Chapter 41-50
Chapter 43

                                                                           CHAPTER 43                                                                          VISIT TO THE HAND-ROASTING PRISON                                                                                            Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on November 26th, 1977. Year of the Snake.                              POEM                                                                                                                                                                 The mountain-top is covered snow-white                                                                                                   Time creeps indifferently from day to night                                                                                               The butcher gives up his cutlass and neatly resigns                                                                                 Why not cultivate yourself to be refined.                                                                                                    Buddha Tse Kong: Upon the summit of the snowy mountain, snowflakes flutter softly. Time flits by swiftly and it will soon be the end of the year. My advice to my disciples is to forsake their butcher’s cutlass and abstain from creating malevolent karmas. Yang Ts’ien, climb up on the dais.                                                                                                                                                              Yang Ts’ien: The cold is frigid. I don’t think I can stand it. Will you gratify me with one of your miracle-pills Master?                                                                                                                                        TK: This is a psychological effect. How can you be afraid of the cold as being a spiritual entity? Well, I’ll give you a pill anyway, since I am generous by nature. Here, swallow it quickly, and let’s go.                                                                                                                                                                YT : Thank you, dear Master. Please forgive me of my ignorance and prejudice.                               TK : Arrival! Alight.                                                                                                                                           YT: What prison shall we visit tonight? Why doesn’t the Mandarin-Governor come to welcome us? I see no one but the guards escorting the souls on the road.                                                             TK : Wait a moment and you’ll see.                                                                                                              YT : Now, I see. Before us is the Blazing-Heat Prison we visited last time.                                           TK: No, we now visit the prison of Hand-Roasting. To reach it, we have to move along that nearby alley which is adjacent to the blazing-heat prison.                                                                     YT: But the heat is scalding. How could we walk on the alley? The feet of this profane man would be barbecued.                                                                                                                                        TK : Just relax, my boy. I am by your side. The heat will cool off.                                                         YT: Please perform a miracle, Master! Or else I will be unable to step on that alley paved with red-heated bricks.                                                                                                                                             TK : Look sharp! I’m going to use my fan to cool down the heat on the alley so we can safely walk on it.                                                                                                                                                            YT: Miracle of miracles! Your power of a Buddha’s is great! The alley is instantaneously cooled. A few souls precede our steps and they are safe and sound. The rest of them are astounded. They look right and left for a moment, then rush on to the alley.                                                            TK: Follow me quickly. In an instant, the miracle loses its effect and you won’t be able to step on the alley.                                                                                                                                                        YT: Aha! We make it! I had to stride hard and stay close to you. Well, here they are. The Governor and his Generals seem to be waiting for us.                                                                             TK : Let’s present them our greetings.                                                                                                          YT: My respects to His Excellency and to the Generals. I am Yang Ts’ien of the Temple of the Sages in Tai Chu. By order of God, my Master Buddha Tse Kong and I, are coming here to gather information for a book on hell. We hope to receive necessary assistance from you.             The Mandarin-Governor: Welcome to you, gentleman. We are greatly honored to learn that the judgements of our palace will be mentioned in the book of “Voyages to Hell”. Please come inside for observation.                                                                                                                                    YT: Thank you for your kindness. I see an inscription above the door of the prison. It says “Hand-Roasting Prison”. Sentry-guards are seen on both sides.                                                            The Mandarin : Please, come in.                                                                                                                     YT : Already, I hear resounding cries.                                                                                                          TK: Pitiful cries are heard in all the prisons, just as the moans of the sick people, calling for help.                                                                                                                                                                    YT: The prison is equipped with modern scientific instruments. The hands of the sinners are securely tied to an axle-tree of heated iron. The iron axle which is a good heat conductor, gets hot quickly. The souls struggle vainly to tear their hands from the axle. Their hands are red embers, their faces are streaming with sweat and tears.                                                                            The Mandarin: Our prison is called Hand-Roasting Prison. In the past we made use of flatirons to press the sinners’ hands. But later, we improved our procedure by imitating the ingenious rack-tools of the humans. I shall have some sinful souls come to talk of their crimes.                       YT: The world of the living and that of the dead adopt the same principle. That is, as the proverb goes, “the wicked are corrected by another wicked”.                                                                The Mandarin: These are Venerable Buddha Tse Kong and his disciple Mr. Yang Ts’ien of the Temple of the Sages in Tai Chu. They are here to prepare a report for warning living beings. Tell them the crimes you committed and the punishment you have endured so far. They will serve as a lesson for mankind.                                                                                                                       First soul: I led the life of a libertine. My hobby was to hide in a dark place to tease and coax the woman and girls passing by. I repeated my foul acts many times.                                                        The Mandarin: Your hands were undisciplined ones. Now they are making up for their impertinency in this prison.                                                                                                                           Second soul: When in life, I had the mania of inciting the people to sue each other for justice, then I helped them write complaints and gained profits. I made a living with this stratagem. After my death the King of Hell reprimanded me, saying that I had used my hands to write complaints and do harm to others. Therefore, my hands must be roasted in return. No one shows me any pity. I suffer excessively and pray you, O Buddha, to come to my rescue.                TK: As a person specialized on writing about complaints, why don’t you send a petition to the King of Hell to obtain amnesty?                                                                                                                    The soul: I’m afraid to create more trouble when dealing with the King. He is so rigorous and impartial.                                                                                                                                                           TK : I know he is. But if you address your problem to me, I cannot do anything for you.               The Mandarin: Don’t allow yourself to make supplication. To the third soul now.                          The third soul: I was the keeper of a gambling-house. With sleight of juggling hand, I amassed a lot of money. My living standard was greatly improved thanks to this easy way of getting rich. I kept leading a dishonest life and created harm to society. Furiously, the King of Hell condemned me to 30 years of detention in this prison. My hands are daily broiled to embers, and I endure terrific pain.                                                                                                                              TK: Keeping a gambing-den is by itself a grave crime. Cheating is doubly sinful. You created bad karma for yourself. I’ll tell you what! After being here, you will be reincarnated as a man with two inert and paralyzed hands. I advise humans to wake up and abandon their passion for gambling. To the 4th soul now.                                                                                                                     Fourth soul: In my life, I used to swindle and deceive other people by signing checks without sufficient funds. I was condemned to this prison after my death. I had thought that every matter could be settled, provided that I could escape from my creditors’ search. Now, I realize that it is not so, because hell is without escape.                                                                                                        The Mandarin: In principle, you must pay off your debts. But, you had intentionally swindled your creditors. Now, you have to suffer in return.                                                                                     TK: Nowadays, many people in the world issue false checks, and then flee away. They must be punished severely in hell. In their next reincarnation, they will wear the forms of buffalos and horses to pay off their debts. Since early ages until now, no one has been able to escape from the karmic law, even if he commits the least of sins. Living beings must pay attention to the law of karma.                                                                                                                                                                 The Mandarin : You, the 5th soul, you seem to be in the clouds. Unpack your goods now.            Fifth soul: I pray you not to ridicule me. I’m going to give an account of my past crimes. In my life, I was a member of a gang of hooligans. I committed harmful acts jeopardizing the security of society. I was very aggressive toward anyone who showed antipathy to me, or anyone who dared to stare at me. I would beat them without cause. After my death, the King of Hell ordered the buffalo-headed and horse-faced demons to castigate me and beat me in return. This reminded me of the times I did harm to people and force them to submit.                                            The Mandarin: Violence was a tool in your life. You attacked your fellow beings and committed bad actions that impaired the security of society. Your fists were so hard that they need softening with the fire of this prison. Do you understand?                                                                     TK : It’s quite late. We have to go, Yang Ts’ien.                                                                                         YT : We ask to take leave, Excellency, and thank you greatly for your information.                          The Mandarin : It’s my pleasure to help. Muster your men, generals.                                                   TK : Go ahead to the lotus dais.                                                                                                                      YT : Yes, Master.                                                                                                                                                 TK: We arrive. Yang Ts’ien, your body is over there.