During the Yoga Flaming Mouth Ceremony, first we invited the Buddhas of the five directions: Aksobhya Buddha of the Eastern Realm, Precious Birth Buddha of the Southern Realm, Vairochana Buddha of the Central Realm, Amitabha Buddha of the Western Realm, and Accomplishment Buddha of the Northern Realm. All the Buddhas arrived, and Earth Treasury King Bodhisattva was seated in the middle. The Ghost Kings (the wardens of the ghosts in the realm of darkness) led numerous ghosts here, many with hands and feet fettered (Just like human criminals serving prison sentences; these ghosts had committed crimes when they were people, and after death they were sentenced to the hells to be punished.) Aside from these ghosts, there were also those who died in accidents, with disfigured faces, half a head, broken arms or legs, and crushed or burned bodies. Their appearances after death differed according to the nature of their accident.
With grievances: Their eyes harbored vengeance; because they died unjustly, their resentment caused them to fall into the ghostly realm. (Full of hate, they seek out the ones who killed them, and make their lives more miserable than death itself.)
Drowning: Having drowned, many had intact but bloated bodies, especially their faces.
From old age and sickness: Those who died in old age assumed their appearance before death. Those who died of illness manifested the symptoms of their various illnesses. The victims of heart disease had difficulty breathing; the victims of tuberculosis breathed in short gasps. Those with injured organs each manifested their particular state of agony at the time of death.
In battle: Those who died in battle bore knife wounds, or severed limbs, such as a hand or head, crushed heads, or eyes blurred by blood, or faces covered with blood, and so on.
As children: They also assumed their appearance at the time of death - whether toddlers or adolescents. Many children were seen wandering the ghostly realm without clothes and shoes, just like street beggars, in extreme misery. The most pitiful were the "infant souls" aborted by their mothers, who appeared as if in the womb, with bodies not yet fully developed, perhaps missing the eyes, or the feet, etc.
(These infant souls were truly pitiful, for they lacked the self-will to determine where they were going; they drifted through space, as insubstantial as the plaintive echo of a bell, which were sometimes heard at night).
to be continued