Chapter 613: Codifying the Dharma

    Chapter 613: Codifying the Dharma

    When the Pauper broke through, the image everyone saw was encoded in his bloodline, the icon of the Taming Dragon Arhat. It was the manifestation everything he had been taught.

    For Lan Qing it was different. When his protogenia coalesced around him it revealed a solitary, illusory figure.

    By now Lan Qing had already crossed the threshold and was a Paragon. He had achieved the dream of countless Adepts. From outside it looked effortless, but it was just beginning.

    The soldiers below, cross-legged and silent, drank in the powers as they washed over them. The light was like a guide, opening a door to countless possibilities. Things that were faint and unclear before were suddenly brought into sharp clarity.

    The God of Wisdom was bestowing his namesake upon them, it seemed. No matter the Adept, they all enjoyed stunning insight into their nature. At least in this way, Lan Qing's rise to Paragon was more beneficial than any that had come before.

    Absolution! That was how Lan Jue described the breakthrough his brother had undergone. His powers were no longer wind or even wisdom as they had been when he was an Adept. That Lan Qing was gone.

    It was prajna 1! Lan Jue was sure that was the basis of his brother's breakthrough, wind was a vestigial power. Prajna was an underpinning facet of the Buddhist faith, which would explain the energies that flooded out of him. The gentle sense of connection with the universe was unparalleled.

    So that's the road you've chosen, brother? Keep it up!

    The golden aura around Lan Qing began to subside, and in fact his whole figure gradually became transparent. He looked like a crystal carving. Meanwhile the silhouette behind him was clearer.

    Like him, it sat cross-legged in mid-air. A halo of light blazed in a circle behind its head, and the image of a lotus flower bloomed beneath it. A Buddha! It wasn't clear yet, but at this point they could guess that Lan Qing was condensing his protogenia into the image of a Buddha.

    Jue Di let his hands fall from his son's back. He looked on him with obvious surprise. It was coming to the most crucial moment, but Jue Di's assistance wasn't needed. It spoke to how deep Lan Qing's comprehension of protogenia was.

    The ethereal chanting grew louder, sharper in their ears. Lan Qing's mouth moved with the guttural hum like he was reciting a mantra. He was as majesty and as lofty as a mountain, seated in the sky. His transparent form glittered as protogenia continued to gather around him.

    The Clockmaker gasped. Beside her, the Wine Master's face wore a wry grin.

    "I've been trying my whole life to achieve what he might succeed in doing right now," he said to her with a shake of his head.

    The Clockmaker glanced his way. "I've never in my life seen anyone with more grasp of protogenia than this An Lun super soldier. And the dharma he's weaving already... terrific! The most comprehensive I've witnessed. If you put mine and Davis' together it still wouldn't be this complicated. Our paths were flawed from the beginning. At the moment you rise to Paragon the protogenia is enormous, pure. We didn't have the control necessary to take advantage of it. He was wise enough to use this flood of power to solidify his dharma. Frankly speaking, we may very well have another Jue Di in the making. What else could expected from the man's son!"

    A sigh caused the Wine Master to heave his shoulders. "Who would have thought we'd stumble upon it all the way out here? The ones to benefit the most aren't the Adepts. It's me and the Pauper. Lan Qing is showing up how to take the next step."

    Yes indeed, Lan Qing was solidifying the image of his protogenia immediately, crafting his dogma. Disbelieving eyes were fixed on him, and every change in the environment around him.

    The Wine Master had been stuck for many years, and this was precisely what he longed to see. In truth he wasn't far from reaching Reflection of Heaven and Earth, he'd already figured out the characteristics of his protogenia. What did not have was a goal, or any thought of where he wanted to go. Originally simply breaking through to Paragon had been his goal. Back then the Photographer hadn't been around to provide guidance, and to this day he still struggled to make progress.

    Witnessing this transformation with his own eyes was priceless. He watched the energies coalesce and solidify, the boundlessness of it. And yet it was commanded by principles, that much was clear. Although these truths were different for every Paragon, there were elements of similarity.

    Of course, coming to insights oneself was much more effective and impactful than having them taught. By seeing the process in person it was sure to save the Wine Master a great deal of time and effort in continuing his own journey.

    At present the only humans with a codified dharma were Jue Di, the Photographer, the Terminator, and the Epochrion. If Lan Qing succeeded in his attempts, he would immediately join the list higher than Satan or the Pontiff. Acquiring a dharma shot up a Paragon's strength dramatically.

    For the Pauper, this was even more magical an opportunity. Having just broken through, he was still at his most sensitive to the flows of protogenia. It appeared as though Lan Qing's chosen dharma was similar to his as well. All of this could be applied to his process with very little modification. His first thought was his appreciation for Lan Jue. If the Jewelry Master hadn't had pressed him so hard to come, would he ever have found another opportunity like this? Even before considering the possibility of personal instruction by the great Jue Di, witnessing the birth of one's protogenic image was a once in a century chance.

    Lan Qing's figure seemed less and less a part of their reality, even his shadow flickered on the verge of disappearing. When an Adept broke through their bodies became joined with protogenia, it filled every fiber of their being. In the creation of his dharma he was knitting the protogenia in specific patterns and then taking them back into himself.

    The sheer amount of energy he was releasing was overwhelming, and it was beginning to destabilize his body. If Lan Qing failed to fully weave the protogenia it could grow catastrophically unstable and cause him tremendous harm. It was a risk, but the rewards were undeniable.

    Just then, a pale turquoise light began to radiate from the center of Lan Qing's forehead. It was the light of Aerius. It swirled in front of him like a vortex, and by its light he changed. Everything slowed way down. His translucent form became a little clearer, more stable. The figure at his back continued to take shape.

    Throughout the process, the ethereal hum of singing came from Lan Qing's lips. "Om - nan mo ba he wa de, sa er wa, duo er ga da, ba lie shao da na, luo zha, da ta he da ya, a er ha de, san mu ya san bu da ya, die ya ta. Om - shao da na, shao da na, sa er wa, ba bang, bi shao da na, xu die, bi xu die, sa er wa, ga er ma, bi shao da na, ye suo ha." 2

    The strange sounds, the mystical vocalizing, although they couldn't understand the words they were thick with a sense of harmony. Fear, sorrow, pain and all other negative emotions were washed away. Everyone's soul was laid bare to themselves, revealing its purity and inclusion. A few couldn't help but prostrate themselves before the image of their commander.

    "This is..." The Pauper stared wide-eyes, trailing off into silence.

    The Wine Master shot him a reproachful glance. He feared the interruption might impact Lan Qing's process.

    But the Pauper seemed nearly out of control. He immediately dropped to the floor and began to mutter. "The world purifying chant... that was the world purifying chant! His Dharma is... it's.. by the heavens! It's unbelievable!"

    World Purifying Chant? What was that?

    The Photographer, Clockmaker, and Wine Master were Paragons just as the Pauper. However, when it came to Buddhist ritual they didn't have the knowledge he possessed. However, by the Pauper's reaction alone they could tell this was a special chant. Somehow, it had to do with the creation of his dharma.

    There was a glint of uncertainty in the Photographer's eyes. She was at the level of Nirvana, but even so the waves of power from her adopted son had a clearly restrictive effect on her. Not suppression really, just a sort of separation.

    The protogenia around Lan Qing blazed with light, streaking clearly through the air as they weaved intricate patterns. More protogenia was absorbed from the environment, purified and made part of the weave.

    Jue Di smiled. He didn't laugh, or make a sound, but there was incredible pride in his eyes. He looked on as Lan Qing's form continued to solidify, along with the image of his dharma.

    It was a Buddha, as expected, seated in full lotus posture. Upon its head shone the crown of five wisdoms. Half of its body was covered in bracelets and armlets of metal and jade, and its hands extended in a mudra of instruction. The index finger of its left hand was pointed up, while the palm of the right gripped it. The whole of its body was a resplendent white.

    A rotating wheel of light appeared behind the Buddha's head. It flashed, and the light it emitted illuminated all things. A golden light gleamed brightly to meet and surpass it, landing upon the soldiers below then quickly painting the whole of An Lun's military base a heavenly gold.

    Every eye on the base in all corners turned toward the light. It washed over them like a cleansing rain. Their various ailments and discomforts vanished. Soldiers watching the probes were shocked to note a pale golden light embracing the entire planet!

    You could be sure they weren't the only ones to see the satellite images. The North constantly had their long-distance telescopes trained on An Lun. They knew everything that happened on the surface. This was sure to turn some heads.

    However, no one cared. No efforts were made to hide it. The soldiers were all facing the source of that incredible light with hands pressed together in worship.

    Lan Jue slowly opened his eyes and turned them to his brother and the glorious Buddha at his back.

    *A final note from TJSS; 'heihei, have you guessed? I dropped a bunch of hints in this chapter.'

    1. Quick layman's explanation is insight into the fundamental truths of Buddhism; emptiness, impermanence, suffering and non-self.

    2. I spent a good hour looking for a proper translation for this edit: and an awesome reader below named AmitaKumaradasa figured it out for me. Give their comment a read!  While the translation describes it as a chant to destroy all evil, that doesn't apepar to be it's intent.
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