Until now, when people said that the Buddhist gates were opened at the plateau, they were not talking about Nalanda but only the eighteen temples.
Nalanda rarely opened its gates. Legend states that Nalanda would only open its gates a few times each era and sometimes not at all. There were too many tales about this temple. Some even said that top Godkings still were not eligible to enter!
On the contrary, the gates to the four Grand Void Tribulations were usually open. Of course, there were generations when they were closed as well. For example, the Difficult Dao Era was one of them!
“Nalanda Temple.” Li Qiye couldn’t help but smile while standing outside of Spirit Mountain, looking to the far hills.
Below the mountain was countless kneeling believers and experts watching on the sidelines with excitement. They gazed towards the temples on top of the mountain. Some even lost their patience and climbed the mountain in order to enter the Buddhist gates!
“Even though the gates of the four grand tribulations are usually open, but getting through them is easier said than done. The gates of the Eight Void Temples are hard enough already, let alone the Six Tribulation Temples and Three Grand Temples.” Someone emotionally commented.
Anyone could try climbing the mountain, but not many really wanted to because the effect up there was too fearsome. Once one’s dao heart started to shake, they would quickly be drowned in a Buddhist sea.
Of course, some willingly accepted this challenge. They even went straight to the door by entering the Buddhist gate to challenge the dharma of the eighteen temples!
A cultivator said with feeling: “Zhan Shi is still so amazing. He is battling it out step by step starting from the Eight Void Temples all the way to the Four Buddhas Temple. Right now, he is inside there. I wonder if he can handle the chanting from the Arhats and Bodhisattvas in there or not…”
“His dao heart is strong for sure. Maybe no one among the younger generation can match him, not even the Jewel Pillar Mortal King’s group.” A Virtuous Paragon added.
“Zhan Shi is great, but Jikong Wudi is incredible as well. He went to the Grand Heaven Temple in order to sculpt. Once he is able to sculpt a Bodhisattva’s position, it will be quite scary.”
“Right, Jikong Wudi is scary enough now with his three saints aptitude. If he gains the enlightenment of a Bodhisattva as well, then he would be invincible among the youths. Anyone would have to walk around him!” A famous youth spoke dejectedly.
In the current generation, too many people had lost to Jikong Wudi. Due to the sheer number of them, these losers were not worth remembering outside of people like the Mortal King.
“The enlightened fruit of a Bodhisattva.” Many people felt envious after hearing this. 1
The eighteen great temples here were not only in charge of the entire plateau. The cultivators that traveled for long distances from all over the nine worlds didn’t do so just for Buddhism.
Outside of a small portion who were actual devout believers, the majority were here for treasures, benefits, and merit laws.
It was very easy to obtain treasures and laws in this place. As long as they could pass the tribulations from the temples, they would obtain what they wanted. Of course, different trials had different results.
There were three types of trials in the eighteen temples: scripture hark, attainment sculpting, and Buddhist debate.
Scripture hark was intuitive with its name. The high monks of the temples would preach scriptures to people. As long as they could listen in an unwavering manner, they would be able to obtain the desired treasures.
Of course, if they couldn’t stabilize their dao heart and became influenced by the dharma, the most obvious result was Buddhist conversion. They would ultimately have to stay at the plateau.
Attainment sculpting was also very simple. The eighteen temples would insert a Buddhist seed into the examinee’s body. If they were able to bear the seed growing and eventually turning into a Buddhist relic, they would reach their goal. With this enlightenment, they would become even more powerful and gain the protection of the vast and powerful dharma in the Buddhist Funeral Plateau. 2
But if they fail, then the most direct consequence was also Buddhist conversion and having to stay behind at the plateau.
A Buddhist debate was a conversation about the dharma with the high monks from the eighteen temples. If the challenger won, then they would harvest from it. Losing had the same consequence as the other two trials.
In fact, after losing in any of these trials, the eighteen temples did not force people to stay behind.
However, losing signified the instability of one’s dao heart. This meant that they would be drowned in the endless Buddhist sea. The only path left for them was to convert to Buddhism.
For tens of millions of years, many people came for the treasures and laws at the plateau. During all of this time, the plateau produced countless sacred monks. Furthermore, countless cultivators had joined the Buddhist faith with no lack of Godkings and True Gods or even Emperor Candidates among them. After their conversion, they would leave behind their numerous treasures.
Meanwhile, the legendary Buddhist treasures of the eighteen temples were even more coveted by the salivating crowd.
Many came due to their interest, but the majority of them had to stay here forever. Some couldn’t pass the trials while others stayed here for too long and became affected by the Buddhist affinity, ultimately joining the doctrine.
Li Qiye went on his way with a carefree smile as he looked at Spirit Mountain. He went forward step by step with Wo Longxuan right behind him.
At this point, there were many cultivators and mortals on the mountain. If it wasn’t for their own greed, they wouldn’t want to go up Spirit Mountain due to its powerful Buddhist influence.
Anyone who stepped onto this mountain would hear Buddhist hymns in their mind, as if there was a supreme Buddhist Lord preaching to them, granting them their protection and blessings…
It was a feeling of basking in a Buddhist baptism, a satisfying and peaceful sensation, as if there was nothing else worth remembering in this world.
Many people with unstable dao hearts would immediately give in to this feeling and kneel down to convert to Buddhism!
It was needless to talk about the mortals. Upon entering, they would be uncontrollably excited with tears rolling down their cheeks. In their eyes, they had finally found the Buddhist kingdom!
The gates to the eighteen temples were always open regardless of day or night. Only Nalanda was closed. However, being able to enter or not depended on one’s creations and fortunes. The Buddhist Lord once stated that all living beings were equal. This was also the case when one was before these gates. However, whether this equality truly existed or not was something only the Buddhist Lord knew.
There were two methods of entrance, both were quite difficult. The first required one to have a strong enough dao heart. The second required one to have a high enough Buddhist affinity.
As long as they had one of these two, they would be able to enter. Otherwise, no matter how powerful or talented they may be, the Buddhist gate was not meant for them.
The smiling Li Qiye aimed for the Zen Void Temple with Wo Longxuan as his companion.
One could pick any of the three tests if they were able to enter the gates. The same was true for any of the temples as long as they have the ability.
Of course, one could also challenge all eighteen, but this was very unlikely since few were up to the task.
Outside of the Zen Void Temple was a vast Buddhist gate. A Buddhist light soared to the sky and instilled a sense of awe and reverence, causing people to prostrate on the ground.
Li Qiye chuckled and didn’t linger at all. He took one step at a time to enter the Buddhist gate. At the moment of his entry, an endless Buddhist light rose. Countless phenomena rushed to the sky. There were images of brothers kneeling and sacred monks bowing as well as Arhats and Bodhisattvas…
This scene frightened everyone regardless of whether they were on the mountain or at the base. All had to take deep breaths to compose themselves.
The crowd was aghast and someone murmured: “Is this an Arhat or Bodhisattva coming to our world? Or is it the Buddhist Lord himself?”
As for the worshippers prostrating below, they kowtowed even more and shouted: “Buddha is here!”
Wo Longxuan followed right behind him. The moment she stepped into the gate, a dragon began to roar continuously with water vapor filling the sky. She also easily entered.
“Who are those two?” The spectators outside the mountain were astonished. Wo Longxuan was one thing, but Li Qiye’s visual phenomena were simply too shocking.
“Maybe they aren’t cultivators. Perhaps it is a sacred monk of the order, still practicing with his hair long.” A person murmured as they watched Li Qiye disappearing into the Buddhist light and infinite aura.
Someone curiously asked: “Since when did the Mortal Emperor World have such an unfathomable sacred monk?”
Someone from the previous generation gently shook his head in response: “Cultivators like us worry about realms and levels, who would pay attention to people in the Buddhist faith? Outside of the plateau itself, there are not many Buddhists around. It isn’t strange that none of us knows who he is.”
People found that this elder made sense. In fact, daoists only cared about strength. No one would worry about the depths of one’s dharmic comprehension.
In the minds of many cultivators, Buddhist laws were useless. At best, they were only able to influence and convert people.
1. Normally, enlightenment is the meaning here for the English translation. But sometimes, this term is actually visualized in the shape of a fruit in some novels. This is to play it safe and keep it closer to the raw. ↩ 2. The relics here are sarira. After cremation, monks will sift for sarira through the dusty ashes of venerated saints and teachers. In Korea, unburnt bits of bone are set aside to be ground up, mixed with meat, and then left for animals. The sarira themselves stand out as little chunks of crystal or colored stone. In most novels, these relics are in the form of Buddhist beads.