Chapter 398: The Ruins of the Great Thunderclap Temple
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
Between the peaks of the mountain range, collapsed walls, statues and shattered tiles and bricks were scattered all around the temple.
The magnificent sight of the massive wooden bridges and pillars in the past were no longer as they were. All that was left now were the rotting and decayed wooden planks.
There used to be a peak that was carved into the shape of a Buddhist statue. However, the upper section of the statue has already been destroyed, leaving only the feet of the Buddha intact.
Simply by inferring from the size of its feet which was at least ten feet tall, the original size of the Buddha was indisputably massive.
It was truly a chilling sight, even for cultivators. Normal people would have gotten on their knees already.
Everything was just a pile of rubble now.
Lin Feng believed that back then when the humongous statue was still intact, it would have inevitably radiated an enormous Buddha nature and power.
Lin Feng felt the sadness of the cruelty of the ever-changing world as he stood in the ruins of the Great Thunderclap Temple.
He sighed at the remnants of the great temple which was as reputable as the Great Void Sect and the Mount Shu Sword Sect. Considered one of the Three Holy Grounds, the temple was worshipped by tens of thousands of believers and disciples of Buddhism, and produced a great many powerful cultivators. In the end, everything was laid to ruin and the future generations could only look on and sigh at the ruins.
While observing the ruins of Great Thunderclap Temple, Lin Feng subconsciously raised his vigilance and stayed on guard.
Lin Feng had to remain vigilant as he was afraid that he would run into the rivals of the Great Thunderclap Temple who once laid siege to the mighty Great Thunderclap Temple and eventually caused its destruction.
The battle of Mount Kunlun was just the beginning.
As Lin Feng strolled through the Great Thunderclap Temple and observed the barren ruins, he started to feel its rise to power and its eventual demise.
“Hall of Vajra, Hall of Divine Emperors, Hall of Arhats, Hall of Great Wisdom, Garden of Enlightenment…” Lin Feng recognized the words on the plaques which have fallen onto the ground. A rough estimation told him that the ruins before him dated back more than a few thousand years.
The Great Void Sect which was one of the three holy grounds with relatively fewer disciples. However, their lack of quantity was made up by their talents. Everyone in the Great Void Sect was admired because of their prodigal talents.
On the contrary, the Mount Shu Sword Sect had many disciples. Their sword mantras were easy to master in the beginning but things became more arduous as they progressed further.
Compared to its large number of disciples, there were only a few powerful sword cultivators that were able to reach the Nascent Soul stage. Those that did were prodigal talents as well with the unwavering will to succeed.
All in all, the structure of the cultivators of the Mount Shu Sword Sect, in terms of capabilities, was like a standard pyramid.
The Great Thunderclap Temple, however, was very lenient towards the recruitment of disciples. All they required from its disciples were their sincerity and loyalty to Buddhism. Thus, the Great Thunderclap Temple had the greatest number of disciples amongst the three holy grounds.
The Great Thunderclap Temple did not have high requirements for its disciple before they joined the temple. The important thing they looked out for was willpower and the individual’s state of mind and their ability to learn. This was the reason why there was a relatively impressive number of disciples that became powerful cultivators in the end juxtaposed against the total number of disciples.
The only problem the cultivators of the Great Thunderclap Temple faced was that it was extremely difficult for them to progress to the Golden Form. However, the Nascent Soul stage and aurous core stage cultivators were very powerful.
At its prime, the Great Thunderclap Temple was known to the outside world as the Three Thousand Arhats and Five Hundred Revealers.
“Arhats” and “Revealers” were the statuses of monks in Buddhism. The monks of the Great Thunderclap temple would never call themselves that. Only outsiders would address them like that out of admiration.
The so-called “Three Thousand Arhats and Five Hundred Revealers” was also known as “Three Thousand of the Aurous Core and Five Hundred of the Nascent Soul!”
That may be an over-exaggeration of the quantity of cultivators. However, one could tell how great and mighty the Great Thunderclap Temple was just by taking into account the sheer number of cultivators in the Aurous Core and the Nascent Soul stages.
It was rumored that, “If you were to combine all the cultivators from the different sects on the Divine Lands and compare it to the cultivators of the Great Thunderclap Temple, the Great Thunderclap Temple may still have more cultivators.”
Although claimed to be one of the three great holy lands, people would still realistically rank and differentiate the three holy grounds in terms of their power and capabilities.
Since the ancient times, the Great Void Sect was considered the greatest holy ground of all. Following behind was no other than the Great Thunderclap Temple. Although unconvinced, the Mount Shu Sword Sect had no audacity to claim otherwise.
Many felt that the Great Thunderclap Temple should be considered the greatest amongst the three great holy grounds if not for the lack of cultivators in the immortal soul stage.
Back then, the battle with the Demonic World greatly crippled and weakened the Great Thunderclap Temple’s capabilities. However, they were still considered a colossal power in the divine lands.
That kind of power and influence inside the territory of the Great Zhou Empire inevitably distressed Liang Pan and Zhu Hongwu.
Walking through the ruins of the temples, Lin Feng sighed, “How could the Radical Faction of the Great Void Sect have felt unsafe in the presence of the Great Thunderclap Temple? There is definitely more to this. Why would the Conservative Faction allow such an obliteration of Buddhism to happen?”
Aside from the racial wars with the demonic world, the human race only had two major wars since the divine lands came into existence. One of it was the war between the worlds and the other was the War of Buddha Annihilation. These two occasions changed the structure of influence on the divine lands.
The demons were never powerful enough to overwhelm the humans. Even if they were to “overwhelm” the humans, it was something temporary. The humans would soon fight back and take them down again. It was an act of suicide for the demons when they tried to gain power and influence.
However, for the obliteration of Buddhism, it completely wiped the Great Thunderclap Temple from existence.
It was something that the Great Zhou Empire could not have possibly accomplished alone, and it was extremely difficult even if they received help from external parties. Only when both the Great Void Sect and Mount Shu Sword Sect interfered and provided the Great Zhou Empire with their assistance were they able to take down the Great Thunderclap Temple for good.
Unfortunately, that came along with a heavy cost. An astonishing twenty thousand out of the thirty thousand people from the Divine Martial Army who were trained by Marquis Xuanji, Hou Zhuhong, were sacrificed.
Also, many cultivators of the Immortal Soul stage died as well.
Four immortal soul sword cultivators from the Mount Shu Sword Sect died during the process. One of them was already in the Immortal Stage Second Level.
The Great Zhou Empire also withstood a substantial amount of damage. If it was not for the ingenious and cruel methods of Liang Pan and Zhu Hongwu, the Great Zhou would have stumbled and collapsed.
“One of the greatest achievements of war would have definitely been here,” said Lin Feng as he looked down on the fallen pagodas and sighed again.
Soon, Lin Feng arrived at the pagodas of the Great Thunderclap Temple. These pagodas were the mausoleums of their most revered monks and also where the sariras of the Great Thunderclap Temple were kept.
Since the pagodas were destroyed, the sariras, also known as relics, that were kept within had since been stolen.
The revered monks who have achieved the highest level of the immortal soul were although technically immortal but were unfortunately still killed by the violence of the battle.
The sariras embodied the essences and spiritual power of Buddhism. However, since they were stolen, no one dared to imagine what could happen if they were to fall into the wrong hands.
Twenty-four prayer beads appeared and levitated in the air as Lin Feng spread out his palms. These prayer beads were obtained from a disciple of the Buddha.
Amidst the silence, a pothole appeared on the ground. Lin Feng guided the prayer beads into the pothole and closed it meticulously.
After everything was done, Lin Feng continued strolling and arrived at the other side of the pagodas. It was there where Lin Feng discovered an enormous pothole.
Lin Feng’s Steel Tree Avatar suddenly trembled. He knew that this pothole was where the Saros Steel Tree once flourished.
Back then, even the Vairocana Formation and Almighty Celestial Destroyer Formation were rendered useless against the Saros Steel Tree.
Although the Divine Martial Army once hackneyed the matured Saros Steel Tree, it still stood strong against powerful formation attacks.
Unfortunately, it was ultimately destroyed and uprooted and left this giant crater in the ground.
Although the Saros Steel Tree was practically dead, its ability to ward off against insects and bugs was still apparent. Therefore, after twenty years, it was still filled with life force and radiated positive energy.
Even though it was weak, it still existed.
Lin Feng sat down and quietly appreciated the radiating energy of the tree. He used the connection between the Steel Tree Avatar and its origins to feel the most delicate transformations.
Time flew by quickly as Lin Feng sat down beside the tree. As Lin Feng opened his eyes, a huge crack emerged in the void. A dense lightning thunder suddenly slashed across the sky and headed towards him.
The Steel Tree Avatar was about to experience the Thunder Tribulations and advance into the Nascent Soul Stage.
Once he was at the Nascent Soul stage, the power of the Steel Tree Avatar would inevitably increase by another level.
He faced the roaring thunder calmly and was not hasty at all.
For the past six months, Lin Feng left his Steel Tree Avatar in the Heavenly Cosmic Ray World for practice. Therefore, it was fundamentally strengthened and filled with spiritual energy. Thus, he was confident that it would definitely survive the Thunder Tribulations and did not display any form of fear as the lightning strike headed towards him.
Besides, Lin Feng himself personally experienced and appreciated the Thunder Tribulations. He only had to tie up the last loose ends of the Steel Tree Avatar and perfect the process completely.
However, just as the Steel Tree Avatar was experiencing the Thunder Tribulations, Lin Feng sensed the presence of evil lurking in the air.
Its presence displayed elements of greed and maliciousness which made people feel disturbed.
Lin Feng ignored it and focused on guiding his Steel Tree Avatar to finish its transformation.
Similar to the demons the transformation of the Steel Tree Avatar required the Aurous Core to be released out of the avatar’s body so that it can be directly struck by the Thunder Tribulations.
As the sound of thunder slowly quietened down, the Aurous Core of the Steel Tree Avatar let out a crunch which was similar to cracking an egg and cracks started to appear around the aurous core.
This crack was not from wear and tear or damage, but was charged with energies of new life.
The light was beaming from within the cracks as an aroma of fresh air followed along.
At this point of time, the evil aura lurking in the air became more apparent and was poised to strike.