Chapter 1021 – Guest from the Dragon Province, the Monk King of Seven Treasures
The bells chimed through Great Buddha mountain, shining with a holy light. The figures of buddhas and bodhisattvas appeared vaguely in the light with heavenly maidens and temple guardians flying among them. The sounds of chanting could be heard hundreds of kilometers away.
All the monks of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga faced the direction of the grand hall and brought their palms together, uttering, “Amitābha.”
“The Dharma Ceremony of Meditative Chan! I wonder which disciple is fortunate enough for that,” a middle-aged monk stopped sweeping the ground and said enviously.
“There’s no need to be envious, senior brother. As long as we work hard on cultivation, we’ll have a day like this too.” A young monk persuaded on the side before lowering his head to concentrate on sweeping aside the fallen leaves again.
“Sigh, it’s nowhere near that easy!”
Just like how it would take the Great Banyan Tree King quite the effort to condense a Fruit of Wisdom, the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga would use up ten thousand years worth of power of belief to hold each Dharma Ceremony of Meditative Chan. They were extremely careful with the selection of each target.
“Sure enough, Junior brother Qingshan really isn’t a Demon King.”
The One Lamp monk opened his eyes in a courtyard and smiled gladly before shutting his eyes and returning to cultivation.
In the centre of the grand hall, Li Qingshan sat in a rather improper lotus position under the gaze of the towering buddha statue. He placed his hands on his knees casually as his long, black hair draped down freely. His bronze face was solemn too.
Suddenly, the half-closed eyes of the buddha statue seemed to open a little more. Profound chanting emerged from between its rich, golden lips. In that moment, the sky seemed to bloom with flowers, and the ground became layered with golden lotuses, surreal yet realistic.
The flowers from above landed in his sea of consciousness and produced ripples. The ripples merged together, blooming with even more golden lotuses.
Li Qingshan gradually relaxed his posture and switched back to sitting with crossed legs. He leaned against one hand, and he seemed to be in thought, seemingly comprehending something.
Outside the grand hall, the Dauntless monk relaxed. “Sure enough, he does have a buddha nature.”
If a Demon King from the Demon domain was treated to a Dharma Ceremony of Meditative Chan, their minds would definitely collapse, and their powers would run out of control, dying on the spot. However, he did not show even a hint of struggle or pain on his face, enduring it calmly, which was enough to prove he was not a Demon King.
“You’re still worried, senior brother?” The Unraging monk smiled.
“If you were the abbot, you’d be worried too,” said the Dauntless monk.
Time trickled by. The setting sun vanished in the west, and the sky gradually darkened. Only the light from Great Buddha mountain became brighter and brighter. All of the adherents within several hundred kilometers knelt in the direction of Great Buddha mountain, prostrating in worship.
Suddenly, a seven-coloured haze drifted over from the distance, entering this golden sky and landing at the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga’s entrance. It turned into a ruddy monk who beamed with energy. He wore a great, red kasaya with golden threads, which was adorned with gemstones and gave off a strange glow. He wielded a nine-hooped buddhist staff in his hand, and it jangled about as he moved.
“Welcome, senior brother Seven Treasures. Please forgive me for failing to anticipate your arrival.”
With a rumble, the main entrance opened up, and the gates on the mountain swung open one after another. The Dauntless monk personally came to receive him, bringing his palms together and bowing as a greeting.
“Junior brother Dauntless, it’s already been a hundred and thirty years since we last saw each other after you inherited the position of the abbot of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga!” The Seven Treasures Monk King returned the gesture. A smile appeared on his face, but it vanished in a flash.
“Please!” The Dauntless monk raised his hand, and the two of them made their way to the top of the mountain together. Then he greeted the Unraging monk.
“Unfortunately, the grand hall is occupied today, so please come to the side hall, senior brother,” said the Dauntless monk.
“Is someone listening to the Dharma Ceremony of Meditative Chan inside?” the Seven Treasures Monk King pointed at the tightly-closed grand hall and asked.
“A disciple.” The Dauntless monk refused to go into further detail and exchanged glances with the Unraging monk. They both wondered why the Seven Treasures monk had come.
The three of them arrived in the side hall and sat down. An acolyte served up some tea, which the Seven Treasures Monk King only used to moisten his lips before setting it down softly.
“Is the tea not to your liking, senior brother?” the Dauntless monk asked.
“I’ve drunk too much of the Three Leaved Bodhi tea from the Spirit Kṣetra temple, so I just find any other tea to be lacking a sense of chan now,” said the Seven Treasures Monk King.
“The monastery is small, so we don’t have any better tea. I do have a few jars of fine alcohol though, if you don’t mind, senior brother Seven Treasures.” The Unraging monk chuckled and finished off the tea in a single gulp.
“Junior brother Unraging is still the same as before. A lot of your murderousness is now gone, but you do seem to be drinking more and eating more meat than before. The school of chan is not bound by rigid rules, but we still have to uphold the buddhist precepts. Otherwise, how else are we supposed to serve as an example to all living beings?” The Seven Treasures Monk King frowned slightly.
“Only senior brother Seven Treasures is capable of carrying out the great mission of serving as an example to all living beings. Someone as slow-witted as me can only look up to you,” said the Unraging monk.
The Seven Treasures Monk King noticed the sarcasm and smiled. “I’d advise junior brother against being overly unbridled today.”
The Unraging monk raised an eyebrow and was about to speak when the Dauntless monk asked, “No one visits without a reason. Senior brother, why have you come to the Green province instead of cultivating in peace in the Dragon province?”
“Speaking of this, this has to do with junior brother Unraging. Do you have a disciple called Li Qingshan?” the Seven Treasures Monk King asked.
The Unraging monk shivered inside. “That’s correct!”
“Seven days ago, the third crown prince of Great Xia, Si Qing, submitted a written statement to the imperial court about Li Qingshan practising demonic arts, becoming a Demon King and serving as a lackey of the Demon domain. Our Spirit Kṣetra temple is responsible for all monks across the world. Under the orders of the grand preceptor of the left, I’ve specially come to investigate this. May I ask where Li Qingshan is right now? Please tell him to come here and meet me!” the Seven Treasures Monk King said plainly, but he gave off the sense that he would not take no for an answer, directly treating the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga as his own backyard. When he recalled Si Qing’s instructions and promise before he had set off, he became even more confident inside.
Si Qing had lost his body to Li Qingshan. He had found a new one after much difficulty and spent a lot of time melding his soul with it, but it was still unavoidable for his cultivation to take a drastic hit. His hatred for Li Qingshan was immense.
Originally, a crown prince losing his body and almost dying was enough for the imperial court to fly into a rage, but he had faced Li Qingshan in a fair duel, and it was even him who had suggested the deathmatch. If they tried to stir up trouble from this perspective, they would be asking to be humiliated. They would only become laughing stocks, so they came up with this idea instead.
The Dauntless monk frowned. Sure enough, he had not come with kind intentions.
The Spirit Kṣetra temple was known as the greatest temple in the world, the leading sect among buddhism in the nine provinces, while the abbot of the Spirit Kṣetra temple happened to be one of the two grand preceptors of Great Xia. They possessed the status of leading all buddhist disciples in the world. Even the succession of abbots in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga had to be reported to the Spirit Kṣetra temple and be approved by them. It was just a formality, but that was enough to demonstrate their influence.
Aside from their status, they also possessed the corresponding strength. They had produced Monk Kings endlessly. Even with how much Great Xia had declined so far, the Dauntless monk still dared not underestimate them.
“Bastard!” The Unraging monk cursed.
“What did you say?” The Seven Treasures Monk King’s face sank.
“Senior brother Seven Treasures, don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about you, but that kid Si Qing. He lost in the duel and instead of refocusing on his cultivation, he’s slandering my disciple, calling him a Demon King. He really is an embarrassment to the imperial clan!”
“Our Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga has a cultivation method unique to us, the Demon Suppression Statuary. It seems rather similar to demonic arts, but it’s well and truly a buddhist cultivation method. That’s the cultivation method I practise, so does that make me a Demon King too?”
The Unraging monk said that and demonstrated the Demon Suppression Statuary. He radiated with demon qi, but he possessed a buddhist nature about him too.