Chapter 21: Based off Man Himself
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
"I want to read the Law of Dao, every Law of Dao in the Hall of Dao!" Fang Zhengzhi blurted out.
For the past month, as he studiously recited his texts, he saw a pattern emerge. The more he read the same content, the less enlightenment he gained. As such, he decided he needed to find a new "battlefield".
Troubling his dad to purchase the books from outside the village? Not only was that financially not viable, it was also a demanding journey. Most of all, the number of books his dad bought were not enough at all.
"Alright, but you must be able to answer my question!" Without saying anything more, Wang Anhua nodded.
Once again, Fang Zhengzhi sat up slowly. His expression were calm, but his heart was pumping with exhilaration. Hard work indeed pays off, after blindly waiting for a month, his "fish" finally came on the hook!
It is said that every scholar has an innate talent-cherishing heart. Knowing that he had nothing to lose, Fang Zhengzhi camped outside the Hall of Dao everyday trying his luck. By doing so, firstly, people would become aware that he had been listening in on the lessons, hence would be more accepting of the fact that he knew how to read in the future. Secondly, if luck shone on him and he managed to attract the attention of some Sir, the benefits would be endless!
Just one question, Fang Zhengzhi just needed a Sir to ask him just once question, he had utmost confidence that a second question will definitely come his way!
He imagined, endless times, what he would do when he met a Sir from the Hall of Dao, pretending to be a good boy and answering whatever he was asked.
As he thought, he decided the best reward he could receive, would be gaining entry into the Hall of Dao to study. Or maybe not...
Even if the opportunity presented itself, did he really have to study the Trimetric Classic with the rest of the students?
Apart from being a huge waste of time, and even pulling down his intelligence, all he seeked was the Law of Dao, the permission to study the Law of Dao!
As such, Fang Zhengzhi employed an even more direct method.
The method of goading!
"Sir, please ask." Fang Zhengzhi's tone became much friendlier.
Wang Anhua smiled slightly, as if satisfied with Fang Zhengzhi's sudden change in attitude.
"A person of great virtue is like the flowing water, how would you explain this?’ Wang Anhua asked casually.
Upon hearing this, Fang Zhengzhi frowned slightly. He assumed that under normal circumstances Fang Anhua should have tested a primary-level knowledge question, such as maybe reciting the Trimetric Classic, or writing a few words from The Book of Family Names.
Never would he have thought that Wang Anhua would actually test him with the Tao Te Ching from his previous life.
There was indeed something weird about this.
Having slept outside the Hall of Dao everyday, he could more or less discern the contents of the lessons going on within. Until now, the syllabus has only progressed until the Thousand Character Classic.
He actually asked me this? Fang Zhengzhi felt a growing sense of unease.
Give up? Remain low profile? Fang Zhengzhi had a feeling that this was a more suitable strategy, but he still felt unsatisfied at heart. After all, he had toiled for over a month for this opportunity, if he gave up, it would seriously hinder his progress.
"Haha… Can't answer?" Wang Anhua smiled softly, then turned around and left.
"Wait!" Fang Zhengzhi called out.
"Thought of it?" Wang Anhua turned his head to look back at Fang Zhengzhi.
Fang Zhengzhi was in a dilemma, yet he really wished to gain permission to read the books.
"A person of great virtue is like the flowing water. Water benefits all things and contends not with them. It puts itself in a place that no one wishes to be and thus is closest to Dao." Gritting his teeth, Fang Zhengzhi finally decided to answer.
Wang Anhua asked him to explain the phrase "A person of great virtue is like the flowing water". This phrase originated from Chapter 8 of Tao Te Ching and consisted of two paragraphs. Fang Zhengzhi was only able to recall completely the first paragraph, and wasn't too sure about second, hence cut short his explanation.
As Fang Zhengzhi spoke, Wang Anhua's eyes instantly widened, shock written all over his face. He only required Fang Zhengzhi to explain the phrase. What he didn't expect was that Fang Zhengzhi was even able to point out where the phrase originated from.
This evidently showed that explaining it would definitely not be a problem for him.
Indeed, after reciting the original paragraph, he continued to speak.
"The nature of a person with great virtue is similar to that of water. Water supports all creations, yet never competes and contends with them. It resides in places despised by everyone, hence is close to Dao"
"Excellent! Excellent explanation! I never thought that the Southern Mountain Village would house such a talented self-taught scholar! Haha… From today onwards, if you ever need to borrow a book, you can come to the back of the Hall of Dao and call out for me!" Wang Anhua’s emotions were mixed and complicated, but didn't pursue the matter further. He had already gotten the answer he wanted.
"Can I ask you a question?" Fang Zhengzhi stopped Wang Anhua once more.
"Sure, please ask!" Wang Anhua halted in his tracks.
"How can one Access Dao?’
"Access Dao?! Haha… Look at me, since when have I Accessed Dao?" Wang Anhua was slightly taken aback. He didn't expect a six year old child to ask him how to Access Dao.
"Since Sir is lecturing in the Hall of Dao, it naturally means that you haven't Accessed Dao." Fang Zhengzhi replied, seemingly without even having to think.
"You are really smart, that's right, I indeed haven't Accessed Dao, if one wishes to do so… it's really too hard! However, since you asked, I'll tell you one thing. The Dao of All Creations, are based off Man himself! This is what my Sir once taught me!" Once he finished his sentence, Wang Anhua returned to within the Hall of Dao.
"The Dao of All Creations, are based off Man himself?!" Wang Anhua's words sent Fang Zhengzhi into deep thought…
In the middle of that night, a creature, it's skin white as snow and it's claws sharp as a blade, soared out of the Hall of Dao and disappeared into the night sky.
A day later, the flying creature landed onto an unbelievably huge courtyard. At its entrance, a gold-plated sign was hung up, on it displayed two bright-red words - "Divine Constabulary".
After which, a tightly sealed roll of paper was passed by a soldier into a study. Wearing a sky blue dress, Lolita took a look at the letter, her starry eyes glinting with a faint light, and her tender lips curved into a delighted smile.
"Fang Zhengzhi?! Haha… After letting him off for a month, he is finally baited onto my hook!"
Dao of All Creations, are based off Man himself?!
The next few days saw Fang Zhengzhi lying on his bed, these few words occupying his every thought. On the surface, understanding this phrase wasn't hard at all.
The hard part lies in finding the link between its meaning and Accessing Dao.
Previously, General Li of the Divine Constabulary mentioned that to be able to grasp the Dao of All Creation, one must first understand All Creation. Yet, Wang Anhua from the Hall of Dao claimed that the Dao of All Creation, are based off Man himself?!
Why does it seem like there was some sort of conflict between what these two people said...
Should I believe General Li? Or believe Wang Anhua? Or could it be that they are both right?
Fang Zhengzhi seems unable to come to a firm conclusion. Recently, through consistent hard work, his progress has improved significantly. The single leaf he saw in his visions had now turned into five, and the single water droplet now became five water droplets.
At the same time, he had gained a much greater control over his body.
The flow of his blood, the contraction of his meridians, he could already control them perfectly. At present, he was even able to feel something he couldn't quite identify within his body.
If he had to name this, it was better described as flesh.
The ability to control flesh? This was unthinkable to the Fang Zhengzhi of the past, but it seems that now, the his feeling was incredibly strong .
Except, he wasn't able to control it entirely. He could only control a tiny portion, for example, making the flesh at the tip of his finger much bouncier than before, or making it slightly harder, or changing the characteristics of the thin layer of exposed skin on his arm...
He had no idea what was the use of being able to control his flesh, but nonetheless, it did indeed feel good.
Control? Control over myself? The Dao of All Creations, are based off Man himself!
Instantly, Fang Zhengzhi felt that the answer to the problem that troubled him for so long was finally revealed. Could this mean… in order to control All Creations, one must first be able to control oneself?
I see! I see!
All creations originates from the heart, all creations are based off Man himself!
Seedlings have already sprouted from within his heart, those water droplets must be the source of his control over the body… All that was needed was to gain total, perfect control over himself!
All the conditions seem to have been satisfied!
Happy and excited, Fang Zhengzhi felt as if all the problems that troubled him were finally resolved at this moment! Fang Zhengzhi couldn't wait to try it out. Rapidly standing up from his bed, he opened the window and jumped out onto the small courtyard once again.
As he faced that fist-sized stone once again, he still felt slightly nervous.
After all, his previous try came with an excruciatingly painful consequence.
"In order to succeed, one must first learn to sacrifice!"
Gritting his teeth, Fang Zhengzhi took a deep breath, slowly adjusted his body and concentrated his flesh onto his right palm...
Gradually, a particular feeling arose inside him, the concentration of flesh in his palms were increasing...
A little bit more, a little bit more!
"This is it, this is it… this is the feeling I want! Don't stop now!"
Fang Zhengzhi suddenly unleashed a muted roar, and immediately brought down his right palm towards the stone.
After a short moment of silence, Fang Zhengzhi's expression once again started to twist.
Fang Zhengzhi "happily" began to hop about, then, limped his way back through his window and into his room...
A soft noise sounded out from behind Fang Zhengzhi. On top of the stone in the small courtyard, a finger-length crack suddenly formed…