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Chapter 11-21
Chapter 17

                                                                             CHAPTER 17                                                                          VISIT TO THE PRISON OF FACE-SKINNINGG WITH STEEL AND COPPER KNIVES   Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on October 29th, 1976                                                                         Leap year of the Dragon (1976)                                                                                                                         POEM                                                                                                                                                                   What a pity that lust prevails over mankind                                                                                               Their crimes like beastsí are piling high                                                                                                       O people, mad with foolish desires                                                                                                               Awaken yourself and eliminate all wrongdoing.                                                                                        Buddha Tse Kong: The religious path is eventful and hard for the adepts. They are constantly tested. No one can reach Nirvana without test and trials. On his way to Buddha sphere, man must keep firm his faith, even if he dies for it. By dying as a martyr for his faith, he acquires the most important religious merits. Should difficult events arise, he has to bear them stoically. As the Sages put it: ďIf you think that something is strange then it is strange; if you donít then it isnítĒ. The adepts who encounter obstacles and difficulties should overcome them with courage and lucidity. They have to bear the bitter cold of winter before they can pick the fragrant plum-flowers in spring time. Trials are necessary for them to progress on the spiritual way. Yang Tsíien, weíre to take a trip to hell. Be ready. Raise your morale, try your best to go through hardships and to show that you are worthy of being called a disciple of God.                                   YT: I thank you for your teachings, Venerable Master. I know perfectly that I have a heavy karma, and it would be hard for me to avoid unending calamities if I didnít know how to perfect myself spiritually. Please be reassured that I will try, Master. Iím ready to go with you.                     TK: Come down from the lotus dais. We have arrived. Tonight, we visit the Face-Skinning Prison.                                                                                                                                                                  YT: Here are the Mandarin-Governor and the General. I am Yang Tsíien, disciple of the Temple of the Sages, and this is Buddha Tse Kong, who leads me to visit your prison. We need documentation on torment inflicted upon sinners in order to write a book. I count greatly on your assistance.                                                                                                                                                 The Mandarin: Do not be formal, Mr. Yang Tsíien. You are most welcome. Please come into the prison.                                                                                                                                                                  The General: Our prison takes charge of punishing those brazen faced, impudent people who fail to honor the skin of their faces.                                                                                                               YT: The guards are escorting a large group of sinners, girls, boys, young and old. One and all, they bend their heads and look terrified. They are first led to the prosecutorís office for declaration-formalities, then locked up in jail.                                                                                           TK: Donít waste your time watching them. Letís follow the Mandarin and the General into the prison.                                                                                                                                                                  YT: Heart-rending sobs and cries are heard from within the prison. The sinners are tied securely to iron stakes. Buffalo-headed and horse-faced demons are tormenting them by peeling off the skin on their faces with a cutlass, exactly as butchers do in a slaughter-house. The victims howl with pain, their faces covered with blood. People hear their cries, but they are virtually unrecognizable. With the skin peeled off, their skulls are laid bare. What an atrocity! Excellency, can you tell me what crimes they have committed to undergo such torment?                                       The Mandarin: Itís a long story. I will have some of the sinners come so that they can tell you.     YT : It would be better, indeed. I will have concrete testimonials.                                                           The General: You, there! Come here, and tell your crimes to Mr. Yang Tsíien who comes from the living world.                                                                                                                                                YT : Tell me why you are condemned to this prison.                                                                                The soul: I was an orphan and didnít receive any kind of education. I felt miserable while working under orders of other people. It occured to me to quit my job and become a beggar. Supposing that each household gave me a dollar, I would earn a hundred dollar a day, if I begged from one hundred households. In doing so, I could live easily and have money for my expenses without having to work as hard. Afraid that people wouldnít give alms to a young, robust man like me, I abstained from food for two months, eating only a little porridge each day and drinking some water. I became thin and feedle. Moreover, I smeared my face with mud, wore torn rags and feigned poverty. With a like disguise, I went everywhere begging for alms, invoking pity from the people. I told them how unhappy I was, a homeless, crippled fellow, and I managed to arouse their compassion. Some months I obtained as much as four to five thousand dollars. Daily, I came home, happy about my easy gains, and at nightfall, putting on brand new clothes, I went to a restaurant for a feast, or to pleasure-dens. I often went to night clubs where I got drunk and enjoyed lewd music. Later on, I grew more and more greedy. Wishing to get rich much quicker, I only accepted gratuities higher than ten dollars while refusing smaller ones of two or three dollars. The donors were vexed; the more stingy ones insulted me and turned away when they saw me. After death, the Pontiff of Hell condemned me to this prison to have my face skinned as a punishment. I have repented but it is too late.                The Mandarin: In your former life you had not regenerated. You were reincarnated this time in a poor family, and led the life of a fatherless and motherless child. When people are young and strong, they must work to earn their daily bread. Shameless as you were, you did the reverse by disguising yourself as an disabled beggar. A brave man should face life fearlessly and accept hardships by toiling. He never humbles himself to the extent of stretching his hands for alms. You did something worse. You wasted the donations of charitable people in drinks and amusements. What you did was really immoral. Since you didnít know how to love the skin of your face, hell now helps you peel it off. I hope men will avoid committing the same sin. Now, back in prison. (To Yang Tsíien) Iíll have another soul called for your questioning.                         YT: Thank you, Excellency. (To the sinful newcomer) You must be 30 years old. Why did you die so young? What have you done to be sentenced here?                                                                     The soul: I am ashamed to tell you my story, and I say I have disgraced my ancestors. At the age of 17 or 18, I attended high school. I often led my friends to the parks to court and tease young girls. They called us names, referred to us as hooligans, ill-educated, brazen faced boys, and all that sort of thing. Without feeling any shame, I was even proud of their insults. I took advantage of the moments when nobody was seen at deserted places to run after the women and girls, molested them, held them in my arms, or touched their hidden bodies while riding past them on my motorbike. I even raped a woman one time but I was never caught by the police. One day, while riding my motorbike, I tried to pet the breast of a girl. In her instinctive reaction, she shouted so loud that I was startled, lost control of my vehicle, darted forward into an abyss and died. The Pontiff of Hell was furious when he saw me. He scolded me and informed me that he had cut short my life by ten years, because I was cruel, and did not try to change. He condemned me to this prison where I have been for five years. I still have over 13 years to make payment. After that, I will be transferred to other prisons for other crimes. I am too unhappy. I pray you, Mr. Yang Tsíien, have pity on me. Intervene with the King for a lessening of my sentence.              The Mandarin: Thatís enough! Itís your fault if you attract this punishment, because you led a life of debauchery, and idleness. You committed the sin of lust which is one of the cardinal sins. Since you did not know how to honor your face when in life, you have to bear the wicked karma of your act of rape. After your sojourn in this prison, I will send you to another prison for other condemnation. General, lock him up.                                                                                                The General : At your request.                                                                                                                       TK : Itís quite late, Yang Tsíien. Letís leave the prison and return to the Temple.                               The Mandarin : Please forgive us if we made any mistakes.                                                                     YT : The apology is ours for disturbing you. I say farewell to you.                                                         TK : The lotus dais is waiting, Yang Tsíien.                                                                                                  YT : I am on it. Shall we go, Master?                                                                                                             TK: The Temple is in sight. Prepare for your re-entry into your body.