Edited by Mims
Having not seen Ming Ge for so long, I really do miss him.
For days, the winds raged and rain poured, and finally today the sky was clear. The sky that had been washed by the downpour was a stark bright blue, and up above was the dazzling ball of fire. There was neither clouds nor wind.
I opened the window and exclaimed, “Good day!”
A servant came in to replenish the tea and followed up my words, “Isn’t it? These days it rained and rained, we finally see some sun today. A lot of our guests have checked out of their rooms and left to the crossing, even the lord who returned yesterday and the gentleman Daoist healed, I just saw them checking out.”
This immortal lord anxiously rushed to Heng Wen to consult him, concurrently telling him of my concern about Ming Ge.
“When I had just descended old man Ming Ge was so hardworking, coming to check on me two to three times a day, how come he’s being lax nowadays? I can’t even see his shadows anymore. Shan Chengling already ran off with Tian Shu, do we follow after them or not!”
“If you think about it, Court of Heaven will soon be holding a Pure law meeting, one of the celestial gate’s key has also gone missing, maybe Ming Ge Xingjun is busy because of these things and had to look away from the earth’s matters for a bit.”
The little detail Heng Wen brought up enlightened this immortal lord. That’s right, old man Ming Ge loves to do meritorious deeds in front of Jade Emperor, heaven is currently so busy, he would certainly grasp onto an opportunity to contribute leaving this immortal lord to another side to dry.
I looked at Heng Wen with some worry, “If there is a Pure Law Meeting, wouldn’t you also go back to heaven?”
Pure Law Meeting is a discussion on the teachings of Buddhism and Daoism happening once every sixty years, Imperial Heaven and Sukhavati take turns holding it. I only qualified to attend this gathering sixty years ago and it was only to make up the numbers of participating gods, while Heng Wen Qingjun is an important participant in this gathering. Before, when Heng Wen would leave for the gathering I would be left alone in heaven and I’d go to Tai Ying palace to drink with Wu Gang. After I had also left for the meeting, Wu Gang should only have the rabbits as his drinking companion.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
The discussion sixty years ago had taken place at the Western Paradise, at the riverbank of Fanjing. The view was magnificent, it was the picture of bliss, the riverbank’s earth was golden sand, the bodhi tree’s leaves were green as jade, and fresh fruits at the touch of your fingers. Jade Emperor could not attend this meeting, it was headed by Taishang Laojun, and in attendance were Heng Wen Qingjun, four emperor lords, eight star lords, and the others were immortals like this immortal lord. With immortal clouds at our feet, long sleeves capturing the cool breeze, it made a majestic picture, filled with grandeur.
Kjatjujaj jcv Dtjlrjpsjuege, Devvtj Zjlagfsj, Wljcrtjc Devvtj, Gjml Xejcu Devvtj, jcv batfg tbcbegjyif ybvtlrjaanjr mjwf obgat lc j ilcf jcv rja eqgluta bc atf ibaer rfjar, fwlaalcu jegjr bo iluta ogbw atflg tfjvr. Ktf vlrmerrlbc atfc mbwwfcmfv obg atf cfza 49 rec jcv wbbc msmifr.
This immortal lord sat eating fresh fruits and listening to both sides debating, and it was very interesting. Heng Wen Qingjun and Bright Compassion Buddha debated for three full days, in a deluge of heavenly flowers. Laojun fiddled with his beard with a slight smile, Tathagata fiddled with the flower with a small smile.
Mlcjiis, Lfcu Qfc ujlcfv j vfmlrlnf klc, tf meqqfv tlr tjcvr ab rjieaf yfobgf aegclcu jgbecv ab tlr rfja. Qlat j kjnf bo tlr riffnfr, tf ygertfv jkjs atf qlifv-eq ogela qla wbecajlc yfrlvf wf, jcv rja vbkc lc j oieaafg.
“Impressive,” I said sincerely.
Heng Wen feigned modesty with his upturned lips.
At that time, Nan Ming Dijun and Tian Shu Xingjun were also attending this gathering. After Heng Wen’s turn, five days passed before it was Tian Shu’s turn to come up. Tian Shu Xingjun was debating with the Honorable Shanfa. Tian Shu’s speech was gentle as the running water, flowing forward at an assured pace, their debate was without a pause in the middle. This immortal lord had eaten a few fruits already, full to the point of bursting, and was rubbing my stomach at the rhythm of their slow lulling tone.
As I rubbed and rubbed, I fell into a sweet, deep sleep — but unfortunately for me, Heng Wen Qingjun, who won all of the debates he took part in, was sitting next to me. Whether it was the western paradise’s bodhisattvas or the imperial heaven’s immortals, everyone’s eyes were drawn to him from time to time, and when they do they also catch sight of this immortal lord meditating with eyes closed.
When we return to the Imperial Heaven, Jade Emperor was angered that I had lowered the dignity of Imperial Heaven. The others, headed by Nan Ming Dijun, advised Jade Emperor to mete out severe punishment. Heng Wen, Dong Hua Dijun, Bihua Lingjun, Taibai Jinxing and others pleaded for leniency for me. Then, Jade Emperor had Tian Shu Xingjun step up to the stairs to the throne and asked, “My Subject, Song Yao Yuanjun slept during your discussion, according to you, how should he be punished?”
I stood in that hall, happiness washing over me. This clearly was saying that Jade Emperor already spared me and was looking for a way to opt out of the punishment, to ask in such a way, even if it was someone who had enmity with me, the vast majority would sell me their leniency, and if it’s Tian Shu, then even more.
Never in the world would I expect Tian Shu Xingjun to solemnly speak in return, “Falling asleep during the discussion is a trivial matter, but this trivial matter was witnessed by every deity of Imperial heaven and bodhisattva of the Sukhavati, disgracing the decorum of Imperial Heaven. Moreover, Guang Xu Yuanjun became an immortal because of destiny’s pull but is never seriously deepening his cultivation. While having a place in heaven, he still often speaks of the secular world. It’s highly possible that he is yearning of being human and really being a heaven’s immortal doesn’t suit him at all.”
Mild intonation flowing gently like a stream, not a change from all the other times, but it made my heart seize from the cold. Jade Emperor asked, “Then, according to Subject, what crime is to be put on Guang Xu Yuanjun’s head, and how should we punish him?”
Below the stairs, Tian Shu bowed his waist and slowly uttered, “Before, there was a monk in the Sukhavati whose mind wandered off while the Tathagata himself was expounding Buddhism, and was made to fall down to earth for ten lives and suffer every suffering in life. Today, Guang Xu Yuanjun lost the dignity of heaven in front of every Buddhas and Immortals, in addition to showing reluctance to leave the mundane world. In this small immortal’s opinion, he should be sent back to earth, and never allowed back in heaven.”
These words were like bolts of thunder striking down straight at my head, hitting me so hard my eyes stared like a dumbstruck fool, freezing me to a spot. Heng Wen strode over to the front and said, “To think that it is this big of a crime… If so, I as the main culprit couldn’t not step forward and acknowledge my wrongs to avoid Jade Emperor punishing the wrong person.”
Jade Emperor had to ask why he said so, Heng Wen smilingly lowered his head, he said, “Everything is my fault. Before the start of the meeting, I and Song Yao —Ah, I mean Guang Xu Yuanjun— made a bet. I have always looked down on Guang Xu Yuanjun for becoming immortal for nothing and his lack of knowledge in the dao.”
“There is a wealth of Dao and Dharma taught in the meeting, excuse my rudeness, but when I listen, every time, I would be bored from the dullness. This is why I made a bet with Guang Xu Yuanjun. I bet that he wouldn’t be able to keep from sleeping during the meeting. At that time, Yuanjun’s face turned hard and he told me, ‘The Discussion of Laws is a great opportunity to deepen understanding towards dao, Jade Emperor had granted me a spot to participate, His immortal grace grand and mighty. It’s not enough for this small immortal to find joy in every sentence uttered, how can I sleep!’ so he bet thirty jars of osmanthus wine that the moon fairy brewed herself. Dong Hua Dijun was there, he can be witness.”
Dong Hua Dijun held up a sleeve and coughed, “Reporting to Jade Emperor, this small immortal is indeed a witness. Ah, Jinxing, I remember that you were also there, you’re a witness, aren’t you?”
Taibai Jinxing nodded randomly, “Yes, yes, yes — small immortal also witnessed it, I-cough-I’m a witness.”
Heng Wen continued, “Guang Xu Yuanjun was wearing a dignified face when we made the bet, it even hurts my eyes to look at him. Who would expect him to sit straight as a ramrod, watching the discussion with bright eyes? I’m afraid I am not that gracious to let go of the moon fairy’s osmanthus wine, I became greedy and…” He coughed, and spoke as if he lamented the next words, “I saw that Guang Xu Yuanjun was happily eating some fruits so I brought out two dozing worms on my palms and shot them into his fruits, and then…”
After he said all that he turned to me and clasped his hands, “I am deeply sorry. Never could I imagine it would implicate Yuanjun on such a big charge, I apologise.”
Seeing Heng Wen taking all the blame for me, my old tears were about to gush out in weeping, where would I have any more words to say?
Nan Ming Dijun and Tian Shu Xingjun kept silent. Heng Wen Qingjun himself took the blame while Dong Hua Dijun and Taibai Jinxing acted as the guarantee, to debunk the presented reason would mean declaring the three honourable lords were lying to harbour the other. If they continued to argue, it would make a big ruckus.
As they were in a deadlock, Queen Mother of the West came out of the rear hall and spoke, “Isn’t it merely falling asleep during the discussion? It does hurt the Imperial Heaven’s dignity, but this lady thinks that it is not that big of a crime. The discussion of laws can deepen your understanding, yet even this lady would often feel that it is tiring, let alone Song Yao. Our cultivation pays attention to frankness and matter of course, different from the Buddhist’s teachings. We should continue our leisurely dao, and they can continue their dull meditations. This lady feels that there is no need to follow their brand of punishment. Jade Emperor is wise and naturally has his own considerations.”
Jade Emperor was truly wise and brilliant, in the end, he sentenced Heng Wen who had casually confessed to a crime of deceiving others to a penalty of cutting his salary for two months and that Heng Wen must reflect on his wrongs for a month. Dong Hua Dijun and Taibai Jinxing helped to cover up the deception and had to forfeit half of their salary this month. This immortal lord fell asleep during the discussion of laws and had to reflect on the mistake for two months.
Jade Emperor said, “I thought of making you pay a fine for Heng Wen, Dong Hua and Jinxing’s salary, but that would probably wipe dry your treasury, so I won’t dock your pay.”
I exclaimed, wise Jade Emperor, your grace is almighty.
Queen Mother held a smile that was not quite a smile, without a hurry she started to say… “Do wait. This lady heard that a certain immortal lord exclaimed by the riverbank of Fanjing that Tathagata was much more generous, that all his fruits can be freely picked and eaten, unlike the Imperial Heaven’s Queen Mother guarding her few peaches with celestial soldiers and is extremely stingy. I don’t know if you have heard of these or not, Song Yao Yuanjun?”
I smiled stiffly.
And so this immortal lord spent half a year watering the peach trees in the Queen Mother’s garden.
So sorry, the buddhist part really gave me a headache, you can see I still don’t know some of their english/sanskrit name, coupled with my new irl workload it dragged on till today TT _ TT