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Nightfall - Chapter 574

Published at 15th of November 2018 06:46:57 AM


Chapter 574

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Chapter 574: Studying Buddhism




Translator: Transn  Editor: Transn

 

"That day, a bloody aura shot into the skies. I was on the Tile Mountain and was terrified. The bell in the 17th temple of the Lanke Temple gave a warning sign. It rang at the same time the aura appeared for three days and three nights."

Master Qishan turned around and looked at Ning Que. He said, "And just a few days ago, the Buddhist bell in the 17th temple rang again. The ringing of the bell could be heard in Tile Mountain. That was when I realized that the bloody aura had appeared once more."

Ning Que's expression did not change when he heard that. However his body, hidden in his black Academy uniform, tensed up involuntarily. His mind was in a mess and his awareness grew.

The Buddhist bell in the Lanke Temple had rung due to Lotus' Practice of Taotie. It must have rung a few days ago because it had sensed that he had done something to Long Qing in the Red Lotus Temple under the autumn rain.

Maser Qishan had obviously guessed the truth behind the incident, but he did not choose to unveil it. He said benevolently, "I am old and dying. While I cannot say that I have seen through both good and evil, I have understood some things. However, not many in the world can do the same, for example, the Xuankong Temple and the Haotian Taoism."

"To the Haotian Taoism, the Buddhism Sect is not part of them, much less the Devil's Doctrine. Ning Que, you have to understand that the heavens cannot be beaten by a man. No matter how strong Mr. Ke was, he could not be stronger than the heavens. And no matter how tall the Headmaster is, he cannot be taller than the skies. There are some things that shouldn't be touched, and if you have touched them, forget them."

Ning Que knew that the master meant well and that he was trying to persuade Ning Que to not delve any deeper into joining the Devil. No matter what kind of situation he was to face, he shouldn't use the evil and bloody Practice of Taotie.

After that autumn rain, he had often felt the strong lingering sweet taste of blood in his mouth. It was as if Long Qing's blood and flesh were still stuck in the gaps in his teeth and he was absolutely disgusted.

Because of the emotional trauma he had since he was a child, he believed that he could control himself and not use the Practice of Taotie. However, he could not stop cultivating his Youngest Uncle's Great Spirit. Then would he eventually take the path that Youngest Uncle had?

Master Qishan said, "Tell me about Lotus."

Ning Que lowered his head in silence. Even if the master had guessed the truth, he did not intend to acknowledge it because he did not want to take any risks.

Master Qishan sighed, "I was the one who had brought Younger Brother Lotus to the Buddhism Sect decades ago. How could I not sense then, that he had passed his legacy to you? I just want to know what happened to him afterwards."

Perhaps the regret in the Master's voice had touched Ning Que, or maybe it was because Ning Que respected the relationship between the Master and Lotus. After some hesitation, he began to tell him about the bizarre story in the depths of the Wilderness.

"The side hall was filled with bones and dried corpses. Master Lotus sat in the middle of the pile of bones..."

...

...

The Lanke Temple was quiet in the autumn rain. A certain temple had lit incense and the scent stubbornly wafted through the rain to the corridor at the back temple. The cold atmosphere turned into a solemn one.

After listening to Ning Que's tale, Master Qishan stayed silent for a long time.

He inhaled the faint incense scent and lifted his thin arm. His fingers danced across the air, trembling as if he wanted to grasp something. However, the scent of sandalwood could only be smelled and not touched. Just like a memory, it could not be gripped.





"Even in such desperate circumstances, he could still come up with such a good idea. It is truly Younger Brother's character to use you all to escape. Even though he still died in the end, he did manage to get himself out of the Confinement and he should be glad about that."

A complicated smile appeared on the Master's wizened face.

Ning Que thought of everything that had happened to him at the Front Gate of the Devil's Doctrine then, and Lotus' fragments of consciousness deep in his sense of perception. His emotions fluctuated wildly.

He looked toward Sangsang who was lying on a futon in the depths of the Buddhist temple. He said, "Before Lotus died, he said that both Taoism and the arts of the Devil both lead to joining the Gods. Now that Sangsang is cultivating in both Taoism and Buddhism, and her body seems to possess a natural celestial characteristic, would she be like Lotus and become mad if she continues cultivating?"

Master Qishan looked into the temple and said calmly, "To make black chess white with just a thought is what the Buddhism Sect call 'will'. It is powered by itself. If she does not wish to become Lotus, she won't."

Then, he turned to look at Ning Que and asked, "But you... what do you wish for?"

Ning Que thought about it and then said, "I do not know either, but it's definitely simpler."

"The more simple and pure it is, the more powerful it is. Sometimes, it is also scarier."

Master Qishan looked at him and said warmly, "Why didn't you come with Sangsang to listen to my preaching? If you think that I do not preach well, there are many Buddhist scriptures hidden in the Lanke Temple; you can try to read them on your own. Buddhism can rid you of heart demons and remove blockages. They are very beneficial to you right now."

"Master Lotus once said that Buddhist scriptures are as wide as the sea. But if you look deeply into the surface of the paper, you'll discover that all dharmas are just made up of one word: tolerance. Second Brother had also said that there were 3000 dharmas, but they were just teaching people how to lie to themselves."

"Tolerance and self-deception are the same thing," Ning Que said. "I am good at tolerating, so I do not need to learn that. As for self-deception... I am worried that if I deceive myself for too long, I will forget my original intentions and not be able to wake up from thinking that those are all real."

"Mr. Second has cultivated in Etiquette, so he would naturally not understand the ways of the Buddhism Sect where both fathers and rulers are disregarded."

Master Qishan asked, "If life is but a mere dream, why wake up from it?"

Ning Que said, "Even if it is a dream, we still have to be serious about it so that we can live freely. Even if life is but just a dream, we have to pretend that it isn't."

Master Qishan asked again, "Then how would you know if the world in the Buddhist scriptures is a false dream and not reality?"

After his statement, Ning Que had thought of how he had boasted to Chen Pipi at the back of the mountain of Academy, that he was someone who would occasionally sprout wisdom even if he did not read books. He was just feeling rather self-satisfied with what he had said.

However, he found himself unable to answer the Master's next question. That was when he ascertained that the occasional wisdom from someone who did not study was indeed occasional. He had no right to participate in any talks about Zen.

He said helplessly, "Master, why do you wish for me to study Buddhism and participate in Zen conversations? Sangsang is ill, she cannot be cured unless she studies Buddhism. This is the fate she has with the Buddhism Sect. I do not think that I am fated to study Buddhism."

Master Qishan smiled and said, "Would the fate that the Buddhism Sect speaks of be so simple to understand? It seems that you have not studied Buddhist scriptures. I can teach you this on behalf of the Headmaster."

Ning Que felt that something was wrong.


"Master, you seem to think highly of me, but I really don't think there is anything special about me."

He turned around to look at Sangsang who was in the temple and said, "As compared to her, sometimes, I think I am as dumb as a pig. No matter how much I cultivate in Buddhism, I cannot become a master in the Buddhism Sect."

"She is the most special one, and you, are also a special one."

Master Qishan followed Ning Que's gaze and looked at Sangsang. He praised, "The Lady of Light is pure in both body and heart. Her will itself, is a Divine Skill. If she wills it, she will understand Buddhism and reach the Knowing Destiny State in three years."

Ning Que shook his head without waiting for the Master to finish his statement.

"I know of someone who has done this faster than me, so I don't think I am special."

Master Qishan answered, "But it is rare to find someone like that."

Ning Que said, "No matter how rare they are, they still exist. So I am not special."

Master Qishan looked into his eyes and asked in confusion, "You seem to worry that you'd turn to be the special one."

Ning Que said, "Others would always be jealous of those who are outstanding. It's really annoying and I have no wish to be someone like that."

Master Qishan laughed and said, "This is because you were in the Academy."

Ning Que smiled and said, "That's right. For example, my Eldest Brother reached the Seethrough State and Knowing Destiny State within a short time. Talent like this would be considered special. Even if I slap the Big Black Horse silly, I would still be unable to catch up."

"Mr. First is of such extraordinary talent, so we can't use him to make comparisons."

Master Qishan said, "But you are very different from ordinary cultivators in the world. Other than your talent in Talisman Taoism which was discovered by Master Yan Se, your talent in other aspects of cultivation is just ordinary..."

Ning Que added, "It is not just ordinary, it is so ordinary it is considered terrible."

Master Qishan said, "However, you have managed to enter the Knowing Destiny State in just three years with such terrible talent. It proves that your ability has long surpassed your ordinary talents..."

"I don't know how you have cultivated, but I heard of your performance at the three most crucial moments in cultivation. You began your path in Talisman Taoism during the summer rain. When you entered the Seethrough, it was thanks to the fish the Calligraphy Addict fried. And you entered the Knowing Destiny State while in battle a few days ago. Each time, they happened with no telltale signs."

The Master continued, "Cultivators place emphasis on order. They study the rules of the Qi of Heaven and Earth. But disciples of the Buddhism Sect rely on years of penance before they see the end of the path. This is what we call comprehension."

Ning Que recalled the teachings of Master Huang Yang in the Wanyan Tower.

Master Qishan looked into his eyes and said seriously, "Your performance when you broke through the realm had nothing to do with those opportunities. It was more like what the Buddhism Sect called comprehension. That is why your comprehension is good, and it'd be a waste not to study Buddhism."

Ning Que had to admit that Second Brother did make sense. No matter if it was Taoism or Buddhism, they would speak nonsense when they wanted new blood...


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"I am afraid I will fall asleep when I read Buddhist scriptures."

He pleaded.

Master Qishan removed a thin scripture book from his sleeves and handed it to Ning Que. He said, "I have especially picked an interesting scripture that is short. You shouldn't fall asleep reading this."

With that, he walked into the temple to see how much Sangsang had comprehended today.

Ning Que flipped open the scripture in his hands and saw the simple illustrations. He couldn't help but be ashamed and annoyed. He shouted at the master's back, "This is for children, can I have another book?"

...

...

After lunch and a short break, Sangsang continued to study Buddhism. Ning Que stood in the corridor outside the temple, teasing the Big Black Horse with a snow white lotus flower. He played until he was bored and thought of the scripture.

The illustrations in the scripture were simple and flowed well, and the stories were also very interesting. They cleverly hid the teachings behind the scripture. He grew more interested as he read, and had a monk bring him a bamboo chair.

He laid in the chair and flipped through the scripture. He would take an occasional sip of hot tea, and when he didn't feel like reading, he would look up at the autumn drizzle outside the temple to rest his eyes. He felt rather pleased.

Master Qishan walked out of the temple.

Ning Que stood up and handed him hot tea. He asked in confusion, "Master, why have you come out?"

Master Qishan accepted the tea without hesitation and sat on the bamboo chair comfortably. He said, "Miss Sangsang is meditating again. I have nothing to do inside, so I came to speak with you."

Ning Que said in shock, "She has entered meditation again so quickly? Are you sure that girl isn't sleeping?"

Meditation was a terminology used by the Buddhism Sect. It referred to the calmness of thoughts that came before enlightenment. It was a state where one would completely forget oneself. If using cultivation in Haotian Taoism as a metaphor, it would be like the empty state before one found an opportunity.

Sangsang entered meditation before noon and again after that. This meant that she had understood whatever Buddhism Dharma Master Qishan had taught her effortlessly. This was unbelievable.

Even though Ning Que knew that she had managed to produce the Haotian Divine Light at the blink of an eye when she was studying the West-Hill Divine Skill with Wei Guangming, he still found it hard to believe. That was why he wondered if she had fallen asleep.

Master Qishan said, "I can still tell the difference between falling asleep and entering meditation."

Ning Que saw that the master was calm and asked curiously, "Master, you do not seem surprised."

Master Qishan took a sip of tea and smiled. He said, "I won't be shocked no matter what incredulous things happen to her."

Ning Que said, "I now believe what you said last night."


"What did I say?"

"You mentioned that Sangsang could become a Buddha."

"Everyone can."

"Master, I am not good at saying things like that, even though Zen does sound charming."

"Then I can make it clearer."

Master Qishan laid in the chair and adjusted his shirt. He said, "Buddha was a man, so why can't man become a Buddha?"

Ning Que said, "I used to think that Buddha was like Haotian, and that it was only a symbol until teacher said that he existed. Then, I saw the chessboard yesterday and that was when I realized that Buddha truly existed."

Master Qishan looked up at the sky and said, "Buddha had once lived under the skies."

Ning Que looked at the dark skies and drizzling rain. He asked, "Since this is Haotian's world, then why does Buddha exist? Where did Buddha go?"

Master Qishan said, "Since there is a beginning, there would be an end. Where there is life, there is death. Since Buddha is a man, then he would enter Parinirvana. This was recorded in history."

Ning Que thought of his own curious encounters, and thought to himself that death did not come hand in hand with life.

With that thought, the autumn rain suddenly felt like one in the spring. He could not help but feel tired. He thought to himself, that since they were speaking of nothing important, then they should at least speak of something meaningful. He leaned against the railings and asked.

"If Buddha was a cultivator... then what state did he get to in the end?"

"As a disciple of the Buddhism Sect, how can we dream of undermining Buddha?"

"Buddha is benevolent, it's not much of a sin to talk about it."

Ning Que looked at the master and asked tentatively, "Buddha must have crossed beyond the Five States right?"

The master smiled and said, "The Buddhism Sect does not have Five States."

"I was talking about it relatively."

"Of course."

Ning Que understood.

He suddenly thought of a rumor, and asked Master Qishan seriously, "It was said that before you got ill, you were thought by the cultivation world to be someone who was most likely to cross the Five States."

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