- JiGong: The time to
tour Hades again has now arrived. Yang Sheng; quickly step on
the lotus flower platform.
- Yang Sheng: Yes Sir;
I am securely seated. We can start now.
- JiGong: We have
- Yang Sheng: There is
a building the door-way of which reads “Severing of Sinews and
Extracting of Hand-Bone Prison”. The Officer and General are out
to receive us. Greetings to you, Officer and General. Your
humble servant, Yang Sheng and JiGong have come to visit you for
- JiGong: I bring Yang
Sheng here today in compliance with the Order to write a Book
because the present day affairs are deteriorating from bad to
worse. Everybody wants to enjoy material and immoral existence.
They worship money regardless of the consequences and seem to
ask how much is conscience worth nowadays. When I hear of this,
it pains me very much. When you come to think of it, much credit
must be given to Sheng Xian Tang for publishing and distributing
books, leaflets, and religious tracts exhorting people to do
good deeds. Yu Huang Da Tian Zun
has very high praise for Sheng Xian Tang. That’s why the special
job of writing the Book, ‘Journeys to
the Underworld” is
entrusted to Sheng Xian Tang. Our visit to Hades is to enable
Yang Sheng to write the Book based on his personal first hand
- Officer: We have
already received information about the purpose of your visit, so
please follow me.
- Yang Sheng: The
soldiers of Hades are really very cruel. They use very sharp
knives to sever the sinews of the hands of souls who are
strapped to wooden crosses. These souls are in such great pain
that they cannot do anything but just struggle.
- Officer: The name of
this place is severing of Sinews and Extracting of Hand-Bone
Prison. The soldiers of Hades use very sharp and pointed knives,
firstly, to sever the sinews of the hands then to strip the
flesh of the hands to feed the iron dogs; secondly to extract
the bones of the hands. Truly this brutal operation is very
- Yang Sheng: I
observe that after this cruel treatment, the souls become more
or less unconscious. There are a number of black dogs which seem
to be enjoying a feast of the flesh which has been stripped out
of the hands of the souls and thrown to them. On Earth, I have
often seen dogs eating the bones of animals or fishes but I have
never seen them eating the flesh of human beings. Can I ask
Officer from where have these black dogs come?
- Officer: These dogs
are called “iron dogs” and they are peculiar only in Hades. They
have never been domesticated for thousands of years. That’s why
they like to eat human flesh very much. Dogs of the Earth have
been domesticated for thousands of years. That’s why they are
used as watch dogs, pet dogs, etc, because they are more or less
familiar with human beings and their ways of life but these
“iron dogs” of Hades do not know nature and so they are used to
punish sinful souls by eating their flesh – this is one way of
- Yang Sheng: Officer,
what you have said is quite correct. If a person does not know
the meaning of honesty or righteousness he is worse than a dog.
I see that these souls are being punished by their flesh being
fed to these “iron dogs,” for what sins are they being so
- JiGong: I will wave
my rush-leaf fan to revive a couple of unconscious souls so that
they can relate to you their story. Just see my magic…
- Yang Sheng: Really,
these souls are awakening one by one.
- Officer: I will
release three souls for them to tell their stories to Yang Sheng.
You, come here and tell Yang Sheng what sin you had committed on
- 1st Soul:
I will speak. I am now in great agony but my descendants who are
still alive on Earth do not know how much I am suffering here in
Hades. They seem to think that by my death, everything is
finished with and forgotten. When I was alive, I was a vegetable
seller, I was greedy for money and to get more money, I
manipulated my weighing machine to cheat my customers. After the
manipulation, one kati of vegetables according to my weighing
machine, was in fact only 11 or 12 tahils. People say one must
be honest when doing business; but I had no conscience at all.
How was I then to know that after my death, when I was brought
before the Magic Mirror, I was shown every sin I had committed
when I was living? The Head of the Fourth Tribunal sentenced me
to this Prison for 10 years. Everyday, I have to undergo this
terrible punishment. I hope that businessmen still living will
now realize that they must be honest in all their dealings and
not be greedy for easy money by resorting to cheating. One must
be honest when it comes to the use of any kind of weighing
machine because for cheating through incorrect weight, Hades
cannot overlook or excuse. The head of the Fourth Tribunal is
very much against those who cheat by resorting to short-weight.
- Officer: Who on
Earth told you to cheat by giving short-weight or short-measure?
Now that you are here in this Prison, the soldiers of Hades have
to “cure” your mischievous hands which had manipulated your
weighing machine. Now, 2nd Soul, tell your side of
the story to Yang Sheng quickly.
- 2nd Soul:
When I was alive, my family was poor. I was not given a decent
education and at an early age, had to earn my living as a “rag
and bone” man – collecting rags and old clothes, scrap iron, odd
and ends, etc, at times buying from householders, using an old
bicycle for the purpose. I then sold the scraps to bigger shops.
Friends of the same trade advised me that to succeed and get
good profits, we have to cheat when buying and weighing the old
scraps, or old newspapers, etc, because householders who sell
these articles just want to get rid of their unwanted rubbish
and were not very particular about what weight we say, example
sometimes if the scraps actually weighed 10 katis and if we said
5 katis, the householders would not know or couldn’t care less
or bother to haggle. I had been doing this sort of cheating for
a number of years and when I died, the Head of the Fourth
Tribunal before whom I was brought, was very angry with me. He
said I did not have commercial morality and sentenced me to this
Prison for 15 years, being punished everyday by the soldiers of
Hades who insult and cause me much suffering. I cannot express
my great grief here; so will Yang Sheng of Earth please help me
to get out of this Prison?
- Yang Sheng: Dear
Master, what this chap has spoken is quite sincere. Look at the
suffering he is undergoing and the rags he is wearing. Can we do
something to help him?
- JiGong: We have been
entrusted with the mission to write the Book, therefore please
do not deviate or interfere with the punishment these souls are
going through; this is best left to the Officer.
- Officer: When you
were on Earth, you did not take the trouble to keep your hands
clean. Now that you are dead and are here, the soldiers of Hades
have to sever the sinews of your two hands etc. You should be
brave and face the consequences of your past actions, like a
he-man should. Now 3rd Soul, you can tell your story
to Yang Sheng.
- 3rd Soul:
When I was alive, I was married to a man who was a government
servant. During the day time after my husband had gone to his
office and the children had gone to school, I was left with
nothing useful to do at home. So, to kill time, my neighbors and
I spent our time playing mahjong. At the beginning, I did not
know how to play but they taught me until I became proficient.
Satisfied with my acquired knowledge of playing mahjong, I later
became expert in other types of gambling. Although the stakes
were small and the winnings and losses were not high, the
gambling habit got the better of me and I could not let the day
pass without a gambling session, so much so, that I eventually
neglected my home and did not look after the welfare of my
growing children and family. My husband advised me to give up
the gambling habit and to concentrate on the home, but, instead,
I turned a deaf ear and this resulted in frequent quarrels. Four
years ago, I died of heart failure and my soul was sent to the
First Tribunal, the chief of which sentenced me to this Prison
where I have to undergo punishment for another 6 months, making
it four and a half years in all. I would therefore advise women
now living, to maintain the virtues proper to women; take care
of the family and not to do the wrong that I had done. Now that
I am dead, the sinews of my two hands are severed. I have to
blame my own self for my present suffering because I did not
conduct myself properly when I was alive.
- Officer: If women do
not take good care of their family and home but go gambling from
house to house, or frequent brothels as a result of gambling,
they have themselves to blame because they destroy social
morality. One redeeming aspect of your case is that although you
did gamble, you did not cheat people; neither did you frequent
brothels or take to gambling for a living. The Chief of the
First Tribunal was kind to sentence you so lightly; that is only
four and a half years punishment.
- Yang Sheng: Officer,
what type of prison would a lone professional gambler be sent to
when he dies? This sort of person makes gambling his sole
livelihood and resorts to cheating when at the gambling table.
- Officer: This type
of sin does not come under the jurisdiction of this Fourth
Tribunal; the proper Tribunal to deal with him is the Seventh
Tribunal which is under Tai Shan Wang. I would exhort human
beings who have committed the sins mentioned above to quickly
turn over a new leaf and live a new life; help to print and
distribute this Book; then only will their sins be lightened and
they will not be sent to this Prison when they die.
- JiGong: We are
running out of time, so we have to return.
- Yang Sheng: Thank
you very much, Officer, we must hurry back.
- Officer: Fare you
well, JiGong and Yang Sheng.
- JiGong: Yang Sheng,
leave this Prison quickly and step on the lotus flower platform.
- Yang Sheng: I am
safely seated, dear Master; we can now start to return.
- JiGong: We have
arrived at Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, get down. Soul, return
to your body.
- End of Journey No 26