Chapter 5: Studying The Four Great Stages
The vendor looked at the jade pendant for a few minutes and then put it around his neck.
“I’ll talk to you in private. Come with me.”
The hoodlum ignored the disapproving crowd. He brought Mu Yi to his papercutting shop and shut the door.
“Li the Cripple comes from Xiangji, Ganshi. Two years ago, he escaped and hid here. During those two years, five men have died a violent death in the village, and two children disappeared. When I saw you leave with a red coffin, I knew that he had gotten something from you. I was surprised that he didn’t kill you. That’s very surprising, very strange.” said the hoodlum inspecting Mu Yi’s reaction.
Mu Yi now clearly understood that Li the Cripple was an evil man. But why didn’t he kill him?
What happened after he passed out?
Unfortunately, no one could tell him. Mu Yi didn’t resent the paper cutter for not warning him earlier. The important thing was to figure where Li the Cripple was hiding as soon as possible. Then he needed to find his grandfather’s corpse and bury him again, so he could finally rest in peace.
“You want to find Li the Cripple to get your revenge, right?” said the hoodlum to Mu Yi.
“May I ask you for help, Mister?” said Mu Yi respectfully.
“If I were you, I’d give up. Li the Cripple didn’t kill you before, we don’t know why, but it doesn’t matter now. To him, you’re like an insect. Insignificant. Don’t take risks. Of course, I can’t do much for you if you decide to look for trouble and throw away your life.” said the hoodlum indifferently.
Even though it wasn’t pleasant to hear, Mu Yi knew that he was right. He knew the difference between being brave and being stupid.
“Thank you very much, Master. Even though I can’t do much against him for now, I’ll become stronger and I’ll deal with him sooner or later. I will kill him. So please tell me more about him and where I can find him to get my revenge.” asked Mu Yi.
The hoodlum looked surprised. He realized that he underestimated the little Taoist priest. Mu Yi sounded determined. In the future, he’d try to find a solution.
The paper cutter remained silent. Anger didn’t solve anything. Li the Cripple had chosen his own path, he was doomed. Even though he didn’t get anything from helping the boy, he felt sorry for him.
“Alright, even though people say I’m a hoodlum, I’m not a liar, and my real name is Gu Ren. Since I took your pendant, I have to tell you what you want to know.” said Gu Ren.
“Thank you very much, Mister.” said Mu Yi.
Li the Cripple truly did walk with a limp. Gu Ren didn’t know his real name though. According to Gu Ren, Li the Cripple came from a group who stole corpses. He reeked of the smell of cadavers.
He was positive that Li the Cripple had left the village. He preferred to steal corpses from remote locations, or even in ancient battlefields. Gu Ren didn’t know where Li the Cripple had gone.
Gu Ren told Mu Yi something else, Li the Cripple had an enemy and was trying to create powerful zombies, to get revenge on his enemies. That way, Mu Yi had some hints. He could also wait idly for opportunities.
Li the Cripple’s enemy was the suzerain of the Qu Mortuary. They were very famous but not for good reasons. Mu Yi also learned that the mortuary had several corpses.
After speaking with the paper cutter, Mu Yi left for the temple.
He dug a new grave behind the temple and crouched down low, waiting for a while in silence.
When it grew dark, Mu Yi retired to his room. The room flickered with the dim light from the oil lamp.
Mu Yi sat down cross-legged on his bed, attempting to make sense of all the information he had learned.
Mu Yi also wanted to become stronger. His grandfather had previously taught him how to cultivate. In the antiquity era, even regular people practiced cultivation to keep their eyesight and hearing as they aged, but Mu Yi practiced cultivation to transcend worldliness, to detach himself from samsara.
Those who practiced cultivation used to say: “Fate is self-willed, willfulness is determined by nature, study the path of Daoism. The cultivator cannot achieve enlightenment without the Dao.”
Essentially, practicing Daoism cultivates one’s mind.
And the first stage the old man had told Mu Yi about was the heart.
The heartbeat was linked to the mind, one had to empty one’s heart and one’s mind. One had to be detached from worldly affairs.
Mu Yi was convinced that the first part was extremely complicated. He was still young and inexperienced. At fourteen years old, it was very difficult to have one’s mind focused in meditation, but now it seemed to be working. It was likely, that the eight years of travel had prepared him. He had to persevere. Many things were difficult to achieve but when one pushed through and managed to be detached from worldly affairs, things always worked out. It wasn’t good to have a heart like a capering monkey and a mind like a galloping horse.
To achieve perseverance, one had to stop having the mind of a galloping horse, running from one thought to another.
Usually, people who were not very intelligent had a heart like a capering monkey and a mind like a galloping horse, Mu Yi wasn’t extremely bright but he wasn’t exactly stupid either.
During the first part of the night, he managed to focus but soon became distracted. It was difficult to focus. He had many thoughts running through his mind. He was so perturbed that he got stomach cramps and almost vomited.
Mu Yi didn’t try to force himself because his grandfather told him that controlling one’s mind was important, but it was also dangerous. He had to progress step by step naturally, otherwise, he would use too much energy and collapse.
Mu Yi practiced his cultivation for a week. During that week, he only cooked his meals and practiced cultivation. He still found that he had a heart like a capering monkey and a mind like a galloping horse though. He had lost a lot of weight and looked exhausted with large bags under his eyes. Even though he was exhausted, he didn’t mind. Eventually, he neglected both food and sleep, only practicing cultivation.