Voyages to Hell
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 22-30

                                                               CHAPTER 22                                                                                                                                     VISIT TO THE 4TH PALACE                                                                                                                  INTERVIEW WITH KING YU KOUAN                                                 Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on January 16th, 1977                                                                         Year of the Snake (1977)                                                                                                                                     POEM                                                                                                                                                                 Like flickering lights, so short a life is seen                                                                                               Time elapses, youth advances to old age                                                                                                     Regenerated, he is revived in a thousand ways                                                                                         For the year coming, he transcends away.                                                                                                    Buddha Tse Kong: The year of the dragon has passed. Between the 15th of the 8th lunar month and now, six months have passed. It was the day when the Temple received the Celestial Edict bidding it to prepare the book, “Voyages to Hell”. Human beings spin and turn just like the silhouettes of a Chinese lantern in mid-autumn. A man’s life is comparable to a flash of lightning. How many moonlit nights of the lunar 1st months can he hope to see during his life? His age advances rapidly. He sees children playing before him, lanterns in hands. That’s boyhood, that’s youth. Then, he looks at himself in the mirror: his hair is greying, his complexing is pale. That’s old age. If he fails to regenerate right away, how long can he wait? In the human body, the vital flux of heaven and earth are focused at the frontal psychic center to form an immortal-embryo. When reaching the stage of maturation, this immortal embryo, like a ripened fruit, becomes the dharma-body, which is the soul of the adept, who will soon be able to detach from its physical body for astral travel to higher heavenly planes. A plan is usually drafted in spring, that is, in the beginning of the year; likewise, a man should prepare his life early in his youth. He should regret the time he wasted, respect his life, adopt a strong faith, and know how to overlook the misfortunes that surround him. He should look forward to a brilliant future, walk on the right path in search for the Way, and advance in full confidence. He should persevere in keeping his soul upright and particularly maintain his belief in the success of the Tao. Yang Ts’ien, we’re going to pay a visit to hell. Lift up your morale, sonny.                                  Yang Ts’ien : On this occasion of lunar new year, May I wish you many riches.                                TK: My best wishes for a happy new year. But since I am an ascetic, riches leave me cold. I have plenty of them in my celestial home. What I desire most is to have a lot of “beloved” children.                                                                                                                                                            YT: Why is your desire is like a profane person? Isn’t it contrary to monastic rules of a monk like you?                                                                                                                                                                    TK: You misunderstand me, son. What I mean is this: If God can increase the number of intelligent and wise children who aspire to do good, and decrease the number of evil-doings offsprings, then peace will prevail among human beings, and I will be free from wandering over the world to rescue them. They are the “beloved” children that I alluded to.                            YT: Your sayings are sublime, Master. At the present time, all humans are expecting to have pious heirs who will supply them money and riches in abundance. We will cheer them by wishing them to a beloved son or success.                                                                                                  TK: We should say the “beloved” sons aren’t the only children on earth. There are the lovely fairies too. Ha! Ha! I feel a bit jolly tonight, and I incur the “karma of the mouth”. That’s a shame! Really a shame! Now, prepare yourself. Here we go.                                                                  YT : But... it seems to me that the dais of lotus looks much bigger this new year. I wonder why, Master.                                                                                                                                                               TK: Our responsibility is much heavier, while the Tao is still limitless. The lotus dais increases its size, to encourage us to regenerate. This dais of lotus, which will be your seat in the future, agrandizes itself to show that you have advanced on the way of the Tao.                                          YT: The honor is too great for me. I know I’m still loaded with heavy karmas. How could I expect to reach a seat of honour that high?                                                                                                  TK: The lotus grows in the mud but preserves its immaculate purity. Such a similarity is reserved for you, no doubt. Now, let’s go on board. We’re going to visit the 4th Palace tonight.   YT: I’m ready. Shall we depart, Master?                                                                                                      TK: Tonight, I’m carried away by an unwanted inspiration. My blood is buoyant in my veins, and I’m going to scan some rhymes dedicated to mankind.                                                                    Mankind! Why are you so hurry-scurry?                                                                                                       Do three daily meals keep you busy?                                                                                                             Mankind! What is your desire?                                                                                                                       Are you preoccupied all day with honors and gains?                                                                                 Mankind! What on earth makes you so passionate?                                                                                    Are you plagued with desire and your body disagrees?                                                                             Mankind! Of what are you thinking?                                                                                                             Do illusions almost drive you mad?                                                                                                               Mankind! What have you obtained during your existence?                                                                     Will a burdened life leave you with empty hands at death?                                                                      Mankind! What will happen to the lascivious?                                                                                             Bad karma: Family virtue lost, greed begets hate.                                                                                        Mankind! What are you waiting for?                                                                                                             Return to the right Way and regenerate continuously.                                                                               Mankind! What are you doing in the way of religion?                                                                                Rise from the mire and take excursions that are fun.                                                                                   Mankind! Where will you go on your excursions?                                                                   Profound enjoyment awaits you aboard the “Arch of Mercy”.                                                                 Here we arrive! Let’s disembark. The 4th Palace is before us.                                                                  YT : Indeed, it is.                                                                                                                                               TK: The King and his retinue have left the palace. Let’s hurry to meet them and present our greetings.                                                                                                                                                           YT: May we present to His Majesty and to Their Excellencies our most profound respect. Disciple of Saint Kouan Cheng of the Temple of the Sages in Tai Chu, I have come with my master, Buddha Tse Kong, to visit your palace. May I solicit as much information as possible.    The King: No ceremonials. Stand up, please. On the occasion of new year, you are going to inaugurate your brush-pen, as I can see. This is the reason why you give yourself much pain to come to hell for information. Such a spirit of the Temple of the Sages is worthy of praise. Would you mind coming in for a little rest and some conversation.                                                                  YT : My deep gratitude for your welcome, Sir.                                                                                           The King : Please, be seated. The wine of immortals will be served.                                                     YT : I thank you very much, Sir.                                                                                                                    TK: Yang Ts’ien, consider yourself lucky to be offered this wine of the Immortals which is reserved for His Majesty’s personal use. It is a kind of precious wine for the special disposal of immortals. It is used to strengthen the drinker’s spirit.                                                                            The King : Please serve yourself and be without reserve.                                                                        YT: The exquisite taste and aroma of it fills my body and creates a sensation of warmth. I am deeply grateful for the favour you grant me. I promise to accomplish my mission satisfactorily.    The King: Help yourself to more wine which comes from the Celestial Palace of “The Pond of Jade”. All of the ten palaces receive it. It is a beverage that strenghtens your vital energy and brightens your aureola. The mandarins and court-judges have at their disposal that immortals’ tea. The infernal guards have only green tea. It is natural that those of different rank receive their respective treatments.                                                                                                                             YT : May I inquire about your work on the judgement of sinful souls, Sir?                                       The King: Under my administration, there are 16 prisons. In addition, new ones are being constructed. Crimes are increasing and the number of sinners grows. Hell is divided into many branches, and each of these is subdivided into different services. Every guilty soul has to pass through the Portico of Demons. He will have to look at himself in the Mirror Revelator of Past Crimes which reveals his karma, that is, his past misdeeds. This procedure provides tangible proof of his guilt, all his past being shown in the mirror. And then, the sinner will be sent to respective palaces which take charge of different classes of sinners, according to the category of sins as listed by the magic mirror. The sinner will be placed under the juridiction of the palace that imprisons him. Right at this moment, I am going to preside over a hearing. If you mind following me to the court.                                                                                                                               YT: But, that’s an unprecedented chance! Two buffalo-headed and horse-faced guards are escorting a prisoner who looks like a director or an inspector in the terrestrial world. His complexion is ruddy, he is bald-headed... He manifests great fright. What sin has he committed?  The King: This man, quite a smart person, was a pharmacist in his lifetime. He specialized in the sale of western drugs. Seeking to get rich quickly, he took advantage of his pharmacologic knowledge to prepare fake medication to the detriment of many people. At present, coming to the term of his life, he is led to hell by the infernal guards.                                                                    TK: It is time for us to leave the palace. We shall come back another time to interview the prisoner in his cell. We beg to apologize for our deficiencies toward Your Majesty.                          The King : Never mind. Officers and guards! Present the honors to our visitors.                                   YT : Thank you very much. I hope to see you again.                                                                                TK : Quickly to the dais, son.                                                                                                                          YT: At your request, Master.