Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
“One’s ideals are forever perfect, but reality is an insurmountable ravine,” said Fangzheng with a sigh. His ideals involved not going deep into the mountains to suffer. He wished for a warm family. Although he currently had the biggest family, with the entire One Finger Village being his home, and Old Dad One Finger being his father.
Fangzheng still wanted a home for his own. He wanted his own wife and kids. He yearned for that kind of warmth.
He shook his head and wiped away the errant thoughts from his mind before returning to the monastery.
Red Boy hurriedly chased up to him and asked, “Master, Buddhism and Daoism can come under the same umbrella, but if you place Daoist books in our Buddhist library and then spread it, are we Buddhists or Daoists?”
Fangzheng shook his head and said, “You are ultimately too caught up with the differences between Buddhism and Daoism. Is that important? As long as it’s something good, do it. Why should there be so many rules? All goodness in the world comes under the same umbrella. The others that fail to meet these criteria are considered unorthodox.”
After entering the monastery, Fangzheng came beneath the bodhi tree. He got Red Boy to fetch water while he happily took out Perfected Letian’s book. Its blue cover had yellowed, but on it were three huge words—Empyronic Breathing Scripture.
“It’s actually a scripture. Nice, but could it be genuine?” Fangzheng looked at the yellow book cover in shock. The Empyronic Breathing Scripture was actually not considered a true scripture text, instead it was more a martial arts manual. Of course it was bordering on exaggeration. To be precise, it was a cultivation method for qigong 1 . Fangzheng had always been baffled by qigong. Did this world really have something like qigong?
Fangzheng still recalled his younger days when there was a qigong craze. Back then people from all the nearby villages talked about qigong. Furthermore there were a lot of wuxia television dramas. Fangzheng had once held a fire-stirring stick and stood on a straw mound to act as a hero. In the end, he planted his head to the ground and was bedridden for several days. It left a deep impression on him…
The Empyronic Breathing Scripture was also the endpoint of everyone’s discussion. Many people obtained various annotated versions of the Empyronic Breathing Scripture and sold them. Back then Fangzheng had borrowed a few books only to discover that every book was different… He immediately broke out into tears, because even a retard could guess that the sellers were all cheats.
Fangzheng had taken the annotated versions to Zen Master One Finger. After Zen Master One Finger took a look at them, he shook his head slightly and said, “They are all fake.”
“They are indeed fake. I’ll get them to throw it away for me,” Fangzheng said bitterly.
“Leave them here.”
“Why? Why should we hold on to such items that only bring harm to others?” asked a puzzled Fangzheng.
“It’s not scary to make mistakes. What’s scary is that you try to bury the mistake after making it. Treat it as a life lesson for being cheated. Take it to heart as a memory and a warning. Many years later, you will gain more from it when you recall it,” said Zen Master One Finger with a smile.
Fangzheng did just that. He returned the books, but when the person heard that they were all fake, he threw them all away. Fangzheng picked them up and stored them under his bed.
With this in mind, Fangzheng rushed back to his quarters. He rummaged around and indeed, the three books were still there. When he flipped them open, he could easily tell the numerous flaws in their text, since he was now perceptive and experienced in reading scripture. The text basically mixed and matched various ideas and used flamboyant words to fool people.
When he looked at the Empyronic Breathing Scripture which Perfected Letian had given him, the content was clearly much simpler. Most importantly… The entire scripture was on one page!
Jade Emperor said:
The womb is formed from within the subdued qi. The qi breathes from the inside of where there is a womb.
When qi enters the body, you live because of this. When the spirit leaves the body, you die because of this.
If you know the spirit and qi, you can live long.
Firmly guard the empty nothingness and thereby nurture your spirit and qi.
When the spirit goes, the qi goes; when the spirit stays, the qi stays.
If you wish to live long, spirit and qi must concentrate on one another.
If your mind does not give rise to thoughts, it will not come and go. Not leaving and entering, it naturally constantly stays.
To diligently practice this is the true Dao.
Then? There was nothing left!
Fangzheng flipped to the pages behind which were filled with random annotations. There was nothing left from the original text! That was all!
Fangzheng smiled bitterly. “Well… Alright. I’ll read the annotations.’
Fangzheng continued reading at a leisurely place. Immediately Fangzheng’s eyes lit up, and he stared straight at the text. Fangzheng’s brows were furrowed in the beginning, but the more he read, the more astonished and excited he became. When he finished reading the entire book, Fangzheng smiled and looked up.
“Aiyah!” Fangzheng saw a few heads right in front of him. He was given a fright by the sudden scene as he nearly jumped up.
He saw Lone Wolf, Monkey, Red Boy, and Squirrel above Lone Wolf’s head. They were all looking puzzledly at the book in Fangzheng’s hand. Fangzheng was truly given a fright from the sudden appearance of the numerous heads.
“Master, what are you reading? Why so serious?” asked a curious Squirrel.
“Empyronic Breathing Scripture?”
Fangzheng asked nervously, “Do you know this?”
“No, never heard of it before.” Red Boy rolled his eyes. He was a demon. He did not visit many places since he was young. There were too many things in this world, and he knew too little about them. He naturally did not know anything about the Empyronic Breathing Scripture. However Red Boy still said, “But the annotations do sound legit, but it’s useless…”
Fangzheng asked in surprise, “Are you saying that this thing cannot be cultivated?”
“Cultivate? Pfft… Master, you are overthinking things. This world is completely not suitable for cultivation. Doesn’t it say in the first line of the book? Jade Emperor said! That’s something for the Jade Emperor, so how can it be for mortals? Of course, it’s not impossible to cultivate according to the book. If one can cultivate a mouthful of qi , they can strengthen their bodies and make themselves healthier. It would not be a problem to allow one to live to a ripe old age. But to imagine about ascending to the heavens would be dreaming. However the person who wrote the content sure is a genius. After all, to be able to achieve this in a world like this is quite an impressive feat. The annotations behind are not all correct. It feels like they combined the hard work, thoughts, and experiments of countless people. There are parts which are right and wrong.” Red Boy commented. After all, he had seen quite a number of profound cultivation techniques. He had no trouble making comments.
Fangzheng nodded. Red Boy’s comments were similar to his analysis. Thoughts of flying into the sky or burrowing into the ground could be forgotten. However, it would indeed be no problem to cultivate for a good health and long life. Still, it did not prevent Fangzheng from liking the book. “Would you be able to complete the book?”
“It wouldn’t be difficult.”
Fangzheng handed the Empyronic Breathing Scripture to Red Boy. “Then complete it. It’s good for the body, so in a way, it will bring joy to the world. This will be merit.”
Red Boy thought for a moment before taking it from Fangzheng. He then took a pen and ran off. It was a mystery what he did.
An hour later, Red Boy ran back and threw the Empyronic Breathing Scripture back at Fangzheng. Fangzheng hurriedly pulled it to him like he had obtained treasure. He was prepared to flip it open.
Red Boy curled his lips. “Master, look at how happy you are. If you could go to my world, I guarantee you that you would become a Buddha quickly. You’d be able to fly into the sky and burrow into the heavens. Virtually omnipotent!”