After Buddhist Master Compassionate Emptiness mentioned the name Bodhi Cliff, Chen Mo distinctly felt the whole place’s atmosphere become very fervent. Event the Two Lords’ expression could not help but change.
Chen Mo left Chang’an not long after he was born, bitterly persevering in his cultivation at Azure Dragon Town afterwards, not understanding much about the Great Chong Dynasty’s Zen. He turned to Third Sister and asked.
He also could not help but be shocked after he learned from Third Sister what the Bodhi Cliff was.
As it turned out, this Bodhi Cliff could be an original Astral Treasure.
During the time of the ancient primeval Star Field, Star World was not split into Inner, Outer, and Central. All of Star World was filled with Star Energy, which multiplied without end, just like those primogenitor Star Generals. After tens of thousands of years, Star World began to split apart. Ever since Maiden Mountain appeared, Star World’s Star Energy began to unfold and split into today’s Outer, Inner, and Central situations, with Maiden Mountain acting as the epicenter.
Although Star Energy had changed, some valuable treasures from the original Star Field were left behind.
Needless to say, the Bodhi Cliff was rumored to be one of these original Astral Treasures.
Legend said that a Zen master meditated and came to enlightenment under a Bodhi tree. The resulting Zen mind developed into a supreme Star Name.
Among the Hundred Schools of Thought, Zen had developed out of Buddhism, prominent in Star World. Ranked “Last Of the Ten Schools,” although it did not compare to Confucianism’s word and action, the everlasting words of the sage Confucius, nor did it compare to the quintessence of Daoism’s “action through inaction,” Zen had an extremely significant trait – meditation.
Students of Zen comprehended through meditation to reach even higher levels.
Any warrior was able to take the first steps through the door with this type of meditation. It enjoyed popularity especially in the Outer Star Field. Ever since Zen was established, it seemed to approach Buddhism.
And the place of an original Astral Treasure like the Bodhi Cliff was an enormous aid to meditation. To experience the aura of an ancient Zen master, to comprehend the way of the world, to break through the shackles of cultivation with no effort at all, it was no wonder that everyone was restless when Buddhist Master Compassionate Emptiness said he would open the Bodhi Cliff.
What warrior would not want to go meditate at a place where original Star Energy was rumored to linger. Even Emperor Tang had stayed there only a few days when he ascended the throne.
For a holy ground like this, the Wanshou Temple had strict rules. Extremely few monks outside of the Wanshou Temple entered the place.
“Great Master, then can those of us who are not jinshi participate in this assessment?” A warrior fervently asked. The others were unwilling to let go of this extremely rare opportunity.
“You may. Not only will everyone choose, This Temple’s Four Great Zen masters will also make a judgment.” Buddhist Master Compassionate Emptiness smiled and put his palms together.
The banquet’s atmosphere instantly reached an unprecedented excitement.
Everyone began to think hard about their understanding of Zen.
According to the perspective of an ordinary warrior, Zen was only useful for increasing martial arts levels. Aside from this, those whatever nonsense sermons were too profound, devoid of meaning.
“We elders shall not compete against our juniors, what does everyone else think.” Emperor Tang said.
“As Your Imperial Majesty says.”
Chen Zhangtian and Jiang Ruxiu both agreed. They had no interest in going to some original Astral Ground Bodhi Cliff. That place’s rumors were indeed incredible, but since ancient times, they had never heard of anyone comprehending anything from meditating at the Bodhi Cliff. Furthermore, the Two Lords had both gone there for a look before. There was nothing special about it.
If this precious place truly was so amazing, the Wanshou Temple would have already been completely composed of Thunder Tribulation monks, and the Great Chong Dynasty would change its name to the Wanshou Dynasty.
People who reached Human Sovereign level like Chen Zhangtian disdained this, but other people were different. They all wanted to glimpse that treasured place.
The first warrior to step forth was the number one jinshi from Nanzhou. He was of a tough and stocky build, a sturdy man who absolutely did not appear to be eighteen years old. The moment he spoke, his voice was like a tolling bell, ear-splitting. “I, Ling Kaicheng,1 shall present my modesty. To me, Zen is like a parent…”
His speech was voluminous, a thesis close to a thousand words. He spoke of treating Zen as one’s father and mother. The entire piece was filled with the intent to curry favor. Although his meaning of “learn Zen for one day, treat it as your father for your life” was interesting, it did not appear that outstanding when viewed in light of its cheap trick nature to win favor. Also, his speech was too wordy, irritating people.
Each and every one of the next jinshi stepped forward to show off, prattling on self-importantly. Their eloquence truly was comparable to a torrent, the demonstration of Buddhism’s “lotus in the mouth” miracle. But Zen was about reason that entered straight into the heart, to easily awe them.
The non-stop discussions contrarily fell short to a lower standard.
Only succinct, concise, and comprehensive assertions could even more easily penetrate a person’s mind. Most of the celebrated stories were all so short, why? Because they were easy to remember. Chen Mo inwardly shook his head.
Several candle wicks later, Buddhist Master Compassionate Emptiness and the Wanshou Temple’s Four Great Zen Masters were still expressionless, neither sad nor happy.
“Enough of the extravagant embellishments. What do you mean by Zen is like a parent, that is truly ridiculous.” Jiang Yanyu finally could not bear to listen to any more, interrupting this farce.
These warriors fundamentally were not speaking about the significance of Zen. Instead, their wholehearted greed made those Wanshou Temple monks realize just how much devotion and love the monks themselves had for Zen. This was honestly senseless.
When Jiang Yanyu spoke, the others did not dare retort in the slightest.
“Parents are like Zen, to have raised you like this, truly shallow.” Jiang Yanyu’s merciless criticism made Ling Kaicheng completely red-faced.
“The Princess’ lesson is right. Kaicheng was tempted by Mara.” Ling Kaicheng was left in fear and trepidation.
“Princess Highness, we wonder what your view on Zen is?” Buddhist Master Compassionate Emptiness slightly smiled.
Everyone eagerly waited for how the Great Chong Dynasty’s absolute genius understood Zen.
“Yanyu’s perspective is very immature. I fear it cannot compare to Senior Monks.” Jiang Yanyu’s expression was sincere.
“But there is no harm in speaking. Zen is not divided between degrees of higher or lower.”
“Then Yanyu shall compose a poem.” Jiang Yanyu thought.
Chen Mo inwardly complimented her. To reach deep into a person’s heart within the shortest time, a concise verse was the simplest and most comprehensive method. Jiang Yanyu already saw the core of this assessment.
Jiang Yanyu shut her eyes. Her breathing was as silent as a remote grove, each breath like nature itself. The girl opened her eyes and spread her hands as if she was watching something in empty space. She slowly recited: “One raindrop of Zen, a slightly pure mind; I sit atop the lotus platform, all living things in my palm.”
Everyone was taken aback.
A mere twenty words outlined the girl’s heart that was washed clean of the profane, a heart for the Buddha’s assertive aspect. Compared to the discussion before, this was simply manifestly superior, its superiority established.
“Princess, why not in ‘my heart?'” Ling Kaicheng asked.
“Buddhism has a saying about Buddha’s kingdom being in the palm. All living things in the palm refers to all living things becoming Buddha.” Jiang Yanyu faintly smiled.
Everyone present cheered.
“So amazing, to surprisingly be able to compose such a verse in this short a time. Little Sister Yanyu is truly a genius. I feel a bit inferior.” Chen Luan was secretly amazed.
“If she actually thought of that in such a short time, then she is indeed very ingenious.” Chen Mo also had a new level of respect for Jiang Yanyu. This woman did not have today’s success by fluke.
With Jiang Yanyu’s Zen poem uttered, the others spoke no more. Several warriors were still pondering, but they paled in comparison to Jiang Yanyu, making fools of themselves.
“Little Sister Yanyu, well done. Then this untalented one shall compose one.” Tang Feng laughed and set down his crystal goblet.
“Feng’er, do not embarrass the imperial family.” The empress smiled.
“This dynasty is led by Zen. Your Son naturally does not dare to lose face.” Tang Feng naturally responded. Long before the banquet, he had already obtained the topic of this assessment. Compared to others, he was already prepared. Although the Wanshou Temple would not shield him, he naturally would display an even better performance after ample preparation compared to the others.
That Jiang Yanyu also should have seen the topic to be able to compose that poem. Tang Feng disdainfully thought.
Tang Feng feigned hesitation, then slowly recited: “Spring snow fills the sky, flowers seem to bloom everywhere. Unknown trees in the garden, they are like true plums.”
“A good poem.”
“The artistry is too good.”
The whole audience cheered.
Tang Feng’s poem was short, clear in meaning, and vivid and interesting. It was indeed a bit more formidable compared to Jiang Yanyu’s. That he could make such a poem full of Zen made Chen Mo very surprised, however, although Tang Feng’s poem was beautiful it was missing a bit of naturalness.
The natural artistry of Jiang Yanyu’s “One Raindrop of Zen” seemed to have been created over a long period of time, not conforming to the mood of poems.
But regardless, in terms of the verse, Tang Feng was undoubtedly much more outstanding.
“I was inadequate.” Tang Feng sat down, shooting a glance at Chen Mo, inwardly pleased with himself. A moment ago, I suppressed your momentum from completing Yu Youwei’s ancient poem, and now, I will also defeat you in Zen scriptures. He did not believe that Chen Mo could compose any exceptional Zen poem in such a short time, unless he actually had a great level as a Zen Master.
But was this possible?
At this moment, CHen Mo once again became everyone’s focus. As the one who previously composed Hanshan Asks Shide, he naturally was the only one who could compare to Tang Feng and Jiang Yanyu.
Chen Mo thought for a long while, suddenly recalling a scene from his previous life. Scene after scene, he suddenly fell into melancholy. “That day, closing my eyes in the Sutra Hall’s fragrant mist, suddenly I heard your chanting of incantations; that month, I shook all of my Sutra Containers, not for ceremony, but only to touch your fingertips; that year, I crawled along that long mountain path, not to have an audience, but to stick close to your warmth; that life, I turned from mountains to rivers to pagodas, not to study life, but only to meet with you along the way.”2
After his final few words, the banquet hall was deathly silent. For a long while, no one made a sound.
Chen Mo’s poem was extremely moving. In an instant, it made everyone experience it for themselves, feeling stifled.
“What a poem, that day, that month, that year, that life…” One of the Wanshou Temple’s Zen masters who was silent up until now was moved.
This progression of words, each more intense than the last, shook the depths of everyone’s hearts.
“You are surprisingly able to have such comprehension.” Great Master Compassionate Emptiness said in disbelief.
Everyone was incredulous.
To make such a poem, the every word of which contained feelings from the heart, it was simply abnormal for a fifteen to sixteen year old youth to have such comprehension.
Nobody knew how to describe their feelings towards Chen Mo.
Chen Mo had many Zen verses, however, his sudden recall of his previous life’s events somehow influenced his usage of this famous “That Life.” Of course, he was not afraid of others having heard of it before. “That Life” reportedly was written by the Sixth Dalai Lama, but in truth, this particular version came from the song, “Believer,” from an album called “Voices From The Sky.”3 The composer was a modern person, and Chen Mo did not believe he would have a Star Name in Star World.
“That Life” expressed emotions very intensely, a perfect mixture of passion and Zen. To the people of the Great Chong Dynasty, it indeed sounded unprecedented and unsurpassed henceforth.
Even the senior monks who had achieved the path were stunned.
“So amazing. Chen Mo, oh, Chen Mo, just what happened to you, to make you have such a melancholic understanding. Yanyu is more and more interested in knowing.” Jiang Yanyu murmured.