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After the light faded, the scene that entered Chen Mo’s eyes was of an enormous Buddha Kingdom world.
Chen Mo used the Deva Eyes to look, putting all of the Buddha Kingdom into his view. This Buddha Kingdom world was quite vast. A boundless and borderless forest of sala trees and a kilometer wide Buddha sea divided the Buddha Kingdom. On both ends, innumerable trees released sala flowers and bodhi leaves. On the far-off other shore, there was a large patch of datura.1
Beyond the other shore was a Buddhist temple and a large number of white pagodas; Brahmanistic chanting drifted faraway through space to Chen Mo’s ear.
The immense Buddha Kingdom left Chen Mo’s mind in shock.
This Vast Desolation Spirit Treasure’s world was indeed unfathomable.
The gold leaf suddenly jumped. Chen Mo looked and noticed that his points had changed from 80 to 90.
The rules to enter the sixth floor very quickly appeared in his mind.
The sixth floor’s test was called “My Buddha.”
This floor’s assessment was completely different from the previous five. After the jinshi entered this floor, they would immediately obtain a full score of ten points.
Of course, the test was far from being so simple.
The jinshi were required to exhaust everything possible to search this expansive Buddha Kingdom for the entrance to the sixth floor. As time passed, the ten points that the jinshi received would gradually decrease. The first time that the bell sounded off ten times, that would indicate that one point had been deducted. The second time, nine rings signified another point was deducted; the third time, eight rings was one point lost, and so on. After all ten of the jinshi‘s points were deducted, the warrior would automatically leave the Buddha Kingdom. If the point requirement was met, the warrior could proceed straight to the sixth floor. If the point requirement was not met, they would be expelled from the Seven Treasures Pagoda.
The required score for the sixth floor was 75 points.
Chen Mo, Fang Xi, and Jiang Yanyu were automatically able to enter the sixth floor, but Qing Wan’s 62 points and Cui Wumeng’s 70 points were somewhat at risk.3
As for the method to fully grasp this assessment, that was very mysterious, and that was to comprehend the profound of aspects of Buddhism within this Buddha Kingdom.
“Isn’t this forcing someone to become a monk.” Chen Mo was gloomy. This trial ought to not be difficult for Fang Xi. No wonder the Great Chong Dynasty treated Zen as its foundation. The Divine Warrior Examination’s court examination was all about Buddhism. To not follow the basis was impossible.
Learning the details of this test, Chen Mo looked at the boundless Buddha Kingdom world, he took a deep breath and composed himself.
In the air, the first knell rang.
The Buddha Kingdom was silent.
Chen Mo activated the Deva Eyes, seeing all of the Buddha Kingdom with his eyes, and he used the Bodhis Soul Technique in an attempt to see through the Buddha Kingdom world. The forest of sala and polo buds, the immense Buddha sea and the lotus upon it, and the white pagodas and treasure ksetras gleaming with the brilliance of colored glass. Everything was linked to Buddhism in countless ways.
But the way to comprehend this floor stumped Chen Mo.
Chen Mo’s mind exerted all its strength to remember every classic Buddhist scripture and story, including some boundless sea of bitterness, lotus flower throne, mahamayur. Oh, right, the Amitabha Sutra also described that the land of bliss had seven treasure pools. His mind sifted through all the possibilities.
Chen Mo, think, think, think! The more he pondered, the more he thought that the possibilities were endless.
The third knell echoed.
Chen Mo felt he could not keep on thinking. He might as well try one by one.
First of all was to try the simplest “lay down the butcher’s knife and become Buddha on the spot.” Chen Mo blinked, and very piously took out the Northern Dipper Saber. He set the blade on the ground and sat on the spot in the lotus position. A long while after, he opened his eyes. The Buddha Kingdom was blissful and quiet like before.
“Hm.” Chen Mo put away the Northern Dipper Saber, realizing this method would not work. Since this was the sixth floor’s test, how could it have been so simple.
“Then I’ll try to see the other shore of the boundless sea of bitterness when I look back.” Chen Mo thought to himself. He sat on the Nebula Flying Chariot and flew towards that Buddha sea.
Aboard the chariot, Chen Mo looked down on this Buddha Kingdom Pure Land, which was limitless.
When he drove the chariot past the sala forest, the trees rustled, and the leaves fluttered. Buddhist light blossomed. Then, Chen Mo recalled the story of the two sala trees and how Buddha attained nirvana.
Knowledge was always a good thing.
Chen Mo secretly rejoiced that he was a new age young man fond of learning and work. Otherwise, he would be bumping into everything in this Buddha Kingdom like a headless ant. To be frank, his understanding of Zen or Buddhism was a cut above even Fang Xi’s. While he groped about, Chen Mo was already a step further than the others. This perhaps was what Newton meant when he said he saw further by standing on the shoulder of giants.
Chen Mo attempted to find a pair of sala trees. There were honestly too many of them, and each appeared very solemn and divine.
Forget it, quiet nirvana meant transcendence. I’d better sincerely turn back to see the other shore.
Chen Mo dismissed the idea of searching for a pair of sala trees. He pierced through the sala forest and arrived at the shore of the Buddha sea. Then, he saw polo flowers slowly bloom as far as the eye could see, as if they welcomed his arrival. This gave Chen Mo the slightest fantastic feeling of being Buddha.
He urged the chariot over the Buddha sea. Chen Mo looked at those enormous lotus flowers, pondered, then stored the flying chariot and jumped down.
Chen Mo exercised his dantian, protecting his body with True Qi as he stepped onto the Buddha sea, wildly bounding all the way.
After several moments.
Chen Mo already spotted the opposite shore of the Buddha sea.
“That can’t be right, isn’t this supposed to be boundless?” Chen Mo wrinkled his brow. He turned his head back to look, but there was nothing unusual.
He stepped onto the shore. The sala flowers along the shore were all in bloom, the air full of their pollen.
The fourth knell already sounded.
Chen Mo sighed in his heart. He listened to those distant tolls of the bell and looked at the white pagodas. He said to himself, “Going on like this is a waste of time. I might as well go to the end.” Chen Mo used the Cool Breeze Bright Moon Escape, forging on in another wild escape.
The fifth ring.
The sixth ring.
Chen Mo finally came to a stop as he gasped for breath. He estimated that he had traveled a million li, but the white ksetra was still out of reach like a mirage. CHen Mo turned his head back to look. He nearly wanted to break out into curses. Surprisingly, he was still stuck amoids the polo buds, as if he had been going around in circles all this time.
“Father obtained the Divine Warrior Examination’s zhuangyuan with a score of 99. Presumably, he also passed the My Buddha assessment losing only one point. I really don’t know what to do.” Chen Mo inwardly pondered, unable to understand.
Zen paid particular attention to calm.
Chen Mo felt he was too worried about obtaining a full score. Thus, he took a deep breath and sat down once again on the grass, not moving at all. He took out that Theravada Fruit that Qing Wan had gifted him and looked at it once more.
In the end, he still did not ingest it. He had the Bodhi Soul Technique. One Theravada Fruit was already enough.
“I have the Bodhi Soul Technique and the Deva Eyes. Don’t tell me that I can’t see through this Buddha Kingdom world? Then I’ll really have failed My Buddha.” Chen Mo quietly sat between Heaven and Earth.
A bodhi tree slowly sprouted from Chen Mo’s body, gradually becoming lush, turning into an enormous tree that covered the heavens. A green light illuminated this Buddha Kingdom world.
After he ingested the Theravada Fruit, Chen Mo’s Bodhi Soul Technique reached a new level once again. The Deva Eyes also entered a new realm.
The Buddha Kingdom’s mystery cycled through Chen Mo’s pupils.
As if the four seasons were passing, yet also seemingly in but a Buddhist moment.
The seventh knell.
Chen Mo looked at the blossoming polo flowers. Each one was a glittering world.
The eight knell.
The Buddha sea’s other shore seemed to become emptiness.
The spirit-light of the Deva Eyes slowly receded. Chen Mo slightly grinned, having already seen through the Buddha Kingdom’s mystery.
Since he needed to break away from the Buddha Kingdom, he would need to break away from Buddha. The Buddha Kingdom was present wherever Buddha was, so people inside the Buddha Kingdom naturally were unable to leave. This trial was not only about understanding, it was about having comprehension greater than even Buddha’s. If a warrior only relied on the stories from scripture, then this was not the Buddha in a warrior’s heart. They would naturally be unable to pass.
This Buddha Kingdom world was absolutely silent, and the figure of Buddha was unseen.
Chen Mo’s gaze focused on that dense mass of polo flowers. Under the Deva Eyes, the polo flowers displayed another world.
Buddhism had a mantra, “I wish to be reborn in the Western Pure Lands, and for a nine graded lotus as my parent. When the flower blooms, I will see Buddha and realize that dharma has no birth, and I will have as companions the bodhisattvas that never regress.”4
When the flower blooms, I will see Buddha. Dharma has no birth nor death.
If he wanted to leave, the flowers could not bloom. Then the flowers could not see Buddha, and paramita was with me.
The ninth knell. Chen Mo was suddenly enlightened.
Chen Mo stood up, having already comprehended the true intent of this examination. The Bodhi Treasure Tree blossomed even more verdantly, finally collecting itself into Chen Mo’s mind.
Looking at those innumerable polo flowers blossoming over the Buddha sea, Chen Mo knew that in order to leave, he first could not look at the flowers bloom. Chen Mo grabbed the Northern Dipper, flew up, and exercising his power, unleashed a roaring astral wind like a gale blowing over the coast.
The hundreds upon thousands of polo flowers were suddenly ripped apart by the astral qi, gracefully vanishing into the air.
Chen Mo attacked in succession, beginning to sweep away all the polo flowers along the bank.
His overwhelming power swept like a torrent over both shores, destroying countless polo flowers. But as long as a single polo flower remained, then Buddha would as well, and Chen Mo would be unable to leave this place.
Seeing that the last and tenth ring was imminent, Chen Mo added even more speed.
In an instant, one last polo flower was left.
This flower was the largest, the size of a carriage wheel, and accompanied by lotus flowers.
Chen Mo wrinkled his brow and swung his staff at it.
Suddenly, a phantom charged out of the bud. It truly was the an illusion of Buddha.
“This is not the true meaning.” That Buddha said.
Chen Mo sneered, and his Deva Eyes focused.
That Buddha said again: “This is not the true meaning.”
Not wanting to waste his breath, Chen Mo attacked once more. The Buddha raised a hand, blocking this blow. It read an incantation, and all of a sudden, those shredded polo flowers surprisingly bloomed anew. In an instant, millions of polo flowers emerged in the surroundings like a flood.
Chen Mo inwardly cursed. Fuck, what am I supposed to do about this.
His mind moved, and Chen Mo activated the “Bodhi Treasure Karma.”
Upon seeing this Bodhi Treasure Karma, that Buddha immediately showed a panic-stricken expression.
Chen Mo’s hand held the Bodhi Treasure Karma. He imbued his spiritual power into the treasure leaf, and a massive Bodhi Treasure Tree blossomed above Chen Mo’s head, radiating green light. Chen Mo then swung the Bodhi Treasure Karma.
A green light swept past the riverbank.
Wherever the green light passed, all the polo flowers completely withered and disappeared.
Chen Mo shook the Bodhi Treasure Karma at the other shore, and the polo flowers over there similarly disappeared.
“No, you cannot.” That Buddha in the flower attacked Chen Mo with a palm strike at once.
This palm attack was a sumeru Buddhist light, as if the world was gathered in that palm.
Chen Mo smirked and continued to swing.
The bright green light accompanying the karma’s power seemed to be like that suspended Milky Way, completely dissolving all of the Buddhist light, obliterating it completely. Chen Mo took a step forward and plucked that polo flower.
Immediately after this flower was picked, the petals suddenly vanished like smoke. The Buddha faded, and a bright, crystalline stone appeared in the center of the flower bud. Astonishingly, it was a sarira.
“A sarira?” Chen Mo was shocked, taking it into his hand.
Then, the last polo flower vanished. Suddenly, the Buddha Kingdom quaked, and a mysterious force pulled Chen Mo. Chen Mo knew that he had passed.
The sound of the tenth knell slowly resounded.
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- The raws state datura stramonium, but that exists in the Americas. Datura metel is the more likely candidate. ↩
- 嘟 SFX: almost like a notification sound from your phone. ↩
- But wouldn’t this mean Qing Wan fails anyways? She won’t ever get 75 points. ↩
- 願生西方淨土中，九品蓮花為父母。花開見佛悟無生，不退菩薩為伴侶。TL adapted from here. ↩