Chapter 585 – Who Are You Supposed to Be
Senior brother Wang said, “Senior brother Eternal Faith has currently granted permission for another senior brother to see him. We’ll have to wait until that senior brother comes out. You can go ahead of us.”
“There’s no need for that. We can stick with the rules. Though, I do wonder who this senior brother Eternal Faith is, considering how much respect he demands for himself. He even needs to ‘grant permission’ for others to see him.”
“Since you want to become a secular disciple, junior brother, then you have to know about this. Senior brother Eternal Faith is the first disciple under the head monk of the Courtyard of Secular Affairs, the Distant Enlightenment Chan Master. He’s basically our first senior brother too. Normally, the Distant Enlightenment Chan Master spends his time studying the buddhist dharma, so senior brother Eternal Faith handles the matters of the Courtyard of Secular Affairs.”
“Heh, that sure is impressive.”
Seeing how Li Qingshan was unconvinced, senior brother Wang stifled his voice. “You better not underestimate senior brother Eternal Faith. Our merits, rewards, and punishments all depend on senior brother Eternal Faith. As a mighty Monk King, even if you verbally offend the Dauntless abbot, junior brother, he won’t stoop to your level, but…”
He stopped right there. Li Qingshan laughed and also stifled his voice. “I get it. It’s easy to win approval from the king of hell, but his lackeys are another matter. It’s often like that. If he doesn’t provoke me, then there’s no reason for me to provoke him either.”
As it seems, this senior brother Eternal Faith isn’t a particularly open-minded person. I’ll be a little more careful when I talk later. I might not be afraid of him, but avoiding trouble altogether would be for the best. I still have to consider his influence considering we’re beneath Great Buddha mountain.
Seeing how Li Qingshan accepted his advice, senior brother Wang was rather “satisfied”. He stroked his beard and said, “Young man, remember to keep your edge hidden. You possess great talent, but if you don’t know how to deal with people, you’ll suffer greatly.”
When Li Qingshan heard how he tried to advise him like his experienced elder, he found it rather funny, but it was out of kind intentions after all, so he did not talk back, simply smiling silently.
From all that, Senior brother Wang entered a talkative mood. “Have you brought a gift with you this time?”
Li Qingshan was surprised. “What gift? For who?”
“For senior brother Eternal Faith, obviously.” Senior brother Wang’s expression seemed to say, “How are you so bad at understanding what’s going on?” He also seemed like he was extremely pained, like he was looking at a junior who did not live up to expectations.
The secular disciples of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga were scattered across the Green province, but they were not necessarily allowed to wander about freely. Frequently, they would receive some missions, such as constructing temples or collecting various resources. When they completed these missions, they would earn merit, which they could use to exchange for benefits like cultivation methods in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. Many of the times, whether a mission had been completed and whether it had been completed well was completely up to Eternal Faith to decide.
Although they were secular disciples, they were still under the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, so they had to know at least a little about the buddhist classics, and they could not act recklessly or outrageously. As a result, every once in a while, the secular disciples from various places would pay a visit to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, and the monks of the Courtyard of Secular Affairs would test their understanding of buddhism and their behaviour. If they could not pass, it would be very troublesome. There was even the chance for them to lose their identities as secular disciples.
As a result, Eternal Faith’s authority became even greater. Among the secular disciples, there were plenty of people who had absolutely no interest in buddhist scriptures like Li Qingshan. All they needed was a gift to ensure that they passed. As time went on, it became a standard practice.
When secular disciples returned from outside, they would always bring some gifts when they paid a visit to this senior brother Eternal Faith. They were not necessarily precious, but the thing was there were many secular disciples. It was about accumulation in terms of quantity.
“But my master didn’t tell me anything about that!”
Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow and smiled faintly. He was the mighty first disciple of the Unraging monk, yet he still had to give gifts to some first senior brother of the Courtyard of Secular Affairs? That was basically a joke!
“Who’s your master?”
The female cultivator interrupted their conversation with a question. The real reason why they became secular disciples was because there was no one in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga willing to accept them as their disciple. Otherwise, joining any other courtyard would be far better than remaining in the Courtyard of Secular Affairs.
“You’ll have to think about that yourself! And, not every senior necessarily knows about the conventions involved. Thankfully, you ran into me. Otherwise, you’ll suffer if you went inside unprepared.”
Senior brother Wang patted Li Qingshan’s shoulder with sincere advice. He thought that Li Qingshan had only taken on his master when he was merely a Qi Practitioner. Otherwise, if he had a reputed master to study under, why would he become a secular disciple of the monastery?
“Buddhist disciples also accept bribes?”
From what was implied, if Li Qingshan did not give any gifts, things would even be made difficult for him. He could not help but raise his voice as he was rather surprised.
Senior brother Wang said in fright, “You can’t run your tongue carelessly like that. This is a friendship between seniors and juniors. How can you call it bribery?”
“Who out there is making a fuss in the pure land of buddhist cultivation?”
A middle-aged monk walked out of the hall, raising his eyebrows that spread out and faded away towards the end. He stared straight at Li Qingshan with a hint of annoyance.
Li Qingshan stared straight back at him. This must be that senior brother Eternal Faith. His appearance was nothing special. His head was so smooth that it shone brilliantly, and he was slightly plump, standing there with a bulging belly. He truly did have some prestige about him. Standing nearby behind him was a small, skinny male. He must have been the fellow that entered ahead of senior brother Wang.
“Senior brother Eternal Faith!” Senior brother Wang and the middle-aged female cultivator brought their palms together and bowed in a hurry.
Eternal Faith did not return the gesture. He directly questioned Li Qingshan, “Who are you? How dare you intrude upon our Courtyard of Secular Affairs?” He thought to himself, You bastard, this is your first time here, so if you don’t know the rules and you haven’t brought a gift, so be it, but how dare you say I’m accepting bribes? You really have no idea what I can do to you. I’ll show you what’s what.
Li Qingshan clasped his hands. “I’m Li Qingshan. I’ve come to become a secular disciple.”
“Secular disciple? Is what you’re doing right now supposed to be a buddhist greeting? Secular disciple isn’t a status you can earn just because you want to!”
Eternal Faith’s face changed. As an inner courtyard disciple of the monastery, he had obviously heard about Li Qingshan before.
This kid is unruly and rude. He’s even bold enough to defy the abbot’s orders. He well and truly deserves being sent into the Demon Suppression hall. Look at him, after some punishment, he has still ended up running over, all crestfallen, to become a secular disciple. Now that he has run into me, I better kill some times with him and make him learn what is called respecting your seniors.
“It’s exactly as senior brother says. With how rude and impolite he seems, you can tell with a single glance that he comes from some backwater place. How can he possess the right to become our senior or junior brother?” The small, skinny man behind Eternal Faith chimed in with a flattering expression.
“Kid, why don’t you apologise to first senior brother Eternal Faith quickly?” Senior brother Wang urged loudly, and the female cultivator shot glances at Li Qingshan too.
Li Qingshan’s face twisted, revealing his teeth. An aura of malice radiated from him naturally, making everyone present leap in fright. Their auras were all suppressed, and they felt like the surroundings had darkened.
His bellow was like a tiger’s roar through the mountainous forests. The chirps and twitters of insects and birds immediately fell silent. The surrounding silence was frightening.
Normally, the tiger demon and ox demon were both suppressed by the spirit turtle, but ever since he condensed a demon heart, they seemed to find a path to leak out. He practised the Demon Suppression Statuary, but right from the first form, it had been “Remorselessness of the Demon Heart”. He had never even considered repressing and restraining his demonic nature, so now that he was set off, he obviously showed his true colours.
“W- what a fierce and crude rule-breaker! How dare you bellow in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga!”
Eternal Faith pointed at Li Qingshan, experiencing humiliation-turned-anger from being stunned by a person whose cultivation was not even as great as his. He became even more astounded. He had also undergone trials in the Demon Suppression hall before. None of those demonfolk or even Demon Generals could make him feel so pressured.
Li Qingshan took a step forward. Originally, he wanted to mention the Unraging monk’s name, but upon further thought, Master has specially reminded me not to use his reputation. I haven’t even left the mountain, just going from the back of the mountain to the front of the mountain, and I’ll be breaking this vow. That would be rather inappropriate. This person doesn’t want me to become a secular disciple, which is perfect. I’ll just not be one then.
As a result, he smiled. “Do you really think I want to become this nuisance of a secular disciple? I’m not going to stoop to the same level as a little man like you who accepts bribes.” He directly turned around and left. The most important part was establishing his relationship with the Unraging monk as master and disciple anyway. Whether he became a secular disciple truly made no difference.
“Who did you say is a little man?”
Eternal Faith barked. As the primary disciple of the Courtyard of Secular Affairs, he was normally surrounded by secular disciples trying to get on his good side. Never did anyone insult him right in the face. Originally, he wanted to spend his time and make things difficult for Li Qingshan, but he never anticipated Li Qingshan to not care about the identity of a secular disciple at all, leaving as soon as he mentioned it, giving him no opportunity to vent his anger.
Li Qingshan could not even be bothered with answering him. Senior brother Wang opened his mouth to speak, but he was afraid of offending Eternal Faith, so he shut his mouth again in the end. He thought, This kid is far too rash. He’s actually bold enough to offend senior brother Eternal Faith right under Great Buddha mountain. Does he really think the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga is easy to harass and step over like a group of vegetarians? No wait, the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga is vegetarian.
TL: “Do you really think we’re vegetarian?” in Chinese basically means “Do you really think you can just walk all over us?” or “Do you really think we’re easy nuts to crack?” I would normally go with the other translations, but clearly there is also the connection of monks being vegetarians here.
“Stop right there!”
Eternal Faith raised his hand, and a wooden fish flew out from his sleeve, swelling up in the wind until it reached the size of a carriage, hurtling towards Li Qingshan.
Sure enough, Li Qingshan stopped and turned around. As he gazed at the incoming wooden fish, he asked without being fazed at all, “What else do you have to say?” The wooden fish was about to strike him.
“Be careful!” The female cultivator cried out.
It’ll be bad if I end up crushing him to death! Eternal Faith thought.
With a boom, the wooden fish smashed beside Li Qingshan, kicking soil into the air and immediately creating a great pit in the ground.
“You’ve smashed a great hole in this tranquil land of buddhism, great master.” Li Qingshan was fearless as he smiled scornfully.
Eternal Faith thought quickly, If he wants to leave, I really have no excuse to make him stay. If I strike with brute force, I probably won’t be able to explain myself to master. Oh right, I almost forgot the reason why he was sent into the Demon Suppression hall.
Eternal Faith said confidently, “Since you’re not a secular disciple, how dare you intrude upon our Courtyard of Secular Affairs? You’ve already broken the rules of our Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, and it’s a repeat offence! You must be punished!”
Most of the responsibilities of the Courtyard of Secular Affairs dealt with receiving believers and secular disciples, which was why Li Qingshan had managed to make his way all the way to the hall smoothly, but if a person was determined to punish someone, they could always find a way to do so.
Li Qingshan, does that sound familiar? Don’t tell me you want to pay another visit to the Demon Suppression hall? Eternal Faith thought complacently. You can say I’m borrowing the Dauntless abbot’s wisdom a little.
He immediately managed to piss off Li Qingshan with that. Li Qingshan had been thrown into the Demon Suppression hall for no good reason. Although it was a blessing in disguise in the end, and he benefited quite a lot, he still felt rather unhappy about this, but he had to yield considering he was in their territory.
Now that someone had dared to use this to threaten him, it was basically bearding the lion in its den, provoking the tiger right in his face.
“Who are you supposed to be? You even have the balls to copy the Dauntless monk?” Li Qingshan sneered and strode towards Eternal Faith, radiating with vicious might.
Eternal Faith had originally been brimming with confidence in subduing him, but when the pair of eyes shining with dark-red light glanced at him, he immediately became rather frantic inside. He ordered, “Juniors, capture this rule-breaker!”