Voyages to Hell

translated by

Nguyen Khang & Bui H.Huu

CHAPTER 14

VISIT TO THE PRISON OF ICE

Buddha Tse Kong who manifested on September 29th, 1976. Leap Year of the Dragon (1976) 

The chill winter grisps him, shivering and shaken
With unswerving will, beatified and firm as rock
Mountains and valleys are white-carpeted
Progressing upward perfection is reached.

Buddha Tse Kong:     Autumn is passing, rigorous winter is coming around. The weather seems to change unusually this year. A host of people are ill because of it. Today, Iím going to take you to the Prison of Ice. We are to encounter squalls of wind that freeze your bones. Do you think you can stand that? 

YT:      Gracious Master, Iíve just caught a cold. Itís frosty today. May be we can postpone our trip to the Prison of Ice until some later day, and visit some other place. What do you think, Master? 

TK:      Donít joke, son. We have already announced our visit to the Prison of Ice, havenít we? It is impossible to change our minds at the last minute. If it is the bitter cold that frightens you, Iíll give you these three warming-pills. Take them, and stop worrying. 

YT:      Iím greatly thankful, Master, for your miracle-pills. Iíve taken them. Good gracious! I feel as if I were sitting by the fireplace. The cold is gone. 

TK:      Fine. Now, the lotus dais is waiting us. 

YT:      Iím on it. Shall we start? 

TK:      Here we come. Get down, son. 

YT:      Before us, there is no one, except for a snow-capped high mountain. The snow seems fresh. No vegetation except some skeletal trees, leafless, are found here and there. Where are we, Master? 

TK:      We are a short distance from the Prison of Ice. The mountain you see over there is crowned with snow all year round. It is extremely cold. Since we didnít take the path to hell, we see no one. Besides, we sat on the lotus that flew in space. Follow me to the left slope of the mountain and youíll see the Prison of Ice. 

YT:      This deserted area has no single path. All vegetation dies because of the ice. Everything has withered and died. I feel colder as I come nearer. Is it because the miracle-pills have lost their effect? 

TK:      By no means is their efficiency reduced. Remember this: the deitiesímiracle-pills all have a back-and-forth effect. Just wait a while, and youíll feel warm again. Youíll have enough stamina to endure the cold for three days. Rest assured. You donít think Iím going to let you freeze to death, do you? 

YT:      I see a row of cells built of wood and painted black. On the roof is the immaculate white of snowflakes. In front, two stakes support a board with this inscription ďPrison of IceĒ. Opposite the prison, I see a narrow alley that joins with the cells. Why donít I see any furniture in the cells? 

TK:      This prison is furnished with ice. The sinful souls are benumbed and frozen in it. There is no means of escape, which explains the absence of furniture. 

YT:      On the alley, I see some guards escorting ten young men and women. Are they led here for punishment? 

TK:      Nothing is truer. The Mandarin-Governor and the General are coming. Make yourself ready, Yang Tsíien. Weíre going to greet them. 

YT:      My respects to His Excellency and to the General. I have received the order to visit hell and I rely on your assistance. 

The Mandarin:       Welcome to you. I have just received the Pontiff of Hellís instructions announcing the visit of Buddha Tse Kong and Mr. Yang Tsíien. You are writing a book to teach men about morality. Please, come this way to the reception hall. 

YT:      Thank you, Excellency. 

TK:      Weíd rather go straight to the prison, General. No need to enter the reception hall. 

The Mandarin:        If thatís what you want, gentlemen. 

YT:      The Prison of Ice is located between two mountains. In the background, there are lakes which look like swimming pools stretching long distance. In the lakes, many young men and women are seen in underwear, the lower part of their bodies immersed and hidden by ice. One and all, they look blue with cold, their lips are black, their arms trembling. They have neither strength left for crying, nor for groaning. In front of me, two elderly men are staring at me with imploring eyes. They seem to have something to say. Please, Master! Donít you have any means of rescuing them from the icy cold that stiffens their bodies? 

The Mandarin:        I will have some of them come up to answer your questions. 

YT:      Please do. Now, respectable old man. How do you feel in this lake? 

The soul:       With all that ice on the tops of mountains, and this snow on the ground, I have only this thin underwear, I donít have the strength to speak. All my body is frozen. I think Iím going to faint. 

The Mandarin:       General, bring him some ginger-water to help him recover his vital essence. 

The General:  Drink this, and confess the crimes of your life. Theyíre going to write a book to advise the living men not imitate you, if they want to avoid falling in hell. 

The soul:      When alive, I had the hobby of collecting stamps, ancient coins, and antique items of all kinds. At the age of 45, I made friends with a man who had the same hobby as mine. We were a pair of close companions. We spent hours drinking tea, making confidence and discussing things. Our friendship was very intimate. One day, as he had to travel abroad, my friend proposed to entrust me with his treasure of stamps, ancient coins and antique objects, lest they should be stolen during his absence. In a moment of greed, I took possession of all his fortune and hid it at a place away from home. Upon his return, the man came to reclaim his entrusted properties. Quite brazenly, I told him: ďIím really sorry and confused, dear friend. Just a fortnight ago, a burglar broke into my house and stole all your stuff. All of my precious collections are gone also.Ē My friend was thunderstruck upon hearing my words. He pulled his hair, pestered me, fretted day and night, cursed his fate endlessly. In the long run, he resignedly accepted the loss of his treasure. At the age of 56, I died of liver cancer. Arriving in hell, my soul found out that the Mirror Revelator of Past Crimes unveiled my every act even identifying the place I concealed the collection. With bent head, I had to admit my misdeeds; and the King of the 2nd Palace condemned me to 5 years of imprisonment in this Prison of Ice. Day by day, I suffer the cold that freezes and numbs my body. Itís extremely painful. I have deep remorse but I think it is too late. Could you by chance intervene with the Mandarin-Governor to deliver me from this torment? 

YT:      May I solicit from you some reduction for his pains? 

The Mandarin:       We are dealing with the laws of hell, you know, Mr. Yang Tsíien. Without the King of the Palaceís instructions, I have no authority to do anything. All I can do is to give him another gulp of ginger water and thatís all. Let him be satisfied with that, and cease his supplications. Now, interrogate this old woman on the action that led her to this prison. 

YT:      This elderly woman is all stiff with cold. She lets herself drop on the ground. How can I ask her questions? I propose that she should be given a gulp of the ginger-water to get revived. 

The General:  Drink this quickly then answer Mr. Yang Tsíienís questions. Should you disobey, your punishment would be more severe. 

The soul:       Alas! I suffer more than I can stand. This piercing cold is akin to freezing corpses in the morgue of the living world. Look at my body. It is all green with cold, and my blood is clotted. In my life, I was a brothel keeper. I accommodated a dozen young girls, and we lived in a den with shabby rooms. Among the girls, there were professional whores, daughters of reputable families, and students playing truant. Daily I forced them to entertain the clients and if they refused to comply, I locked them up and had the hooligans punish them. Many of the girls had been ransomed by their parents and by the clients who sought to deliver them from the yoke of prostitution and restore their freedom. From the ransomers, I demanded handsome amounts of money, and those who did not have enough money to pay for their liberty were required to leave their youth in my den of carnal pleasures. At the age of 51, because of debauchery and excess use of opium and alcoholic drinks, I died of cerebral hemorrhage. Only upon arrival in hell did I know my longevity had been curtailed by ten years by the Pontiff of Hell. My karma was too weighty; I was first condemned to five years in the prison with the Lake of Mire, Excrements and Urine, then transferred to this Prison of Ice for another 31 years. Upon termination of my sentence, I donít know if I will be sent to other prisons. My present is disastrous, my future may reserve other pain for me, I hate myself enormously for having created such a bad karma. 

The Mandarin:      Now, itís your turn to narrate your crimes. Make her drink some ginger-water, General, so she can regain a little of her vital essence and talk coherently. 

The General:       At your request. She has drunk her cold proof water. 

YT: Young lady, may I ask why you are here. 

The soul:       I blush while telling you this. When I was 18 years old, I was a member of a group of singers and dancers. We gave performance at various places. Usually, I performed my show of strip tease to attract the spectators. Afterwards, in a period of crisis, the group was disbanded. I became a wench and entertained my clients with my old strip tease show. I made acquaintance with a wealthy businessman who rented a separate house for me to live with him as his concubine. When I was 36 years of age, we did not live in perfect harmony, my husband and I were separated. At one time, sadly discouraged and depressed by my solitude and incapacity, I committed suicide with poison. Upon my death, I was detained in the Citadel of Premature Death for 5 years, and then transferred to this Prison of Ice where I have lived for 3 years. I still have 20 years to go. At present, my pain is unbearable. Each day, my body and limbs are frozen; the icy cold pierces my heart. I am deeply repentant, but there is nothing I can do. I advise young girls in the terrestrial world to never take the path I have taken. 

The Mandarin:       This sinful soul did not pursue an honest trade in her life. She lived on her nude body and sexual intercourse; therefore, she destroyed the ways and customs of society. She did not like to wear decent clothing. After her death, she was condemned to this Prison of Ice to experience the icy cold temperature. She is trying to get more clothing against the cold but she canít find any. When people commit a sin, they pay for it. She committed other sins too. Upon expiration of her sentence here, she will be sent to other prisons for judgment. Let the girls on earth consider her example! General, take these souls back to the prison. 

YT:      I see a white veil of fog evaporating from the prison, just like smoke. And the air begins to grow colder. 

TK:      That is the cold smoke and air emanating from the prison. 

The Mandarin:       All those who steal properties entrusted to them by others; keep brothels and prevent loose women from changing their life to be respectable citizens, disregard local produce, and wear only imported silks to show off their wealth. The money they spend lavishly and foolishly can be given to provide needy people with warm clothes against the cold. Women whose dresses lay bare their backs, bellies, and thighs, intentionally exhibiting the secret parts of their bodies to allure the male sex, and all these people who donít fear the cold and are slaves of ornaments will have to come to the Prison of Ice and experience some coldness. 

TK:      Time is running short. We have to return to the Temple. 

YT:      My deep thanks to His Excellency and to the General. I hope to see you again. 

The Mandarin:       So long, gentlemen. 

TK:      To the lotus dais, Yang Tsíien. 

YT:      All set, Master. Shall we go? 

TK:      Here is the Temple. Go re-occupy your body.

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CONTENTS

Forward
Introduction
Preface
Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49
Chapter 50
Chapter 51
Chapter 52
Chapter 53
Chapter 54
Chapter 55
Chapter 56
Chapter 57
Chapter 58
Chapter 59
Chapter 60
Chapter 61
Celestial Edict
Postface

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