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Chapter 243: Pude

 Chapter 243 - Pude

Mount Xumi, Tian Yin Temple.

The precipitous mountain path meandered ahead, like as always, today, under the warm sunlight, it was crowded with people, numerous devout believers headed towards the temple, to pay their respect and to worship their revered deities. The Tian Yin Temple monks were stationed everywhere, to receive the incoming commoners and at some of the rather dangerous parts of the trail, there would usually be a few more monks stationed there just in case, at the same time the monks at the entrance smiled and greeted the crowds, a peaceful and auspicious scene.

Tian Yin Temple presiding abbot, Puhong Master's disciple Faxiang, right now was also standing behind the entrance, watching the people passing by. With his status and cultivation, he no longer had to do these chores but he was benevolent and whenever he saw his fellow monks hard at work due to the large crowd, he would come over and help, like today.

Just that on this day he seemed distracted, felt ill at ease but couldn't figure out what the problem was, looking at each devout believer face flashed past before him, while receiving them, his palms placed together in front and softly chanted 'Amitabba Buddha', a figure suddenly walked out from the crowd, stood before him.

Faxiang looked up and was stunned, clearly he did not expect the person in front of him, and then his face revealed a smile, said, "We meet again patron."

The person was Ghost Li, he was wearing a grey long robe, standing among the commoner believers, he did not stand out at all, the only sense of superiority, most probably was the restless monkey on his shoulder.

Ghost Li looked quite haggard, although he did not look low-spirited but he didn't look cheerful too, only smiled at Faxiang, said, "Senior brother Faxiang, can you please notify, I have a matter, will like to pay a visit to Puhong Master."

Faxiang smiled and said, "Zhang patron please be assured, our mentor has already instructed before, as long as you are here, no matter when and where, he will meet you, please follow me!" After speaking, Faxiang took the lead.

Ghost Li quietly followed him, on the way there, the interior of Tian Yin Temple, swirled with incense smoke, not to mention packed with people, shoulders brushing shoulders.

The two of them walked for a while, Ghost Li suddenly said to Faxiang, "Senior brother Faxiang, up above Qing Yun, do you really think deities exist?"

Faxiang was silent for a moment, said, "Patron, according to our Buddhism view, divinities are omnipresent but the most important thing is still the individual's mind."

Ghost Li looked indifferent, looking at the surrounding people, quietly said, "I don't understand."

Faxiang quietly spoke, "Patron's life is hard, been through many trials and tribulations, from my humble view, if you wish to seek release, the most crucial point is to have 'look past' these two words in your own heart."

Ghost Li was silent for a long time, eventually did not speak, Faxiang did not speak too, led him along. Both of them walked through corridors and paths, towards the Little Tian Yin Temple at the rear mountain.

When they reached the meditation room, Faxiang nodded to Ghost Li, Ghost Li understood and stopped.

Faxiang gently knocked a few times on the door, said, "Teacher, it is disciple Faxiang, today Ghost Li patron came up the mountain and is here to pay a visit."

From inside the room immediately Puhong Master's deep and kind voice was heard, "Please invite patron Ghost Li in!"

Faxiang gently pushed opened the door, stepped back and stretched out his arm to Ghost Li, quietly said, "Patron please."

Ghost Li nodded, walked into the meditation room, Faxiang also followed him in and closed the door behind him.

Puhong Master was as usual sitting in meditation on the bed, looked at Ghost Li, his face revealed a kind smile, putting his palms together, said, "You are here, patron."

Ghost Li was quite respectful towards this Puhong Master, without hesitation, he bowed deeply, said, "Disciple intrudes."

Puhong Master shook his head and smiled, "I have said it before, Tian Yin Temple's door is open wide for you, you can come anytime, furthermore you being here, I am more than happy, I wonder what bothers you?"

Ghost Li hesitated slightly, looked up at Puhong Master, said, "To be frank to master, disciple is here today, there is really something that I wish to consult master."

Puhong Master said, "Patron please speak your mind."

Ghost Li wanted to speak but stopped, he seemed hard to find the words but eventually still said, "Will like to ask master, in your honourable temple, is there a treasure that is called 'Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate'?

Puhong Master was surprised, Faxiang standing beside him also revealed a surprised look, both of them looked at each other and then Puhong Master nodded and said, "That's right, our temple indeed have this item."

Ghost Li immediately was attentive, Puhong Master saw his expression, frowned slightly and said, "Will like to ask Ghost Li patron, why did you ask about this item out of a sudden?"

Ghost Li hesitated, said, "Actually both of you know the situation that disciple is in, ten years ago at Qing Yun Hill, disciple has a friend who is severely injured because of disciple, until now is still unconscious."

Puhong Master put his palms together and said, "Miss Biyao values love and friendship deeply, old monk me also admires her greatly."

Ghost Li said, "For ten years, I went to every corner of the world only wishing to save Biyao but heavens did not grant my wish and until today there isn't any improvement." Speaking until here, although his expression did not change but his eyes couldn't hide his dejection.

After a moment of silence, he looked up at Puhong Master, said, "Truthfully, disciple came here today is because several days ago by chance I have heard from a senior, that there is a marvelous and unfathomable treasure called Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate in Tian Yin Temple, has special ability to turn, conceal Yang and set soul, maybe there is a faint hope that it can save Biyao, and so brazenly I came, hoping that master is compassionate, will lend disciple this item, once I have used it, I will definitely return it personally."

Speaking at the end, Ghost Li's lips trembled, evidently emotional, his expression changed a few times, he seemed hesitance and then he stepped forward two steps, both hands tightly clenched together, slowly knelt before Puhong Master.

Puhong Master was shocked, quickly stretched his hand out and said, "Patron please do not be like this, quickly stand up."

Faxiang had already went forward to help Ghost Li up.

Puhong Master looked at Ghost Li for a long time, his expression compassionate but his eyes seemed uncertain, clearly this treasure was not a trivial matter to him too, for a moment he was undecided.

After a while, Puhong Master slowly placed his palms together, said, "Patron, I will like to ask a question."

Ghost Li immediately replied, "Master please ask."

Puhong Master appeared grave, said, "Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate at Tian Yin Temple, other than my teacher and a few senior brothers, only my disciple Faxiang knows about this, this matter is rather confidential, I will like to ask, the senior whom you mentioned told you about this, would like to know which master was it who advised you?"

Ghost Li was taken aback, for a moment was speechless, kept quiet for a long time before quietly speaking, "Master please forgive me, it is not that disciple deliberately withhold, it is really actually that senior, after knowing disciple's situation, especially instructed disciple not to reveal his identity, so..." towards the end, his voice also gradually lowered down, his countenance revealed disappointment, anxiety, evidently he was struggling inside his heart too but eventually he did not say.

Puhong Master frowned and did not speak, lowered his head and contemplated.

Ghost Li saw Puhong Master's countenance, felt even more anxious, before coming to Tian Yin Temple he had also indeed thought about this obscure treasure, if there was indeed such an ability, then naturally it would be an exceptional rare treasure and naturally be prized by Tian Yin Temple, just that looking at Puhong Master and Faxiang's reactions, they didn't seem to have the intent to reject but other than that they seemed extremely concerned about Ghost Li's information source.

Ghost Li's information was naturally from Zhou Yixian from that day on the ancient path outside HeYang City, the more he came to know Zhou Yixian, the more he felt that this Jianghu fortune teller who seemed to be always sprouting nonsensical words, was really an unfathomable deep person, just that after Zhou Yixian told him this information, again and again reminded him, that he must never reveal who he was.

Right now Ghost Li felt an internal conflict, like two hot blood channels colliding into each other, on one side was the promise to Zhou Yixian, the other side was an even important ten years of long-cherished wish. For Biyao, even if it was only a small glimmer of hope, he was willing to give up anything to pursue, now that he was stuck in-between, for the moment he was torn.

Fortunately at this moment, Puhong Master suddenly let out a long sigh and said, "Forget it, no matter who it was that told you, you are fated with Puzhi junior brother's previous life, and this treasure is actually Puzhi junior brother he..." Puhong Master suddenly let out a bitter laugh, stopped his words and stood up, looking at Ghost Li he placed his hands together, said, "Patron, follow me, I will bring you to see one person."

Ghost Li was surprised but after hearing that Puhong Master would no longer pursue the source and had the intention of lending him the treasure, he couldn't help but rejoice and prostrated on the floor, even his voice was quivering, said, "Many thanks master."

Puhong Master went forward to help him up, smiled and said, "Patron don't have to be so polite, let's go!" he flung back his robe and walked out of the house.

Ghost Li and Faxiang followed behind him, Ghost Li couldn't help but ask, "Master, who are we going to see?"

Puhong Master indifferently said, "Patron should know what commoners usually address me and my fellow brothers together as?"

Ghost Li nodded and said, "Yes, Tian Yin Temple four great holy monks 'Hong, De, Zhi, Kong', your names are admired and respected." When he spoke the word, 'Zhi', a hint of complex emotion flashed past his face, even his voice also lowered.

Puhong Master and Faxiang also noticed this, sighing in their hearts, they did not say much.

Puhong Master placed his palms together, "My third disciple Puzhi, I will not talk about him, fourth disciple Pukong you have met him once, now the person I am bringing you to see, its my second disciple Pude."

The three of them walked down from Little Tian Yin Temple and again into the bustling hubbub Tian Yin Temple with flourishing incense smoke, along the way the temple monks all respectfully placed their palms together when they saw the abbot, the ordinary commoners fell prostrated in delight, even some elderly who saw Puhong Master, as if they have saw a celestial being, knelt and kowtowed.

Puhong Master was pleasant, his face kind, along the way they passed the main hall with the most number of people then turned towards Tian Yin Temple's rather secluded northeast corner. As the three of them walked on, the believers gradually were left behind, the surroundings also became quieter, until the end, Puhong Master and the rest at the end of a small path, in front of a secluded small courtyard entrance stopped, it was already deserted.

Ghost Li looked up, saw that this small courtyard was rather simple, the man-high-walls beside were long peeling, the wall corners were also full of mosses, the small courtyard was half concealed, the group could clearly see the small courtyard was littered with dried leaves, the occasional faint breeze stirred up the fallen leaves, increasing the sense of desolation.

Above the small courtyard entrance, an extremely dilapidated inscribed board hung there, three words on it: Jing Xin Hall. [Translator's note: Direct translation would mean Calm/Quiet Heart Hall, to calm one's heart or meditation]

Ghost Li quietly looked at the board, seemed to be in a trance, Puhong Master walked into the small yard, Faxiang followed behind.

After a few steps they realized Ghost Li did not follow them, were surprised, turned back and saw Ghost Li was staring at that board, Faxiang couldn't help but was curious and asked, "Zhang patron, what is it?"

Ghost Li moved, he seemed to be out of his reverie, was quiet for a moment, walked over and faintly said, "Nothing, just that the name on the board, has some similarities to where I stayed when i was young, forgotten myself for a moment, pardon me for my lack of manners."

Faxiang glanced at him again, shook his head and said, "You're too courteous, patron please enter!"

Ghost Li nodded, walked into the yard, Puhong Master had already stopped before a wooden house, turned to look at them.

Ghost Li walked up and quietly said, "Disciple is lacking in manners."

Puhong Master smiled and said, "No matter." Turned and gently knocked three times on the door, said, "Amitabha Buddha, Pude junior brother, today I brought a patron to see you, intrude on junior brother's secluded cultivation, I am at fault, I am at fault."

A gust of wind, blew from behind them, stirred up the fallen leaves, ruffled their clothes. In front of them, that wooden door seemed to be pushed gently by the wind, making [zhi ya] light sound, slowly opening in.

At the same time, a hagged and hoarse voice was heard, like a metal weapon corroded by rust after being unused for a long time, slowly said, "Yes...who? Able to....trouble senior brother you... to... come....ah..."

Puhong Master smiled, walked in, Faxiang followed behind him, Ghost Li for some reason, felt nervous, inhaled deeply and strided in.

Even though Ghost Li already knew Tian Yin Temple monks do not care about life's luxuries, and their furnishings have always been simple and crude but walking into this wooden house, the simplicity shocked him. There was simply no furnishing at all, only some straw was placed in a corner on the floor, a dark, withered elder monk sat cross-legged there, looking up slowly at them.

Puhong Master walked forward, came before that old monk, Ghost Li quietly stood behind, looking from beside, saw that elderly monk's countenance compared with Puhong Master was greatly different, Puhong Master was radiant and kind, looked dignified and had presence, no wonder numerous believers prostrated themselves before him, compared to the elderly monk sitting at the corner, he could really be described as 'the vile skin-bag' a term commonly used in Buddhism.

Puhong Master stood before the old monk and watched him for a long time before sighing, sat down directly on the dirty floor before the old monk, faintly said, "Junior brother, we have not seen each other for ten years right?"

That old monk slowly placed his palms together, his voice was still hoarse and deep, said, "Yes...ah, senior...brother have you been...well?"

Ghost Li was surprised to hear that, both of them were together in this Tian Yin Temple and although it was rather secluded here but it didn't look as if this place was especially guarded and so was not in seclusion, in this long ten years, both of them actually did not meet, it was really unbelievable.

As if guessing Ghost Li's thoughts, Puhong Master turned and smiled to Ghost Li, said, "This is my second junior brother Pude."

Ghost Li although still did not know why Puhong Master brought him here but Pude as one of the respected four great holy monks, in addition he himself was in request of others, dared not be rude and quickly paid his respect and said, "Disciple Ghost Li, pay his respect to Pude Master."

Pude Master slowly looked over, onto Ghost Li's face, his movements were extremely stiff and slow, made one felt that even moving his gaze was also an effort. Ghost Li really could not understand why this renowned monk of the four great holy monks would be like this but his face did not reveal the slightest discourtesy.

Puhong Master faintly said, "Pude junior brother what he is seeking enlightenment from is a branch of our Buddhism sect, called 'Bitter Meditation', if it's not someone with great wisdom or courage, he will not be able to cultivate, do not see his withered state now, his cultivation or skills, has long surpassed me."

Pude Master's withered face moved slightly, not knowing if he smiled but it was impossible to view his change of expression, slowly said, "Senior brother...you are too kind..."

Puhong Master placed his palms together and quietly chanted "Amitabha Buddha", and said, "Junior brother, today I have come to disturb your meditation, my sin is great, I will first ask for forgiveness, just that this matter is not like others, " he glanced at Ghost Li, said, "Junior brother, do you know who he is?"

Pude Master ever since he looked at Ghost Li, his gaze never left him, however his gaze seemed to be like a dried well without ripples, nobody could tell what he was thinking.

After hearing Puhong Master's words, Pude Master slowly said, "w...who?"

Puhong Master gently sighed and said, "He is ten years ago, Puzhi junior brother made that mistake and sowed the seeds of sin, that youth from Qing Yun Hill foot Grasstemple Village Zhang Xiaofan."

"What?" This was the first time, Pude Master did not stammer in his words, even his face also slowly changed, after a long time, his eyes were still on Ghost Li, said, "He is that...child?"

Not knowing if it was due to speaking more words, Pude Master's words were less stammered and gradually flowed more smoothly.