Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Chapter 182 - Resolve


The morning bell tolled, the evening drum deep and heavy, Mt Meru immersed in the misty clouds, from the rising sun to the evening glow, the sky in the horizon changed, white clouds changed into grey dogs, rolled past, time after all never once stopped for anyone.

Tian Yin Temple imposing and magnificent, standing majestically on Mt Meru, like a compassionate giant watching the world, countless mortals coming from all directions gathered in the morning, facing the gods statues in the Buddhist temple and prostrating themselves, recounting their own happy or sad wishes, seeking the gods’ blessings. Millions of people came, gathered, millions dispersed, left, day after day, never once changed, gathering and dispersing like time. Only the gods and buddha golden statues in the temple, the unceasing altar lamp fire in the hall, the rising curling smoke, saw all of the world’s vicissitudes of life.

Ghost Li, or the Zhang Xiao Fan at that time, once again entered into that small house where PuZhi holy monk’s remains was, a day and night had passed again, during this period, nothing stirred in the small house. PuHong Master had came once to the small courtyard outside the house, stopped for a long time then sighed and left.

Only FaXiang, ever since he saw Ghost Li entering that house, he had been standing outside in the courtyard, with astonishing patience waited.

Nobody knew, the reason why FaXiang stood there but including PuHong Master, the other Tian Yin Temple monks never asked him, and FaXiang too, stood there by himself and determined, as if waiting for something.

The remnants of the sun like blood, reflecting the west side of the sunset sky red, watching from afar, there seemed to be a thin layer of golden light at the edge of the clouds, very beautiful. The heaven and earth’s beauty, actually has always been beside, only whether do you see it or not, whether do you have the heart to or not.

FaXiang gazed far into the sunset, staring blankly, standing for a day and night, his fine and delicate face did not seem to show the slightest sense of fatigue, instead in his clear gaze, glimmered with deep wisdom glint.

“What are you looking at?” Suddenly, a voice rang out from beside, FaXiang got a shock, came out of his thoughts, saw that PuHong Master had arrived at the courtyard again, standing beside himself, smiling and looking at him.

FaXiang clasped his hands together and replied, “Replying to teacher, disciple is looking at the sunset glow in the west, suddenly was enlightened and lost in my thoughts, didn’t realize that teacher is here, neglected teacher.”

PuHong Master smiled and said, “Trivial customs and etiquette, don’t have to mind, I wonder from that sunset in the west, what have you enlightened?”

FaXiang hesitated for a moment, said, “Disciple stood here for a day and night, watched the stars at night and saw the blue sky in the day, until this moment the bustling of the day receding, the rising sun sinking in the east, only the remnants of the light illuminating the west sky. Couldn’t help but feel sorrow, life is just like that, time is just like that, all creations in heaven and earth are just like that, disciple for a moment actually did not know living between this Heaven and Earth, am so insignificantly small like a drop in the ocean, what is the meaning of living?”

PuHong Master nodded and said, “Your intelligence indeed surpassed others, disciple. The living things in this heaven and earth, each and every of them has their destiny, thus although things are ever-changing, in the end unable to violate God’s will. You are able to comprehend this level of truth from the rising and setting of the sun, it is already amazing.”

FaXiang respectfully bowed to PuHong Master, said, “Thank you teacher for your praise, disciple dare not. Just that although disciple has comprehended that, the bewilderment in my heart instead became bigger. Disciple don’t understand, although one’s fate is destined, all creations in the end will wither and fall, these countless mortals working hard all of their lives, entangled in this world grudges and affections, what is it for? Buddha said to deliver all living creatures from torment, all living creatures can break the cycle of samsara and achieve enlightenment but all living creatures may not be willing to be delivered by Buddha, why is this so? Could it be that the Land of Ultimate Bliss in the west said by Buddha, no resentment no hatred no feelings no desire, can’t actually attract the mortal beings? Disciple is ignorant, teacher please guide me.”

Speaking, FaXiang bent his head low, clasped his palms together and chanted.

PuHong Master watched FaXiang for a long while, slowly nodded, a smile revealed on his face but he did not answer immediately, instead looked in the direction that FaXiang was gazing in just now, the west sunset, after watching it for a moment, said, “What you have just seen, is it this sunset in the west?”

FaXiang said, “Yes, disciple saw time flies past at this moment, the rising sun setting in the west, time no longer around, my heart is grieved and perplexed, therefore seek teacher’s advice.”

PuHong Master smiled and said, “In just a moment, this remnant of the sun is going to set completely, at that time, even this sunset glow, can no longer be seen.”

FaXiang felt slightly puzzled, not knowing what PuHong Master meant and could only acknowledged, said, “That’s right.”

PuHong Master watched the west horizon, saw the sun slowly setting, the sky turning darker, dusk gradually approaching, indifferently said, “The evening sun is heartless, must not be asked to stay. But tomorrow morning, are you still able to see the rising sun?”

FaXiang’s body shook, his heart seemed to be moved, for the moment he was speechless, his face revealed his pondering.

PuHong Master turned and looked at FaXiang, a faint smile on his face, he did not speak anymore.

The sky gradually darkened, the evening sun finally disappeared completely, moments later, a bright moon slowly rose from the east, moonlight like water, illuminating clear and bright light, spilling onto the mortal world.

In the night scene, Tian Yin Temple under the moonlight tranquil and beautiful, although no longer as bustling and lively like in the day but it had another kind of silent tranquil beauty.

And the Little Tian Yin Temple on Mt Meru, in that small tiny courtyard, teacher and disciple were silent, quietly stood in the courtyard, in the mountain breeze which gently blew past and ruffled the corners of their clothes, quietly stood.

For an unknown length of time, the moon gradually moved to the center of the sky, in the quiet small courtyard, a light laughter was heard.

FaXiang had delight on his face, stepped forward a few steps, walked to the middle of the small courtyard, lifted his head and looked at the moon, saw the dazzling moonlight, shining directly on his bluish white monk robe, as if like frost.

FaXiang laughed, turned around, kneeled down before PuHong Master who had been smiling, clasped his palms together bowed and said, “Many thanks for teacher’s guidance, disciple comprehended.”

PuHong Master eyes were full of gratification, looking at the disciple kneeling before him, even though he had long cultivated to the realm where he remained indifferent whether favoured or humiliated, genuine happiness still shown on his face. He stretched his hand and gently patted FaXiang’s head, said three words in succession.

“Good!”

“Good!”

“Good!”

“You are naturally gifted, rarely seen in the world but even more importantly, is your attitude towards Buddhist philosophy and logic, you have another level of wisdom. That time among the four of us, actually your PuZhi teacher uncle was the brightest, pity although he was intelligent but he chose the wrong path, delayed his Buddhist studies, wishfully sought for what longevity, eventually met with such a bad end. Today you are able to comprehend, it’s your good fortune, it is also our Tian Yin Temple’s fortune!”

FaXiang was stunned, raised his head and looked at PuHong Master, said, “Teacher, what do you mean by that, disciple do not quite understand?”

PuHong Master shook his head, first extended his hand to support FaXiang up, then the delight on his face gradually faded, faintly said, “These past years, your teacher me day and night is held up by secular tasks, as for Buddhist studies and comprehension, came to a standstill, instead held this secular undeserved reputation in vain, the struggles and fights for half a century, I actually can’t give it up. That year when your PuZhi teacher uncle passed away, teacher me wanted to retire from the world, however there was no one to take over, facing this inheritance from our founders, although it is mere worldly possession but eventually can’t abandon it casually. Now that there is you, teacher me can leave in peace.”

FaXiang was shocked, his face turned pale, he had just stood up and immediately kneeled down again, hurriedly said, “Teacher, what are you talking about, how can Tian Yin Temple leave you, moreover disciple also wants to accompany teacher day and night, listen to your teachings. Only beg teacher you must must not abandon disciple and the people of Tian Yin Temple and live in seclusion!” after speaking, he kowtowed unceasingly.

PuHong Master laughed in spite of himself and then sighed, pulled FaXiang up, sighed and said, “Foolish child, foolish child, how could there be a banquet that would never disperse in this world? But teacher’s seclusion matter is not that urgent and it is not something that can be done in these days, you don’t have to be anxious, I have to settle everything properly so that I can too set my mind at rest.”

FaXiang was tearful but eventually he knew PuHong Master’s desire to retire was something he could not stop, fortunately like what his teacher said, although he wanted to but it was not that urgent, when there is a chance in the future, he would just have to try to persuade his teacher. Thinking about that, his tears then stopped, stood aside.

PuHong Master lifted his head and looked at the sky, saw the moonlight penetrating, cool and beautiful, he gazed for a long time, suddenly said, “Let’s go in and look at that little patron!”

FaXiang was taken aback, said, “What?”

PuHong Master indifferently said, “The rights and wrongs, gratitudes grudges feelings and enmities, no matter what, eventually it needs to end.”  

After speaking, without further words, he headed to that small house, FaXiang slowly followed behind him, watched as that door came nearer and nearer, for some reason, he started to feel nervous.

A day and a night already, during that time, facing PuZhi teacher uncle, what exactly had Ghost Li done?

He, what else would he do too?

The answer, the moment when they lifted the curtain and pushed opened the wooden door, lightly stepped into the house, appeared before them.

The empty house, was still twinkling with ‘Jade Ice Disc’ silverish light.

What, nothing happened!

PuZhi’s remains, still sat cross-legged on the Jade Ice Disc, and opposite him, Ghost Li, or perhaps it was Zhang Xiao Fan, sat cross-legged, backfacing PuHong Master and FaXiang, silently staring at PuZhi’s face in the faint light.

PuHong Master inhaled deeply, was about to speak, suddenly felt movement behind him, turned and looked, FaXiang had gently pulled his robe, after he saw that PuHong Master had turned his head around, he signaled with his eyes, towards the place below Ghost Li.   

PuHong Master turned and looked, couldn’t help but frowned, saw that nothing had changed in the house, only on the ground that Ghost Li was sitting on, the surrounding radius of three chi, the brick ground were all cracked, numerous densely packed thin cracks covered the entire ground around him, the nearer the ground was to him, the denser the cracks were, before him within one chi radius, all of the bricks no longer cracked, instead had completely turned to powder.

This day and night, nobody knew what had happened to Ghost Li, or maybe perhaps, nobody would know it forever.

PuHong Master slowly walked to Ghost Li, glanced at the ground before him, using a calm voice said, “Patron, you have already stayed here for a day, have you thought carefully about it?”

Ghost Li slowly looked away from PuZhi remains, looked at PuHong Master, PuHong Master had a shock, Ghost Li’s face was extremely pale, his face looked tired, although it was only a day but he looked as if he was travel-stained with vicissitudes of life, already experienced hundred years of the world.

PuHong Master clasped his palms together, gently chanted, “Amitabha!”

Ghost Li slowly stood up but halfway, his body trembled, seemed unstable, FaXiang and PuHong Master frowned, FaXiang was about to step forward to assist him but Ghost Li had already once again stood firm, breathing deeply then straightened his body again, faced PuHong Master.

One look and it could be seen that his body was frail but for some reason, he right now, looked big and tall, steadfast.

“Master…” his voice was slightly hoarse.

PuHong Master clasped his palms together, said, “Yes, what instructions does little patron has?”

“The deceased is buried into the ground to rest, you take his...PuZhi teacher’s remains to be cremated and buried!”

PuHong Master and FaXiang both got a shock at the same time, looked at Ghost Li, the next moment, PuHong Master heaved a long sigh, seemed to sigh endlessly, quietly said, “Patron, have you looked past the matter?”

Ghost Li laughed sadly, glanced at PuZhi sitting cross-legged in the faint light, his facial muscle tensed and released, slowly said, “I only have one night of fate with this master at that time, yet once kneeled before him, willingly kowtowed to him and called him ‘Teacher’. He saved me before, also harmed me but without him, there would not be me, he is already dead. Although I am not a Buddhist disciple but I know Buddhists regarded reincarnation the most, he refused to be buried at his deathbed, it could be seen he was bitterly remorseful…”

Icy cold breath, indistinctly emitted from his hand, PuHong Master and FaXiang both felt it at the same time, that surging strange evil power.

“The intensity of the vicious energy from Sinister Orb’s evil power, all these years I feel it and receive it in no small measure, more or less I can also understand the circumstances and cause then.” Speaking till here, Ghost Li slowly turned around, headed towards the door, his hoarse voice from time to time coughed once or twice.

PuHong Master and FaXiang both at the same time behind him, clasped their palms and chanted, PuHong Master, following which said, “Little patron has a good heart, touching the heavens and earth, old monk here thank patron on behalf of my unworthy deceased junior brother PuZhi. Old monk will solemnly obey patron’s instructions, in a little while will carry out the rituals and cremate junior brother’s remains, in addition bury him, just that not sure before these, does patron has any other instructions?”

Ghost Li by now had already reached the door, his hand stretched out towards the door panel but the next moment, he paused, he seemed to freeze there. PuHong Master and FaXiang did not know what he was thinking, for the moment only looked at him, did not speak.

Ghost Li slowly turned around, again saw that aged and faintly anguish face. That face, he had only saw it twice in his life, several years of time, in that instant surged up his heart, in the end, finally only leaving that pounding rain and violent wind night, his kind and gentle smile before him.

He was Ghost Li, or maybe Zhang Xiao Fan, who would know?

And who would care?

[Pu!]

That man, just at that entrance, facing that sitting on the jade disc faint light, an entire lifetime of suffering body remains, like when he was young, kneeled towards him, properly kowtowed three times, then, he lifted his head, respectfully, with infinite deep distress on his face, said, “Teacher!...”


Silence!

“Teacher, you...rest in peace!”

He quietly said, then stood up, without any more words, turned and opened the door, walked out.

Cultivators of the way like PuHong, FaXiang, for the moment were stunned and speechless, only watched Ghost Li walked out of this small house.

In the silence, FaXiang sighed, said, “He, he really has great wisdom and great knowledge, great merciful heart ah! Really a rare man of the world, amitabha…”

PuHong Master turned around, looked at PuZhi, after a long time, clasped his palms together and said, “Junior brother, you can finally rest...eh?”

PuHong Master’s exclamation, surprised FaXiang, he quickly followed PuHong Master’s gaze direction and looked, immediately was also shocked, his face full of astonishment.

PuZhi who sat cross-legged on the disc, right now out of the sudden something was happening, in the spots of frost-like-snow-like silverish white faint light, PuZhi remains, like sandstone weathering into powder, little by little transformed into fine and hardly visible by naked eye, sands, slowly falling. And on his aged face, for some reason, the faint trace of anguish had disappeared, instead revealing a hint of gratified smile.

Watching this transformation rapidly speeding up, the entire body soon disappeared, PuHong Master’s eyes teared, clasped his palms and said, “Junior brother, junior brother, your wish is fulfilled, senior brother is happy for you. From today the Buddha sea is boundless, look out for yourself!”

PuZhi’s remains swiftly eroded, finally completely became white sands, from the silverish white faint light emitted by the Jade Ice Disc in the mid air, slowly fell. And also at this moment, after the Jade Ice Disc received those sands, the magical weapon brilliant light suddenly surged, in the tightly enclosed small house, suddenly with inexplicable power, a wind started blowing.

In the unseen world of spirits far away, there seemed to be Buddhist Sanskrit song, faintly travelling over.

The light from the Jade Ice Disc shone brighter and brighter, the speed of the wind became faster and faster, PuHong Master and FaXiang’s robes flapped in the strong wind, both of them looked at each other stunned. Suddenly, a light sharp whistle was heard from the disc, resplendent light exploded, numerous powder immersed in the frost-snow-like faint light, scattering in all directions, a loud rumble, burst forth!

[Rumble!]

The dust flew, following which covered by a huge resplendent radiance, the surrounding walls of this small house were instantly destroyed by the Jade Ice Disc’s strange brilliance, without leaving any traces, the moonlight shone high, clear bright like snow, reflecting on this mountain summit, in this quiet world, there was actually such a rare sight.

The Jade Ice Disc in this resplendent glory, slowly rose up from its original position, beside this magical weapon, silverish white powder-like dust danced, like a spirit pursuing over. In the courtyard outside the house, Ghost Li silently stood there, looking up at the sky, his face streaming with tears.

The Jade Ice Disc flew over by itself, circled Ghost Li three times, finally paused before Ghost Li.

Ghost Li stared at the bits of smoke and dust, clenching his teeth tightly, almost not himself.

Then, in that almost solidified radiance, in the paradise-like cool beautiful night, the Jade Ice Disc emitted a light sound, like ice breaking, the clear sound reverberated, before Ghost Li, this rare treasure of the world too transformed into numerous powder dust, under the moonlight sparkling bright, like falling snow vast and various, magnificent and dazzling.

From far, the mountain breeze blew, numerous powder dust drifted with the wind, floated in the mid air, carried by the wind to the distant, finally gradually vanished...       
  

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