The Golden Shrine has always been full of tales and temptation. Numerous people came to Buddhist Plain just to visit the shrine, hoping that they could take away all the treasures here.
Jilin Princess’ eyes were instantly fixated on the treasures piling in the shrine. She couldn’t be blamed for doing so because everyone would feel the same way. There was a hexa-chromatic Buddhist Cup, an Evil-slaying Buddhist Sword with a murderous glow, an Eight-jeweled Divine Lotus filled with the worshipping wills of many beings from the myriad realms.
Each treasure was quite tempting. Just taking one out was enough for a lifetime of benefits, rising in status in just one night.
The princess struggled to avert her gaze from the treasures. When she looked again, she became less affected by the treasures.
Now, she noticed a supreme Buddha sitting in front of each shrine. They closed their eyes in meditation with a wooden fish in front of them. One hand held a hitting stick while the other formed a mudra. These Buddhas were tapping the fish while chanting mantras. However, they were all dead with their body taking the form of statues.
Outside of the shrine were many experts. They sat on the ground with both hands situated before their stomach in mudra form with their eyes closed.
Upon careful inspection, people would find that these experts were already dead. Moreover, some were even from this generation.
“What’s going on?” The princess wondered after seeing the pious death pose of these experts.
“Greed.” Li Qiye answered: “This shrine isn’t that simple. It is a place for conversion. If you come with greed, don’t think about leaving.”
WIth that, he raised his finger and shot a ray onto an expert meditating in front of the shrine. This expert had died long ago; it was a peaceful death.
“Bang!” The cultivator instantly turned to a golden powder, scattering into the sky.
It wasn’t Li Qiye destroying him. His physical form was already gone despite maintaining the posture. The princess was stunned to see this the scattering remains.
“Someone else wants to die.” Li Qiye chuckled after seeing more visitors before the shrine.
There were already many people waiting before they got here, even some High Gods in the crowd.
Everyone came for the treasures here but a successful attempt has never been recorded before.
“I don’t believe that it’s impossible!” A cultivator dressed in a purple devil robe shouted. This was an expert from the Heaven Race. He had the unique mark of that race on his forehead with a glittering glow. It meant that he was quite powerful.
He couldn’t stay calm after seeing the countless treasures and stepped into the shrine.
“Buzz.” His robe emitted waves of evil lights around him just like protecting rings.
This was an incredible treasure so he felt quite safe with it on. Nothing happened to him after entering the shrine.
“That’s all? Nothing can touch me when I have this devil robe on.” The expert gloated at the inactivity.
“Fool.” The big shots who have been here before sneered.
“All of these treasures are mine!” The expert became ecstatic and rushed for one of the rooms.
In this blink of an eye, his body froze up with his actions seemingly slowing down, as if isolated from this physical realm.
“No!” The expert screamed, one with indignation and despair. His body trembled next.
With a buzzing noise, clear and blinding rays of light oozed out of his body. They looked like the essences of all things.
“He’s done for.” An experienced master commented: “His karma has been taken away, no different from death.”
The clear rays were instantly absorbed by the shrine and appeasing it. This expert suddenly became very calm and respectful. He sat down on the ground and formed a mudra before closing his eyes. This was a silent death.
“That’s really scary.” The first-timers were shuddering. There was no competition or destruction; an expert had gone down without a fight as if an invisible hand had reaped him of his life.
“What happened?” The princess didn’t see it clearly either.
“This was an epoch that cares about karmic ties and cycles. Greed is a personal choice, the cause, while death via a form of Buddhist conversion is the effect. Look at that river ahead.” Li Qiye said while pointing at the river.
It was flowing quietly as if crossing through an eternity itself from an old epoch till now in a never-changing manner.
There was no visible shore on the other side. It was a faint image of a Buddhist kingdom, a holy ground of eternal life.
“Crossing the Ganges leads to eternal life, escaping from the reincarnation cycle.” She thought about a popular adage.
“That is a phrase from the old epoch, no longer applied in our own.” Li Qiye chuckled: “In that old epoch, if one wanted to convert themselves, they would need to throw all karmas and everything else away. Cross this river towards salvation, leaving behind pain for perpetual happiness and become a Buddha with everlasting life.”
He then glanced back at the shrine: “That’s why the shrine exists. In order to become saved, people needed to let go of their previous karma and connections; treasures and wealth must be thrown away here. Only by letting go of materialism would one be able to reach the other shore.”
The princess finally understood why there were piles of treasures at the shrine. So those who wanted to cross the river threw them away back then.
“This was abandoning extreme karmic ties; so if anyone wants to obtain the rare treasures here, they need to be strong enough to sever the existing ties.” Li Qiye said.
She realized why the ones who came in for the treasures would die now.
Li Qiye got closer to the ferry to stare at the other shore.
Everyone was focused on the shrine because of the treasures. Only a few were judging the river itself.
For many, reaching salvation was unrealistic while the treasures over yonder were real and tangible.
The princess stared at the quiet current then the other shore but she couldn’t see through it despite using her heavenly gaze.
“Is this river really that magical? Rumor says it can even grant rebirth.” The princess asked.
“That’s another distant thing not belonging to our epoch.” Li Qiye smiled and shook his head: “The river wasn’t like this back in its own epoch. According to the ancient text, this used to be a temporal-crossing river, not a physical one with water. All the faith of an epoch gathered here so it continued to flow within its epoch. If you were born in that era, then bathing in this water can wash away your fatigue and wounds while satisfying you of all physical appetites. Of course, this is predicated on having a devout dao heart.”
He paused and sighed: “It is a river grasping a holy power. Alas, it still couldn’t protect this world. However, the fact that the Buddhist Plain is still around from this old epoch, to a large extent, is because of this river.”