Chapter 15: Bodhi
“What’s wrong with you?” Pang Bo’s voice transmitted to Ye Fan as he firmly shook his shoulders.
Ye Fan felt as though he had awoken from a dream, there were no more prayers or chanting and the ancient temple was covered in a layer of thick dust. It seemed that the others had not heard anything.
“Is this really Great Lei Yin Temple?” He silently pondered. What he had heard and seen earlier though short had seemed so real. This made him fall into a trance as he contemplated.
Ye Fan gazed at the bronze lamp in his hand but there was no longer anything extraordinary. The lamp had patterns engraved on it and was simple looking, seemingly absolutely ordinary.
“Futon!”* A male student found an old futon within a pile of ashes. It had not disintegrated with time.
[T/N* A traditional Japanese mattress usually stuffed with cotton or wool]
Not long after, a female student found a red sandalwood prayer bead under the thick layers of dust. It had not been damaged in the slightest and a faint sheen of red was revealed when the dust was blown off.
At the same time, Carter found a half broken wooden fish* under the dust in front of the stone Buddha. It was carved with three Bodhisattva; solemn, compassionate and lifelike.
[T/N* Not your actual wooden fish but an instrument used by monks during Buddhist prayers]
Ye Fan’s mind was racing, if this place really was the Great Lei Yin Temple of legends, any artifacts left behind by the gods would be phenomenal!
Wang Zi Wen had kicked something that let out a metallic noise sending it to the corner of the room. It was a broken bronze bell that was the size of a palm and a portion of the ancient bell’s body was missing.
“Dong!……” He shook the bronze bell, the area immediately filled with the melodious sound of the bell ringing, it was as if Buddhist prayers enveloped the place , leaving people with a sensation of peace.
Ye Fan’s thoughts were interrupted as he looked at that bronze bell, there were vein-like clouds covering it and gave out a sense of zen and Buddhism.
Pang Bo sighed helplessly, he was the first to enter the temple however his luck was bad and he did not manage to get anything.
Li Xiao Man also found half a piece of jade Ruyi*? and after wiping away the dust the crystal jade could be seen; it was lustrous and had a dazzling brilliance.
[T/N* The Ruyi is a kind of Chinese scepter, a talisman that symbolizes power and good fortune]
The temple seemed empty however many people were discovering different artifacts under the cover of dust and this motivated the others to search faster and more thoroughly.
Ye Fan had no interest in the other artifacts. In the temple, there was only one item that was spotlessly clean, undamaged and unscathed. This was the bronze lamp that was in his possession. The other artifacts paled in comparison.
“I don’t believe that I won’t be able to find anything……” Pang Bo muttered to himself.
“Look carefully once more and should you find any artifacts keep them by your side.” Ye Fan handed his bronze lamp over to Pang Bo allowing him to use the illumination to search. Although the broken Buddha artifacts did not seem special, if the world really had gods these artifacts would definitely be more than meets the eye!
After handing the bronze lamp over to Pang Bo, Ye Fan walked out of the temple and headed to the Bodhi tree beside. At this moment he had gotten rid of his past preconceptions and temporarily convinced himself to believe in the existence of gods.
If the temple really was the Great Lei Yin Temple and Buddha really existed in the world how could he miss out on the Bodhi tree!
The Bodhi tree was a Buddhist sacred object and according to , Shakyamuni had told Ananda that the world had three artifacts that had to be venerated: Buddha relics, Buddha sculptures and the Bodhi tree.
As Shakyamuni had attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, seeing the Bodhi tree was akin to seeing Buddha.
The withered old tree was like a mighty curling dragon*, six or seven people would be unable to encompass it and the centre was hollowed. There was a branch that was dangling in the air just two metres from the ground that had six leaves on it while the rest of the tree was barren. Each leaf was translucent and was of a brilliant emerald colour like a clear green-coloured agate .
[T/N: This is Qiu Long, not Pan Long which means coiling dragon]
Even if there was no connection between the Bodhi tree and Buddha, the jade-like leaves were clearly out of the ordinary.
Ye Fan came under the Bodhi tree to examine it closely. The Bodhi tree had large branches that covered the top of the temple and if there were still leaves on it one could imagine that it could cover the sky and blot out the sun.
While Ye Fan was staring at the tree, he noticed that the six green leaves were emitting faint green ripples, a small portion was heading towards the five coloured stone altar and a majority of it was entering into the roots of the tree.
Faint green thread-like streams continually emitted from the six green leaves giving one a feeling of life and vitality that seemed to radiate endlessly.
Ye Fan crouched down and started to sift through the dirt under the tree. He was curious as to what could attract the green streams from the Bodhi leaves.
Under the dirt, he didn’t find anything unique only a Bodhi seed that was dull and gray without any special characteristics. If one did not look closely it might have been mistaken as a clump of dirt.
The only special thing about it was its size, normal Bodhi seeds were usually only as big as a fingernail but this grey seed was as big as a walnut.
Ye Fan was surprised, could it be that the green streams emitted by the Bodhi leaves were absorbed by the Bodhi seed? After observing for a while, faint streams of green could be seen flowing down and disappearing three inches from the Bodhi seed.
Although he was unable to see the Bodhi seed absorbing the essence of the Bodhi leaves, it was almost certain that the seed was doing so.
Ye Fan picked up the Bodhi seed and after carefully examining it he was amazed to see the gray and normal looking seed actually had a natural pattern that formed an image of a compassionate looking Buddha*!
[T/N thoughts: that’s one intense looking seed]
The Buddha was naturally formed from the lines on the seed however it also seemed as though someone had meticulously carved it.
The grey figure of Buddha, simple yet natural and faintly exudes a sense of zen.
“A naturally occurring Buddha portrait, could it be that 2500 years ago Shakyamuni had attained enlightenment because of the Bodhi tree?”
The Bodhi tree was also known by other names like tree of knowledge, tree of enlightenment or tree of awakening. It was rumoured to be able to unlock the divine nature within humans through enlightenment.
Ye Fan raised the Bodhi seed over his head, closer to the six green leaves and the speed with which the green streams flowed out increased rapidly. The vigorous energy became thicker and gathered towards the Bodhi seed disappearing three inches before it reached the seed.
A soft sound was transmitted as a single translucent green Bodhi leaf emitted a final green stream before disintegrating into ash and gently drifted down.
At this point Ye Fan was convinced that the Bodhi seed was far from normal and hastily kept it.
Ye Fan noticed that the ground was littered with powder similar to the ash that the Bodhi leaf had become. Could it be that all the leaves of the Bodhi tree had disintegrated in this way? Ye Fan was taken aback.
This Bodhi seed that had the natural portrait of Buddha was definitely extraordinary and he could sense that it was even more important than the ancient bronze lamp found within the temple!
There were still five green leaves on the Bodhi tree but they were no longer as crystal clear as before. Ye Fan did not pick the leaves as he did not want to attract too much attention to himself. The Bodhi seed was already a bountiful harvest!
At this time everyone was still within the Great Lei Yin Temple and Ye Fan left the Bodhi tree to re-enter the temple.
By this point seven to eight people had also found Buddhist artifacts. Liu Yun Zhi found a scepter that was split in half behind the stone Buddha and although it had been hidden by dust for countless years it still looked as good as new. It still had a brilliant lustre and gave one a feeling of severity and decisiveness, if a portion of it had not broken off it could have been been said to be a perfect masterpiece.
This particular shaped scepter was known by Buddhists under a fearsome name: Vajra. It was used to ‘Destroy the enemy’ and was a symbol of invincibility, untold wisdom and the nature of Buddha. It was the weapon of choice of Buddhist deities.
If Buddha existed in this world, this Vajra would be a sacred object and would certainly have numerous uses. Even if it was said to be able to rend mountains and split rivers one would not be surprised, but for now it looks like an ordinary object.
Liu Yun Zhi forcefully wielded it, the damaged Vajra left a trail of golden light as it moved leaving a very imposing impression.
“Hey guys, if the Gods really used these artifacts and we learn how to use them, what kind of earthshaking scene would that be……”
The people who found Buddha artifacts were transfixed as they heard Liu Yun Zhi’s words.