Skip to main content

GRANDMOTHER MENG

The Terrace of Drunken Oblivion is overseen by Grandmother Mèng. Grand-mother Mèng was born in the Earlier (Western) Hàn Dynasty. In her childhood she studied the Four Books and Five Scriptures of the Confucian school; and devoted herself to seriously chanting Buddhist scriptures. In this she immersed her-self until she became unaware of what was past and had no care about the future, but occupied herself in exhorting mankind to desist from taking life and to become vegetarians. At eighty-one years of age, though her hair was white, her complexion was clear as a child's. She was pure throughout her life, unblemished in her virginity. The only name she knew for herself was her surname Mèng. But men called her " Granny Mèng." She retired to the hills and lived as a religious hermit until the Later (Eastern) Hàn. Then certain people, especially sensitive, were able to understand the causes and effects in their previous lives, and liked to beguile others and play tricks, and they revealed secrets of the netherworld, until their former family members recognized them from their previous existence, and worldly affairs thus became confounded. So His Celestial Majesty the Jade Emperor ordered Granny Mèng to become a goddess in the afterworld and to construct the Terrace of Drunken Oblivion, and he permitted the selection of ghostly officials to assist her and carry out her commands. The souls which the tenth court has ruled should be reborn as humans consume an herbal decoction, neither liquor nor non-liquor, made in five flavors: sweet, bitter, acrid, sour, or salt. All ghosts, before they are reincarnated, are forced to consume this elixir making them forget everything about their former lives. They (instead) carry with them to the next life only slight influences such as the mouth watering when the spleen is impaired [by anger], laughter inducing perspiration, or worry producing tears, anger inducing sobs, or spitting from nervousness. Each (flavor?) brings one, two, or three such weaknesses. For good people, the eyes, nose, tongue, and four limbs will be made more refined, brighter, stronger, and healthier. But evil people's voices, intelligence, spirits, and ambition will be used up and gradually grow feeble. Be warned; repent; do no evil; do good.

The Terrace of Drunken Oblivion is situated in front of the Ten Courts, outside the six bridges. It is square, measuring ten feet every way, and surrounded by 108 small rooms. Running to the east there is a raised path, one foot four inches in breadth, and each of the male or female ghosts transferred here is equipped with a cup. Whether they swallow much or little it matters not; Should there be obstinate or crafty ones, who refuse to drink, Then beneath their feet sharp edged hooks appear, to hold them in place, and a copper tube is forced down their throats, and after enduring some pain, they are compelled to swallow some.

When all the ghosts have drunk this elixir of forgetfulness, ghostly attendants and soldiers are sent to escort them out by the path. and push them on to the hemp-tied Bamboo Floating Bridge of Sorrows. Beneath it there are torrents of rushing red water on either side. Looking ahead from half-way across they perceive written in large characters on a red cliff on the opposite side are the following lines: "To be human is easy, but to act human is hard. Yet to be reborn hu-man perhaps is harder still. For those who would be born again in happy state there is no great difficulty; It is only necessary to keep mouth and heart in harmony." When the spirits have read these words two huge demons jump out from the opposite shore and separately pass over the water surface so frightening the spirits that they can scarcely stand. One wears a black official hat with formal clothes and a brocade jacket; in his hand he holds paper and writing brush, and over his shoulder he carries a sharp sword, with instruments of torture hanging at his waist. He fiercely glares from large, round eyes and laughs a horrid laugh. His name is Short Life. The other has a dirty face, smeared with blood; he wears a white coat, an abacus in his hand and a rice sack over his shoulder. Round his neck hangs a string of paper money (burnt to the dead); his brow contracts tightly, and he utters long sighs. His name is "Death Has a Part," The duty of these great demons is to push the shades off the bridge into the red water. Those of a superficial nature rejoice at the prospect of being born once more as human beings; Those of a deeper nature weep and lament that in life they did not lay up a store of virtuous acts, and thus pass away from the state of mortals for ever. Yet both male and female ghosts, as though drunk or mad, rush on to be born again in any house where a woman is about to give birth. The change from the land of the dead to that of the living is both stifling and murky. And in the womb one's body is upside down and confined, with no room to move, so that both feet kick with force, trying to break out of the womb. At last the sound of "Wah" is heard, and another life begins. Because most people greedily seek the five desires and flavors and especially those associated with killing (e.g., meat) they foolishly lose the Buddha nature provided them at birth. They are ungrateful for the mercy of the Buddha, or of the Jade emperor, or for the instruction of the various gods. They have not thought about how to lead better lives, let alone to become Buddhas or bodhisattvas, or about how to lead lives of evil, engaging the three bad ways, They pay no attention to the end that must overtake them; and finally, they bring themselves once more to the same horrid plight, with demons dragging along their bodies, having wasted another incarnation. So the above lines about the Terrace of Drunken Oblivion were respectfully submitted to the Jade Emperor for inclusion in the Jade Guidebook, to be sent throughout the world so all might know them and might do good and eschew evil and value precious human life.
GRANDMOTHER MENG PO

孟婆神

孟婆神:生於前漢。幼讀儒書,壯誦佛經。凡有過去之事不思,未來之事不想。在世惟勸人戒殺、吃素。年至八十一歲,鶴髮童顏,終是處女。只知自己姓孟。人故皆稱之曰『孟婆阿奶』。入山修真,直至後漢。世人有能知前世因者,妄認前世眷屬,好行智術,露洩陰機。是以 上天敕命孟氏女為幽冥之神,造築醧忘一臺。准選鬼吏使喚。將十殿擬定,發往何地為人之鬼魂,用採取俗世藥物,合成似酒非酒之湯,分為甘苦辛酸鹹五味。諸魂轉世,派飲此湯,使忘前先各事。帶往陽間,或思涎,或笑汗,或慮涕,或泣怒,或唾恐,分別常帶一二三分之病。為善者,使其眼耳鼻舌四肢,較於往昔,愈精愈明愈強愈健。作惡者,使其消耗音智神魄魂血精志,漸來疲憊之軀,而預報知,令人懺悔為善。臺居第十殿,冥王殿前六橋之外。高大如方丈,四圍廊房一百零八間。向東甬道一條,僅闊一尺四寸。凡奉交到男女等魂,廚房各設盞具,招飲此湯,多飲少吃不論。如有刁狡鬼魂,不肯飲吞此湯者,腳下現出鉤刀絆住,上以銅管刺喉,受痛灌吞。諸魂飲畢,各使役卒攙扶從甬道而出,推上麻紮苦竹浮橋,下有紅水橫流之澗。橋心一望,對岸赤石巖前上,有斗大粉字四行,曰:為人容易做人難,再要為人恐更難;欲生福地無難處,口與心同卻不難。鬼魂看讀之時,對岸跳出長大二鬼分開撲至水面,兩徬站立不穩。一個是頭蓋烏紗,體服錦襖,手執紙筆,肩插利刀,腰褂刑具,撐圓二目,哈哈大笑,其名『活無常』。一個是垢面流血,身穿白衫,手捧算盤,肩背米袋,胸懸紙錠,愁緊雙眉,聲聲長嘆,其名『死有分』。催促推魂,落於紅水橫流之內。根行淺薄者,歡呼幸得人身。根行深厚者。悲泣自恨在生未修出世功德,苦根難斷。男婦等魂,如醉如癡,紛紛各投房舍,陰陽更變,氣悶昏昏,顛倒不能自由。雙足蹬破紫河車,奔出娘胎,哇的一聲落地。日久口貪滋味,勿顧物命。迷失如來佛性,有負佛恩以及天帝神恩。不慮善終惡死何樣結局,而復又作拖屍之鬼矣!以上二十二行,係醧忘臺下書吏,謹附奏 玉皇大帝,並纂載《玉曆》,通行下界知之。

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE STORY OF MISS LI

Miss Li, ennobled with the title "Lady of Ch‘ien-kuo," was once a prostitute in Ch‘ang-an. The devotion of her conduct was so remarkable that I have thought it worth while to record her story. In the T‘ien-pao era there was a certain nobleman, Governor of Ch‘ang-chou and Lord of Jung-yang, whose name and surname I will omit. He was a man of great wealth and highly esteemed by all. He had passed his fiftieth year and had a son who was close on twenty, a boy who in literary talent outstripped all his companions. His father was proud of him and had great hopes of his future. "This," he would say, "is the "thousand-league colt" of our family." When the time came for the lad to compete at the Provincial Examinations, his father gave him fine clothes and a handsome coach with richly caparisoned horses for the journey; and to provide for his expense at the Capital, he gave him a large sum of money, saying, "I am sure that your talent is such that …

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.'

The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away.

Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.'

Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away.

The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance.

[This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'. 
Osers noted that this story was from oral tradition.…

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry."

"Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The old…