If you read the last blog post and clicked on Ced Yong’s outstanding article, then you are prepped so to speak to read further.

In the 1987 Cult Classic “A Chinese Ghost Story” (倩女幽魂) a haplass Tax Collector falls in love with a ghost. He is helped by a Daoist/Taoist monk who uses talismen and the Buddhist Heart Sutra to battle demons. The monk does not know Sanskrit but he has internalized the essence of the sutra. I watched it first on Amazon Prime but you can watch it on YouTube in segments with English subtitles.

In the film, there are a few elements that are misunderstood. They appear in a lot of Wuxia (武俠 [ù.ɕjǎ]) films. They are important for understanding the common themes between the Eastern Orthodox Twenty Aerial Toll Houses, presented in Never Die With Your Pants Around Your Ankles: The Death of Vegas’ Notorious Doc, A Prescription for Hell . The Chinese Ten Courtrooms has a Judge who presides over a court for each set of SINS. We will see something similar in a way in the Hindu realm ruled over by Lord Yama.

In A Chinese Ghost Story, we do not see the courtrooms. What we do see is a battle between the living duo who have crossed into the Netherworld to rescue the soul of the murdered young woman from a forced marriage to a demon. In the film you see the use of blood magick to create talismen, a magical sword (My guess this is the Sword of Manjushri but that is MY guess), and the mantra which is nothing more than the title of the sutra (pretty funny if you like Buddhist humor).

The subtitles in the Amazon Prime version use the transliteration (Paó-yen Pao-Io-mi) for the mantra the monk teaches the Tax Collector. The monk has no idea what it means. It is the literally the cover title of the sutra – Prajñāpāramitā!

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Click on the Sutra to watch a short Playlist to see the scenes play out.

This film has a long backstory. A MUST read is a long critique by the OUTSTANDING film critic, Roderick Heath. He doesn’t mention discuss the significance of the sutra nor the Daoist talismen but the rest is flawless writing!

The backstory and an excellent history of such films was written in A Weird History by Gene Ching.

The subtitles translates the monk’s instructions to the “hero” saying the Diamond Sutra defeats evil. This is odd since it’s the Heart Sutra; but I went searching to see if the Diamond Sutra is used as an amulet, voila, I found the above webpage. I can write about sutras another time. What I want to get at is the strange story the late Harry Leo Duran told me. He called me one day in a dead panic from his condo on the 22nd floor of the Ogden in the heart of downtown Vegas. He was screaming that none other than the 1,000 armed bodhisattva  Avalokiteśvara (अवलोकितेश्वर) aka Chenrezig. aka  Guanyin (觀音) had shown up out of the blue and was showing him all the suffering on the planet and next in all realms. He was hysterical. I tried to get him to listen to Guanyin’s cries and use his medical training as a physician to heal those in pain but he just kept on ranting about how awful it all was. I got disgusted.

How ironic that the physical collection of palm leaves with the Sanskrit text of the Prajna Paramita is depicted as the ultimate weapon against a 1,000 year old TREE demon! How ironic that the sutra’s first line begins with “Avalokiteśvara”. HAD Harry Leo Duran LISTENED that day, MAYBE he would not have ended up in Hell!


Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita, 
perceived that all five skandhas are empty and was saved from all suffering and distress. 

“Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness emptiness does not differ from form. 

That which is form is emptiness that which is emptiness form. 

The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness. 

Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness they do not appear nor disappear are not tainted nor pure do not increase nor decrease. 

Therefore in emptiness no form, no feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; 
no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes and so forth until no realm of mind-consciousness; 
no ignorance and also no extinction of it, and so forth until 
no old age and death and also no extinction of them; 
no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path, 
no cognition, also no attainment. 

With nothing to attain the Bodhisattva depends on Prajna Paramita and mind is no hindrance. 

Without any hindrance no fears exist. 

Far apart from every inverted view, one dwells in Nirvana. 

In the three worlds all Buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita and attain unsurpassed, complete, perfect enlightenment. 

Therefore know the Prajna Paramita is the great transcendent mantra, is the great bright mantra, is the utmost mantra, is the supreme mantra which is able to relieve all suffering and is true, not false. 

So proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra, proclaim the mantra that says: 

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate! Bodhi! Svaha!” 

In searching for details about the film, I stumbled upon an “action figure”! Who knew?

I use the 1987 film to introduce the reader of the Notorious Doc‘s Journey through the Aerial Toll Houses because we can’t be ABSOLUTELY certain that he was sentenced to any of the punishments you will see depicted in the 2016 Thai series  Pitsawat. Get ready because in the next blog post, we will visit Thailand.


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