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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

4 Hundred-day Foundation

 A clear river flowed from the mountain forest towards the foot of the mountain after swirling around in front of Meng Qi.

Countless green trees nearby and the thin mist camouflaged his whereabouts. The air was extremely crisp, which made Meng Qi relaxed and refreshed inside out.

The sun had not yet risen when the morning bell rang and woke Meng Qi up. After learning the Sanskrit short chants in the morning class, Meng Qi and Zhen Hui were expedited by Xuan Xin to carry water from the mountain. They were not the only ones here, for near them there were also Zhen Ying, Zhen Guan, and other acolytes from the Chores Yard. There were warrior monks, as well, from the Warrior-monk Yard who wanted to exercise their strength by carrying water around.

Staring at the river, Meng Qi unintentionally saw his appearance in the reflection.

There was a boy about the age of 12 or 13, who was slightly older than Zhen Hui. His eyes were as black as ink, his brows were like the arcs of faraway mountains, and his face was clear-cut like a well-crafted sculpture.

Well, this is a nice-looking face! It shows that this body did grow up in affluence. "Meng Qi" praised "himself", but the next second he started to moan. What does a good looking face mean for a monk? Nothing! I must go back to secularity some day!

He sank the entire wooden bucket into the water to see how much strength he had. At the same time, he warned Zhen Hui, who was standing beside him, "Little brother, a half-filled bucket is enough for you, you don't have to push yourself too hard."

"Ok." Zhen Hui glared at the fishes that were swimming in the river and licked his lips.

Just as Meng Qi was about to lift the bucket, he realized that someone was staring at him. He turned around and traced the intangible stare that he had sensed. There stood a group of warrior monks that he felt somewhat familiar with. It was the acolytes that joined Shaolin with Meng Qi at the same time. Among them, Meng Qi could only recall a few names and Zhen De, who was the one staring, was one of the names that he remembered.

Zhen De, who had plucked eyebrows, showed a thin and long face. Realizing that Meng Qi was looking back at him, he slightly raised his head and seemed a little arrogant.

The other acolytes around Zhen De had bitter faces, but as soon as they saw Meng Qi, their sadness turned into happiness. When there was a "friend" that suffered more than they did, the difficult life in the Warrior-monk Yard didn't seem difficult anymore.

Yeah, we joined the Warrior-monk Yard, but Zhen Ding and Zhen Hui could only be char monks. This is something we should be happy and proud of.

Zhen De opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something. However, after giving a glance to the discipline monks standing right beside him, he decided to keep his mouth shut. He then lifted two full buckets of water from the river.

Meng Qi curled his lips and decided that he should not degrade himself to the level of a kid. Eventually, he would become a member of the Warrior-monk Yard too, and he would also have the chance to learn Shaolin Kungfu!

So, he put away the irrelevant thoughts and used all the strength he had to lift the two buckets.

The buckets just left the water surface when he noticed with astonishment: how come they are so light? I am only using a little bit of strength.

"Do you think these are heavy?" He asked Zhen Hui confusedly.

Zhen Hui walked towards him obediently and attempted to lift the two buckets. However, blue veins bulged on his hands and his face became distorted. He then nodded. "Yes, they are heavy."

So there wasn't a problem with the water? Meng Qi was relieved. He thought quietly: Does this body inherently possess strong strength? Ugh, from the skin of the body, the clothes and accessories that it was wearing, and that "Duke" the horse-faced man has mentioned, this body must have come from an affluent and aristocratic family. Maybe it has already learned some Kungfu in the past and built a good foundation. Anyways, it possesses a much higher level of strength compared to ordinary children.

Whatever the reason was behind his abnormal strength, Meng Qi now had no more fear towards carrying water. He followed the team of the warrior monks with the two buckets of water on his shoulders.

In only a short time, the team started to separate into two, with the strong and experienced warrior monks walking a long distance ahead, and disappearing into the woods in only a few minutes.

Meng Qi didn't want to draw anyone's attention, so he sneakily waited for Zhen Hui and a few other char monks and walked at the end of the line. Due to Zhen De and the other new acolytes from the warrior-monk yard had just joined yesterday, they didn't have any experience, and thus they walked unwillingly at the end as well.

Realizing Meng Qi and the other char monks' stare, Zhen De and the other warrior-monk acolytes' faces flushed red. They lowered their bodies and began to walk faster. Never would they want to be at the same level as the char monks.

Seeing that they had quickened their steps, Meng Qi was inspired and mimicked their speed. He immediately felt that the full water buckets became even lighter.

This speed is easy... Meng Qi tried to explore different techniques that could allow him to walk the fastest. He gradually sped up, and without noticing he had already ditched Zhen Hui far behind, and walked passed Zhen De.

"You know, if you don't walk at a stable pace, later you will burn out!" Zhen De angrily grunted behind Meng Qi.

Meng Qi answered with a "Hey!", and thought that tomorrow he must change to larger buckets or else it wouldn't be effective training.

Nevertheless, the mountain roads were still difficult to walk, especially because they were also climbing up the hill. After some time, Meng Qi also began sweating all over and gasped for air.

"Remember to control your breathing," A serious voice suddenly arose right beside him.

A discipline monk on patrol stood beside Meng Qi and demonstrated proper breathing. Meng Qi was both surprised and glad. Following the monk's example, he soon adjusted his breath and successfully ran back to Shaolin Temple.

"Use larger buckets tomorrow," the discipline monk told Meng Qi, and then went back for the other acolytes.

Meng Qi felt awkward. Although he thought about it too, he still worried that he might not have enough strength for that.

After a while, Zhen Hui, Zhen De, and the other acolytes arrived at the temple too, and there they saw the completely relaxed Meng Qi basking in the "morning sunlight".

"This guy...only....has....some more....strength...." Zhen De muttered as he breathed heavily. Like the other warrior-monk acolytes, he thought he was being embarrassed in front of Zhen Ding and all the people who were inferior to him.

The warrior-monk acolytes hastily left without having a rest.

"Little brother, adjust your breath. Are you okay?" Meng Qi didn't pay attention to them at all and asked Zhen Hui, who was also breathing heavily.

Zhen Hui nodded. "I'm...I'm great! Brea...breakfast!"

...

After breakfast, it was only dawn, and the sky was dyed red by the rising sun.

Although it was after heavy physical labor, Meng Qi didn't feel any muscle soreness. Instead, he was even soberer and energetic than before.

This body is really nice... Meng Qi looked around the room at the extremely tired char monks, and was very happy and satisfied. No matter what, a good body will be a valuable asset for him in the future.

"Newbies, follow me to the Sutras Yard," said Xuan Xin who, had a big smile on his face and a chicken drumstick in his hand, stood by the door of the cafeteria. Seeing that Meng Qi was looking at him, he slightly nodded and said, "Good Job. Don't let those little bastards from the Warrior-monk Yard feel too good about themselves. I have some rewards for you after you come back tonight."

"Rewards?" Meng Qi was delighted. Even though he kind of disliked Xuan Xin, he didn't have any prejudice towards rewards.

Before Xuan Xin answered, Zhen Hui spoke dully, "Uncle Xuan Xin. You can't eat meat after enlightenment. You broke the rules."

Meng Qi felt as if lightning had struck him. He wanted to turn around and cover Zhen Hui's mouth, but he was too slow.

As expected, the smile on Xuan Xin's face froze.

He put on a fake smile and said, "Your uncle I never break the rules."

After this, he never mentioned the rewards again, and walked out the cafeteria grumpily.

Not until now did mocking laughter start to arise in the room.

Zhen Hui was confused and looked to Meng Qi. "Big brother, what are they laughing at?"

"They are laughing at your stupidity..."

Meng Qi answered in his head.

However, this was not the question that Zhen Hui was truly interested in. His attention shifted right away. "Big brother, why did Uncle Xuan Xin say that he didn't break the rules? He was obviously eating a drumstick!"

"Because he had not reached the stage of enlightenment yet..." Meng Qi replied weakly, and decided that it was necessary to give Zhen Hui a lesson about life. That way, Zhen Hui would stop foolishly offending people again and again and won't indirectly cause harm to him too.

"Oh! I see! Uncle Xuan Xin wasn't enlightened yet." Zhen Hui finally understood and was extremely happy, as if he had just known an extremely important secret.

Meng Qi discovered that Xuan Xin didn't stop walking, so he didn't spend his limited time on giving Zhen Hui EQ lessons. He asked Zhen Hui to come with him and chased after Xuan Xin.

On their way they passed large and small halls and yards, and the only thing Meng Qi heard was the chant of sutras, which purified his mind and soul.

"The drum at dusk and the bell at dawn, awakening those blinded by fame and gain; the sound of sutras and the name of Buddha, inspiring those suffering in astray and pain." For some reason, Meng Qi thought of this couplet, which was the most appropriate description of what he was experiencing now.

"Eh, Nephew Zhen Ding, you have heard of this couplet, too? It was written on the gate of Shui Yue Nunnery," Xuan Xin asked cheerfully.

What Xuan Xin said made Meng Qi's flesh creep. However, he pretended to remain calm. "I have heard of it before from my father."

Meng Qi had to use the duke, who Meng Qi didn't even know, as an excuse.

Fortunately, Xuan Xin didn't find it odd. He sighed pityingly. "I have once been to Shui Yue Nunnery and saw this couplet by the gate, and that's the reason for my deep impression. Back then, the head of the nunnery was No.1 on the local ranking, however, she failed when she tried to break through the realm of Dharmakaya. She hoped that she could obtain the 'Golden Body of the Merciful Guan Yin Bodhisattva', yet what waited for her was failure and death."

"Golden Body of the Merciful Guan Yin Bodhisattva?" Meng Qi, stunned, uncontrollably uttered. His heart was fired with enthusiasm.

Xuan Xin put away his pity and chuckled. "The establishment of Shui Yue Nunnery was based on The Heart Sutras of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. If successful, a Shui Yue disciple can attain the 'Golden Body of the Merciful Guan Yin Bodhisattva', which was one of the Great Bodhisattva and Luohan Golden Bodies. It is far superior to ordinary Bodhisattva and Arhat Golden Bodies, and is only inferior to the Buddha Golden Body, the Amitabha Dharmakaya, and the Bodhi Golden Body. However, only one person has ever reached success, and that was the first leader of Shui Yue Nunnery."

"I see..." Meng Qi was extremely excited. His heart was pounding fiercely and his face was burning. He didn't imagine that there would be Bodhisattva and Buddha Golden Bodies in this world. How fascinating!

By now, the group had entered the Sutras Yard. Xuan Xin restrained his smile, stopped talking, and solemnly led Meng Qi and the others into a side hall.

"Brother Xuan En, these are the new acolytes of the Chores Yard." After chanting the name of Buddha, Xuan Xin pointed at Meng Qi and the others.

Far inside and high in the Chant Hall sat a skinny, old monk whose brows were white as snow. He also wore a yellow robe, and in front of him were books and a wooden knocker. He had a discipline ruler in his hand.

"Sit down please." He pointed at the hassocks below him, which were mostly unoccupied. Every hassock had a small table in front of it.

Meng Qi, Zhen Hui, and the others were too afraid to talk. They each found a seat and kneeled on it. After about ten minutes, many other acolytes arrived one by one, and among them there were Zhen De and the other "friends" who joined Shaolin at the same time.

They looked at the char-yard acolytes with surprise. Apparently, they didn't expect that char monks could study in the Sutras Yard, too.

Xuan En knocked on the wooden fish to imply that everyone should stop talking. Then he said in a voice that was neither loud nor soft, "In the coming three years, as long as you follow all the disciplines, you can come here daily to learn the readings at this time of day. In addition to normal Chinese characters, you will also need to learn Sanskrit for studying and researching ancient sutras."

He paused for a moment and continued, "However today, before teaching you characters I will need to guide you onto the road of Kungfu."

Meng Qi was infused with energy as he heard these words, and subconsciously sat up straighter. Do char monks also have the chance to be guided?

Zhen De and the other warrior-monk acolytes also had their eyes wide-open. If so, then what's the difference between char monks and warrior monks?

"The first step of learning Kungfu is the same for any sect, and it is for smoothing the channel of Qi, and building a strong mind and body." Xuan En didn't respond to the confusion of the crowd and continued.

Meng Qi listened with maximum attention because he didn't want to miss a single word.

"This step in Taoism is called the 'Hundred-day Foundation", which refers to establishing a base for practicing Kungfu. 'Hundred-day' means that, in a hundred days, vessels including the Conception and Governing Meridians will be opened up and be filled with Qi. As for us, we name it 'self-cultivation in meditation'. This is because only when your heart is settled and not in disorder, could the genuine Qi be naturally activated, filling up acupuncture points, and opening up the channels of Qi. Secular people often refer to this practice as 'open channels'."

Xuan En roughly explained the key points of "self-cultivation in meditation (Hundred-day Foundation)", "In the human body, there are 365 key acupuncture points, and after every unit of genuine Qi is cultivated, it has to be filled into the acupuncture points. Every key acupuncture point requires nine units of genuine Qi to be considered as adequate..."

"You can only cultivate one unit of genuine Qi every 15 minutes in the status of Ding. Therefore, based on the amount of time different people spend on their daily practice, it will take a hundred days to one year to finish this step."

"When in Ding, you need to purify your six senses. You must not think of anything unrealistic, nor feel impatience about the process. After 15 minutes, there will naturally be genuine Qi generated. Half of it will climb through the Governing Vessel to the Baihui Acupoint on the top of your head, and then go down to your upper palate, forming a 'golden liquid'. The other half will climb through the Conception and Governing Meridians and concentrate at your lower palate, forming a 'jade fluid'."

"When the 'golden liquid' and 'jade fluid' meet, they will combine and form a pure and sweet saliva. In Buddhism, this is called the 'sweet dew'. After this, swallow the 'sweet dew' and fill it into the corresponding acupuncture point..."

Xuan En repeated the key steps several times and then said, "After you finish 'self-cultivation in meditation', you will have sufficient Energy, Qi, and Spirit. Your Qi channels will be opened up for the first time and your body will be sturdy. Only then can you enter the next step 'Qi Storage in Meditation', which we also refer to as 'The Long Cultivation of The Holy'."

As he finished his lecture, he commanded every acolyte to attempt entering the mental stage of Ding.

Since Ding wasn't Dhyana and only required a peaceful mind, it wasn't very difficult. Especially for children, who generally had fewer thoughts than adults, it was relatively easy.

However, Meng Qi was an adult inside, and had too many unnecessary thoughts. A long time had passed and he still wasn't able to settle down his mind and enter Ding. This made him very anxious, but the more anxious he was, the more impossible it was for him to enter Ding.

When he was sweating all over his body due to extreme anxiety, he suddenly felt something cool on his chest, and immediately his mind was refreshed and relaxed.

It was that little jade Buddha? Meng Qi was elated. Yet he didn't think much about it, restrained his mind, and successfully entered Ding.