yang Ts’ien. Some time ago, we received the Celestial Order about your visit. We greatly admire your mission of writing a book for redressing the conduct of mankind.                                                                                                             YT: I have been following the steps of my elders, and tonight, I come here to visit this citadel. I would feel deeply obliged if you could give me detailed explanations about it.                               The Mandarin-Governor: It’s a pleasure, Mr. Yang Ts’ien. Please follow me into the citadel.         YT: This place looks like a big prison. It covers an immense area. How heavily populated it is! The Madarin-Governor: New victims of premature death come everyday. Come along. You will inspect the rooms successively. To begin with, take this one.                                                                YT: I see a large number of infants whose heads are wet with blood. They wail and cry unceasingly. Some of them are writhing on the ground in a heart-rending way. Why aren’t they set free?                                                                                                                                                              The General: These infants had their normal development interrupted by voluntary or forced abortion. They are abandoned here because their makers refused to accept responsibility, pretending that the child had been conceived either casually or illegitimately. The foetus had taken human shape so its innate life did not die out completely. Thus the souls of these tiny creatures survived a little while on earth, before they came here. Considering the fact that each human has a predestined fate, why then are these beings prevented from seeing the light of day? Their vengeance on their parents persists forever. They swear to bring an implacable woe upon their parents by not allowing them to enjoy matrimonial happiness, and plaguing them until their death. As soon as the souls of their parents come down to hell, the infants cling to them to reclaim their lives. Because of such moral torment, it is recommended that humans not practice abortion. This practice not only jeopardizes virtue, but also creates the abominable, lewd vice of lust. The people guilty of abortion must redeem their sin by acquiring an important record of good actions and meritorious deeds. Only under these conditions can hell consider mitigating circumstances in favour of the sinners.                                                                                       YT: Now, I realize how things are. But General, may I ask you this: Do all people dying of premature death have to come to this citadel?                                                                                            The General: Not all of them. The soldiers and officers who die while defending their country, for instance, sacrifice their “smaller self” for perfecting their “greater self”. They are not detained in this citadel. Their loyalty and patriotic actions, on the other hand, are taken into consideration. They are admitted to the Kingdom of Immortals where they live in felicity. Nevertheless, a number of them may not be completely freed from the burden of the law of causality. They will either rejoin the sojourn-place of genii and saints, or reincarnate, that is, become a foetus and be born again among human beings, in a blessed land. This is the reason so many temples have been erected in the world of humans in honour of great patriotic martyrs. Every year, tens of thousands of people perform pilgrimages out of respect and gratitude to them. And we should say that at all times, the great men, illustrious for their devotion and loyalty to the cause of their countries, always leave behind them a good reputation that perpetuates to following generations.                                                                                                          YT : What you said is exact.                                                                                                                            TK: Heaven and earth always wraps honest and loyal people in deep affection. The great patriots who dedicated their lives to the preservation of their countries inspire admiring respect from heaven and earth, and even excite tears of commiseration from demons themselves. A number of them have attained the “Way”, only by having observed and done what their noble feelings of devotion and loyalty dictated them to do. For the moment, we have no time left. Yang Ts’ien, let’s return to the Temple. We’ll come back another day for further information. Turn to our hosts and say goodbye.                                                                                                                           YT: Excellency, General, accept my thanks for the explanations you gave me. Now, we wish to take leave.                                                                                                                                                          The Mandarin-Governor: If any shortcoming occurs, I apologize. TK: Please, don’t mention it. YT : I’m scared, Master.                                                                                                                                    TK: Alas! It’s sorrowful to say that people nowadays are so deeply plunged in the abyss of love that they trifle with their own blood and flesh. Abortion has been practiced regularly and to-be-born infants are abandoned even from within the wombs of their mothers. What a disgusting spectacle! The sight is simply repulsive to Buddhas and angels. It is important to advise mankind to change and embark on the “Arc of Mercy”, in conformity with the divine will, and to establish an ethical norm in married life in order to secure a sane and sound progeny and permanent happiness in the family. Mild moral satisfaction is much more valuable than momentary voluptuousness procured for sensual pleasures. One should preserve one’s energy and should not waste one’s blood, because these aren’t limitless. Men must make efforts to render themselves useful for humanity, for society, and for their families.                                   (The two travelers arrive at the Temple. Yang Ts’ien descends from the dais and reinstates in his body)