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EIF - Book 05 Chapter 048: Heart for Buddhism Crumbled

When Gu Hai arrived at the plaza in Heavenly Yin City, the various factions paid attention to him. At the very least, the factions with enmity with Gu Hai all watched him.

A group of monks stood on high ground in the Future Buddha’s courtyard, staring at the plaza in the distance.

They saw Gu Hai place a brush in the dazed Bing Ji’s hand. Then, he dictated, getting Bing Ji to write so as to break Yuan Chu’s “Bodhi.”

“Gu Hai is boasting shamelessly!”

“Although that Yuan Chu is not a disciple of my Spirit Mountain Holy Land, he possesses an extraordinary Buddhist nature. His ‘Bodhi’ is filled with boundless Buddhist nature. With such literary talent, he reaches the level of a bodhisattva in my Spirit Mountain Holy Land.”

“Unfortunately, Yuan Chu refused when we sent someone to recruit him into my Spirit Mountain Holy Land. The Buddhist nature of ‘Bodhi’ fully brings out the conception of the Buddhist Dao’s enlightenment.”

“Bing Ji is already unconscious. Can she write in such a state?”

The monks showed expressions of disdain.

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In another courtyard:

The Azure Emperor and his subordinates stared at the plaza.

“Imperial Lord, is that Gu Hai crazy? To think he is getting Bing Ji to write?” Seven Kills said, his eyes widening in shock.

“Be quiet!” the Azure Emperor said coldly.

“Yes!” Everyone felt puzzled.

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Far away, Gu Hai had Mo Yike read out Yuan Chu’s Buddhist quote. Then, he got Bing Ji to write what he said.

“The heart has a bodhi tree!”

This was the first line of Yuan Chu’s quote. It showed the level of Yuan Chu’s Buddhist Dao cultivation. Although it was just a few words, it brought out the form of a bodhi tree and carved its image into the heart.

Yuan Chu’s words shone with bright golden light as boundless noble spirit churned in the sky like a storm.

Following what Gu Hai said, Bing Ji wrote a few crooked characters.

“Bodhi is not a tree!”

The crooked words looked extremely ugly, making it difficult to bring out even a hundredth of Bing Ji’s calligraphy Dao’s artistic conception. However, when these words appeared, they seemed to overflow with the air of a vast truth. The five crooked characters released intense golden Buddhist light.

Yuan Chu’s conception of the Buddhist Dao was to manifest enlightenment as a bodhi tree in the heart. On the other hand, Gu Hai’s line of “Bodhi is not a tree” made enlightenment formless.

A manifestation and formlessness were diametrical. Currently, a victor was not clear yet. However, everyone understood that while both spoke of the bodhi tree, this calligraphy Dao clash was between diametrical works.

Likewise, a torrential wave of noble spirit rushed out around Bing Ji, spreading in all directions in the plaza.

Whoosh!

The eruption of surging noble spirit was similar to when Yuan Chu wrote “Bodhi.” This disrupted the countless cultural cultivators debating and exchanging pointers in the surroundings, causing them to turn their heads.

“Hey? They are not competing in Go there anymore? Another calligraphy Dao battle?”

“It looks like a battle with ‘Bodhi’? Another noble spirit with Buddhist light? Who is it? Is it the Han Royal Dynasty again?”

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“This is no inferior to Yuan Chu’s!”

“Diametrical texts? This is a diametrical text? I have not seen a clash of such opposing texts in a very long time!”

The surrounding cultural cultivators rushed over.

Initially, only about ten thousand people were watching, mostly Go Dao cultivators. Now, this burst of noble spirit attracted calligraphy Dao cultivators as well as music Dao cultivators and painting Dao cultivators. After all, the calligraphy Dao formed the foundation of the cultural Dao.

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The Future Buddha’s courtyard:

“‘Bodhi is not a tree’? Is Gu Hai trying to cause a sensation?”

“Diametrical texts clashing? One says manifest and one says formless? Did Gu Hai think of this on the spot?”

The monks appeared surprised.

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Yuan Chu held his palms together, showing a serious expression. Clashing with a diametrical text? This is a kind of disputative text. It is also the hardest kind of text to make. How exquisite can it be when you are coming up with it on the fly? What a joke!

“The spirit is like a revealing mirror!” Yuan Chu read out the next line.

Mo Yike no longer needed to read it out; Yuan Chu read it himself. As he read the words aloud, the golden characters floating above gave off even more Buddhist light.

As Yuan Chu read, he seemed to be infusing a concept that demanded belief: One’s spirituality is a clear mirror that allows one to see the true nature of all things. With the heart as bodhi and the spirit as a mirror, one can clearly see everything and achieve enlightenment.

This kind of indomitable Buddhist nature pointed out a clear path for the Buddhism Dao.

Yuan Chu looked at Gu Hai confidently, believing that only his clear path was correct.

Gu Hai ignored Yuan Chu. “The mirror has nothing in it!”

Yuan Chu suddenly raised his eyebrows.

Bing Ji then wrote out Gu Hai’s second line in crooked words.

The crooked characters clashed with Yuan Chu’s words again. The mirror has nothing in it? That was saying that everything in the mirror was just an illusion; it did not exist. Simply put, one could not judge a person by what was on the surface. If one was fooled by the surface, it would be hard to go deeper.

This even denies my second line?

Boom!

After Bing Ji wrote these words, the golden light grew more than ten times brighter, instantly lighting up the sky. The surging noble spirit was like a swelling sea that suddenly soared into the heavens, rushing at Yuan Chu’s golden characters as if to shatter the surrounding noble spirit.

The two waves of noble spirit clashed, producing thunderous sounds.

Yuan Chu’s “Bodhi” insisted there was something, but Gu Hai’s “Bodhi” said there was nothing. They conflicted with each other like two different Buddhist Dao clashing.

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The Future Buddha’s courtyard:

The monks no longer looked down on Gu Hai.

“Diametrical texts? I don’t believe that Gu Hai can continue writing.” The monks now appeared uncomfortable.

Clearly, they could tell the exquisiteness of Gu Hai’s words.

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Yuan Chu raised an eyebrow as he read out the last two lines.

“It reveals the illusion that is all things. The enlightened sees past the mundane.”

As Yuan Chu read the words out, the golden characters of his first edition immediately flared with a piercing, golden light that lit up the entire plaza. Nearly everyone on the plaza turned their heads to look.

The noble spirit in the sky formed a ferocious hurricane that seemed to have countless ferocious beasts roaring in it.

These two lines connected to the first two lines. With the heart as bodhi and the spirit as a mirror, one could clearly see everything. After understanding one’s true nature, one could surpass the myriad of illusions of the material world and gain enlightenment, becoming a Buddha.

This was a path for cultivating the Buddhist Dao, a path that showed brilliant future prospects.

Yuan Chu held his palms together, and his body released golden light, appearing to be merging with the golden characters of “Bodhi” in the air. Then, the golden light formed a giant Buddha image radiating an intense, imposing aura that pressed on Bing Ji.

“It was this giant Buddha image that shattered Bing Ji’s calligraphy Dao’s artistic conception earlier. She sustained severe injuries and fell unconscious. Your Majesty, be careful!” Mo Yike called out.

However, Gu Hai ignored Mo Yike’s warning as he said the last two lines, letting the dazed Bing Ji write them down.

“There is nothing in the first place. What is there to bother with in the mundane?”

When men were born, they had no frustrations or fetters. The mundane came from the inside, and the heart was outside. If the frustrations were just illusions, if one did not care about them, why be frustrated by them?

When these words were written, the Buddhist-natured golden light suddenly gained a purple hue. When this purple-golden light appeared, it seemed to form a black hole that moved towards the Buddhist-natured golden light in the air above.

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Buzz!

The golden light that Yuan Chu’s “Bodhi” gave off scattered immediately and disappeared. Then, the purple-golden light shot towards the giant Buddha image.

“Hah!”

The giant Buddha image roared and stomped, looking like it wanted to crush the ground. Strangely, its leg crumbled when it struck that black hole.

The giant Buddha’s leg crumbled?

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The Future Buddha’s courtyard:

The monks goggled, unable to say anything. Suddenly, the Future Buddha’s voice came from the hall behind.

“‘Bodhi is not a tree. The mirror has nothing in it; there is nothing in the first place. What is there to bother with in the mundane?’ An excellent ‘There is nothing in the first place. What is there to bother with in the mundane?’ An excellent conception of Buddhism! This line fully explains enlightenment. From here on, no one will dare to mention the bodhi anymore,” the Future Buddha said in awe.

[TL Note: Both the Buddhist quotes originated from the story in this section of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuquan_Shenxiu#Verse_contest. Yuan Chu’s version is not the same as the one used in Wikipedia, but it is one of the known variations. My translations of these texts are different from Wikipedia’s since I felt that their translations were more literal and could not bring out these texts’ meaning. The word for dust can also refer to the mundane. The version in Wikipedia focused on working hard to gain enlightenment. However, Yuan Chu’s version alludes to the nature of the world being an illusion and how to realize it to attain enlightenment, which is one of the beliefs of Buddhism.]

“Look! That giant Buddha image is crumbling. It’s falling apart! How can this be?!” the monks exclaimed.

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The Azure Emperor’s courtyard:

The Azure Emperor narrowed his eyes slightly as he looked at the distant Gu Hai. “Gu Hai’s cultural cultivation is so incredible?”

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In the plaza:

Countless cultural cultivators pondered Gu Hai’s quote.

“They are not diametrical texts! Mister Gu’s version is much more profound than Yuan Chu’s!”

“Look! Yuan Chu’s giant Buddha image is crumbling!”

“What a horrifying noble spirit!”

To the cultural cultivators’ shock, the giant Buddha image exploded. Then, vast noble spirit suddenly spewed out of Bing Ji’s crooked characters like a volcanic eruption.

Boom!

It sounded like a heavy blow landed on Yuan Chu’s hurricane-like noble spirit. The eruption immediately stopped the hurricane from spinning.

Bang!

The noble spirit hurricane from Yuan Chu’s “Bodhi” vanished into thin air as though it had never existed at all.

The first-edition “Bodhi” in the air dimmed, no longer giving off light.

“It was rendered useless? That Buddhist text was rendered useless?”

“Mister Gu’s ‘Bodhi’ rendered Venerable Yuan Chu’s ‘Bodhi’ useless?”

“Mister Gu’s ‘Bodhi’ became the great Dao, while Venerable Yuan Chu’s ‘Bodhi’ became a false Dao?”

The surrounding cultural cultivators felt shocked. As the purple-golden Buddhist light rushed towards Yuan Chu, he showed a horrified expression.

Buzz!

Black energy suddenly surged out of Yuan Chu’s body.

Blargh!

Yuan Chu spewed out a mouthful of blood as he held his chest. He looked at Gu Hai while vomiting blood. “No! No! That’s impossible! My Buddhist Dao! My Buddhist Dao!”

Plop! Yuan Chu fell to the ground.

“Venerable!” The attendants immediately rushed over.

Yuan Chu glared at Gu Hai, revealing a bone-deep hatred.

“Your Majesty, your ‘Bodhi’ overturned Yuan Chu’s Buddhist Dao’s beliefs, crippling his Buddhist cultivation significantly?” Mo Yike said in shock.

“I understand now. Yuan Chu wrote that ‘Bodhi’ because he cultivated Buddhism like that. That was his belief. However, Master caused his belief to crumble. With his belief in ruins, the heart for Buddhism that he cultivated is now useless?” Ensnaring Performance’s eyes lit up.

The surrounding cultural cultivators gazed at Gu Hai in shock.

However, Gu Hai picked up Bing Ji and stared at her with worry in his eyes.

“‘There is nothing in the first place. What is there to bother with in the mundane?’ ‘There is nothing in the first place. What is there to bother with in the mundane?’” Bing Ji muttered. Suddenly, two lines of tears flowed out of her shut eyes.

Then, what seemed like accumulated black energy at Bing Ji’s chest suddenly dissipated as if all her frustrations had scattered. Bing Ji woke up from the calligraphy Dao’s artistic conception.

Bing Ji opened her eyes slightly, but the tears continued to flow. After she opened her eyes, the world seemed to turn bright. All the earlier coldness, loneliness, and fear vanished, leaving only warmth.

She found herself in Gu Hai’s embrace.

“Your Majesty!” Bing Ji wept with bloodshot eyes as though venting all the grievances in her heart.

“It’s good that you are awake,” Gu Hai said with a smile.

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Chapters for April: 23 / 50

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Hey guys, you all probably have been seeing the occasional message about Patreon and how EIF isn't doing very well financially. So I held out as long as I can, and unfortunately, things are not looking up. In the interest of being able to keep up a sustainable income to pay my bills and pay the team sufficiently, I'm going to have to lower the release rates of EIF in favor of picking up another novel. As of now, I have not found another novel yet, but I will be decreasing the release rates from May onwards so that I have time to search for the next novel. For now, the rates will be lowered to 30 chapters a month, essentially daily chapters.

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Written by Guan Qi — Watching Chess. Translated by DragonInWhite. Edited by Vampirecat.