On a pleasant evening in Penang Malasyia, a group of 50 people, including a number of reporters sat down to be given a trip to Hell and back. About 200 had applied for the experience, but many were excluded because of pregnancy, menstruation, or unfavourable birth dates. The trip was organized by Master Kek Eng Seng of the Tze Bei Guan Yin Dhamma Centre, who claims that he can travel through the realms of Earth, Heaven and Hell.
The story in the words of one of the reporters:
My eyes were covered with a paper talisman wrapped in a yellow cloth. Then, the lights were switched off.
As I listened to the chants by Master Kek, my head became very hot, as though there was a stream of warm air trying to get out of my body through the top.
(Master Kek later explained this by saying that my soul was trying to get out of my body.)
The feeling came three to four times but was gone within minutes.
I tried hard to concentrate but my mind was distracted by the sounds from a Chinese opera show nearby and noises from the watching crowd.
But I refused to give up.
About 45 minutes after the “tour” began, I saw lights and followed their direction but I soon fell into darkness again with some circles flying towards me.
It was like watching a science fiction movie with a spacecraft traveling through a stream of meteoroids.
(Master Kek later explained that I was passing through a whirlpool while on my way to “Hell”.)
But, I was again distracted by the noises and failed to enter “Hell”.
I guess Hell isn’t such a bad place, as one of the participants was successful in making the journey,
Chiang Kee Chuan from China Press was the only ‘lucky’ one from among the media participants.
“I saw a rainbow hanging on a beautiful sky, and a monk advised me to become a vegetarian,” he said.
Master Kek invited some of the reporters back for a second try.
Like before, I felt a stream of warm air gushing out from the top – Master Kek had explained earlier that it was my soul trying to get out of my body.
A while later, the darkness was gone and a light shone on me. It was so bright that I opened my eyes automatically. (This was strange because a person would normally close his eyes when the light is too bright.)
As I listened to the chants, the light went off and was replaced by total darkness again. Then, I saw circles and was flowing with them – one after another.
This process was repeated a few times and at one point, I felt that my feet were not on the ground and I felt that I was floating.
But the ‘travelling time’ was up by then.
Again, only one of the participants, Cheam Sin Khai from Guang Ming Daily, managed to make the journey, although his experience wasn’t so pleasant,
From a video recording taken by his colleague, Cheam was seen shaking his head and body very violently during the ‘journey’. While sitting on the edge of the chair, he kept pushng himself backwards with his feet rapidly.
He later told us that two ‘people’ – standing on his left and right – were trying to pull him to another place but he refused.
He could feel a third ‘person’ walking around behind him.
So, he was struggling and fighting the force.
Since Master Kek prayed to Guan Yin deity to stop the rain we can assume that he is a Buddhist, and they have a very different concept of heaven and hell than the Judeo-Christian ones we are more familiar with.
The Buddhist texts states, that there are thirty one planes or states of existence in the universe, including that of humans. Beings are born into a particular plane depending of their accumulated kamma.
Below the human plane are four planes (Asura,Peta,Thiracchana and Niraya) which are described as unhappy states of existence. Beings are born into these states as a result of their unwholesome kamma. Excessive greed and attachment to worldly belongings may cause re-birth in the Peta plane and be drawn to the place of attachment.
Above the human plane are the Deva and Brahma planes. As the level of plane becomes higher, more subtle is the state of existence and longer is the life span. At these higher planes, the life span is said to last billions of years relative to earthly life.
The Devas have physical forms which are composed of more subtle material than that in the human plane. They enjoy a life of great sense pleasure and may possess supernormal powers.
The Brahma planes are described as form and formless states. In the formless states, the beings are devoid of any material bodies. They transcends all physical sensations and are said to exist in a state of equanimity.
Beings in these higher planes are described as celestial beings. It may well be that so called ‘gods’ are such beings.
Even though the life-spans in these higher planes of existence last millions of years relative to earth, they eventually come to an end, since the existence in all these planes are conditioned: that is, the laws of cause and effect operate, and all conditioned things are impermanent.
This is what is meant by the terms ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’ in Buddhist teachings: there are no permanent heavens or hells as taught in other religions.
Trips to heaven and hell? Or perhaps hypnosis:
Hypnosis is a process involving a hypnotist and a subject who agrees to be hypnotized. Being hypnotized is usually characterized by (a) concentration, (b) relaxation, (c) suggestion, and (d) expectation.
I know which one I’d put money on.