Chapter Twenty Karma is complete
Early the next morning, Ping An packed up his things and followed Li Yi to the famous Baosha Baoen Temple on the outskirts of the capital.
As one approached the temple, one could see that it’s halls were few and far between, but they were extremely elegantly built.
Because Baosha was located in a wonderful landscape of lakes and mountains, after the rain, a rainbow could be seen reflecting on the top of the Golden Temple. It was also commonly known as the Second Rainbow Temple by the people.
Baoen Temple was a thousand-year-old ancient temple. It was built for the Son of Heaven at that time to commemorate his mother’s grace. It was a place for concubines and high-ranking women of all dynasties to offer incense, and it was famous for its extensive help to orphans and widows.
The current abbot of the temple, Liao Chen, was recommended to the position by Li Yi’s imperial grandmother, Empress Mingde, when she was alive.
That very year when Liao Chen, to the dissatisfaction of many great monks, was made the abbot of the imperial monastery, Empress Mingde passed away.
If it were not for the full support of the crown prince and the household of Jin Gong, it would be difficult for Liao Chen to maintain his position, let alone have the opportunity to become the most distinguished monk in the country today.
After Ping An knocked on the door and reported the name of the visitor, the little master put his palms together and chanted the Buddha’s name, “The abbot instructed us earlier that there might be an honourable guest at our door today.”
Li Yi smiled and returned the salute. Abbot Liao Chen was really very kind, and he seemed to welcome him and his troubles as usual.
This brought him back to the matter that Li Yi was most worried about and added another certainty to what he wanted to do.
After living in the monastery for a few days, Li Yi finally found an opportunity to sit down with Liao Chen and talk in detail.
The abbot’s house, only a few feet above the ground, was as white as a snow cave on three sides and faced the mountains on the fourth side. The splendour of autumn at its peak could be seen through the open door.
The abbot, who was nearing the end of his years, was still as bright as a torch, and his face showed the warmth of the sun.
Upon seeing Li Yi, he smiled and asked, “Benefactor Li, is this view from my house worthy of your painting?”
Li Yi took this opportunity to put down the tea cup in his hand and said with the courtesy of a disciple: “If the abbot does not refuse, Yi would like to spend the rest of his life painting the wonderful scenery in the mountains.”
Liao Chen was a sensitive and wise man. When he heard what Li Yi said, his face didn’t show surprise. On the contrary, he replied even more sincerely: “Benefactor Li can stay as long as he wants, and he can live in this temple without worry. Being able to be blessed with a long-term resident, it must be because of the deep karma between Baoen Temple and the benefactor. This is a happy occasion that cannot even be obtained if requested.”
“Abbot, Yi doesn’t want to just live here but wants to pursue religious practice.”
Li Yi didn’t want to test the waters, so he simply went straight to the point and explained the purpose of his arrival. Now he waited for Liao Chen’s reply.
The abbot put his hands together, chanted the Buddha’s name and finally couldn’t help but sigh: “Your Royal Highness, have you thought about it clearly?”
He actually directly called Li Yi’s old honorific name.
Li Yi had already thought about it thoroughly, so he nodded and said, “Many thanks to the abbot for the trouble. Yi knows his identity, and it is precisely because of his identity that he never desired to throw away his life lightly.”
Then he told Liao Chen frankly about the various events after the city was breached. He escaped from the rebellious army, from the plague and from the prison, but now as his path seemed to be clear, he almost died in the arson. Zhao Yuan’s plans were unknown, and Li Yi also vaguely mentioned him in a few words.
Because of his familiarity with the imperial concubine and the family of Jin Gong, the abbot knew the causes and consequences of Zhao Shen’s attempt to murder Li Yi back then. After Li Yi filled in the details of his circumstances these days, his situation could be said to be quite clear.
“Buddhism is not a place to escape, but the current situation of the benefactor is special. Saving a life is more important than building a seven-storey pagoda.
And when I look at the benefactor’s eyes, I can see the benefactor’s eyes are calm because he must have lost his heart. He lost his family and his country, and even the man who was entangled in his grievances is dead.
Since one’s mortal life has become so clean, the door to practice is wide open. If you join my Buddhist sect, you will be able to improve daily and attain fruits of your practice.”
Since Liao Chen said this, he was willing to take Li Yi in.
Li Yi was overjoyed and said, ”I am indebted and grateful to the abbot for his kindness in taking care of my mundane affairs.
Not every temple would dare to accept a hot potato like him, but this one was willing.
The abbot lifted up Li Yi who was bowing with great respect, and said, “I am not the one who deserves gratitude. Benefactor Li has his own fate at this point. But anyone in the world who is able to take the bhikkhu (monastic) vows and follow the Buddha as a practitioner must have karma and Buddha’s fate. If there is some unfinished business, it will be impossible to achieve the right result.”
“Thank you, abbot, please shave me as soon as possible.”
Now that Li Yi had made up his mind, he hoped to start practicing as soon as possible, leave the mundane world as soon as possible, and get rid of his troubles as soon as possible.
Liao Chen agreed, “When I choose the day, I would like to invite the abbots of Xinglong Temple and Tianbao Temple to join as your witnesses.”
He was willing to gather the abbots of the three out of the four major temples in the capital to witness Li Yi’s shaving, which showed how seriously he treated this matter.
“After entering the sect, Benefactor Li will be a disciple of this poor monk.”
Li Yi couldn’t have been happier and said respectfully: “I’ll follow teacher’s orders.”
After Liao Chen went to Tianbao Temple and Xinglong Temple to invite two great monks, the news that Li Yi was going to become a monk spread all over the capital overnight.
Dingguo Gong’s residence handed the news to Ning’an Palace, and Empress Dowager Shen couldn’t help but spit: “The last of his kind, he’s being let off too lightly.”
Wei Che reported it to Zhao Heng, and the young emperor was taken aback for a moment before chuckling: “I’ll say, his famous reputation as a scholar was not in vain, this Li Yi is really ‘sensible’.”
Wei Che remembered that when he arrested Li Yi, the man responded and assessed the situation with alertness, and agreed: “He is a smart man.”
Only Zhou Yi had a headache after receiving the secret report, and he couldn’t hide it.
When Zhao Yuan knew about it, he didn’t say a word, but all the generals were summoned on the spot to discuss the battle plan overnight.
In the main tent, the light of the candles was as bright as day.
“Lord, if you attack urgently, although you may gain miraculous results, the danger is twenty percent greater than the original strategy. In the end, I will still support following the original policy and acting safely.”
“I second this opinion.”
“Yuchi Rui!” In the big tent, Zhao Yuan suddenly shouted the name of Yuchi Rui amidst the seconded opinions of the crowd.
Yuchi Rui was still hesitating and was inexplicably awakened by this shout. He was the first man under Zhao Yuan. At this moment, he sprang up with a clatter of armour, drew his sword and slapped it on the large table on which the sand map was placed and yelled angrily: “Which cowardly tortoise won’t come?! Lao Zi will cut him first!”
This sudden move stunned everyone, and he turned around and raised his hand to Zhao Yuan in a military salute: “Before dawn today, I will follow the general to drive out the Tatars and kill them without leaving a piece of armor!”
The generals under Yuchi Rui immediately rushed to take a stand, and no one dared to make any objections.
The Tartars hated Zhao Yuan when he attacked the enemy. It’s just that although he used soldiers meticulously and daringly, he did not like surprise attacks or fighting unsure battles. He was a man of extraordinary talents who knew how to wield a double-edged sword. When leading soldiers, he did not need to rely on chance in taking the path of the sword.
Who knew that this time Zhao Yuan was not like the old days; his use of soldiers was very unorthodox. Night attacks, quick battles and surprise attacks came one after the other.
Not only the Tatars couldn’t predict it, but Zhao Yuan’s own subordinates were surprised. Sure enough, the name of the God of War was not overblown. It was one thing not to like going off the beaten track but if it worked, the battle period would be shortened by half a month and everyone who opposed them would be utterly defeated!
Zhao Xi rushed along with Zhao Yuan through the night, not daring to reveal the slightest bit of suffering.
Zhou Yi followed and secretly asked him, “What is this Li Yi unable to get over that he is going to become a monk? What is he afraid of with the protection of our lord? Why don’t I go and tell him that the last arson was an accident, so that he didn’t have to be frightened. In the future, he will be with our lord, and even a mosquito will not be able to get close.”
Zhao Xi shook his head and said, “You don’t know the abolished grandson of the emperor well. He is not the kind of person you think. Don’t think I am shooting my mouth, but that person is a man who has seen the world very thoroughly since he was in his teens. Although he looks gentle and polite, he is actually quite unrestrained in his heart, and has a lofty and unyielding character. Since he came up with such a method, I’m afraid he has thought about it for a long time, and if His Royal Highness rushed to… I don’t know how it’ll end.”
Zhou Yi chewed on Zhao Xi’s words and understood a bit of Li Yi’s thoughts. At the same time, he felt that his intelligence work needed to be greatly strengthened. He didn’t know much about someone who could make Su Wang so caring.
When the day came for Li Yi to be shaved, it was foggy in the mountains, a rare occasion at this time of year.
The thick fog stretched all the way into the temple from outside the mountain gate, and the entire main hall was also filled with mist. The ceremony had not yet taken place, but the solemnity of the atmosphere was already quite immortal-like.
The venerable abbot of Tianbao Temple had passed his eightieth birthday. Seeing this sight, he said, “Nephew Liao Chen, what did the Buddha’s verse say on the date you chose?”
Liao Chen sat on the mat, his heart and hands united, and he served tea to the two guests before saying: “The scripture says, ‘The blessing is deep, and the karma is complete. The Bodhi flower bears the Bodhi fruit, and it has its own Buddha fate’.”
The abbot of Xinglong Temple couldn’t help but say when he heard this: “This is a rare blessing. Congratulations to Brother Chen for receiving a good disciple.”
He was in the same generation as Liao Chen, was the last of the three to be ordained, but he was a few years older than Liao Chen.
As the hour approached, Li Yi got up at four o’clock on this day and prepared to take a bath. Ping An couldn’t accept what was going to happen. After seeing him crying until fainting several times in a few days, Li Yi couldn’t bear it and asked the guest guide teacher to take him to a quiet room to watch.
Li Yi couldn’t be mean and lecture Ping An. He was a man who had died once. He knew the difference between life and death. He was not a brave and determined person, and he knew it was extremely difficult to get through safely.
He transmigrated that day, and it took a long time for him to fully accept the reality.
It was not like the many written transmigration novels, one where one could turn from a hen into a phoenix and reach the pinnacle of one’s life.
Li Yi was born with a good destiny in this life, and him ending up as a monk was probably a shame for all his predecessors who’d gone through all the ups and downs of life.
The bells in the monastery resounded through the clouds, shaking away all Li Yi’s worries.
The past was now like smoke, and wealth and prosperity were dispersed like clouds.
The guest guide teacher knocked on Li Yi’s door and asked if he was ready.
Li Yi touched the bun on his head, straightened the green cloth robe and stepped out of the meditation room resolutely.
Under the porch, the guest guide teacher and the venerable teacher chanting the rules were standing on both sides. From the moment Li Yi started walking, the shaving ceremony officially began.
“Seeker Li Yi, please follow us to see the abbot.” The guest guide teacher asked for confirmation.
After Li Yi returned the salute, he followed the monks to the door of the abbot. The venerable teacher was the only one to enter and report: “Li Yi, who seeks enlightenment, has decided to loath his secular heart, and his intention to learn the Way has become stronger. Therefore, in front of the venerables today, he hopes that the abbot will be kind enough to shave his head.”
Abbot Liao Chen replied in a loud voice, “Yes.”
After that, the venerable teacher withdrew, and the monks led Li Yi to the main hall. Abbot Liao Chen personally led the two great venerables directly to the main hall.
After Li Yi arrived at the center of the main hall and stood still, he saw the abbot of Tianbao Temple standing in place of the witness, and the abbot of Xinglong Temple following as the guardian of the altar.
At that time, the monks were in place and all the rituals were complete. The guest guide teacher motioned to Li Yi to salute in front of the abbot.
Li Yi took a deep breath, lowered his head, patted off the last trace of dust on the cloth robe that symbolized the mortal world with his slender jade fingers and slowly walked to the abbot.
He saw the abbot put his palms together and kneel for a long time.
The Brahma music gradually rose in the hall, and an attendant handed Li Yi three Buddha incense sticks. “Ding!”
With the first sound of a chime, Li Yi lowered his head and bowed. With the second sound of a chime, Li Yi’s second bow. With the third sound of a chime, Li Yi’s third bow. After Li Yi bowed three times, Liao Chen asked, “Do you want to enter the Way devoutly?”
Li Yi replied: “Yes. ”
Liao Chen asked again: “Will you practice the Way with all your heart?”
Li Yi answered ‘yes’ again.
The venerable teacher continued: “Today the disciple, Li Yi, has asked the Great Master Liao Chen to shave his hair.”
According to the rules, Li Yi made three invitations and three obeisances in a loud voice, and only then did he invite Liao Chen to be his shaver in front of the Buddha.
Because Ping An repeatedly promised not to make trouble, the monks in the temple allowed him to enter from the back of the temple. He was able to catch up and became the only spectator.
Abbot Liao Chen was holding his staff at this moment, wearing a robe with eight treasures and gold thread. At this moment, the sacred sage said sternly: “You have requested earnestly three times today, and I will bear witness to your shaving.
All the verbal teachings, will you listen carefully……
Will you adhere to the teachings?”
Li Yi carefully vowed: “I can adhere to the teachings.”
Liao Chen nodded and took a seat.
The main hall was solemn and quiet, with mist clouds lingering, and the sound of Sanskrit was like the sound of nature.
The abbot invited the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with incense and flowers with great piety.
They were closely followed by the heavenly beings, the four kings of Brahma, the eight heavenly dragons, the lord of the temple, the dragon god of the land, the protector of the Dharma, the vajra rider, the gods and goddesses of the shadow and so on, all of whom were the witnesses to the shaving of the head and guardians of the altar.
After praying to them, Liao Chen turned to Li Yi with relief on his face.
Li Yi got up and glanced out of the mountain gate, but the mist was too thick, the mountains and forests were naturally earthly, and all the images could not be seen.
It’s fine if one don’t see it.
Li Yi looked back and collected himself, first worshipping the four directions, then heaven and earth. He parted with the emperor, his parents and his teachers. For Li Yi, the emperor was also the eldest of his parents and his mentor, and that had a special taste.
After the customary ceremony, Li Yi began to pay homage to the three treasures of ten directions with monastic rites. He first paid nine obeisances, then paid homage to the abbot, three obeisances, and finally knelt with his palms together.
“From today hence, I cut off the shame of my life, sincerely open my heart and beg for mercy and repentance. I only wish that the three treasures would take compassion on me and let the light shine on my body. All evils will be eliminated, the three barriers will be eliminated, and the source of the original heart will be restored, finally clean. ”
After Li Yi’s repentance verses were finished, Liao Chen held a clean bottle in front of him, and sprinkled the nectar from the bottle on Li Yi’s head three times.
The venerable teacher sang beside him: “The heart is calm, and the troubles are not intrusive.”
After the initiation, the attendant handed over the knife that was originally prepared on the table, and the ceremony finally reached the most critical point.
Li Yi saw the cold light flash in front of him.
Liao Chen held the knife in his hand and instructed: “Now use the knife to cut off your hair, so that your love for the mortal world will be extinguished forever, and the practice of buddhism will grow…”
After the earnest admonition, the abbot raised the knife to shave his hair.
Seeing the first black strand slowly floating down, Li Yi felt an indescribable calmness in his heart.
Liao Chen suddenly stopped and asked, “After deciding to become a monk, do you have no regrets?”
Li Yi was asked because inexplicable tears rolled down his cheeks, but he didn’t feel sad in his heart and only said resolutely: “I have decided to become a monk, and I have no regrets!”
After three full questions and three answers, even the Sanskrit music in the hall had quietly stopped playing, and Liao Chen finally said: “May you come here, and your love will last forever! May your happiness and wisdom increase day by day.”
As soon as his voice stopped, the abbot’s hand holding the blade did not rise again, and a group of people rushed out of the mist and entered the main hall!
The leader was clothed in armor and sat upright on a white horse.
The abbot of Xinglong Temple, as the guardian of the altar, leapt to the front of the temple like an enraged vajra and said “Who has come?! The gods and Buddhas are here! What is the matter?!”
Li Yi’s blood froze as he saw h*ll overlapping the temple. The visitor directly came out of his nightmare, dismounted and pressed towards him step by step.
He listened to Zhao Yuan’s voice that sounded as if he were on the verge of the abyss, but his tone was as calm as could be.
“Until the day of this lord’s death, Li Yi will never become a monk.”