CHAPTER 9 SECOND VISIT TO THE CITADEL OF PREMATURE DEATH Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on the 19th day of the second 8th month. Leap year of the dragon (1976) POEM Truth is expounded to guide common people Toward self-cultivation and awareness All religions must return to one God Everyone will then learn Tao and practice Nam Mo.
Buddha Tse Kong: The men in this world are rushing toward scientific studies. To them,
metaphysics, spiritualism and religion are utopian speculations. Never have they harboured the thought that material things disintegrate and disappear, while the spirit alone is eternal lasting. Whether paradise and
hell exist or not depends totally on the whims of our thoughts. Paradise is not far away. It suffices that we turn our heads to see it. As for hell, is it near? To improve ourselves religiously is to get away from
it. What we saw in the Citadel of Premature Death was really disgusting. Well, Yang Tsíien, how about a trip to hell? Raise your morale, son, quick to the dais.
: Iím on the dais, Master. Letís go...
YT: Please, Sir, this place doesnít look like the one we came to the other day. Why donít
we simply park our lotus dais outside the walls of the Citadel as we did? We can take only a few steps to be inside.
TK: After Buddha, the four phenomena of the void are materialization, stabilization, destruction and annihilation. Even the
door of hell is subjected to annihilation by the phenomenon of the void. Therefore, coming in and going out is free, without any restrictions. The last time, we had lots of time so we landed our lotus outside the
Citadel and walked in. Tonight, time is short, so we land right in the heart of hell. I hope this is a lesson for the men who know how to regenerate and follow the teachings of Tao. They will be freed from every
material thing, and wonít be attached by the bonds of hell; they will be entirely free to come and go as I am now. YT: Master, youíve just taught me the Buddhist law of the Greater Vehicle. I piously recognize it. Here come the Mandarin-Governor and the General.
: Kneel down and greet them.
YT: My respects to His Excellency and to the General. The last time, you gave me precious
teachings. I wish to express my profound gratitude. Tonight, I am coming to solicit more instructions from you.
The Mandarin: You honor me greatly, Venerable Buddha Tse Kong and Mr. Yang Tsíien. I invite you to come into the Citadel of Premature Death to observe
what is going on, and get more information for your book.
: Thank you very much, Excellency. To TK: Letís go with them, Master. TK: You go ahead with
the Governor and the General. I have some affairs to settle. I will leave you for a little while.
: Master, if you leave me, who will take me home?
: Donít worry. Iíll be back in due time.
: Just relax, Mr. Yang Tsíien. Follow me, will you?
YT: In each of these two rooms separated by a partition, I see young people of both sexes
packed together. They have dishevelled hair, and their looks are deplorable. Excellency, may I ask you the reason for their detention here?
The Mandarin: These young people, when in
life, loved each other passionately. But something negative happened to them. They were deeply affected, they mourned their lost love. Then, yielding to a foolish resolution, they took poison to put an end to their
lives. Upon their death, they were locked up in here. Humans should not allow themselves to be carried away by foolish passions that destroy their lucidity and their lives. If they sense they cannot live together as
two birds flying wing against wing, why do they continue to hope that they can further their union like the branches of a single tree?
YT: In that far jail, I see many people with mutilated arms and legs, cracked heads, and their bodies covered with blood. Their wails, groans and cries are heart-breaking. Who are they,
The Mandarin: They are the victims of traffic accidents in the world. Since they have not yet come to the age determined by their destinies, they rank in the category of premature
death. Their souls, when arriving in hell, are temporarily detained here, until they attain the limit of their longevity. They will then be at the disposal of the Pontiff of hell who will apply the impartial laws of
the two worlds to judge them according to their merits and their wrongs. YT: What a strange conception of justice! A man is killed under the wheel of a vehicle. That misfortune alone inspires a lot of pity. Now the victim is put in jail and prevented from
entering heaven. I find such justice a bit inhuman.
Young man! You see only one aspect of the matter. Itís not necessary that every person killed in a traffic accident come here. Those people who have attained their predestined age and are killed in an accident because of the karma of their previous life, donít come here. Many people curse heaven and earth for the misfortunes that fall upon them unjustly. All of their lives they have tried to regenerate and accumulate virtue and good acts. With all these merits, they still have to die under the wheel of a vehicle! Could we say therefore that the celestial scheme is unfair? Look! Yen Hoei was an honest and virtuous man. He died very young. Take Sikya Muni, the founder of Buddhism who was wholly dedicated to his religious ideal. He had been the target of unceasing misery and misfortune caused by devils and demons. Whoís will is it? Who is incorrectly accused of having no clairvoyant eyes upon human affairs. Isnít this the will of God the Supreme? Manís physical body is a trifling thing. It is perishable. Only his spirit counts: That is immortal.
YT: If the principle of three successive lives is well-established to define good, evil and
causality, how do you explain the cases of premature death? Isnít there some contradiction which leads men to doubt the theory of cause and effect? Can you give me some explanation about that matter, Excellency?
The Mandarin: The three successive lives usually alluded to only a short spell in the long march of time.
Since scores of millennia, whose beginning was lost in time immemorial, man has passed through so many incarnations that the causes and effects of his former lives become uncountable. Buddha only referred to three
existences in the principle of causality. They consist of the former life, the present life, and the future life. The karma does not merely result from the causes of oneís former life. It is the outcome of the whole
causal process that has been developing from the yet hazy apparition of the spiritual soul until the time it is completely condensed, then, until now. Men used to believe that their present fate inherits all the
karmas of their previous life. With this conception, they fail to take into account the crede of faith. They should know that their conduct in the former life affects only seven tenths of their present destiny,
while the other three tenths is influenced by their moral conduct in this life. This axiom is justified: ďDestiny is hard to modify, but luck may deter its courseĒ.
YT: Now, I begin to realize how things are. A great number of people believe that all of the things that happen to them are the consequence of the actions of their previous life. And some
believe that everything is disposed for them by God, the Supreme Being. All such conceptions are negative and in contradiction with reality. Now, Excellency, from the cells of the jail opposite come poignant
screams. What crimes have those detainees committed?
: They are the victims of assassination or of mutual slaughter. YT: Thatís really unthinkable! The assassin and the assassinated are under the impact of the law of retaliation and account
settlement. How natural they should die! Why then are they sent to the Citadel of Premature Death after their death?
The Mandarin: Your argument is quite plausible. It is true that some people kill each other because they
are governed by the law of retaliation and account settlement. But there is still another category of men who in this life refuse squarely to improve morally, or to acquire new virtues. They are the root of every
quarrel and disorder that impairs the celestial cause. It is because of them that the motives for premature deaths are created. Humans in the world must be permeated with this truth. One couldnít say: ďI kill this
fellow, because in his former life, he owed me some deptĒ. A proverb goes like this: ďOne should get rid of a vendetta rather than nurture itĒ. If someone owes you money but he cannot repay it, when you donít force
the payment, you will benefit infinite grace from God. If in the human world one doesnít nurture in oneís heart a selfish craving but lives fraternally with all fellowmen, just as heaven and earth donít protect any
particular individual, hell will exist no longer. The theory of causality will fall into disuse. Man must understand that the mere fact of possessing a body to live in is already a blessing he obtains with
difficulty from the All-Mighty. He has the duty to educate his heart and improve his conduct. If a man inconsiderately loves every flower (implying the fair sex), telling himself that a given flower owed him a debt
of love in her former life, and that in this life he is entitled to claim his due, he commits a heavy error. He cannot act likewise by picking every flower he finds on his way. His actions are in no way justified by
the principle of causality, nor are they included in the law of retaliation and account settlement. The cause created by his former life can only be justified when his encounter with the girl is sudden and
spontaneous. On the contrary, the one who intentionally commits dishonest actions creates for himself a heavy karma with disastrous effect in his future life.
The General: Each of His Excellencyís sentences is a truth. Men should assimilate them and come out of their illusions. If they fail to grasp this
truth, they will remain callous to the teachings of religion. They will argue that the persons with angelic and buddhistic essence are the only ones to attain enlightenment and reach nirvana. More erroneous are the
idle remarks of those men who pretend to be exempt from any type of work, once they own a fortune worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Buddha Tse Kong
(back from a short absence, talking to Yang Tsíien). I am back. The sayings of His Excellency the Governor and of the General are perfectly correct. They will eliminate all manís errors. Think of the times when all men were Immortals and Buddhas. Later, they fell in this world here-below, became imbued with the dust of illusion which created passions in them, blinded them, and made them lose their genuine nature. Thatís why they canít return to their origin. Now that heaven proclaims the great doctrine of the Tao, this is an era when the principle of causality draws to an end, giving place to the convergence of Void. Thus enlightened by the grace of God, mankind should not fall back in error. Those who patiently convert to the Way will become immortals and buddhas; those who donít will return as before to the six ways of transmigration. Immortals and buddhas are born from a manís heart. Destiny is not determined by heaven, but by man himself. All this is confirmed by the spectacles we saw in the Citadel of Premature Death. Yang Tsíien, be ready for the return. We thank you, Excellency and General, for the assistance you afforded us by giving explanations about the Citadel, and the necessity for combatting manís erroneous beliefs.
YT: The way of the Tao is as deep as an ocean. Without the explanations of the Governor and
of yours, Master, humans would not have an accurate idea of things. It is desirable that you give ample teachings on the Truth to instruct men, guide the devotees in the right direction, and help them make correct
decisions about things concerning the Tao. Only under these conditions could men avoid erroneous thinking that makes them ignore the Truth even until their death. TK: This is precisely my responsibility. Henceforth, every effort is exerted for the propagation of the Truth. The Temple
of the Sages is assuming the task of accomplishing this work for menís salvation and directing them to the right way, and thence, to sanctity. Now, we must be going. YT
: Yes, Master. Iím seated. Shall we go?
TK: Here we are. Get down from the lotus dais now and enter your body.