ali, sky, tweety, you are most welcome. Hope everybody had a great weekend as well. crazee, you are right. This is the end of Chapter 17, and as I mentioned before, I wanted to take a short break, but seeing that the action has just begun, I do not want to leave us all with a clifthanger, so as long as you guys don't mind, I am going to continue with shorter updates.
He thought, "Clearly these lamas are here to make trouble without reason; how can this temple hide some young lama? Is it possible that their intention is the same as mine, they are also looking for Emperor Shunzhi?"
He saw a flash of white light, two lamas already had daggers in their hands, each pointing at Cheng Guang’s chest and back. With stern voice they said, “If you don’t allow us to search, we’ll kill you first.”
Cheng Guang’s face did not show the smallest hint of fear. “Amitabha Buddha,” he said, “We all are Buddha’s disciples, why should you use force?”
The two lamas slightly pushed their daggers forward. “Great Monk,” they shouted, “Please forgive our offense.” Cheng Guang’s body slipped sideways, carried by their own momentum, the two lamas’ daggers were thrust into each other’s chest. The two of them hastily stretched out their left palms to push into each other and hence they both withdrew several steps backward.
The rest of the people shouted, “Qing Liang Temple’s Abbot assaults people! He commits murder!” In the middle of their shouts, from the main door rushed thirty, forty people; there were monks, lamas, and several lay people wearing long gowns. An old lama with white beard and wearing yellow robe shouted, “Did Qing Liang Temple’s Abbot kill someone?”
Cheng Guang put his palms together, “Those who left home to be Buddhist monks use mercy as the guiding principle; how can they rashly violate the commandment against taking life? Shixiong, Benefactors, where did you come from?” To a fifty-something old monk he said, “Turns out Fo Guang Temple’s Abbot Xinxi himself has honored us with his presence, and yet I did not come out far enough to welcome you. Please forgive my offense.”
Fo Guang Temple was the oldest among big temples on Mount Wutai. It was constructed during the first Wei Emperor Xiao Wen, and was quite established for a long time. Local people had a saying, “First it was Fo Guang Temple, then there is Mount Wutai.” Actually, Mount Wutai’s original name was Mount Qing Liang [same Qing Liang as the temple’s name], afterwards, with the discovery of the five major peaks, it was renamed Mount Wutai, but at that time, Fo Guang Temple had already been established. The name Mount Wutai was only changed during the great undertaking of establishing the Sui Dynasty. Within the Buddhist community, Fo Guang Temple position was far above Qing Liang Temple, and thus Abbot Xinxi was the de facto leader of various green temples on Mount Wutai.
This monk was fat with big head and plump ears, his face was greasy and shiny, with a giggle he said, “Cheng Guang Shixiong, let me introduce you to two friends.” Pointing to the old lama, he said, “This is Great Lama Bayan Fashi, who has just arrived from Lhasa, Tibet, the one most doted on and trusted by the Seat of the Living Buddha, the Great Lama with most authority.”
Cheng Guang put his palms together and said, “Brought together by fate, I pay my respect to the Great Lama.” Bayan nodded, his manner was very arrogant.
Xinxi pointed to a man wearing dark green plain garment, a scholar of about thirty something, and said, “This is the famous scholar of Western Sichuan, Huangfu Ge, Mr. Huangfu.”
Huangfu Ge cupped his fist across his chest and said, “It’s an honor to meet Great Monk Cheng Guang, whose divine martial ability is well-known. Today I can see you, it is truly the good fortune of three lifetimes.”
Cheng Guang put his palms together and said, “The old monk is indeed very old, when I was little, I learned some tiny skill, but I have already forgotten about it completely. Huangfu Jushi is quite established in both pen and sword, deserving my congratulations.”
Hearing these people were speaking politely to each other, he thought that the fight most probably would not happen; there would not be any excitement to watch, therefore, there would be less opportunity for him to fish in troubled water, an opportunity for him to look for the old emperor. Inwardly, he was quite disappointed.
“Great Monk,” Bayan said, “From Tibet I brought along a young disciple, but he is detained in your temple. Please look at the Living Buddha’s golden face and release him; everybody will appreciate your kindness.”
Cheng Guang showed a faint smile as he said, “These several Shixiong came to create trouble in my humble temple, Lao Na was not willing to lower myself to their level. Dashi [great master] is a fair and reasonable man, how could you also listen to rumor? Since Qing Liang Temple was established, perhaps today is the very first time we are honored with the lama masters’ visit. Where did you hear that we have detained your precious temple’s disciple?”
Bayan rolled his eyes, with a loud voice he barked, “Are you saying we accused you wrongly? You don’t want to drink as a forfeit but take … take a toast.” His Chinese was not too good, it was actually ‘to refuse a toast only to be forced to drink a forfeit’, but he said it backwards.
Xinxi laughed and said, “The two gentlemen must not harm the friendly relation. In Lao Na’s opinion, whether that young lama is in the Qing Liang Temple or not, speaking is cheap, the proof is in seeing. Let Huangfu Jushi and this impoverished monk be the witness, everybody can search around the Qing Liang Temple just this once. Seeing Buddha worship Buddha, meeting a monk nodding to the monk; each place, each monk will see it himself, if the young lama is still cannot be found, won’t that mean we don’t have any problem anymore?” Speaking back and forth, in the end he still wanted to do a search of the Qing Liang Temple.
A displeased expression flashed on Cheng Guang’s face. He said, “These lama masters came from Tibet, no wonder they do not understand our Han people’s custom. Xinxi Dashi is a person of virtue and prestige, how could you say such thing? If this young lama was indeed lost on Mount Wutai, then every monastery has to be searched, perhaps we must start from Fo Guang Temple.”
Xinxi giggled and said, “If after we search for him in Qing Liang Temple and still cannot find him, if these lamas wish to take a look at Fo Guang Temple, they are very, very welcome to do so.”
Bayan said, “Someone saw it with his own eyes that the young fellow is definitely in the Qing Liang Temple, hence we came here to inquire. Otherwise, we would not dare … would not dare to be this … this brave in the dark [昧冒- mei mao].” He wanted to say ‘presumptuous’ [冒昧 – mao mei], but had it backward again.
Cheng Guang said, “I wonder who had seen him?”
Bayan pointed to Huangfu Ge and said, “This Mr. Huangfu has seen him; he is a greatly well-known man, he can’t possibly tell a lie.”
Wei Xiaobao mused, “You are obviously in cahoots with each other, how can you be the witness?” He could not help but asking, “How old is that young lama?”
All along Bayan, Xinxi, Huangfu Ge and the others did not take any notice of the two children standing on the side. Suddenly hearing him asking question, they all turned their attention to him. They saw his magnificent and expensive clothing and personal adornments, the gem embedded on his hat, and the pearls pinned on his lapel. In short, he was a young boy from a rich family. The young boy attendant standing by his side was also wearing silk and satin. Xinxi laughed and said, “That young lama is more or less of the same age as young master.”
Wei Xiaobao turned his head around and said, “That’s what I thought. Didn’t we just clearly see this young lama? He was entering a big temple. There were several characters written in front of the temple. That’s right, I think it was ‘Fo Guang Temple’, three large characters. This young lama has entered the Fo Guang Temple.” As soon as he said that, Bayan and the others’ countenances changed. But Cheng Guang was secretly happy.
Bayan shouted, “Hushuo Badao, Hushuo Jiudao!” He thought by adding one degree of ‘way’ he would increase the degree of absurdity.
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Hushuo Shidao, Hushuo Shiyidao, Hushuo Shi’erdao, Hushuo Shisandao!” [ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen, respectively]
Bayan was unable to restrain his rage; reaching out, he was going to grab Wei Xiaobao’s chest. Cheng Guang raised his right hand slightly, the sleeve of his robe sent out a strong gust of wind toward the base of Bayan’s elbow. Bayan stretched his left hand forward, like a bird’s claw his five fingers grabbed the sleeve. Cheng Guang pulled his arm back, his sleeve coiled around the claw so that the grabbing movement was halted. Bayan called out, “You are concealing our Seat of Living Buddha’s young lama, now you want to fight and kill people? Rebellion, rebellion!”
In a loud and clear voice Huangfu Ge said, “Everybody calm down, if you have something to say, let’s discuss it over, don’t play rough.” As soon as the word ‘rough’ left his mouth, suddenly from outside the temple a large group of people called out together, “Mr. Huangfu’s order: Everybody calm down, if you have something to say, let’s discuss it over, don’t play rough.”
Listening to the sound, it seemed like several hundred people had surrounded Qing Liang Temple. These people heard Huangfu Ge’s loud and clear voice, and immediately echoed him together, obviously they wanted to intimidate the opponent. Even Cheng Guang, whose internal energy cultivation was very deep, as he suddenly heard this sudden rise of voice, could not help but was greatly shaken.
With a chuckle Huangfu Ge said, “Abbot Cheng Guang, you are a martial art expert of older generation in the Wulin world, yet you are covering your light and nurturing in the dark in here, everybody admires you very much. This Great Lama Bayan wants to search your precious monastery, why don’t you allow him to do so? Great Monk walks in straight path, treads on upright way, the wind clears up the sky revealing the moon, Qing Liang Temple does not have anything that other people cannot see, why would we all harm the friendliness of the Wulin world?”
Cheng Guang was secretly worried; although he himself had a high martial art skill, in Qing Liang Temple he only sat in meditation and expounded Buddhist teachings, and did not impart martial art skill to his disciples at all. So among the fifty something monks in Qing Liang Temple, very few knew martial art. When he exchanged a move with Bayan just a moment ago, he sensed that Bayan’s left hand claw, the ‘bird’s claw skill’, was indeed very formidable. And then he heard Huangfu Ge’s loud and clear voice in demonstrating his profound internal energy, it was indeed no small matter. Even without the several hundred people outside the temple, just these two martial art masters were already very difficult to resist.
Seeing he hesitating without saying anything, Huangfu Ge laughed and said, “Even if in Qing Liang Temple there are really several good-looking women, letting everybody admire them is indeed a treat for the eyes.” His words were extremely frivolous, he did not show the least bit of consideration toward Cheng Guang’s feeling.
Xinxi laughed and said, “Abbot Shixiong, if that’s the case, why don’t you let this Great Lama to search your temple?” While saying that, he had a smirk on his face.
Preceding the others, Bayan walked toward the rear hall in big strides. Cheng Guang thought that the opposite party had come fully prepared, even if he could block Bayan and Huangfu Ge, he could not possibly stop the people they brought along. If a tangled battle ensued, Qing Liang Temple would suffer a great misfortune. In that instant his mind was in a whirl, he heaved a deep sigh, and could only watch helplessly as Bayan and about a dozen of his men entered the inner hall; with no other choice, he followed them in.
Bayan, Xinxi and Huangfu Ge talked among themselves in low voices, while their men were entering and searching the temple buildings and the monks’ residence one by one. Without their Abbot’s order, the monks of Qing Liang Temple could only glower at these men, without trying to block them at all.
Wei Xiaobao and Shuang’er were following behind Abbot Cheng Guang. They noticed that the sleeve of his monk robe was continuously trembling, obviously in his heart he was extremely angry.
Suddenly from the monks’ residence in the western wing they heard someone loudly called out, “Is it him?”
Huangfu Ge rushed toward the voice, two men grabbing a middle-aged monk came out. This monk was approximately forty-some years old, and had a thin face, he said, “Why are you grabbing me?”
Huangfu Ge shook his head. The two men laughed and said, “Please forgive our offense!” and released the monk.
Wei Xiaobao’s mind was as bright as snow: these men were looking for Emperor Shunzhi, there was no doubt about it.
With a cold laugh Cheng Guang said, “So you think this monk of our temple is the young lama of the Seat of Living Buddha?”
Huangfu Ge did not respond; he saw his men were dragging another middle-aged monk out. He looked at the monk’s face and shook his head.
“So you know Emperor Shunzhi,” Wei Xiaobao mused, “If this searching continues, sooner or later they will find Emperor Shunzhi. He is the young emperor’s father, I will have to think of a way to protect him.” But the opponent had many men and great force; how he was going to protect him, he did not have the slightest idea.
Several dozen people had already searched to a small vihara at the northeastern side of the monastery. Seeing the door to the courtyard was tightly closed, they called out, “Open the door, open the door!”
Cheng Guang said, “This is where a senior monk of our temple lives in seclusion; he has been here for seven years, you must not disturb his peace.”
Xinxi said with a laugh, “This time people from the outside are getting in, it’s not that the monk who shut himself down cannot endure it and thus trying to get out on his own account. What’s the big deal about it?”
A big and tall lama called out, “Why doesn’t anybody open the door? Most probably he is in here!” Lifting up his foot, he kicked the door.
Cheng Guang’s shadow flashed, he had already blocked in front of the lama. The lama was unable to hold back the momentum, his right foot flew and hit Cheng Guang’s lower abdomen. ‘Crack!’ the lama’s leg bones were broken and he tumbled backwards.
Bayan let out a strange ‘wah, wah’ shout; his left hand flew forward, his right hand made a half circle backward, both were in the shape of a claw, clawing toward Cheng Guang. Cheng Guang stood in front of the gate. ‘Whoosh, whoosh!’ he sent out two palm strikes to counter Bayan’s claws.
“Good! Wisdom Palm!” Huangfu Ge called out. A finger of his left hand went out, a gust of strong wind assaulted Cheng Guang’s face. Cheng Guang sidestepped to the left, ‘Slap!’ the strong wind struck the wooden gate.
Using the Wisdom Palm, Cheng Guang focused his attention on the battle. Bayan and Huangfu Ge launched a converging attack from left and right. Cheng Guang moved very slow, one by one he launched a series of palm attacks, seemingly without any power, but the palm created faint gust of wind, evidently his own power was quite profound. Bayan and Huangfu Ge’s several dozen men cheered and shouted to boost these two men’s spirit. Bayan launched several fierce attacks, but all were neutralized by Cheng Guang’s palm strength.
Bayan grew impatient; increasing the speed of his attacks, he suddenly grunted, his left hand rose up, his several dozen white beards floated down, he managed to catch Cheng Guang’s beards, but his right shoulder was hit by Cheng Guang’s palm. At first he did not feel anything strange, but gradually his right arm grew heavier and heavier, it became difficult for him to raise his right hand. Suddenly he let out a roar and dodged sideways. With raised steel sabers, four lamas charged toward Cheng Guang. Cheng Guang’s leg flew up and kicked two men, his left palm struck out and landed on the third lama’s chest. “Ah!” the lama cried out loudly, and leaped back. Right this moment, the fourth lama’s saber hacked down. Cheng Guang used his sleeve to brush it away, and then the sleeve continued to coil around the lama’s wrist. He saw Bayan’s was charging forward with one hand up, the other hand down. Cheng Guang moved to the right to evade, but suddenly he felt a strong wind attacked his body. “Not good!” he groaned inwardly; swiftly he sent out a palm strike, but suddenly he felt a sharp pain on his right cheek, he was stabbed by Huangfu Ge’s finger. Although his own palm had hit Huangfu Ge’s arm, it failed to break Huangfu Ge’s arm bone.
Seeing Cheng Guang’s right cheek was bleeding, Shuang’er said in a low voice, “Must I help him?”
“Wait a moment,” Wei Xiaobao replied. His main purpose was to find Emperor Shunzhi, supposing Shuang’er joined the fray to drive everybody out, they would still be unable to find the old emperor. Much less the opponent had many men with great force, with sabers and spears, while Shuang’er was a little girl, how could she fight these many big men?
In the meantime, the Qing Liang Temple’s monks had seen their Abbot being trapped, they picked clubs and sticks of firewood and charged forward to help him fighting. But these monks did not know martial arts, as soon as they came up, their heads were broken and their blood flowing.
“Everybody stop fighting!” Cheng Guang called out.
Bayan bellowed, “Everybody kill at will!” The lamas were encouraged not to show mercy at all, in an instant four Qing Liang Temple’s monk were chopped down that their heads separated from their bodies.
Seeing the viciousness of the enemy in killing people, the rest of the monks did not dare to join the fight, they only stood far away, shouting and yelling. Cheng Guang slightly lost his concentration, and was hit by Huangfu Ge’s finger again. The finger was hitting the right side of his chest.
Huangfu Ge laughed and said, “Shaolin Pai’s Wisdom Palm is only so-so. Isn’t the Great Monk going to surrender?”
“Amitabha Buddha,” Cheng Guang said, “Benefactor’s sin is not small at all.”
Suddenly two lamas dropped down and rolled on the ground while brandishing their sabers, trying to chop his legs. Cheng Guang lifted up his leg and kicked, but there was a severe pain on his chest, his vision darkened, his leg only went halfway and he was unable to continue the kick. In his daze he swiped his left palm down. As soon as the palm touched the two lamas’ head, both of them fainted immediately.
“Dead bald donkey!” Bayan cursed. Both hands swiftly reached forward, his ten fingers grabbed Cheng Guang’s left leg. Cheng Guang was unable to stand, he collapsed to the ground. Huangfu Ge repeatedly moved his finger to seal Cheng Guang’s acupoints one by one.
Bayan laughed aloud; with his right foot he kicked the wooden gate. ‘Crack!’ the gate flew in. Bayan said with a laugh, “Come out quickly, let everybody see your appearance.”
The vihara was pitch-black and was completely quiet. “Get him out for me,” Bayan said. Two lamas responded together, they rushed into the building.
Author’s note: The word ‘easy’ (or convenient) in this chapter’s title is a Buddhist term meaning ‘expedient/practical method’. When expounding the Buddhist teaching, Sakyamuni (Siddharta Gautama) sensed that his teaching was not easily understood, therefore, he used a lot of ‘example’ to enlighten his disciples.
 Fashi means ‘one who has mastered the sutras’.
Here we have ‘jushi’ again (see also Chapter 9, and the discussion surrounding it), lit. “resident scholar’.
 Hushuo Badao means rubbish/nonsense, with the character ‘ba’ means ‘eight’. Literal translation is: random talk eight ways. Jiudao means ‘nine ways’.