Warning: This post is not for the faint-hearted, fo’ shiz. I mean, like seriously. It’s got ghosts and demons and humans being tortured, so you really don’t wanna see this if you’re like, eating breakfast on the other side of the globe.
But if you’re sure you won’t like, puke or whatever, Imma introduce the Chinese version of Hell to you, woo!
I guess most of you would be like, more familiar with the Western versions of the afterlife, but the Chinese version of hell is a lot more awful. It makes Dante’s Inferno look like cakewalk, because seriously? Nine circles aren’t enough. The Chinese people believe that there are eighteen levels of hell, and ten government offices in it, too.
Here’s what hell looks like:
This is the ninth level of hell, where all them demons boil sex offenders like rapists and molesters. But obviously I am getting ahead of myself, because I have to introduce hell properly.
Of course this Chinese writer, Wu Cheng En, was wayyy ahead of me by like, five hundred years, and this is part of the story, Journey to the West (yes, the one with the bad-ass monkey King in it,) so spoiler alert!
Anyway, the story starts here, with the Dragon King of the Jing River being pissed, and ends with the two soldiers protecting Emperor Taizong, but the story was so obviously not finished. The Emperor still couldn’t sleep even though the Dragon King didn’t show up anymore, and he was like, being haunted by ghosts.
So like, one morning, the Emperor was still lying in his bed, feelin’ sick, when one of his advisers came in. He was all, “Hey Emperor! I know how to get you out of your funk!”
"What?" the Emperor croacked.
"Give this letter to Judge Cui Jue of Fengdu." the adviser handed him a letter.
"Who the hell is Judge Cui Jue?"
"Um, Emperor, Judge Cui Jue IS the Judge of the Underworld."
Sidenote: Fengdu is a real place! It’s along the upper part of the Yangtze River in China’s Sichuan province.
Anyway, the adviser was all, “Maybe if you meet the King of Hell, your mind would be at ease,” and the Emperor was all like, “K,” and drifted off to sleep.
The next thing Emperor Taizong saw was the sign to the Ghost City, Fengdu. Then, he walked through Hell’s gate and a demon was all, “How dare you enter!” Stuff like this.
He was all, “Um, I’m the Emperor?”
"Yeah, sure," the demon said. "Where’s your identification, huh? Anyway, get lost."
"Oh, STFU," a voice said. It was Judge Cui Jue, and he was all, "Hi, you have a letter for me?"
And the Emperor was all, “Um, yeah.”
"Cool. Oh yeah. You don’t have to worry. You’ll be able to go back to Earth and rule, no prob."
Then, the Emperor noticed all the courts that surrounded them and he was all, “Wassat?”
So Judge Cui Jue started showing him around.
There was the first court, the Department of Births and Deaths, which King Qingguang was in charge of. He decides who gets to be born again, literally, and who gets tortured forever.
The second court’s got King Chujiang, who’s like, totally in charge of sentencing souls to the Chamber of Wind, Thunder and Ice.
The third court’s got King Songdi and he’s totally in charge of sending peeps to be skinned and have their eyes plucked out.
The fourth court’s where people see King Wuguan, and if you’re found guilty, you have to climb a mountain of knives.
The fifth court’s where King Yama tells the demons to take the souls away to have their hearts dug out.
The sixth court is the place where people get sentenced to have their tongues ripped out, and is run by King Biancheng.
The seventh court is ruled by King Taishan and he decides if people get boiled by oil or dismboweled.
It gets worse as we go, huh?
In the eighth court, King Dushi decides whether your bodies get torn apart or crushed.
In the ninth court, King Pingdeng decides if you get tortured by fire poles.
And lastly, in the tenth court, King Zhuanlun decides if you get reincarnated.
Anyway, after all that, the Emperor talked to Judge Cui Jue and asked, “Hey, uh… so, the whole Dragon King thing - no hard feelings, right? I mean, I did everythin’ I could.”
Judge Cui Jue was like, “Dude, it’s pre-destined, and by the way, you’re not gonna die really soon - you’ll like, rule the Kingdom for like, 10 more years or somethin’.”
So the Emperor prepared to leave, but he sees errything in hell, like Cowhead and Horseface, the Black and White Guard of Impermanence, and of course, the 18 levels of hell, which we’ll so look at next time.
Edit: I changed the picture to the correct one! Sorry guys, I was writing another post and that pic came in, my bad.