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Demi Gods & Semi Devils Book 5
XLII - Evil and abhorred of all ages, unable to withstand an attack, an inglorious victory
Chinese title: 天龍八部 - 老魔小丑 岂堪一击 胜之不武Original novel written by Jin Yong (Louis Cha)
Wuxia Novel Fan Translation by darksinz
Demi-Gods And Semi-Devils Chapter 42: Old Devil and Clown, How Can They Strike, Fighting A One-Sided Battle
Murong Fu grabbed the long sword hastily. His spirit roused as he executed Murong family's swordplay, every move continuous and uninterrupted, akin to moving cloud and flowing water. In the wink of an eye his body seem to be covered by a curtain of light. Martial artists only heard about the Murong family's vast and profound martial arts. They are knowledgeable about the martial arts of various sects and schools, unexpectedly their own swordplay is so exquisite as well.
However no matter how strong or how aggressive he was, Murong Fu could not move within 1 zhang of Duan Yu. Duan Yu only needed to jab and poke with his fingers and he could make Murong Fu jump high and lie low, run east and dodge west. Suddenly there is a 'Pa' sound, Murong Fu's long sword and Duan Yu's invisible energy sword clashed head-on; the long sword broke into two, half of the blade flew into the air and gave off white light as the sun reflected off it.
Murong Fu was alarmed, however he did not panic. He quickly waved his left hand. He used the broken sword as a hidden weapon and threw it towards Duan Yu. Duan Yu shouted out: "Aiyo!" he was at a loss on what to do. He panicked and lay on the ground hastily. The broken sword flew past the top of his head. In a fight between two experts unexpectedly he could come up with such 'Dog Eating Shit' form. The move was really humiliating, extremely unsightly. Although Murong Fu's sword was broken, but he sought victory through defeat. He was natural and unrestrained, much more glamorous compared to Duan Yu.
Feng BoE shouted: "Young master, catch this blade!" He tossed his broadsword, Murong Fu caught it. He saw Duan Yu had stood back up, he laughed and said: "Brother Duan, that move 'Evil Dog Eating Shit', is it the consummate skill of Dali's Duan family?" Duan Yu stared foolishly. He said: "No!" He waved his right little finger and thrust his 'Shaochong Sword' at Murong Fu.
Murong Fu waved his broadsword to block. Suddenly he executed ‘Five Tiger Breaking Gate Saber’ and ‘Eight Divinatory Trigram Saber Art’. Several moves later he executed ‘Six Direction Saber’. In no time he executed 8-9 different saber arts in succession. Every saber style happened to fit the situation and expressed its essential meaning. Renowned saber experts who were spectating all gasped with admiration. However, although Murong Fu's saber art was refined but he still couldn't move near Duan Yu. Duan Yu's 'Shaochong Sword' sliced from the left side. Murong Fu raise his broadsword to block, with a 'Dang' sound the blade was broken again.
GongYe Gan waved both hands and tossed two judge's-pens towards Murong Fu. Murong Fu cast away the broken broadsword. He caught the judge's-pens and executed acupoint sealing moves. The tip of the pen gave out a 'Chi Chi' sound, it produce faint streams of energy as well.
Both of them exchanged over 100 moves. Duan Yu's initial fear began to subside, he slowly understood how internal energy travels through his veins and arteries. He recalled the internal energy cultivation method taught by his uncle and Master KuRong. He gradually started to rotate his ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’ and switched them around. Suddenly Xiao Feng said: "3rd brother, you have yet to perfect this ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’, executing six different sword-plays together. While switching there will be gaps in-between, your opponent can seize this opportunity to dodge. Why don't you try to use just one set of sword-play?" Duan Yu said: "Yes, many thanks to elder brother for giving pointers." He gazed sideways. Xiao Feng was standing with his hands by his side, his expression leisurely. Zhuang JuXian was lying down on the ground, his two legs broken, he was moaning loudly.
With Murong Fu gone, Xiao Feng immediately gained the upper hand. He clashed palms head-on with You TanZhi repeatedly. However whenever their palms interlocked Xiao Feng could not help but shiver. Cold air invaded his body, the suffering indescribable and difficult to endure. At once he smacked his palm heavily, when You TanZhi use full-strength to block Xiao Feng seize the opportunity and sweep his right leg. You TanZhi's specialty was Frost-Silkworm Poison and internal energy of [Divine Foot Scripture]. As for punching and kicking skills he learned it from AhZi, thus his moves were extremely common and sloppy. He felt sudden acute pain from his leg, with a 'Kala' sound, both his shinbones broke and he collapsed. Xiao Feng said in a bright voice: "Beggars Clan values chivalry and being humane. Since you are the leader of the clan how can you mix around with those demons from Xingxiu Sect? Aren't you disgracing the several hundred years of good reputation enjoyed by Beggars Clan?"
The sole reason You TanZhi became Chief of Beggars Clan was due to his outstanding martial arts. As for his knowledge, manner and leadership, they were inadequate. Moreover he wore a mask, being mysterious and secretive. All clan affairs were handled by AhZi and Quan GuanQing. Thus many Clan members were extremely resentful for quite some time already. Today he killed several of his own Clan members, kowtowed to Ding ChunQiu in public and became a Xingxiu disciple. Hence Beggars Clan members no long treated him as their Chief anymore. Xiao Feng broke both of his shinbones; unexpectedly the Beggars Clan members were secretly delighted, not a single one of them stepped forward to help him. Quan GuanQing and a few hardcore followers intended to step forward to help him, however when they saw Xiao Feng's awe-inspiring expression, who dared to step forward and seek death?
After defeating You TanZhi, Xiao Feng saw XuZhu fighting fiercely with Ding ChunQiu, XuZhu occupied a dominant position. Although Duan Yu knew ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’, however his moves were sometimes brilliant yet sometime incomparably stupid. Duan Yu had many opportunities to secure victory, however for some unknown reason he simply let it pass. Thus Xiao Feng could not bear it anymore and gave some pointers.
Duan Yu looked sideways at Xiao Feng and You TanZhi, his attention was divided. Immediately a loophole appeared in his ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’. Murong Fu was incomparably quick-witted. He waved his left hand, a judge's-pen accompanied by a strong wind shot straight at Duan Yu's chest, and it was about to pierce through his chest. Duan Yu saw the astonishing power of the judge's-pen. He couldn’t help but panic and shouted: "Elder brother, not good!"
Xiao Feng executed a move, "Wading Great Creek". He smacked from the side, the judge's-pen was hit by his palm wind. Unexpectedly the body of the pen became curved, it circled around Duan Yu's head and shot towards Murong Fu.
Murong Fu lifted the judge's-pen in his right hand and used it to smash the incoming judge's-pen. With a 'Dang' sound both pens collided, Murong Fu's right arm became numb from the shock. He did not wait for the curved pen to drop on the ground, he made a grabbing move with his left hand and execute Kongtong Sect's [Single Hook Technique].
The crowd witnessed Xiao Feng's powerful palm strength. They also witnessed Murong Fu's ability to adapt to any changes. His strangely wonderful hook technique, they cannot help but cheer out loudly. Today they got to witness the top two martial art geniuses of the current age fighting each other with their full strength. It truly broadened their horizons. They did not waste this long trip to Mount Shaoshi.
Duan Yu avoid the danger of the flying judge's-pen. He calmed down and pointed with his thumb. He sent out 'Shaoshang Sword'. This 'Shaoshang Sword' is bold and resolute; its style grand and imposing, every sword thrust contains earth-shattering power. Even with a judge's-pen and a hook, Murong Fu found it difficult to ward off the sword. Duan Yu was given pointers by Xiao Feng, he only focused on using one set of sword-play. Sure enough the structure of his sword-play is well-knit, there were no loopholes or gaps.
Originally by using all six sword stances of ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’ together, its power was far greater than using just one sword stance. However Duan Yu is not familiar with the secret to using all six sword stances. It was beneficial for him to focus on using one sword stance. 10 sword moves later, Murong Fu was perspiring from his forehead. He retreated continuously and moved beside a huge locust tree. He relied on the tree for defense.
Duan Yu completed 'Shaoshang Sword', he bent his thumb and pointed with his forefinger. He executed 'Shangyang Sword'.
The power of 'Shangyang Sword' is not as grand as 'Shaoshang Sword', however its speed far exceeds other sword stances. Duan Yu move his forefinger repeatedly. He thrust out sword after sword, it was incomparably quick. The thrusting speed of a sword is entirely dependent on the agility of the practitioner's wrist. However to thrust and retract a sword, no matter how fast you are, the sword still has to travel several chi. Duan Yu was using his forefinger to shoot out an invisible energy sword. He merely swivelled his finger within a 1 inch radius. Hence it is extremely easy as he only needed to jab and poke. Murong Fu was forced to stay several zhang away; there was no way for him to retaliate at all. Previously Murong Fu break down and countered his moves. Duan Yu did not even get to use a 2nd move and nearly lost his life, but currently Duan Yu was attacking without the need to defend. Murong Fu allowed him free use of 'Shaoshang Sword', naturally Duan Yu occupied all the advantage in this fight.
Wang YuYan saw her cousin was in a critical situation, she was extremely worried. Although she was familiar with the martial arts of various sects and schools under the heavens, however she has absolutely no knowledge of ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’. She could not give guidance and could only worry in silence.
Xiao Feng saw Duan Yu's invisible energy sword becoming more and more marvelous. He felt gratified and also a sense admiration. Suddenly his heart ached, he thought about Azhu: "That day Azhu willingly died in place of her father, the main reason was because she feared that after I killed her father, Dali's Duan family would surely seek me out for revenge. She feared I am no match for their ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’. 3rd brother is at the beginner’s stage of learning this swordplay, however his swordplay is already so mythical. If I switch place with Murong Fu I would surely have problems resisting as well. Azhu sacrificed herself to prevent my death. I.... I am only a Khitan warrior, how am I deserving of such deep and profound love?"
Both Duan YanQing and Jiumozhi saw Duan Yu execute ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’. It was incomparably marvelous, although they knew he had yet to perfect this skill. But he only needed the guidance of an expert, with additional training he would surely become the number one expert of the current age. They could not help but give a long sigh. Jiumozhi's sigh was due to envy and admiration, but Duan YanQing's sigh was due to misery and being depressed.
Deng BaiChuan and the rest saw Murong Fu was pressured by Duan Yu till an extremely dire state. They wanted to step forward and assist, however they heard the shouting of countless women from the southwest corner: "Old Freak of Xingxiu, how dare you fight with the owner of Misty Peak Vulture Palace? Quickly kneel down and kowtow." Everyone tilted their head and looked. Several hundred women were standing at the mountain edge, arranged into eight divisions. Every division wore different colored clothes, red, yellow, purple, etc., the colors bright and dazzling. Among the eight divisions of women there were also several hundred heroes from all over the country. Their manner and clothes greatly differed from normal people. These heroes also shouted out: "Owner, plant a few ‘Life-Death Talisman’ on him!"
"Life-death talisman is most effective when dealing with Old Freak of Xingxiu!"
XuZhu's martial arts and internal energy far exceeded Ding ChunQiu. He could have secured victory a long time ago. However, firstly his experience in fighting was simply too shallow. He could barely display 60-70% of his true potential. Secondly his heart is merciful, there are several vicious techniques he can use to kill Ding ChunQiu, however he often executed halfway and withdraw it back. Thirdly Ding ChunQiu's body is covered with deadly poison. XuZhu had some misgivings, he didn't dare to touch Ding ChunQiu rashly. However with XuZhu's deep and profound internal energy Ding ChunQiu's poison could not harm him anymore. Thus both of them fought for a long time but they were still locked in a stalemate. Suddenly he heard a crowd of men and women are cheering for him. He turned his head towards the source. He could not help but be startled yet delighted. Of the Nine Heaven Nine Divisions from Vulture Palace, eight divisions had arrived. Phoenix Heaven Division stayed behind to guard Vulture Palace. The men are the 36 Cave-Lords and 72 Island-Lords as well as the troops under their command. Their numbers were truly not small, even though not all the Cave-Lords and Island-Lords were present, but at least 80-90% of them are here.
XuZhu shouted: "Grandma Yu, Mr. Wu, how come you are here?"
Grandma Yu said: "Reporting to owner, subordinate received news from Plum Orchid Bamboo and Chrysanthemum Sword. I learned of how these bald thieves from Shaolin are out to make things difficult for owner. Thus I informed the various Island-Lords and Cave-Lords. We travelled day and night to rush over here. Luckily owner is unharmed, subordinate is very happy."
XuZhu said: "I originate from Shaolin. Your speech is too rude, quickly apologize to Shaolin's abbot." While speaking he still displayed his ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’ and ‘Six Solar Palms Of Heavenly Mountain’ brilliantly.
Grandma Yu had a terrified expression, she bowed and said: "Yes, old lady admits her guilt." She walk towards abbot XuanCi, she knelt down and respectfully kowtowed four times and said: "Grandma Yu from Vulture Palace's Clear Sky Division, my speech is too rude. I offended the eminent monks from Shaolin. I kowtow to ask for forgiveness and respectfully invite great master abbot to punish me." Her speech was extremely sincere, her enunciation clear and bright. Clearly her internal energy was vigorous, reaching the realm of top ranking martial experts.
XuanCi brushed his sleeves and said: "I don't deserve your praise, shifu please get up!" He employed 50% of his internal energy with this brush. He intended to prop up Grandma Yu. Unexpectedly Grandma Yu's body only moved slightly, she did not rise.
Grandma Yu kowtowed again and said: "Old lady smeared owner's original school, I deserve a thousand deaths." She stood up slowly and returned back to her division.
The Xuan generation monks had heard XuZhu narrate his experience in Vulture Palace before, they know about the intermediate story. However the remaining Shaolin monks, as well as the spectators, were greatly surprised: "The internal energy cultivation of this old lady is truly solid. The rest of the men and women that came with her were not weaklings either. How come they are the subordinates of this little monk from Shaolin, truly unbelievable." The crowd saw XuZhu assisting Xiao Feng. Moreover he had large numbers of men and women as reinforcements. Unexpectedly Xiao Feng's situation strengthened greatly, it was not easy to kill him anymore.
Xingxiu disciples saw there are quite a number of good-looking maidens from Vulture Palace's Eight Divisions; their speech became unclear and flustered. The Cave-Lords and Island-Lords are straightforward men, they bicker and ridicule openly. In an instant the mountaintop was full of shouting and cursing sounds. The Cave-Lords and Island-Lords all pulled out their weapons to challenge. Xingxiu disciples didn't dare to meet the challenge, however they redoubled their efforts in cursing. Some Xingxiu disciples saw their master occupy an unfavorable position for a long time. The situation was not good, thus they looked around in all directions for an escape route down the mountain.
Duan Yu was not distracted, he completely ignored the men and women from Vulture Palace. He focused on his 'Shangyang Sword' with rapt attention. He pressured Murong Fu with every single move. When he thought of Wang YuYan, every word and movement that came from her was for the sake of protecting Murong Fu. His heart was extremely bitter, since he already activated his ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’, his internal energy flow continuously, the power of his sword unstoppable. At this stage Murong Fu was unable to deduce the attack path of the invisible energy sword. He could only wave his pen and hook around to form a protective barrier and guard his whole body. He constantly shrunk his body behind the huge locust tree to avoid the energy sword.
Suddenly there was a 'Chi' sound. The energy sword penetrated Murong Fu's protective barrier and sliced off his hat. His hairs scattered in all directions, his appearance extremely battered and unsightly. Wang YuYan cried out in fear: "Gentleman Duan, please be lenient!" Duan Yu's heart trembled, he gave a deep sigh. He did not fire his 2nd sword move. He massaged his chest and pondered: "In your heart you only think about your cousin, if I accidently kill him, your grief will be unending. You will never smile again. I love and respect you, I will never make you sad."
Murong Fu's complexion was white and bloodless. Today at Mount Shaoshi he was thoroughly defeated in a sword duel. He suffered great shame and humiliation, in addition a woman spoke out to plead leniency for him and only then his opponent spared his life. Would he have any standing in the martial arts fraternity from now on? He shouted loudly: "A true man does not fear death, who needs you to give leeway?" He brandish his steel hook and pounce towards Duan Yu.
Duan Yu wave his pair of hands and said: "We have no hatred or enmity, why the need to fight? Stop fighting, stop fighting!"
Murong Fu's character was proud and haughty. He had no regards for people. He was utterly defeated by Duan Yu and had no chance to retaliate. Moreover his opponent made concessions based on a brief remark from Wang YuYan. How could he endure such indignation? He waved his steel hook at Duan Yu's face, he thrust his judge's-pen at Duan Yu's chest. He thought: "Use your invisible energy sword to kill me. We will end in mutual destruction, better than to drift and live without purpose in life." His heart was filled with shame and anger. He disregarded his life with this pounce.
Duan Yu saw this ferocious attack from Murong Fu. If he used ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’ to attack, he was afraid he might kill Murong Fu. He didn't know what to do. Unexpectedly he just stared stupidly and did not think of using ‘Graceful Steps Upon the Waves’ to dodge. Murong Fu was staking his life on this pounce. The speed was incomparably quick. His body flashed and there was a 'Pu' sound. The judge's-pen in his right hand already plunged into Duan Yu's body. Luckily Duan Yu slanted his body to the left at the critical moment, he avoided injuries to the vital points on his chest, however the judge's-pen penetrate deep into his right shoulder. Duan Yu cried out loudly. He was so frightened that his body turned stiff. Murong Fu executed the move "Fishing A Needle From The Sea" using the steel hook on his left hand, he attacked Duan Yu's head swiftly.
Duan ZhengChun and Divine Crocodile of The Southern Sea saw the situation was amiss. Both of them pounced forward, in addition Ba TianShi and Cui BaiQuan pounced forward as well. Murong Fu was eterdmined to kill Duan Yu. He’d rather sustain serious injuries than slow down his attack. Unexpectedly he paid no heed to the four men's attack. Just as the sharp tip of the steel hook was about to touch Duan Yu, suddenly the 'Shendao acupoint' on Murong Fu's back turned numb. His body was lifted high up in the air. The 'Shendao acupoint' is a critical acupoint, once captured Murong Fu's hand turned numb immediately. He could not hold onto the judge's-pen and steel hook anymore. He heard Xiao Feng shout sternly: "He spared your life, unexpectedly you dare to employ such evil scheme. What kind of hero are you?"
As it turns out Xiao Feng saw Murong Fu pounce towards Duan Yu. His guard was wide open and revealed his weakness. Xiao Feng assume Duan Yu will use his invisible energy sword and kill Murong Fu with one move. Unexpectedly Duan Yu stopped attacking and stay edhis hand at the critical moment. Murong Fu's attack was strangely quick, although Xiao Feng moved quickly but he was still too late to prevent the judge's-pen attack. Murong Fu followed up and executed the move "Fishing A Needle From The Sea". Xiao Feng seized the opportunity and grabbed the 'Shendao acupoint' on his back. Although Murong Fu's martial arts was no match for Xiao Feng but it was not to the extent of being captured in 1 move, because Murong Fu was filled with shame and anger. He focussed solely on killing Duan Yu, thus he did not bother to guard his body. Xiao Feng used his exquisite grabbing technique. He targeted vital acupoints, thus Murong Fu could not move anymore.
Xiao Feng's stature was big and tall, he has long hands and feet. He lifted Murong Fu in midair. The appearance was akin to an eagle clutching a little chick. Deng BaiChuan, GongYe Gan, Bao BuTong, Feng BoE, four of them shouted in unison: "Don't harm our young master!"
They rushed forward together. Wang YuYan also rushed forward and shouted: "Cousin, cousin!" Murong Fu wished he could die right way rather than suffer this humiliation.
Xiao Feng sneered: "Xiao Feng is a proper man, unexpectedly I share the same fame with this kind of person!" He exerted strength in his arm and tossed Murong Fu away.
Murong Fu flew 7-8 zhang away. He bent his waist and was about to stand up, when unexpectedly Xiao Feng grabbed his 'Shendao acupoint'. Xiao Feng's internal energy penetrated to the surrounding meridian channels. Murong Fu could not disperse the numbness in his hands and feet; with a 'Peng' sound his back landed on the ground, his hands and feet spread out. He fell down in an extremely unsightly manner. Spectators murmured in low voices and clamored repeatedly.
Deng BaiChuan and the rest quickly turned around and rushed towards Murong Fu. Murong Fu channeled his internal energy, he did not wait for Deng BaiChuan and the rest to arrive. He turned over and stood up. His face white and bloodless, he stretch out his hand and drew out a long sword hanging by Bao BuTong's waist. Immediately after his left hand made a circular move, he blocked Deng BaiChuan and the rest. His right wrist flipped over and swung the sword horizontally across his neck. Wang YuYan screamed: "Cousin, no..."
At this moment there was a loud sound; the air split open, a hidden weapon flew from around 10 zhang away. It traversed across the ground and knocked into the sword held by Murong Fu. There was a clanking sound. The sword flew out from Murong Fu's hand, his hand stained with blood. The web between his thumb and forefinger was split open.
Murong Fu was astonished. He raised his head and looked towards the direction the hidden weapon came from. He saw a grey-robed monk standing by the hillside, his face covered by a grey cloth.
The monk took large strides and stopped beside Murong Fu, he said: "You have a son?" His voice was aged.
Murong Fu said: "I have yet to marry, how can I have a son?"
The grey-robed monk said: "You have ancestors?"
Murong Fu was angered, he said loudly: "Of course! I wish to die, what business is it to you? A warrior can be killed but not humiliated. Murong Fu is a man, I cannot stand your rudeness."
The grey-robed monk said: "Your great-great-grandfather had a son, your great grandfather, grandfather, father, all of them had a son, but how come you don't have a son! Hei hei, the glorious times of Murong in Great Yan, Murong Ke, Murong Chui, Murong De, Murong LongCheng, all of them great heroes. Unexpectedly their generation broken and left without any future male offspring!"
Murong Huang, Murong Ke, Murong Chui, Murong De, etc., they were the brave lord and famed monarch of Great Yan. Murong LongCheng was the creator of the consummate skill [Star Shifting Movement]. Each one of them renowned the world over, they established great undertaking. They are also the ancestors of Murong Fu. Murong Fu was blinded by his rage. Suddenly when he heard the names of these five ancestors, cold sweat dripped down his forehead. He pondered: "Father cautioned me repeatedly, I have to make the restoration of Great Yan my lifelong ambition. Today due to a moment of rage I seek to commit suicide, henceforth my Xianbei Murong family will be left without a heir. I don't have a son, how can I bring honor to my ancestors and restore Great Yan?"
His back and forehead were covered with cold sweat. At once he knelt down and said: "Murong Fu's experience and knowledge is lacking. I gained the guidance of senior monk, your great kindness and virtue. I will remember it for as long as I live."
The grey-robed monk accepted his worship calmly, he said: "Since ancient times those who achieved great merits, which one of them did not suffer untold hardships? The first Han emperor Liu Bang blockaded on BaiDeng plateau; Emperor GuangWu of Han's northern expedition, if all of them are like you, drawing their sword to cut their throat, their narrow-mindedness will merely end Han dynasty. How can they restore their state? You are inferior to even Gou Jian and HanXin, truly ignorant and lacking knowledge!"
Murong Fu knelt down to receive instruction. He was frightened: "This divine monk seems to know my inner ambition. Unexpectedly he uses Han Gaozu and GuangWu, these founding fathers, as comparison."
He said: "Murong Fu realizes his mistake!"
The grey-robed monk said: "Get up!" Murong Fu respectfully kowtowed 3 times and stood up.
The grey-robed monk said: "The martial arts handed down by your Gusu Murong family, they are mythical and profound, truly rare in the present age, but you have yet to perfect it. Don't tell me it can't be compared with Dali's Duan family ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’? Look closely now!" he extended his forefinger and pointed 3 times.
Currently Duan ZhengChun and Ba TianShi were standing beside Duan Yu. Duan ZhengChun already used ‘Yiyang Finger’ to seal the surrounding acupoints on Duan Yu's wound. Ba TianShi was about to pull out the judge's-pen from Duan Yu's shoulder. Unexpectedly the finger force from the grey-robed monk arrived, both of them felt their chest turn numb and they collapsed backwards. Immediately after the judge's-pen shot out from Duan Yu's shoulder, with a 'Pa' sound it plunged into the ground. After falling down, Duan ZhengChun and Ba TianShi turned over and leapt up immediately, both of them overwhelmed with shock. Clearly the grey-robed monk was lenient, if not he would have killed the two of them with this finger move.
The grey-robed monk said in a bright voice: "This is your Murong family's ‘Canhe Finger’! Old monk learned it from your forefathers, but I only learned till a superficial level; you can well imagine the various marvelous martial arts of the Murong family. Hei hei, don't tell me with your tiny amount of skill you are fit to bear this great reputation of "Returning you with your own move"?"
The crowd of heroes were initially excited by Gusu Murong's famed fighting prowess. However they saw Murong Fu being defeated by Duan Yu, afterwards he was defeated by Xiao Feng, they pondered: "He does not match up to his famed reputation! Although it is not an entirely false reputation, but it is not so amazing as to shake the entire world by force." Afterwards they saw the grey-robed monk demonstrate his divine skill. He claimed he merely learned Murong family's ‘Canhe Finger’ to a superficial level. They could not help but feel their respect for Gusu Murong being reborn again. However everyone had the same doubt: "Who is this grey-robed monk? What is his relationship with Murong family?"
The grey-robed monk turned around. He cupped his fists at Xiao Feng and said: "Noble warrior Qiao's martials arts are unsurpassed, your reputation well-deserved. old monk wishes to ask for advice!" Xiao Feng guarded against him long ago. When the monk cupped his fists he immediately cupped his fists to return the courtesy and said: "I don't deserve it!" Their internal energies collided, both of them sway slightly.
At this moment, a black shadow appeared from mid air, akin to a big eagle swooping down, it landed between the grey-robed monk and Xiao Feng. This person dropped down from the sky abruptly, it was simply too sudden. Everyone was equally amazed and shouted out. When the person landed on the ground they finally saw clearly. As it turned out he was holding onto a long rope, the other end of the rope was attached to the top of a tree 10 zhang away. This person covered his face with a black cloth; he only revealed a pair of cold electrifying eyes.
The black-robed man and grey-robed monk stared at each other. After a long time, niether of them opened their mouth to speak. The stature of these two men was tall, but the black-robed man is sturdier, the grey-robed man is slim.
Xiao Feng however was very happy and grateful. From the rope technique used by the black-robed man to move over great distances, Xiao Feng recognized him as the same black-robed man who rescued him at JuXian Manor. Of the people currently gathered at Mount Shaoshi, quite a number of them participated in the battle at JuXian Manor. However the black-robed man came and went quickly, nobody saw his movement clearly and thus they did not recognize him.
After a long time, both men said suddenly: "You..." however they stopped talking immediately after uttering 'You'. After a period of time, the grey-robed monk finally said: "Who are you?" the black-robed man said: "Then who are you?"
The crowd heard the voice of this black-robed monk, they pondered: "His voice is aged, it seems he is also an old monk."
Xiao Feng heard the voice of the black-robed monk, it is precisely the same voice who lectured him at the deserted mountain. Xiao Feng's heart throbbed violently. He want to rush forward immediately, kowtow and offer his gratitude.
The grey-robed monk said: "You hide in Shaolin Temple for 10 years, you finally pilfered enough rare martial art manuals from Shaolin?"
The black-robed man said: "I want to ask you as well, you hide in Shaolin Temple for 10 years, the manuals inside Shaolin's Scripture-Depository Pavilion, you finally copied enough?"
When these two men spoke out, all Shaolin monks were flabbergasted. They pondered: "How come these two men accuse each other of stealing rare martial art manuals from Shaolin? Don't tell me it really happened?"
The grey-robed monk said: "I hide in Shaolin Temple, it is for the sake of borrowing some things to read,”
The back-robed man said: "I hide in Shaolin Temple, it is also for the sake of borrowing some things to read. We crossed swords with each other 3 times, it is time we differentiate who is stronger, who is weaker."
The grey-robed monk said: "Correct. Honored sir, your martial arts is solid, I am extremely grateful for your many pointers.”
The black-robed man said: "Your heart is never complacent, you forge on ahead relentlessly, brother admires you very much."
The grey-robed monk said: "Since this is the case, then there is no need for us to compare anymore."
The black-robed man said: "Very good." Both men nodded their heads. They walked together to the base of a large tree. They sat down shoulder to shoulder, closed their eyes and did not speak anymore.
The grey-robed monk was meditating under the tree, recalling the events for the past 10 years; images of past events came thick and fast.
This grey-robed monk is Murong Fu's father, Murong Bo. For the past few years he concealed his identity and feigned death; in reality he operates in secret in Central Plains.
Previously, Murong Bo was terror-stricken. He fled from YanMen Pass and returned to Suzhou's Swallow Dock Canhe Manor. He shut the doors to the basement and hid inside for 7 days. For 7 days his body trembled, his mind wrapped in fear. No matter how his wife tried to comfort or persuade, he was unable to lessen the fear in his heart. The tragic scene at YanMen Pass, flesh and blood flying, it gave him insomnia. If he managed to sleep he would always dream of the man with face full of whiskers, his round eyes, eyes dripping with blood. Yet his eyes seemed to be spitting fire, his left hand waving about. The saber in his right hand hacking around, muscles and bones shattered, heads falling onto the ground. Murong Bo hid at a distant mountain behind a rock, he saw this Khitan warrior kill 10 Han heroes in an instant. He knocked down the leader as well as Beggars Clan Chief Wang JianTong. Using a short saber he carved words on the mountain wall. He leapt into the deep valley, later he tossed a baby from the valley...Murong Bo hid behind the rock for a long time, when the sky turned dark, a Han warrior carried the baby and left with the leader and Wang JianTong. Murong Bo was paralyzed from head to toe, it was difficult for him to take even 1 step....
Murong Bo was instructed by his father since childhood. He had to make "Restoration of Yan" his lifelong ambition, however Liao and Song sharedd good relations with each other, there is no opportunity at all, thus MuRong Bo brought along his wealth and travelled to Liao nation. He made friends with Khitan nobles, afterwards he moved one step further and acquainted himself with court affairs of the Liao nation. The Empress Dowager of Liao was in control and her most trusted clansman is the military drillmaster of Coral Army, Xiao YuanShan. This person possessed extremely high martial arts. Throughout his life he advocated friendly relations between Liao and Song. Whenever Liao generals proposed to invade Song, Xiao YuanShan would immediately advise the Empress Dowager. Both nations enjoyed good fortune due to this armistice: Liao nation collects silver and silk from Song, the society is rich, food plentiful. However once war breaks out, citizens will have their homes ravaged, traitors will fawn and try to seize power, riot and disorder will surely plague the nation.
The Empress Dowager was utterly convinced by Xiao YuanShan, thus the invasion of Song never materialized. Murong Bo knew the opportunity to restore Yan lies in eliminating Xiao YuanShan. He hatched a plan in secret. He inquired about Xiao YuanShan's personal preference. He tried to uncover a weakness which he can put his hands on. One day he heard from a distant relative of Xiao YuanShan, the birthday of Xiao YuanShan's father-in-law is on the 8th of September, on that day he would surely take his wife and child to Wuzhou to congratulate his father-in-law. To travel from Liao nation to Wuzhou, the most common path is to travel south from YanMen pass until the Great Wall, from there travel west to Wuzhou; the terrain is flat, much easier to travel when compared to the northern mountain route which is more rugged.
When Murong Bo obtained the news, its already August, thus he rushed to Shaolin immediately to deliver the news. He claimed the Liao nation would dispatch martial art experts, on Chongyang Festival they would carry out a large scale raid on Shaolin. Their purpose was to steal ancient and rare martial art manuals hidden in Shaolin. They would then impart this first-class martial arts to soliders of the Liao nation. Years later the Liao nation would send their army southward; on the battlefield Song's army will not be their match, the Han people will surely be in danger.
This matter concerned the lives of citizens as well as the survival of Central Plains' martial arts fraternity; thus Shaolin immediately spread the news around. Many heroes convened at Shaolin to plan on how to deal with the situation. Murong Bo had just come from the Liao nation; the court affairs, military strength, he knew all of them clearly. There were no loopholes in his speech. The crowd of heroes reached an agreement. They would split into groups and head for Wuzhou, Daizhou, Shuozhou and Yingzhou to try and obstruct them. YanMen Pass is the key route for the Liao nation to travel southward. Thus the heroes gathered their best fighters and hid at YanMen Pass; eventually they encountered Xiao YuanShan's party. Although they killed his wife, but Xiao YuanShan's martial art was truly frightening in the extreme. It was really hard to imagine...
When the heroes eventually discovered something amiss about the situation, they would surely visit Murong Bo's home to inquire. Murong Bo had long predicted this outcome. He did not want to be interrogated by his friends from the martial arts fraternity. He fabricated a rumor and deceived people. His true motive was to incite hatred between Liao and Song, hoping for an opportunity to "restore Yan nation". How could he carry out this task in a straightforward manner? Although his martial arts are not weak, but the Han have many men, in the end he will not be able hold them back. Thus he left YanMen Pass and returned south immediately. He lived in seclusion in the basement of his house and never took one step out. During that period Shaolin sent its monk over to investigate, Murong Bo had already instructed his wife to tell them he left half a year ago to travel. Till now he has yet to return, the family is very concerned and hope the senior monks from Shaolin can assist to look for his whereabouts.
The ancestor of Murong family, Murong LongCheng created the consummate skill [Star Shifting Movement]. Although this wondrous skill can divert an opponent's attack and established the famed reputation of "Returning you with your own move", but it is akin to "sewing someone's trousseau". Murong Bo thought to himself, Shaolin is the chief of martial arts studies. If he can obtain its 72 Ultimate Techniques and secretly teach it to his own troops, then their chances of restoring the Yan nation would be like a tiger that has grown wings, its power redoubled and form strengthened.
Successive generations of Murong's heirs all conspired to restore Yan. The family amassed mountains of gold and silver. Murong Bo discussed with his wife, he disguised himself as a trader and brought a lot of gold and silver to Dengfeng city in Henan. He set up a business selling local products and built up relations with local merchants. Afterwards he moved to the farms near Shaolin and acquired their local products. Subsequently he purchased their house and farmland and set up his home there. He planned far ahead. He often wore a bamboo hat, carrying a hoe, tilling the ground and planting fruits and vegetables at the rear mountain of Shaolin's Scripture-Depository Pavilion. He became friends with the monks in charge of taking care of Scripture-Depository Pavilion. He frequently offered gifts such as peaches, apricots, pears, jujubes, etc., fresh agriculture products. Less than half a year later, how Scripture-Depository Pavilion protected itself against fire, how they dry books, shift schedules, collections of rare books, etc., he knew everything clearly. Murong Bo had a hidden agenda, but other people did not; the monks-in-charge did not suspect anything. Shaolin Temple has always been benevolent and kind. Whenever someone asked to borrow Buddhist scriptures to read they will welcome it greatly. Initially Murong Bo borrowed “Amitabha Scripture”, “Origin Scripture of Bodhisattva of the Great Vow”, “General Classics of Bodhisattva of Compassion”, etc., eventually he started borrowing profound texts such as “Vajra Prajna Paramita Scripture”.
When the time was ripe and the monk-in-charge no longer guarded against him, during the 3rd night watch, he secretly entered the Scripture-Depository Pavilion. On a bookshelf he found the manual to ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’, he almost turned mad from excitement. He took it back to his residence and studied carefully. The handwritten copy depicted training methods from basic to advanced levels, the methods subtle and exquisite. The manual also stated that once mastered the practitioner's finger can penetrate wood and bricks, its power extremely formidable. At once Murong Bo lit an oil lamp, he took out pen and paper and made an exact copy of this ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’ manual. The following evening, Murong Bo infiltrated the Scripture-Depository Pavilion again, he returned ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’ manual back to its original place. Afterwards he took [Vajra Fist] which consists of four volumes. He possessed extraordinary perception; once he detected anything odd inside the Pavilion he would simply hide and not return for several days. Based on his high-level martial arts, the monk-in-charge never noticed his borrowing and returning of treasured books.
The black-robed man said slowly: "Ye ErNiang, originally you were a proper lady, gentle and beautiful, virtuous, dignified and chaste. But when you were 18 years old, you were seduced by a reputable martial arts expert. You lost your chastity to him and gave birth to this child, correct?"
Ye ErNiang remain motionless. After a long time she finally nodded her head and said: "Yes. But he did not seduce me, I am the one who seduced him."
The black-robed man said: "This man only cared about his own reputation and future, he did not care about the plight of a young unwed mother of a child. How miserable her fate."
Ye ErNiang said: "No! He cared, he gave me a lot of gold and silver; he arranged and planned for my livelihood for the rest of my life."
The black-robed man said: "Then why did he let you drift around Jianghu in solitude?"
Ye ErNiang said: "I couldn’t marry him. How can he take me as his wife? He is a good person, he has always treated me well. I do not wish to implicate him. He.... he is a good person." From her speech, evidently she was still full of longing for this lover who abandoned her. The love and affection from olden days, they were not affected by her misery. They did not fade away with time at all.
Everyone pondered: "Ye ErNiang is a well known evil doer, however she is still deeply devoted to her lover. Who is this man?"
Duan Yu, Ruan XingZhu, Hua HeGen, Fan Hua, Ba TianShi, when they heard her mention her lascivious sin from past, they could not help but glance furtively at Duan ZhengChun. Evidently they thought the identity of Ye ErNiang's lover, his temperament, his behavior, his age, all of them similar to him. Someone recalled: "Previously the ‘Four Evils’ visited Dali, most likely they are searching for Prince ZhenNan to settle this debt."
Even Duan ZhengChun himself was suspicious: "I met quite a number of ladies, don't tell me she is included as well? How come I don't recall at all? If I implicated her, even if I lose all my reputation in front of the heroes, I definitely cannot treat her unfairly. But.... but.... how come I cannot remember anything at all?"
The black-robed man said brightly: "The child's father is right here, why don't you point him out?"
Ye ErNiang was startled, she said: "No, no! I cannot say.”
The black-robed man said: "Why did you burn a total of 27 incense scars on your child's waist and buttocks?"
Ye ErNiang covered her face and said: "I don't know, I don't know! I beg you, don't ask me anymore."
The black-robed man's voice was still dull and flat. It seems as if he’s unconcerned. He continued: "When your child was born, you wanted him to be a monk?"
Ye ErNiang said: "No, no."
The black-robed man said: "Why, then why did you burn these incense scars on him?"
Ye ErNiang said: "I don't know, I don't know!"
The black-robed man said brightly: "You refuse to say, but I know. Because this child's father is a Buddhist disciple, he is a reputable eminent monk."
Ye ErNiang groaned out. She couldn't support herself anymore and fainted.
At once everyone made a huge clamor, based on Ye ErNiang's reaction, it seems the black-robed man is correct. As it turns out her secret lover is a Buddhist monk, moreover he is a reputable eminent monk. Everyone whispered to one another, discussing the identity of the monk.
XuZhu helped Ye ErNiang up and said: "Mother, mother, wake up!"
After a long time, Ye ErNiang woke up and said softly: "Child, quickly help me down the mountain. This.... this man is a devil, he.... he knows everything. I don't want to see him. This hatred.... there is no need to avenge anymore."
XuZhu said: "Yes, mother, let us go now."
The black-robed man said: "Wait, I have yet to finish. You don't want revenge, but I want revenge. Ye ErNiang, why did I snatch your child, you know the reason? Because.... because someone snatched away my child, my family was ruined; husband and wife, father and son, we cannot reunite. I did it for revenge."
Ye ErNiang said: "Someone snatched your child? You did it for revenge?"
The black-robed man said: "Correct, I snatched your child and put him inside Shaolin's vegetable garden, let Shaolin monks raise him up, teach him martial arts. My own child, someone snatched him away; he was adopted and a Shaolin monk taught him martial arts. You want to see my true identity?" He did not wait for Ye ErNiang to reply and took off his face curtain.
The crowd cried out in alarm; his face was square-ish with big ears, his beard overgrown, his appearance extremely formidable; he is around 60 years of age.
Xiao Feng was pleasantly surprised. He rush forward and knelt down, his voice trembling: "You...you are my father..."
The person laughed heartily and said: "Good child, good child, I am your father. We father and son have the same figure and appearance, anyone can tell straight away that I am your father." He stretched out his hands and pulled open his front jacket, revealing a tattooed wolf's head. He raised his left hand and helped Xiao Feng to stand up.
Xiao Feng pulled open his front jacket as well, revealing a green tattooed wolf's head, mouth wide open and bearing its fangs. Both of them walked shoulder to shoulder. Suddenly they looked up to the sky simultaneously and whistled. The sound was like a violent gale and angry cry. It transmitted to a distant place, even the mountain valley echoed. When the crowd of heroes heard it they could not help but shiver with fright. The 'Eighteen Riders from YanYun’ pulled out their blades and cried out with them together. Although there are only 20 people, but they exude might and power, as if they are a magnificent army of thousands men and horses.
Xiao Feng retrieved a tarpaulin package from his bosom and opened it, revealing a patched white cloth. He spread it out. It was an imprint of the writings on the stone wall given to him by Reverened Zhiguang. The characters written on it are all Khitan text.
The bearded old man pointed at the last few words, he smile and said: "The final words of Xiao YuanShan, the final words of Xiao YuanShan! Haha, child, that day in my grieving state I jumped off the cliff to commit suicide. Who would have expected, my life did not come to an end. I fell onto a branch of a large tree, unexpectedly I survived. My desire to die already dissipated; a new desire for revenge arose. That day at YanMen Pass, the heroes from the Central Plains did not bother to inquire the truth; they killed your mother who did not know any martial arts. Child, tell me, should we avenge this hatred!"
Xiao Feng said: "I cannot live under the same sky with the enemies of my parents!"
Xiao YuanShan said: "Those who killed your mother, more than half of them were killed by me at the scene. The former Chief of Beggars Clan Wang JianTong contracted an illness and died, he got off lightly. But the leading 'Big culprit', he is still healthy and alive till now. Child, tell me, what should we do?"
Xiao Feng said unhurriedly: "This person was deceived by a rumor, it was not his original intention. He already confessed and repented. Moreover, father you are alive and well today, child is extremely heartened, let us just write off this hatred with one stroke."
Xiao YuanShan gave a long sigh and shouted: "How can I write it off with one stroke!" His gaze electrifying, one by one he scanned the faces of the crowd of heroes.
When the crowd of heroes locked gazes with him they felt as if they were in danger. Although they had absolutely no relations with the matter at YanMen Pass, but seeing Xiao YuanShan's expression, nobody dared to move or even give out the slightest bit of sound for fear of inviting trouble.
Xiao YuanShan said: "Child, that day your mother and I carried you to visit your maternal grandmother. Unexpectedly when we reached YanMen Pass, 10 martial art experts suddenly jumped out and killed our entourage. Great Song have a deep hatred towards Khitan, it is not strange for them to kill each other. However these warriors had been waiting in ambush, obviously it was premeditated. Child, do you know the underlying reason?"
Xiao Feng said: "They obtained news and mistakenly believed that a Khitan warrior was coming to Shaolin to seize martial arts manuals. After that he will return to the Liao nation and prepare to invade Great Song. Thus they carried out the ambush and killed my mother."
Xiao YuanShan laughed bitterly and said: "Hei hei, hei hei! I did not have any intention to seize martial art manuals from Shaolin; they accused me wrongly. Fine, fine! Xiao YuanShan will carry it through since it started, since they accuse me, I will simply do it for them to see. For the past 30 years, Xiao YuanShan has been hiding in Shaolin; I look through all their martial arts manuals till my heart’s content. Senior monks from Shaolin, if you are capable you can come here and kill Xiao YuanShan. If not the martial arts of Shaolin will surely spread across Great Liao. It will be too late if you try to attempt another ambush at YanMen Pass."
When the crowd of Shaolin monks heard it, they were overwhelmed with shock. Most likely his speech was not false. If the martial arts of Shaolin spread into Liao nation it would be like a tiger that has grown wings. What should they do? Along with the rest of the crowd of heroes, they pondered: "No matter what we definitely cannot let this man leave the mountain alive!"
Xiao Feng said: "Father, at that time the ‘Leading Big Brother’ killed my mother, it was due to misunderstanding. Although he was impulsive but he did not deliberately commit evil. However there is another evil person. He killed my foster parents the Qiao couple, my reputation became tainted. Father do you know who is the person?"
Xiao YuanShan laughed and said: "Child, I killed the Qiao couple!"
Xiao Feng had a huge shock, his voice trembled: "Father, you killed them? Why...why?"
Xiao YuanShan said: "You are my biological child. Husband, wife and son, the whole family united together, can you imagine the happiness? But these southern warriors treat us Khitans as lower than pigs and dogs. They kill us for no reason, they stole my son and gave him to someone else, to become other people's son. The Qiao couple pretended to be your parents. Since they took away my family bliss and they never told you the truth, then they deserved to die."
Xiao Feng heart turned sour, he said: "My foster parents treated me extremely well, both of them were very good people. That being the case, the one who set fire on Dan household, murdered grandma Tan, Zhao QianSun, etc., it was..."
Xiao YuanShan said: "Correct! I did it. Although master ZhiGuang died, but I still struck his 'Taiyang acupoint' to vent my anger. These people knew the ‘Leading Big Brother’ who killed your mother, but they refuse to say. Each and every one of them shielded him, don't tell me they don't deserve to die?"
Xiao Feng was speechless, he pondered: "The 'Great evil person' I have been tracking down all along, it turns out to be my father, this...what should I say?" He said slowly: "Shaolin Master XuanKu instructed me in martial arts, 10 years of effort, my achievements today is entirely due to revered teacher's training..." he lowered his head, his eyes tearful.
Xiao YuanShan said: "These southern martial artists are devious and treacherous. How can they be good? I killed XuanKu with a single palm."
The crowd of Shaolin monks chanted in unison: "Buddha is merciful, Buddha is merciful!" Their voices were full of grief and indignation. Although they had yet to step forward to challenge Xiao YuanShan, their chanting already contained deep sorrow and anguish. It already embodied their determination, they will not let the matter rest.
Xiao YuanShan continued: "Among the people who killed my beloved wife and snatched away my only son, there is the Chief of Beggars Clan, there are also experts from Shaolin, hei, they only hoped to cover this bloody sin forever, to turn my son into a Han Chinese, make my son take the enemy as his master, succeed the enemy and become the Chief of Beggars Clan. Hei hei, child, after I landed a palm on XuanKu, I hid myself nearby. Soon after I saw you paying respect to that bald thief. XuanKu saw the resemblance in us father and son. He assumed it was you who hit him; even that young Buddhist monk could not differentiate between us father and son. Child, we Khitan endured injustice and their bullying. Do you think it is enough?"
Xiao Feng finally understood, why at that time when Master XuanKu saw him, unexpectedly he was so startled, why that young Buddhist monk adamantly accuse him of killing XuanKu. Who would have expected the true killer to be someone who bore strong resemblance with him, linked closely by flesh and blood?
Xiao Feng said: "Since father killed these people, then there is no difference from me killing them, it seems I did not bear this bad reputation in vain."
Xiao YuanShan said: "The chief evil who lead the ambush at YanMen Pass, the one who destroyed my family, I have investigated everything clearly. If I kill him with a single palm, won't he get off too lightly? Ye ErNiang, wait!"
He saw Ye ErNiang holding onto XuZhu, step by step they are walking further away, at once he shouted out to stop her: "Who helped to deliver your child, if you refuse to say then I will say it. I hid beside Shaolin for so many years; I entered the temple every night, which matter can escape my eyes? Both of you meet at Ziyun Cave. He asked grandma Qiao to deliver your child. Various kind of affairs, I need to narrate everything in full details?"
Ye ErNiang turn around, she rush several steps towards Xiao YuanShan, knelt down and said: "Old hero Xiao, you are humane and righteous. Please be magnanimous, spare me, spare him. My child and your son are sworn brothers, he.... he...he has great reputation in the martial arts fraternity, his status and position.... he is so old already, if you want to kill then please kill me; only, don't...please don't trouble him."
Previously the crowd heard Xiao YuanShan mentioned XuZhu's father is a 'reputable eminent monk', now Ye ErNiang said his reputation is great, his status and position extremely high, putting the descriptions together, could it be this person is an eminent monk from Shaolin? Everyone could not help but gaze towards the white-haired old monks from Shaolin.
Suddenly abbot XuanCi said: "Excellent, excellent! Since there is a cause, then there must be a resolution. XuZhu, come over here!"
XuZhu walked towards abbot XuanCi and knelt down. XuanCi scrutinized him for a long time. He stretched out his hands to caress XuZhu's head gently, his face tender and loving. He said: "You have been in the temple for 24 years, unexpectedly I did not know you are my son!"
When he finished speaking the crowd of monks and heroes made a huge clamor. Everyone had looks of being flabbergasted, appalled, disgust, anger, fear, pity, all sorts of expressions. It was really hard to describe. Abbot XuanCi is a person of high moral standings and reputation, everyone admired and respected him very much. Who would have imagined him to commit such act? The disturbance went on for half of the day before coming to a rest.
XuanCi said unhurriedly, his voice still serene and calm like normal: "Senior Xiao shizhu, you were separated from your son for 30 years, you cannot meet him, however you knew his martials arts are excellent. His reputation soaring, he is a first class hero. In your heart you must certainly be comforted. I get to see my son every day, however I thought he was taken away by some ruffian, his life and death unknown, I worry day and night."
Ye ErNiang cried: "If.... if you didn't say it, won't.... won’t it be better? What to do now?"
XuanCi said tenderly: "ErNiang, I already commit the evil deed, it is too late to go back. It is useless to cover up the truth. All these years, you have suffered much!"
Ye ErNiang wept: "No! You suffer in silence, unable to voice it out, that is true suffering."
XuanCi shook his head slowly, he said: "Senior Xiao shizhu, the battle at YanMen Pass, old monk made a huge mistake. My brothers forgave me for this matter but one by one they lost their lives. Previously this old monk tied my hands and voluntary sought death. I intended to let your esteemed son kill me to avenge his mother. However your esteemed son is benevolent, he refused to kill this old monk and let me live till today. Today, this old monk voluntary seeks death again. It is truly long overdue."
Suddenly he raised his voice and said: "Murong Bo, senior Murong shizu, at that time you spread false information. You claimed a Khitan warrior was carrying out a large scale attack to seize Shaolin's martial art manuals. Eventually this led to all kinds of sins. Have you ever felt a twinge of guilt and regret?"
Everyone heard him say the name 'Murong Bo', they were startled. The crowd knew that Gentleman Murong's father had a single name 'Bo', however he died a long time ago. How come XuanCi suddenly called out his name? Could it be the person who spread false information is Murong Bo? Everyone followed the direction of his gaze, however his pair of eyes were focusing on the grey-robed monk sitting under the tree.
The grey-robed monk gave a long laugh, he stood up and said: "Great master abbot, your eyesight is terrific, unexpectedly you recognize me." He pulled away his face curtain, revealing his lively and refined features and long drooping white eyebrows.
Murong Fu was pleasantly surprised, he shouted out: "Father, you.... you are still alive?" Countless questions bubble forth: Why did father fake his death? Why did he conceal it even from his own son?
XuanCi said: "Senior Murong shizu, I’ve known you for many years, I respect your character deeply. That day you informed of this matter, old monk firmly believe you without any doubt. Later on I accidentally injured a good person, from then on this old monk never saw you again. Afterwards I received news of your death due to illness; old monk felt deep sorrow and lament. I assumed you and I were the same. We mistakenly believed someone else's false information, ultimately leading to numerous sins; thus you died early due to guilt, who would have expected...sigh!" His deep sigh embodied boundless regret and condemnation.
Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng looked at each other. It was only now, both father and son finally got hold of the identity of the person who spread false news, the person who instigated the matter and created the disaster. Unexpectedly it is Murong Bo. Xiao Feng pondered: "The disaster at YanMen Pass, although abbot XuanCi was the leader, but he is Shaolin's abbot. He is duty bound to protect Great Song and the martial art manuals of his temple. Later on when he discovered the mistake, he did his utmost to atone for it. The true evil person, it is Murong Bo not XuanCi."
When Murong Fu heard XuanCi's speech, he understood immediately: "Father spread the false news. It was to incite a big battle between Song and Liao, eventually leading to war between Song and Liao. My Great Yan could then take advantage from within. After the event, XuanCi would inevitably seek my father out to question him. Since father cannot defend himself, his status as a great hero, a towering figure, he could not admit the matter and destroy his lifelong illustrious reputation. He knew abbot XuanCi's temperament. If he died then XuanCi would never disclose the truth behind the matter and damage his reputation after death." Immediately after, he had another thought: "After father's death, Murong family's reputation is unaffected, I can still continue the great undertaking to restore Great Yan. If not, the heroes of Central Plains will surely treat Murong family as the enemy. It is difficult to even survive, let alone gather forces to restore the Yan nation. Thus, at that time, he definitely had to fake his death. It seems that father was afraid that in my youthful vigor I would inevitably give the game away, thus he concealed his death from me. Other than mother, I am afraid even elder brother Deng and the others are kept in the dark as well."
XuanCi said unhurriedly: "Senior Murong shizu, today old monk heard you advising your esteemed son, unexpectedly your Gusu Murong family is the descendant of a monarch, hatching a grand scheme. The true purpose of spreading false news, it became apparent right away. However your grand scheme, ultimately it is difficult to achieve. Aren't you causing the death of many innocent lives in vain?"
Murong Bo said coldly: "Man propose but heaven dispose!"
XuanCi's expression was compassionate, he said: "My junior martial brother XuanBei, he received orders from me to inquire about the matter from you. Perhaps his speech offended you, or he found out some clues at your home and deduced your intention to revolt. Thus you killed him to prevent him from divulging the secret." Murong Bo laughed and did not reply.
XuanCi continued: "But you killed Ke BaiSui, Ke shizu, why?"
Murong Bo laughed darkly and said: "Senior abbot is incomparably astute. You rarely step out of your temple’s main gate but you know all the matters in Jianghu like the back of your hand. I admire you greatly. I want you to make a guess on this matter..."
He had yet to finish when two men bellowed simultaneously and pounced towards him. They were 'Golden Abacus' Cui BaiQuan and his martial nephew Guo YanZhi. Murong Bo brushed his sleeve, both Cui and Guo were thrown several zhang away. They lie down on the floor and remained motionless, unexpectedly both of them was hit by his [Finger Within The Sleeve].
XuanCi said: "Ke shizu is rich and powerful, his conduct cautious. En, you recruit solders and horses, accumulate wealth and stockpile grains, you settled on Ke shizhu's property, you want to recruit him and make him take up Murong's 'Yan banner'. Ke shizhu refused, maybe he even try to report you to the authorities."
Murong Bo laughed heartily. He stuck out his thumb and said: "Senior abbot is amazing, amazing! But it is a pity, you are able to see the minute details but you fail to see the major issues. Elder brother Xiao and I hid beside your noble temple for so many years, unexpectedly you remained completely ignorant about it."
XuanCi shake his head slowly; he sighed and said: "It is easy to understand others, but difficult to understand oneself. It is not easy to subdue an enemy, but to subdue the greed, anger and delusion in one's heart, the three poisons, it is incomparably difficult."
Murong Bo said: "Senior abbot, based on our former friendship, I will speak forthright and not hide anything from you. What else you wish to inquire?"
XuanCi said: "The Deputy-Chief of Beggars Clan Ma DaYuan, Madam Ma, Clan Elder Xu ChongXiao, Clan Elder Bai ShiJing, four of them, senior Murong shizhu did you kill them, or they were killed by senior Xiao shizu?"
Xiao Feng said: "Madam Ma and Bao ShiJing conspired together to kill Ma DaYuan, Elder Xu was killed by both of them as well. Bai ShiJing was killed by his own clan members when they tidied up clan affairs. Madam Ma died during the tidying of clan affairs as well. As for the details, Prince Duan from Dali and Beggars Clan 's Elder Zhu saw and heard everything. If abbot wishes to know the details you may find out from both of them later."
Xiao YuanShan took two steps forward. He pointed at Murong Bo and shouted: "Old thief Murong, previously I traded palms 3 times with you. I deeply regret not knowing your true colors. I did not kill you. Come over here to receive death!"
Murong Bo gave a long laugh and leapt swiftly up the mountain. Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng shouted: "Chase!" They chased after him separately from the left and right. The three of them had reached the pinnacle of martial arts, in a blink of an eye they already moved far away. Murong Fu shouted: "Father, father!" He followed and chased as well. His lightness martials arts are excellent, however it appeared insignificant when compared to the three experts. Murong Bo, Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng, one in front and two behind; unexpectedly the three of them were running towards Shaolin Temple. A grey shadow and two black shadows, in a split second they vanished behind the yellow walls and glazed tiles of Shaolin Temple.
The crowd was greatly surprised, they pondered: "The martial arts of Murong Bo and Xiao YuanShan are on par with each other, in addition their sons are assisting as well, the Murong family will lose for sure. How come Murong Bo did not run down the mountain to escape, on the contrary he entered Shaolin Temple?"
Deng BaiChuan, GongYe Gan, Bao BuTong, Feng BoE, as well as 18 Khitan warriors, they wanted to run up the mountain to assist their master. When they were just about to move, XuanJi shouted out: "Deploy the formation and stop them!" Around a hundred Shaolin monks chorused. Row after row they blocked the road up the mountain, their staff or blade held horizontally. They prevented anyone from advancing. XuanJi said in a stern voice: "Shaolin Temple is a sacred Buddhist site, it is not a place for private fights. Shizhu, please do not enter without permission."
Deng BaiChuan and the rest saw their impressive power. They knew they couldn’t break through, although they are concerned about their master but they have no choice but to stop. Bao BuTong said: "Correct, correct! Shaolin Temple is a sacred Buddhist site..." All along he always began with "not true, not true!" Unexpectedly he changed to "correct, correct!" Those who knew him were flabbergasted, however Bao BuTong continued: "...a sacred site for raising illegitimate child!"
When he finished speaking, several hundred pairs of angry eyes shot towards him. Bao BuTong is reckless, he is fully aware there are many martial art experts among the Shaolin monks. He is certainly no match for any of the monks from the 'Xuan' generation, He had always been blunt and forthright, he never considered the consequences before speaking. Several hundred Shaolin monks glared at him angrily. He also glared back angrily, his eyes unblinking.
XuanCi said brightly: "Old monk broke a major prohibition and brought disgrace to Shaolin's clear reputation. Junior martial brother XuanJi, based on our temple's regulation, what is the punishment?"
XuanJi said: "This...martial brother..."
XuanCi said: "A nation has its own laws, a family has its own regulations. Regardless of which sect, school, clan or temple, they will inevitably produce some unworthy disciples. To maintain a clear reputation, it is not to hope nobody will ever break the rules, but to enforce the law and administer justice, no tolerance to any evil deeds. Law enforcement monk, administer 130 rods on XuZhu, 100 rods for his own sin, 30 rods for which he willingly accepted in place of his master HuiLun."
The law enforcement monk look at XuanJi. XuanJi nodded his head. XuZhu was already kneeling down to receive punishment. At once the law enforcement monk lifted his rod. Rod after rod landed on XuZhu's back and buttocks; his flesh lacerated from the punishment, blood splattered in all direction. Ye ErNiang felt her heart ache, however as she was fearful of XuanCi's strict manner she didn't dare to plea for leniency.
With great difficulty 130 rods were completed. XuZhu did not use his internal energy to resist, he was in so much pain that he couldn't stand on his feet. XuanCi said: "From now on, you are expelled from the monastic order, you are not a Shaolin monk anymore." XuZhu shed tears and said: "Yes!"
XuanCi continued: "XuanCi commited a lascivious act. He commited the same sin as XuZhu, his punishment is doubled due to his capacity as Shaolin's abbot. Even if Bao shizhu did not say it, Shaolin's regulations will definitely not let him off lightly. Law enforcement monk, punish XuanCi heavily with 200 rods. Shaolin's clear reputation is of top priority, there cannot be any leeway." When he finished speaking he crouched down on the ground, facing the distant Buddha statue at Shaolin's Hall of Great Strength. He lifted his monk’s robe, revealing his bare back.
The crowd of heroes look at each other in dismay, Shaolin's abbot being punished in public, it is truly horrifying, it greatly go against convention.
XuanJi said: "Martial brother, you..."
XuanCi said sternly: "Shaolin's hundred years of clear reputation, how can it be spoiled by me?" XuanJi said tearfully: "Yes! Law enforcement monk, administer the rod."
Two law enforcement monks put their palms together, bowrd and said: "Abbot, please pardon our offense." At once they stood upright, lifted the punishment rods and struck towards XuanCi's back. Both monks knew that when XuanCi was being punished, the most painful feeling was not due to physical pain, but the pain of being humiliated in front of everybody. If they held back while striking, bystanders will be able to detect it and it will become a matter for gossip. Then abbot XuanCi would have suffered humiliation for nothing, thus they did not hold back and struck forcefully. 'Pa Pa' sound, in a short period of time XuanCi's back and buttocks are riddled with rod scars, blood splattering on his monk robe. The crowd of monks listened to the law enforcement monk counting of rods; they lowered their head and prayed to Buddha in silence.
Pudu Temple's Master DaoQing said abruptly: "Senior martial brother XuanCi, your esteemed temple values monastic discipline. The abbot receiving punishment in public, I really admire very much. But senior martial brother XuanCi is old, moreover you refuse to use your internal energy to protect your body. You cannot withstand this 200 rods. I may be presumptuous but let me make a suggestion. Since we already administered 80 rods, we will take note of the remaining rods and administer them another day. It will not violate your esteemed temple's monastic discipline." A large number of people shouted out: "Correct, correct, we wish to ask for this favour as well."
XuanJi had yet to reply as XuanCi said brightly: "Many thanks for everyone's good intention, but our temple's monastic discipline is unshakeable; like a mountain, there cannot be any leeway. Law enforcement monk, quickly employ the rod." The two law enforcement monks already suspended the punishment. When they heard the abbot's firm speech, they had no choice but to carry on hitting. They administered another 40 rods. XuanCi could not withstand anymore, his pair of hands softened and his face touched the ground.
Ye ErNiang cried: "You cannot blame abbot for this matter, it is all my fault! My father had a serious illness. Great master abbot visited us to provide treatment. He saved my father's life. I was grateful towards him, admired him, a woman from a poor family unable to return the favour, thus I gave myself to him. I was young, silly and ignorant, I did not realize my mistake, it is my fault. The..the...the remaining rod, let me receive it!" While weeping and shouting, she rushed forward to lean on XuanCi's body to receive the rod on his behalf.
XuanCi pointed with his left finger, with a light 'Chi' sound, he sealed her acupoint. He smiled and said: "Silly woman, you are not a Buddhist nun, you did not break any prohibition, where is the sin?" Ye ErNiang lie down on the ground, unable to move, tears streaming down her eyes.
XuanCi shouted: "Administer the rod!" With great difficulty 200 rod was completed. Blood flowing all over the ground. XuanCi forcefully summoned a mouthful of inner energy to protect his heart so as to avoid fainting due to the pain. The two law enforcement monks held the rods vertically and said to XuanJi: "Reporting to head-monk, abbot XuanCi's punishment is done." XuanJi nod his head, he didn't know what to say.
XuanCi struggled to stand up, he said: "XuanCi violated a major Buddhist prohibition, he cannot be the abbot of Shaolin anymore. From now on, the abbot position will be held by the head-monk of Discipline Courtyard XuanJi."
XuanJi stepped forward, he put his palms together and bowed. Tears streaming down his eyes, he said: "I receive the decree."
XuanCi directed his finger at Ye ErNiang and pointed. He wanted to undo her sealed acupoint. Unexpectedly it was difficult to condense internal energy due to his serious injury. His finger had no effect at all. XuZhu saw the situation, he quickly rushed forward to undo his mother's acupoint. XuanCi beckoned both of them over. Ye ErNiang and XuZhu moved beside him. XuZhu was in turmoil. He did not know if he should address him as "father" or "abbot".
XuanCi stretched out his hands, the right hand holding onto Ye ErNiang's wrist, the left hand holding onto XuZhu. He said: "For the past 20 years, every day, every night, my heart worried for both mother and child. I committed a huge sin, but I didn't dare to confess to my fellow brothers. Today I finally free myself. Henceforth I have no fear or worry, my heart is at peace." He said a Buddhist verse: "One's time on earth, there is desire and affection, worries and hardship, to free oneself is happiness!" When he finished speaking he closed his eyes slowly; his face revealed a peaceful smile.
Ye ErNiang and XuZhu didn't dare to move. They were unsure if he had more to say, however they felt his palm getting colder. Ye ErNiang had a huge shock. She stretched out her hand to check his breath, unexpectedly he died. She shouted out: "You....you....how can you abandon me and leave?" Suddenly she leape up in the air, her body falling down from midair, with a 'Peng' sound she landed beside XuanCi's feet, she twitched a few time and stop moving altogether.
XuZhu shouted: "Mother, mother! You...you...you must not..." He stretched out his hands to support his mother, however he saw a dagger stuck in the pit of her stomach, only the handle is exposed. Most likely she died as well. XuZhu sealed the acupoints around her wound quickly, at the same time he channelled his internal energy into XuanCi's body. He was flustered. He desired to bring both of them back to life simultaneously. Xue MuHua rushed forward to assist, however he saw their hearts and breathing had ceased. There was no hope. He advised: "My condolence to martial uncle. You cannot save these two seniors anymore."
XuZhu refused to give up. He channeled his ‘Pure Energy of Northern Darkness’ for a long time, but where is the least bit of activity from them? XuZhu's sorrow burst forth, he could not help but sob loudly. For the past 24 years, he thought he was an orphan with no father and mother. He never got to experience the slightest bit of family bliss. Today he finally found his biological parents, however the reunion was less than an hour and both of them died miserably.
Initially when the crowd heard that XuZhu's father is Shaolin's abbot XuanCi, everyone felt that he did not abide by monastic regulation. They despised him greatly, but later when he allowed himself to be punished in public to preserve Shaolin's clear reputation, his bravery was truly extraordinary. Such heavy punishment should be enough to make up for his moment of folly. Unexpectedly when he completed the corporal punishment and handed over the abbot's position, he immediately severed his own meridian channels. Originally his death would have ended all trouble. He could have sought death early and not revealed his lascivious act, thus avoiding the humiliation of 200 rods. However he refused to cover his past sin and insisted on suffering the punishment of rods for the sake of protecting Shaolin's clear reputation. It was truly the conduct of a great hero and great man. The crowd respected his character and conduct; a lot of people walked forward and bowed at his corpse in respect.
Divine Crocodile of The Southern Sea said: "2nd sister, you are dead now. Yue LaoSan won't fight with you for the ranking anymore. You can simply be number two." He stepped forward and kowtowed at Ye ErNiang's corpse. For the past few years, he’d do anything to fight for supremacy with Ye ErNiang. He hoped to surpass her in martial arts and occupy the position of "Number Two Evil Under the Heaven". Unexpectedly he willingly ceded the position to her. It was truly not easy for him but because he is devastated by her death and he also admired her courage to sacrifice her life for a noble cause.
End of Chapter 42
Annotate: Buddhist monastic disciplines undergo various change for successive generations. When Buddha was alive, many Indian monks disagreed over monastic disciplines, some monks pointed out that when a blind monk travels he will violate the prohibition against killing when he step on an ant, Buddha offered his explanation: Whether or not someone violates a prohibition, it ultimately boils down to the person's intention and motivation (followers of Sakyamuni Buddha emphasize to have consideration for all things), when a blind monk steps on an ant it is accidental, he did not intend to kill, thus he did not violate any prohibition. When ancient Buddhists recount cause and effect, they will often use motivation and intention as the starting point. When Buddha was exterminated, Buddhism subdivided into many factions, "Sarvastivada" being the major faction, they have their own monastic disciplines but any faction can also comply with it. Various factions congregate frequently and attempt to unify scriptures and monastic disciplines, however they did not succeed because monastic discipline is part of everyday life, it will vary base on different geography, climate, habits and local customs. When ancient India's Buddhism spread into China, the main monastic disciplines comprises of “Four Part Law” and ”Ten recital law”, the regulations are not alike and the contents extremely complicated, there are a thousand prohibition, three thousand prohibition, twenty one thousand prohibition, up till eighty four thousand prohibition, thus due to the sheer size of content it is extremely easy for monks to break a prohibition, as a result there are four different situation, open, protect, persevere and crime, some prohibition are open-style, it does not require strict adherence; some prohibition are compulsory; for some prohibition, if they are violated, the monk only need to confess to his companion and repent and the prohibition can be considered to be forgiven.
Prohibition, in Sanskrit it is known as 'Sila', it stipulate the regulations guiding daily activities of Buddhist; Law, in Sanskrit it is known as 'Vinara', it is a set of rules governing Buddhist monastery and institution, prohibition and law are distinct and different. Basic prohibition is five prohibition for lay Buddhist, monks have ten prohibition for novice monk, for more comprehensive details in accordance with “Four Part Law” there is two hundred and fifty prohibition for Buddhist monk, three hundred and forty eight prohibition for Buddhist nun. After the rise of Mahayana Buddhism, base on “Brahmājala Sutta” and “Bhūmi Sutta” there is Bodhisattva prohibition, it is also known as Mahayana prohibition. At the beginning of China's Tang dynasty, eminent monk ZhiShou make known “Modified Four Part Law”, it offers India's Buddhist prohibition base on current situation of China, his disciple DaoXuan established law school, known as Nanshan School, it focus on monastic discipline, famous modern time Buddhist master HongYi came from Nanshan law school. (With regards to law school alone, in China there is Nanshan, Dongta and Xiangbu, three schools, their monastic disciplines are different from each other)
The exact details of Buddhist's monastic discipline is very complicated, there are frequent dispute among various sect in India, it undergo considerable change after successive generations. The most debated controversy is whether or not monk can touch gold and silver as it is termed "silver money prohibition", this prohibition is not easy to abide by in normal daily life. In India and Thailand, monks depend on Dana (Buddhist practice of giving) for food, thus they cannot refrain from eating non-vegetarian food, moreover they live in tropics region, food rot easily, as a result they adhere strictly to "prohibition of no eating after noon", in modern times, there are still quite a number of monks in China who maintain these prohibition, in reality if not for the humid weather such prohibition is unnecessary in northern part of China. A Buddhist leader once told the author (Jinyong), when he attended a Buddhist conference in a foreign country, a foreign monk delegate suddenly withdraw from the event because the conference is held in a grand hotel, the monk's sect had a monastic discipline: "one may not share the same room of the same roof with woman". This prohibition make sense in ancient India, however modern hotel will surely have woman tourist staying, thus the foreign monk had no alternative but to withdraw from the conference to abide by his monastic discipline.
There is a scenic place in Xi'an known as Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, reportedly when Buddhist master Xuanzang and his disciples set off their journey from Chang'an (ancient name of Xi'an), they saw a wild goose drop on the ground and die. His disciples debated, some say that since the goose is dead to feed on it is not regarded as killing; some believe they must not eat non-vegetarian food, although the goose is dead but they cannot eat it. A pagoda was erected later in remembrance of this matter.
In a critique from a physics professor in Jilin prefecture, the monastic discipline of burning incense scar onto the head of monks originated from Mongol dynasty, Northern Song dynasty have yet to adopt such practice, thus the burning of incense scar on XuZhu's buttocks by Ye ErNiang did not conform to historic records. In reality, the ideology of China's Zen Buddhism is extremely open, there is the theory of "killing Buddha when meeting Buddha, killing ancestor when meeting ancestor", however it does not really mean to kill Buddha or ancestor, rather it is to eliminate the notion of "inviolability of sacred Buddha" from one's heart and not become rigid in religious dogma, the so called "abusing Buddha and scolding ancestor" is the tradition of Zen Buddhist. Zen Buddhist put emphasis on breaking the inherent logic and thinking in one's mind, this is to avoid entering the dead end of rationality, when your thinking is lively you will comprehend and become aware. For example, there is a famous phrase from Zen Buddhism: "ZhangSan drink wine but LiSi become drunk", "How can you make sound by clapping with a single palm?", "Empty-handed and holding a hoe, walking and riding water buffalo, man walking on the bridge, bridge flow but water does not flow", etc., these questions are undoubtedly unreasonable and illogical, it is to make people study carefully so that they can comprehend the truth. A physics perspective on ‘Six Meridian Divine Swords’ , one will immediately understand that energy does not have conductor (air cannot become a conductor), it cannot take effect through object. Shaolin monks in Northern Song dynasty does not burn incense scar, however Ye ErNiang said: "Old lady is not Shaolin monk, old lady like to burn my son's buttocks, you outsiders dare to interfere?"
Ascetic practice is the tradition of ancient Buddhism, when Buddha first meditate under the Bodhi tree, he went 40 days without food and almost died, a female herder fed him cow's milk to save him, as a result Buddha instructed his disciples they must not use ascetic practice for cultivation. However the head disciple of Buddha, JiaYe, is famed to be number one in ascetic practice. There are also Buddhists from China who mutilate themselves to demonstrate their sincerity towards Buddha, for example using blood to write scriptures, burning of eight finger tips as sacrificial offering to Buddha, piercing of arm to suspend stone censer, etc., burning of incense scar on head is a custom, it is one type of traditional ascetic practice, it is unrelated with monastic discipline in historic records. Shaolin Temple practice Zen Buddhism, Zen Buddhist focus on comprehension and not rigidly hold onto monastic discipline, however because they are a famed ancient Buddhist temple with thousand years of history they also have clear rules and regulation.
For the rules governing the daily life of Zen Buddhist in China, the most renown is drawn up by great master BaiZhang, it is known as "Clear Discipline of BaiZhang", it is followed by most Zen Buddhist monks in China, among the rules there is a regulation necessitating planting of crops for own consumption (in the past China's Buddhists deemed the ploughing of soil to be killing insects or ants residing within, a violation of prohibition against killing, thus farming is prohibited, this rule was abolished later on). Shaolin practice Zen Buddhism, their primary monastic discipline forbids use of martial arts to bully the good and innocent, etc. The author (Jinyong) wrote a stele for Shaolin Temple, the author was invited to participate in the unveiling ceremony for the stele and hence met with eminent monks from the temple, master YanWang instructed the author in "Tendon Changing Sutra" and "Marrow Washing Sutra" (ashamed of infrequent practice, due to laziness and no habit of practicing martial arts), in addition the author consulted abbot YongXin with regards to Shaolin's monastic discipline, he learnt that Shaolin's monastic discipline had change with time to suit the current age, it is suitable for Buddhist cultivation as well as modern livelihood, moreover many monks no longer burn incense scar on their head.
Even for scientist, their thinking should be open and lively, only then they can contribute great inventions, if not there are merely teachers who pass on knowledge. Naturally science teachers should be respected, however their status is somewhat lower, they are not at the same level with great scientist who create. Such scenario is the same in whichever academic discipline.