VISIT TO THE CENTER FOR COMPLEMENTARY TEACHING OF CANONICAL BOOKS
Tse Kong who manifested on the 9th day of the second 8th month. Leap
year of the Dragon (1976)
Buddha Tse Kong: We’re going for a tour to hell, Yang
Ts’ien. Come on the dais. Be calm in your spirit.
I will, Master. But for the moment, I’m not yet in a mood to
witness those dismal scenes of hell.
I know you feel disturbed. But look, all those souls are heavy
with sins, Yang Ts’ien. You must not pity them. Now, come on. Let’s
be on our way. We have arrived! Get down.
These rooms are quite dark. I hear sobbing and moaning from
This is the Center for Complementary Teaching of Canonical Books.
Let’s go in.
After you, Master. On the door, I read this inscription:
“Center for Complementary Teaching of Canonical Books”. Two officers
are coming to the door. Who are they?
They are official guards.
General: You are welcome,
Buddha Tse Kong and Mr. Yang Ts’ien of the Temple of the Sages in Tai
Our greetings, General. Today, I take the saint-scribe Yang
Ts’ien to the Center for Complementary Teaching of Canonical Books.
Would you be so kind as to help him with his visit?
General: It’s a
pleasure for me. Would you follow? You can come in by the side-door. The
main door is open on the 1st and 15th days of the lunar month. On these
two days the Bodhidharma, the Master of the Tao, and the Immortals and
Saints come down from the Western Paradise to preach in this hall, and
give lessons on practical methods of spiritual perfection to the
religious and priests.
It’s a great favor for me to have come. The main door
matters little. This auditorium looks quite dreary and dark. I’d
rather stay outside and look in. No use entering.
The General: Take
it easy. I’ll show you the way in.
So much the better! The hall is made of wood. It must have
been constructed a long time ago, for its partitions are all
insect-eaten and filled with holes. In the hall, thousands of religious
persons clothed in their respective gowns, are leafing through their
prayer books and chanting psalms under a dying light. One and all, they
While living, these priests and the religious people made
their living by reciting prayers in requiem masses in order to salvage
the defuncts’ souls from unhappy incidents. Nevertheless, out of greed
for gain and lack of conscience, they intentionally left out part of the
prayers, or pronounced them incorrectly. After they died, they were
condemned to the Center for Complementary Teaching of Canonical Books to
learn the prayers again. Every night, under the light of oil-lamps as
weak as a glow worm’s, they have to recite the prayers. For each word
skipped, they are forced to re-read it a hundred times. They will go on
like this until they have finished the Complementary Course. Then, they
will be judged according to their pains and merits.
If what you said is true, I’m afraid nobody dares recite
the prayer-books edited by our Temple, such as the “Saint Scriptures
of the Celestial Emperor for Salvation of Humans” and the “Saint
Bible of the Supreme Master of Chaotic Times”. A great number of
believers have recited them in good faith; but it is probable they
can’t pronounce the words quite correctly. Will they be forced to
attend a Complementary Course at your Center?
General: They certainly
won’t. Only the people who practice cultic rites as a means of living
have to come to this center. If they receive money from other people
with the purpose of warding off the latter’s ills, but don’t recite
the entire contents of the prayer book, they have to come
here. As for the people who recite prayers for others, or for themselves
disinterestedly, without any attempt to cheat for money, they may commit
a few mistakes in pronunciation, but divine laws tolerate them.
The dying glimmer of the lamps, which is no brighter than a
glow-worm’s, flickers and threatens to die out at every gust of wind.
The aged religious people and priests, with weakened eyes, decipher with
great difficulty characters the size of a fly’s head. They all seem
exhausted, miserable, and pitiful to look upon.
General: When a merchant
receives money from a buyer, he must sell him good merchandise. These
men pocketed their clients’ money without trying to do, as they
should. They have to bear the burden of a bad karma.
The religious and priests have
the mission of converting the people to virtue. They recite prayers to
illuminate humans with religious faith. Those who practice cultic rites
by praying or reciting prayers must be careful.
In no case should they skip a word, shorten a sentence, or falsify the
pronunciation. If they are incapable of diverting calamities for other
people because of their deceit, they have to suffer the consequences in
their clients’ place.
General: On the 1st and
15th days of every lunar month, two Pontiffs of Buddhism and Taoism come
down to this center to check the study of canonical books, and to teach
the correct pronunciation of the prayer words. Immortals and Buddhas are
morally responsible for the acts of humans. Consequently, they have to
come to hell in person for the
sake of salvaging the souls. They are truly merciful. Humans must be
conscious of everything they do, even the most trifling acts. The author
of bad acts can never be exempt from the laws of hell.
I understand thoroughly,
General. And thank you for your information.
Yang Ts’ien, go ask that priest the reason for his being
sent to this center.
(to the priest) Would you mind telling me, Reverend, the
reason why you have to come here?
address me as Reverend, I pray you. In my lifetime, I was named: “The
red-capped priest”. I took charge of cultic rites and requiem masses
for the salvation of souls of the dead. Unfortunately, my knowledge of
prayers was as limited as it was groundless. I feigned to mumble the
prayers with the accompaniment of bell-tolling and gong ringing. The
masters of the households knew nothing of what I recited. Worse still, I
used to gain time by reciting one page of prayers instead of two, only
thinking of pocketing money as quickly as I could. I cared very little
whether the deceased’s’ souls came to Nirvana or not. Upon my death,
my soul was first escorted by the infernal guards to the 1st palace of
hell, then to the Center for Complementary Teaching of Canonical Books
where I have stayed for over a year. Since I was negligent in my duty
and anxious to shorten the prayers, I knew nearly nothing of the
canonical books. Now, I have to extend myself in an all-out attempt to
learn them again, from start to end. Still, I find it hard to complete
my complementary course. My eyes are swollen and red, causing me almost
unbearable pain. When my complementary studies are finished, I will be
probably be sent to the 2nd palace for judgment on an even more grave
crime. For I also used charmed philters to harm other people. Now
it is too late for me to repent. I aspire sincerely to amend, and hope
my wish would be communicated to other priests in the
living world. They should never forget their professional conscience, if
they want to avoid my fate. For this moment, all I desire is to see
other people granted salvation.
This priest really deserves some mercy. I pray you, Master;
do something to help him overcome this situation.
His sin tallies with the law of retribution and sanction on
man’s acts. He is reaping what he has sown. The happier he was when on
earth, the more miserable he is now in hell. Don’t meddle with other
people’s business. We are mere visitors. All this is beyond our
province. After all, his case will be determined by the laws of hell.
It’s growing late. Get ready for our return. My sincere appreciation,
Mine too, General. It’s really heart-warming to see all the
religious people and priests exerting great effort to study what they