The rain was just like a broken string of pearls dropping from the sky, splashing on the quiet limestone street, raising a hazy mist.
Su Xing ducked his head as he dodged under an eave. He looked up at this roaring downpour, shouting to himself about his bad luck. He had come to this Central Celestial for no more than a day just to see this most celebrated place of the Buddha Kingdom. How could he have anticipated that in just a moment, a great rain would fall. Furthermore, this rain also oddly stuck to his body like dewdrops, with even Star Energy having difficulty evaporating it away. Reportedly, this was called Buddha Rain, and each raindrop polluted karma.
“Wu, wu.” Gongsun Huang let out an uncomfortable whimper.
Su Xing smiled. He took out a towel and helped wipe her clean. “Little Huang, shall we hide from the rain for now or go back?”
Gongsun Huang cocked her head and showed a pained face.
“Let’s take cover from the rain for now, then, see if this Buddha Rain is any bit interesting.” Su Xing nodded.
Only then at this time did Su Xing see that under the eaves was also a girl similarly hiding from the rain.
That girl could make anyone feel extremely blinded. That gentle and beautiful face had a sort of indescribable purity and holiness. Her expression was calm as a dry well, her soft hair like rolling waves. Due to being caught in the Buddha Rain just now, the raindrops stuck to the girl’s simple attire, moistening her skin that seemed delicate enough to break from just blowing on it. Her slender curves were fully exposed, and even though this was so, Su Xing nevertheless felt that the girl before his eyes had a kind of inviolable sanctity, one that made people unable to raise even the slightest profane idea.
The girl’s face wore contemplation. She gazed at the hazy downpour, her gaze a deep azure, deep like the sea to the point of making people feel they were helplessly falling in.
She was just like a meticulously carved and chiseled piece of fine jade.
Even if Su Xing was accustomed to seeing every sort of lovely appearance, he could not help but be moved once more by that sort of pure and holy beauty of the girl in front of him.
The girl concentrated on the downpour entirely, completely overlooking Su Xing and Gongsun Huang as if they were air.
Gongsun Huang once again sat upon Su Xing’s shoulder. The little loli also noticed the woman beside them.
Su Xing’s gaze returned to this rain. He extended a hand to catch a few raindrops that dribbled along the roof and fell. He regretfully said: “This rain truly has made Buddhism create many evils.”
“Why does Benefactor say this?” The girl’s gaze glanced at him, her sharp brows wrinkled.
“Buddha says there is a world in a flower. If that is so, then a raindrop is also a world. Now, there is a downpour falling here, and there are also trillions of worlds, falling to the earth and nevertheless immediately dying. Could it not be because of Buddhism’s description?” Su Xing looked at that mist.
Hearing his sophistry, the girl showed the tranquility of still waters: “Flowers bloom and flowers fall, life and death alternate in turn, and all living things enter samsara. This is karma itself. To say that Buddhism created this evil, Benefactor is tricked by Mara.”1
Su Xing showed a bit of surprise. The girl was more comprehending of Chan than he had imagined.
“Actually, this karma2 is also sophistry.” Su Xing carefully challenged.
“How do you say?” The girl was not angry.
“That would be samsara.” The girl calmly answered.
Su Xing was speechless.
This girl honestly was sharp enough to not break a sweat.
“Do you also believe in Buddhism?” Gongsun Huang said.
“Believe and also do not believe.”
“…No need to make every sentence so Chan in meaning…” Su Xing smiled.
The girl smiled, her gaze again returning to the rain, unable to pierce through, unable to see clearly.
“Your Highness?” Gongsun Huang curiously said to Su Xing.
“Little Huang, what do you say about me spitting at a statue of Buddha again?” Su Xing was speechless.
Gongsun Huang shook her head.
The meaning was, Your Highness, could you be any more disgusting??
Gongsun Huang passed the towel over to Su Xing, her expression watching the girl with even more care than with Su Xing.
“The meditative mind cannot be treated as food to eat, yes, you’d better wipe down a bit.” Su Xing passed the towel to the girl.
The girl wanted to say something, but Su Xing promptly interrupted her, saying that she best not give some dharma or such in refusal.
“Indebted to your kindness.” The girl was slightly taken aback. Then, she took the towel.
“Your Servant is Su Xing, this is…” When Su Xing was about to introduce Gongsun Huang, he hesitated. It was reasonable to say that he was to introduce her as his wife, but good Heavens, she was only seven or eight years old in appearance.
The girl faintly nodded. The moisture of the rain wiped past her temples, she clapped her hands together in prayer: “Poor Nun is Chan Xin.”5
Su Xing’s brows rose.
“Your Highness.” Gongsun Huang softly called.
Su Xing shook his head. He looked pensively at Chan Xin.
Su Xing gazed at the rain, and he suddenly felt this rain was considerably meditative, quiet as still waters. There was something apparently stirring in Sea of Consciousness. The Meditative Mind Lotus Seed slowly cracked open, faintly with the signs of germination. Su Xing felt this, and he immediately shut his eyes, circulating the Absolute Sincerity Soul Technique.
However, afterwards, no other reaction could be seen, as if that feeling just now was only an illusion.
The rain showed no signs of abating. When Su Xing saw that this rain was without end, he just so happened to consider going back anyways. Just at this moment, he heard a creaking sound, and the main gate opened.
The two turned their heads.
A little novice monk walked out.
“Master Jia Ye6 invites Benefactors to step into the temple away from the rain.”
Only then did Su Xing notice that the place they were hiding from the rain was actually the back gate of someone else’s temple. On this side, Su Xing still hesitated to enter. Chan Xin respectfully saluted and followed the little novice monk into the monastery. Su Xing did not delay when he saw this.
The inner part of the temples was more wide than he had imagined. A gilded walkway extending across the rear garden was more imposing style than the imperial court. Golden para trees and every sort of Buddhist flora were planted in the surroundings.
Across the walkway, they saw an eight-section Heavenly Dragon pavilion. Under the pavilion’s roof was a kindly old man in the middle of chanting.
“Master Jia Ye.”
The little monk deferentially said.
“En, Benefactors, please come in and sit.” Chan Master Jia Ye gently said.
Su Xing and the others sat, inwardly sizing up this old man. His presence was profound, and even with Su Xing’s Seeing Clearly, he could not make out the old man’s cultivation. It was simply unfathomable.
“Chan Master, with all respect.” Chan Xin put her hands together.
“Poor Monk heard you two Benefactors discuss Chan in the rain just a moment ago. Poor Monk grew curious and thus could not help but have Benefactors come inside. Many apologies.” Chan Master Jia Ye smiled, his attitude extremely sincere.
“Poor Nun would not dare.”
Chan Xin calmly replied.
“Hearing this Benefactor speak just now his views about the matters of karma has made Poor Monk very impressed. Everyone enters samsara, yet karma does not enter samsara.” Jia Ye said.
Su Xing and Chan Xin were entirely stunned.
“But if that is so, then…” Chan Xin was puzzled.
“What enlightenment is there in listening to the Chan Master?” Su Xing did not remain calm and collected. He heard the meaning behind the words of the Chan Master in front of him.
Chan Master Jia Ye stood up. The three followed suit, accompanying Chan Master Jia Ye to two trees he pointed at. One was a withered tree, and the other was a luxuriant tree. He asked them: “Do you feel that the withered is the right, or that the thriving is the right?”7
“The thriving is right.” Su Xing wrinkled his brow and said.
Chan Master Jia Ye smiled and said: “Luminous everywhere, radiant and glittering.”
He then asked again: “Is the withered the right, or is the thriving the right?”
“Withered.” Gongsun Huang saw that Su Xing’s answer was incorrect and said the opposite.
Chan Master Jia Ye still faintly smiled: “Luminous everywhere, teach and the withering slows.”
Chan Master Jia Ye at this time looked at Chan Xin, once again asking: “Is the withered the right, or is the thriving the right?”
Chan Xin muttered for a moment, then said: “The withered is from its withering, the thriving is from its thriving.”
As expected of the one named Chan Xin, her reply was ambiguous and impeccable. Su Xing thought that this time had to be right? How could they have foreseen Jia Ye would still smile and shake his head: “No, no.”
If he did not see that the old man in front of him had a cultivation of probably Supervoid Star, Su Xing would have felt the old man was messing with them.
“What does Chan Master mean?” Su Xing asked.
“If thriving was right, then the world would be radiant and glittering beauty. If withered was right, then the world would be monotonous ground, a bleak and lonely path to walk. And this Lady Benefactor Chan Xin feels that withering makes it go wither, and that thriving makes it thrive. This is also incorrect because this loses the point of life, making you unable to be responsible for yourself.” Jia Ye slowly said: “For any one tree, withering is the very end of thriving, and thriving is the very beginning of withering. Withering and thriving cannot be separated, for withering and thriving are one. There is no difference. In Poor Monk’s eyes, it is a tree. Thriving and withering are its nature.”
Su Xing perspired. This monk honestly could speak eloquently.
“Cause and effect, then, is like this tree’s withering and thriving, inherently one. This Benefactor said that the cause and effect of the splitting of Earth and Heaven was also such.” Jia Ye said.
Su Xing half-understood. The meaning was probably that the world and karma were mixed into one. If you thought it was cause, then it was cause. If you felt it was effect, then it was effect. Inwardly, he admired this Chan Master, for the Chan Master spoke about Chan with skill.
“Chan Xin has received instruction.” The girl nodded and said: “However, Chan Xin has something she does not understand and wishes to ask Chan Master for guidance.”
“Ha, ha. There is no harm in speaking your mind.”
Chan Xin said: “Wise Buddhists have taught us, ‘Verdant bamboo is completely a corporeal body, the dense yellow flowers only prajna.’ Non-believers feel this is an evil doctrine, and believers consider this unfathomable, but Poor Nun wonders which is true?”
Chan Master Jia Ye answered: “This is what those of the realms of Manjushri and Samantabhadra have insisted the laypeople and Hinayana should receive. Hence, the ‘Flower Adornment Sutra’8 teaches us: The dharma-body is full of dharma-realm, generally appearing before everything, following karma without end, and often residing in this bodhi seat. Since green bamboo does not stem from the dharma-realm, how can it be a dharma-body? And the ‘Wisdom Sutra’ teaches us: Appearance is without boundary, thus wisdom is also without boundary. Since yellow flowers are not outside this color, how can it be wisdom? Thus, the sutra are inherently not determinate of dharma, and dharma is inherently not numerous.”
After the girl listened, she still did not understand, asking again:
“In this information, what are the believers? The non-believers?”
Chan Master Jia Ye pointed out an even higher concept, answering:
Chan Xin wrinkled her brow: “Non-believers are ridiculed as non-Buddhists. Why does Chan Master say they are the absolute truth?”
“Non-believers naturally are not believers, and the absolute truth is naturally the absolute truth. Because it is the absolute truth, the common person is therefore blamed as non-Buddhist. As for the non-Buddhist, can they speak about absolute truth?” Chan Master Jia Ye slightly smiled, making a summary.
Chan Xin pondered.
The Su Xing to the side only half-understood. Inwardly, this Buddhist Chan sect was cryptic, as expected. To bloom the Chan Xin Lotus Seed honestly was not a simple matter. It seemed reaching the realm of a smiling Buddha was still very far off.
On the contrary, that Chan Xin girl made Su Xing very curious. She was considerably devoted to Buddhism, calmly discussing Chan with Chan Master Jia Ye, every single of her movements having a considerable sort of attitude. This made Su Xing unable to help but recall someone. He and Gongsun Huang could not help but be drawn in by their discussion of Chan Technique. Gradually, he seemed to have comprehended and vaguely caught onto something.
The rainy fog was pervasive, the sounds of Chan beautiful.
Su Xing absolutely forgot about the time, watching the girl’s meticulous face.
Outside the temple.
The rain had stopped.
- 魔障 ↩
- 因果, this is one of several words for karma, which will figure into Su Xing’s wordplay coming up. ↩
- 因 ↩
- 果 ↩
- 嬋心, her name is literally “Meditative Mind.” I wanted to translate her name as Meditative Mind, but for now, I will leave it as Chan Xin. ↩
- 迦葉 ↩
- The following is a rather well-known exchange for Buddhists. ↩
- 華嚴經 ↩
- 俗諦 ↩
- 真諦 ↩