VISIT TO THE PRISON OF HUNGER AND THIRST
Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on September 9th, 1976. Leap year of the Dragon (1976)
Buddha Tse Kong: Until this day, we have had much pain writing the book. For whose happiness have we endure all this pain and care? For whose sake have we consecrated our attention and anxiety? On roads heading in different directions, men and vehicles are rushing and rumbling in full animation and turbulence. This is a sign of material progress and of civilization. However, morality declines from day to day, ways and customs degenerate in depravation. Wails and laments from the souls in the World of Darkness are shaking mountains and valley in hell. Obeying to the order of God, the Temple of Sages has undertaken the mission of writing the book ďVoyages to HellĒ. By depicting the chastisement and the mournful scenes of hell, this book is for the purpose of explaining the truth and showing men the harbor of illusions in which they live. This book is not at all a fictitious-novel written for men to read as pastime. They must be aware of its real significance. Yang Tsíien! Another trip to hell. Make yourself ready.
am ready, Master. Shall we go?
Remember this. For a profane man like you, it is a providential
privilege to get seated on a dais of lotus. You should respect and
cherish such a favor... Here we are! Letís go down. Tonight, weíre
going to visit the Prison of Hunger and Thirst.
This place looks like a waste land. Itís so deserted. Which
direction are we taking, Master?
Not far from here, beyond this stretch of bumpy road is the
Prison of Hunger and Thirst.
This place is totally deserted. How can the souls enter the
Look to your left. Youíll see.
Thatís it. I see a small path. Two or three buffalo-headed and
horse-faced demons are escorting sinful souls.
Letís go to the right and take that path to follow them.
These profane folk! Who permits you to come directly here?
Open wide your eyes, and look before itís too late.
This buffalo-headed guard appears ugly and ferocious. He has a
spear and a steel net in hand. He seems aggressive. Is he going to
Do not fear. Iím going to box his ears.
are you? Say it quickly or Iíll bind you up like faggots and bring you
to the Governorís judgment.
How long have you been enlisted as a guard of hell? You donít
seem to know who I am.
two months I carry out orders to the letter. Iím proud of myself.
Every living soul without an authorization is arrested. This is my
Iím the living Buddha Tse Kong. This gentleman, a disciple of
Saint Kwan-Yu, is appointed by the Temple of Sages to visit hell, and
write a book for menís education. We are on our way to the prison of
hunger and thirst. If you must know, we are bearers of the Celestial
Edict, and here it is. Donít try to block our way. Otherwise, heavy
punishment is waiting for you.
well, this is correct! Itís Godís order. Let me kneel down to salute
the divine order. So you are the very living buddha people used to call
the Mad Monk. I quit the living world not long ago, and didnít have
the honor of encountering the Great Buddha. I ask for your pardon, both
you and Mr. Yang Tsíien. If you want to go to the Prison of Hunger and
Thirst, you will find it beyond those hills. Iíll be your guide.
Perfect. Letís follow him.
Yes. This small road is covered with crushed stones and its
surface is full of puddles. A real torment to walk on! The soles of my
feet are pierced through by thousands of penetrating needles. Before us,
two guards are escorting a woman. One would say she is a rich woman
considering her attire. But her feet are chained. What crime led her
The well-to-do people in the terrestial world who enjoyed too
good a living, wasting cereal grains and leftovers, and overate during
their lives. Now, they are here to learn the anguish of hunger and
thirst, and the importance of a morsel of food.
That hill is not too high. It has leafy trees, reeds and climbing
plants, similar to earth. On the slope I see a path only wide enough for
When you come down the slope on the other side, you will see the
Prison of Hunger and Thirst at the bottom of it.
I see the prison. Its four walls of cast-iron are painted black,
with bolted doors. Now, we are at the foot of the hill.
wait here, gentleman. Iím going to announce your arrivals.
I see indistinct characters engraved on a wooden board: ďPrison
of Hunger and ThirstĒ. It is securely guarded by demons on both sides.
The woman we just saw is entering the prison.
have notified the Mandarin-Governor. Follow me please.
Mandarin-Governor: Welcome to Buddha Tse Kong and Mr. Yang
Tsíien. Your visit honors me greatly. I have been tardly in my
reception. Please accept my humble apology.
I pray you, Excellency. We ourselves are intrusive visitors. As
you must have guessed, the Temple of the Sages received the celestial
order to write a book entitled ďVoyages to HellĒ. I was entrusted
the task of leading Yang Tsíienís soul to hell, to observe and
collect information for the book. Its aim is to educate mankind. We rely
greatly upon your assistance, Excellency.
Our prison, named ďHunger and ThirstĒ is a sub-section of the
2nd Palace. I propose to take Mr. Yang Tsíien for a visit. Buddha Tse
Kong, please take a rest and have
Shall we go right away, Excellency? This prison is composed of
three meter-wide cells. The detainees, though quite decently dressed,
look unhealthy, unhappy and pale. They are famished people who are
crying and lamenting to the extreme.
Most of these people were important businessmen in their
lifetime. They possessed too much clothing, spent their money just as
though it was pebbles without any twinge of conscience. They were
completely unfeeling and merciless to
needly persons and beggars. After their death, they came to this place.
Let me call some of them for you to question.
May I know the reason why you are detained in this prison?
alive, I was the proprietor of a big factory. My business went smoothly
and I earned a great deal of money. In my business transactions, I
associated with wealthy people. I spent most of my days in hotels,
restaurants and pleasure-places. For some feasts, I paid thousands of
dollars without any bad feeling about the cost. Nevertheless, things
were different when I was dealing with the welfare of my employees. I
was as hard as a rock. I was stingy. I counted my coins, which caused
much rancour among my personnel. If charitable organizations asked for a
donation, I disbursed at most 500 dollars, just to get rid of them. Such
words as charity, mercy, and sympathy had no meaning to me. To the
beggars, needy friends or kinfolks who came to my door, I had my
servants chase them away, feigning an absence. When at home, I allowed
myself to enjoy the rarest, most exquisite dishes, no matter what they
cost. Moreover, I maintained many concubines, affording each of them a
separate house with all comforts. In this way, I spent tens of thousands
of dollars monthly, viewing the fact as quite natural. Two years ago, I
died of hypertension and was
condemned to this prison of hunger and thirst. Although I still have my
western clothing, I have no more chance to relish the delicacies of
yore. Each week, I am tossed a bowl of vegetables or of porridge instead
of rice. Three days without food leaves me exhausted and unconscious.
The buffalo-headed and horse-faced demons bring water to resuscitate me
and then the torment resumes. Now, I have an empty stomach, my bowels
get twisted in unbearable fits. Gentlemen, I pray you to tose me
anything to eat. Iím starving!
You, brute! Come here. Donít disturb people. You donít have
to moan, since you had profited too much from your life. Now, do confess
your crimes to Mr. Yang Tsíien.
I was the wife of a rich man. My husband was an owner of a
building enterprise and we prospered quite rapidly. We changed our
houses frequently, shifting to larger ones each time. Possessing too
much money and not knowing what to do, I began to play cards day and
night, totally neglecting my duty as a wife. I made appointments with my
male and female friends in nightclubs, and was on a spree all night
long, incapable of restraining myself. As far as relief to the wretched
and charity activities are concerned, I was cold and completely
heedless. After a lifetime of amusement and debauchery, I died, and the
Mandarin-Governor was merciless to me. He condemned me to this prison. I
am terribly hungry and am dying of thirst. Itís beyond my endurance.
The face of this woman shows pain and suffering. She is chewing
her fingers. Hunger and thirst must be tormenting her terribly.
Back to your cell!
One thing I canít understand, Excellency. All these detainees,
men and women in different cells, wear fine clothing. Why do they behave
just like beggars on the roadside, with disheveled hair, crying and
moaning, chewing their fingers to appease hunger?
All those people who destroy the properties of God, waste
nutritious foods, and foolishly lavish their money; all those who seek
to enjoy themselves, giving no alms to the poor or donating no shares to
charity organizations; the man who forsakes his legitimate wife to live
in a nice home with his concubine or his lover; the woman who
unexpectedly becomes a popular singer, as we find in many places, and
who despises and drops her husband to freely enjoy ephemeral fame; and
all those who change their hearts and behavior as they get richer, will
come down to hell to endure painful punishment. This will serve as a
warning to men in the living world. The people endowed with wealth and
honor are advised to share a little of their riches to assist other
people. They should not lavish their money only for personal enjoyment.
If they deal passionately in pleasures, their happiness will end and it
will be followed by woe. The present-day wealth and honor of theirs are
the fruit of their former lives, during which they had been known to
regenerate and accumulate merit. Let them be aware of that. If they know
how to behave in this life, avoiding lust, helping other people from
danger, rescuing the wretched or printing canonical books for educating
mankind, they not only will enjoy a good reputation but their souls will
also rise to the kingdom of happiness, or they will be worshipped in a
temple by large numbers of people.
Well, I think itís enough for tonight, Yang Tsíien. How about
In fact, itís growing late. Again, I hope you forget my
We are grateful for your explanations. They are quite clear. We
have to take leave now.