Hearing Li Yundong's words, the greeting bonze smiled and saluted with one hand. "You'll know if you follow me."
Li Yundong put his palms together and saluted back. "Please lead the way."
The greeting bonze nodded and turned to show him the way.
Li Yundong knew that the day was neither a weekend nor a holiday, but there were still many guests who had come to Xiyuan Temple to visit and view places of interest. Incense was burning in front of the Great Buddha's Hall, and many guests from Japan and Korea were taking pictures in front of the temple.
Seeing this, Li Yundong secretly sighed in his heart. "This is an 800-year-old ancient temple. Its foundation is so deep that it can't be compared with the other sects. Although Zhengyi Sect, Dragon Sect, School of Musicals and other sects are powerful and also have deep foundations, most of their ancestral temples are declining. If compared by the intensity of their incense, they are very inferior to the Buddhist temple.
"If I return to Mount Tianlong someday, I will have a chance to manage my own Zu Ting well. I can't lose my grip on the fundamentals."
But while Li Yundong was thinking of this, an idea suddenly popped into his mind, "If I hadn't become the leader of the Fox Zen School, I wouldn't know which school to join in the future instead. If I never joined one, would I end up as a lonely ghost without a sect? Although I am the leader of the Fox Zen School, I still have a feeling of living under someone else's roof. Moreover, Liu Ye is still alive. I don't know when he will come back. If he does come back, should I let him become the leader?"
Li Yundong couldn't stop thinking about this along the way, until suddenly the greeting bonze smiled and said, "Amitabha Li, we've arrived. The abbot asks you to come in."
Li Yundong came back to his senses as if he had just been awoken from a dream. After bowing to the greeting bonze, Li Yundong stepped into Master Puren's meditation room.
As soon as he got through the door, Li Yundong saw Master Puren sitting cross-legged under a spirit shrine of Buddha's statue. He pointed to the futon in front of him and chuckled, his eyelids drooping. "Zhenren Li, your brows are furrowed. It seems that you have a lot of things on your mind."
After Li Yundong had respectfully bowed to him, he also sat down cross-legged on the futon and asked, "Who amongst the living can say that they do not have anything on their mind?"
Master Pu Ren chuckled. "Amitabha Li, are you trying to argue with me?"
Li Yundong also laughed. "I wouldn't dare to show off in front of you, a great master. However, I have just heard from the greeting bonze that you seem to have already known that I was coming?"
Puren nodded slightly. "Yes!"
Li Yundong smiled with some respect. "Buddhism's Metasamsara Kung fu is really powerful. Can you predict everything with it?"
Puren laughed and didn't answer, asking instead, "Zhenren Li, do you know why the Cultivation World fell?"
Li Yundong was a little surprised that Puren's question had digressed, but he replied, "As far as I know, it's because after the Qing Dynasty entered Guanyuan, Tibetan Buddhism severely suppressed Buddhism in the Central Plains, along with Taoism. During the late Qing Dynasty, the turmoil of the country coincided with the outbreak of the May 4th Movement, the Great Leap Forward, the Movement for the Destruction of the Four Old Ways, and the horrible Great Cultural Revolution. During this period of time, both Buddhism and Taoism in the Cultivation World suffered extremely severely. Moreover, the cultural soil of the Buddhist and Taoist families almost disappeared, and the Cultivation culture rooted in this soil naturally found it difficult to survive. Is that right, Master Puren?"
"You are only partly right, there are deeper reasons of which you are unaware."
Li Yundong respectfully asked, "In that case, Great master, please enlighten me!"
Puren smiled and began explaining. "Since ancient times, if someone has wanted to convey information, they have had to use fast horses or homing pigeons. We cultivators can become able to use Yin Spirit out of our bodies through cultivation. The soul can fly to the sky and, in a short time, we can transmit a piece of information to a recipient at a very fast speed, or we can use powerful magical weapons to deliver messages."
"But cultivating to that point is not something that just anyone can do. One must work hard, and they must have both the talent and the opportunity to do it!" While saying this, Puren's thin hands took out a cell phone from his sleeve. He shook it and continued, "However, in this age, any ordinary person can do something similar with the help of science and technology."
Puren placed his phone in front of him and sighed slightly. "Current technological power is extremely advanced, particularly with the emergence of various weapons which have made even our cultivators' most awe-inspiring and powerful magical weapons inferior. You Taoist cultivators had spent more than ten years cultivating to the realm of Feijian phase. You can kill a person in a few moves without leaving a trace from many miles away. This should be very powerful, right? But now, with a gun in your hands, you can also kill a person in a few moves and without leaving a trace. There are even some people who can press a remote control and trigger deaths and injuries in remote places! Such an ability is much more powerful than our powerful magical weapons!"
Puren peered at Li Yundong closely and asked, "Zhenren Li, We have worked hard on cultivation for a lifetime, but others can do these things without practicing. So, why do they still want to cultivate?"
Li Yundong was stunned when he heard that. He secretly felt that Master Puren was right. He sighed and replied, "You're not wrong. Not only in the Cultivation World, but also in the areas of martial arts and medicine in China! Medical skills are supported by cultivation, and martial arts defend cultivation. It’s a pity that they are almost gone now!"
Puren immediately asked, "So, Zhenren Li, since ordinary people can do what we can do without cultivation, why should we still cultivate? We could just give up on it all!"
Li Yundong immediately retorted without thinking, "I don't agree with your reasoning!"
A hint of a smile appeared in Puren's eyes. "Why?" he asked.
"Buddhism doesn't pay attention to the final result, but rather on the process of cultivation itself, which is the meaning of walking and experiencing. Buddhism's cultivation is designed to achieve self-enlightenment and ascendence through continuous cultivation, so as to transcend into the sacred, return to the basics, and finally become a Buddha! Similarly, the Taoists' cultivation is called Xiuzhen. It focuses on the word 'True', which emphasizes finding one's true self and staying authentic. What is the true self, falseness, and reality? In recent days, I have felt that the Yang Spirit is the true self, and everything else is artifice!"
Facing the respected Master Puren, Li Yundong continued eloquently, "Ordinary people can do what cultivators can do without cultivation, but that refers to means of killing. We cultivators choose cultivation or Xiuzhen not to learn the methods of killing, but to surpass the restraints of this world, to escape the cycle of rebirth, old age, sickness and death! Ordinary people will always be trapped in the rise and fall of honor and disgrace, birth, old age, sickness and death, but we have long surpassed this point. As long as our Yang Spirit exists, we will be in harmony with heaven and earth, with the sun and the moon!
"The goal of us cultivators is to transcend birth, old age, sickness and death, and to detach from the mortal difficulties of the world!" Li Yundong said, his voice passionate and his expression energetic. He was in high spirits, firm, brave and powerful.
Hearing this, Master Puren exclaimed loudly and clapped his hands. "Good. Well said!"
When he was clapping, another person came out from the back of the meditation room. It was an old monk dressed in a golden cassock with a face full of wrinkles. His white eyebrows were so long that they almost reached his cheekbones.
Master Puren smiled at the old monk and said, "Are you happy now? Can this magic weapon be handed over to him?"
The old monk smiled but did not answer. He put his palms together and bowed deeply to Li Yundong, asking, "Amitabha Li, if you had a chance, how would you help the Cultivation World to regain its former glory?"
Li Yundong didn't dare to be rude. He quickly got up and saluted back, smiling as he said, "I can make friends with talents from all over the world, help others everywhere, and gain recognition and support from everyone in the future. Then I'd be able to regain glory."
Seeing that Li Yundong’s answer was rather vague, the old monk chuckled. "What will you do if you meet demons who want to ruin our Cultivation World in the future?"
Li Yundong replied without hesitation, "Naturally, I would eliminate the demons and guard our ways!"
The old monk's eyes narrowed as he asked, "But if this person were your acquaintance, then what would you do?"
This question immediately made Li Yundong vigilant. He turned to look at Master Puren and asked, "Who is this great master?"
The old monk smiled. "This is Abbot Xincheng of Jinshan Temple."
Li Yundong saluted. "Abbot Xincheng, I wonder who the acquaintance you are referring to might be?" he asked.
"Is it important who she/he is?" Xincheng replied wryly.
Li Yundong's vigilance intensified. He thought to himself, “Isn't this person mocking me and setting up a trap? It's okay to deal with other people, but if he's trying to goad me into dealing with Su Chan, I'll slap him!”
Li Yundong frowned and said, "Of course it's important. If they are a loved one, then I will never do anything. But anyway, I believe that a loved one of mine would not do this kind of thing. Even if they wanted to, I would stop them."
Xincheng chuckled. "It's not that serious. Amitabha Li, you are too worried. Who doesn't know that you're a spoony who loves beauties and doesn't care about the country? I was merely asking, if this person was someone you knew, what would you do? Would you protect them and be biased?"
Li Yundong thought for a while before saying seriously, "I would find out the truth first. If they really did something wrong, I would handle it impartially!"
Xincheng smiled with satisfaction and nodded to Puren.
Puren chuckled and withdrew a purple-gold colored glaze bowl from his sleeve. "Amitabha Li, Du Fei called me just now and told me your purpose in coming. Although I don't know what you want this bowl for, I believe you possess an upstanding temperament and a kind heart, so you won't use this powerful magical weapon to do things that go against reason and nature. Besides, you are in such a hurry to use it, so perhaps there's something important you need it for. I'll give it to you now."
Li Yundong was overjoyed and took this Buddhist magic weapon with both hands respectfully. After taking it, he thought for a moment and said, "But Master Puren, I still have something I must ask you for."
Puren smiled at him encouragingly. "Amitabha Li, you can speak directly."
"I want to ask you how to arrange the Bafang Killing Formation!" Li Yundong revealed.
Pu Ren was slightly surprised. "The Bafang Killing Formation? Amitabha Li, do you know that this is the most guarded magic circle of our Xiyuan Temple, which has not been passed down for 800 years? But..."
Li Yundong's heart thumped, and he was thinking to himself, "Oh no, I've gotten the magical item, but it seems I won't be able to learn the magic circle! What should I do..."
But when he heard the last word from Puren, his hope was reignited. He quickly asked, "But what?"