"Strange, back at Baiyun Monastery's Dharma Assembly, I never saw people react in such a manner. Could it be that this One Finger Temple has become a monster?" Tan Ming mumbled inwardly. He went forward to scoop some scented water. He felt a light and refreshing fragrance rush at his nose, and he felt his mind clear.
"This perfume is rather impressive. It can actually rejuvenate the mind. Later, I should ask how Fangzheng made it and bring some home." As Tan Ming thought about it, he poured the scented water over the Buddha statue. And at that moment!
There was a tumultuous boom!
"Namo Amitabha!" a Buddha's voice seemed to resound in his ears as there was a tumultuous sound in his mind. It was as if he was hearing deep rumbling thunder! Many things of the past flashed across his eyes. He saw scenes of students mocking him in school because of his poverty. Scenes of his mother pleading with the school to pay the school fees a little later. Scenes of him chewing on steamed buns while burning the midnight oil in college. And scenes of him delivering documents to his clients while braving the squalls... They all flashed across his eyes but finally, the scenes dissipated when the Buddhist proclamation sounded!
The things that were buried deep within his heart under layer upon layer had been dug out!
He saw himself when he was still a child. His father was holding a plank and beating him while reprimanding him, "One has to be an honest and upright person. How can you steal just because you lack things? How can you take money from others while compromising your integrity? We might be poor, but we have lofty ideals!"
He saw a scene of his teacher paying his school fees out of his own living allowance. "I will not allow your family to pay for this. All I wish is for you to excel."
There was a scene of him being given a towel to dry his hair as well as hot water after rushing to his client's house.
That was the scene of his wife helping him wash his feet and drying them after he returned home.
There was a scene of him returning to his hometown and seeing his parents with a head of white hair!
There was the content written in the final letter to him from his aged teacher before his death. "Child, money is not the most important thing. People are most important. In a human's lifetime, one should not be burdened by money."
Tan Ming suddenly knelt down at the temple's entrance, his face covered in tears.
When Liang Yu saw this, she was frightened. She hurriedly ran over and hugged him, "Darling, darling, what's wrong? Don't scare me. It was my fault. I won't do it again, alright?"
When the villagers saw this, they were a little dumbfounded. They did not understand what had just happened.
When Fangzheng saw this, he smiled slightly and walked over. He held his palms together and said out loudly, "Amitabha. Patron, realizing your errors and mending your ways is the right path indeed."
Fangzheng's voice was enlightening!
With a boom, Tan Ming roused from his reverie.
Tan Ming's parents had run over as well. Just when they were about to say something, they saw Tan Ming push away Liang Yu. He kowtowed at his parents thrice and said, "Dad, Mom, I know my faults! In the future, no matter how busy I am, I will return to see you every year! Money really isn't the be all, end all."
Then, Tan Ming held Liang Yu's hand and said, "Xiaoyu, I was wrong."
When Liang Yu saw this, she sobbed as well as she hugged him and said, "I was wrong too!"
When Tan Juguo saw this, he was completely perplexed. He went forward and asked Fangzheng, "What's going on?"
Fangzheng said with a smile, "Bathing Buddha is not about bathing Buddha. Although Buddha is the one being consecrated, the bathing is actually for oneself. Bathing Buddha is like cleansing the soul. It looks like this Patron has figured out something, which resulted in this situation."
Tan Juguo looked at Fangzheng in astonishment, "Is this... real?"
Tan Ming said, "Grandpa, it's real. Just now, I just poured the perfume when many scenes appeared in my mind. It struck me deeply. Thinking back to all the things I have done in the past, I was indeed at fault. Fang- Abbot, your temple is awesome! It's much more impressive than any temple I have been to before. I have never had such sensations before. I'm convinced!"
Tan Ming held Liang Yu's hand and said, "Let's go Xiaoyu, let's go in to pray to Buddha."
Liang Yu was astonished as she said, "Pray to Buddha? It's a child-giving Guan Yin they have here and you don't want a child-"
"Who said I don't want a child? I want one! In fact, I want two!" Tan Ming exclaimed.
"Re... Really?" Liang Yu covered her mouth and asked agitatedly.
Tan Ming said with a wry smile, "In the past, I was too preoccupied with my career. I always felt that having a child would be a burden. I haven't had time to enjoy myself, so how could I be in the mood for having a child? Now, I have come to the understanding that humans live not to be absorbed in such things. For you, for Mom and Dad, for my entire family, a man has to sacrifice something after all."
Having said that, Tan Ming tried pulling Liang Yu into the temple. However, Liang Yu released Tan Ming's hand and held her palms together. She bowed politely at the Buddha statue by the door and kowtowed before bathing the Buddha statue.
Indeed, Liang Yu found that many of the knots and problems in her heart were resolved after bathing the Buddha statue. The way she looked at Tan Ming only turned more loving. The two held hands as they walked into the temple.
When the villagers saw this, they shouted kudos.
"Hahaha! That child, Xiaoming has finally thought things through. Old Tan, it looks like you are blessed!"
"Hahaha!" Tan Ming's father wept tears of joy. He had been longing for this day. His child had finally grown up, and he would soon have grandchildren.
"Ding! Congratulations. Tan Ming has realized his errors and mended his ways, saving an entire family."
Fangzheng chuckled and said, "Isn't there a reward for me to have a chance at the draw?"
"You are overthinking things. Hand out your congee and don't let your thoughts run wild."
Fangzheng shook his head helplessly. He continued giving out congee to the people that came. With one person a bowl, it was indeed well rationed.
As for Wang Yougui, who was elsewhere, he encountered trouble. Everyone had only hoped to have an easy day. They had not had any hopes of there being anything nice on the mountain. Hence all of them had only brought up tiny bowls. And they would not have regretted a thing without drinking the congee, but the moment they drank it, they could not help themselves! Yet Fangzheng did not give them a second serving!
Therefore, as the owner of a basin, he immediately became sought after. A group of people fawned over him and offered him cigarettes in an attempt to get a share of the basin.
However, Wang Yougui protected the congee with his life. He rejected everyone, and this brouhaha lasted quite a while.
After a while, Tan Ming and Liang Yu came out. Liang Yu handed the remaining half a bowl of congee to Tan Ming and said, "Do you want it?"
"Yes!" Tan Ming smiled as he tasted it. He lauded the taste and then swallowed the congee in one gulp. He kept exclaiming how good it was but unfortunately, even though he wanted more, there was none.
Fangzheng had planned on reciting scripture originally but thinking of his own skill, he decided against it. This was the first time he was holding a Dharma Assembly of Bathing the Buddha. He had not prepared anything, so he could only leave it to another time.
Everyone was only there to enjoy themselves. After eating the Laba Congee, everyone felt their body turn warm. They entered the temple and offered incense despite not being there to pray for children. Although most of the incense sticks were ordinary ones, Fangzheng was still overjoyed!
"Ding! The mission of a hundred incense sticks has been completed. A Merit Box has become available. Do you accept it?"
"Not at this moment," Fangzheng quickly rejected it. What a joke. If he were to accept it and a Merit Box suddenly appeared in the temple hall, he would never be able to explain it away even if he had ten mouths.
After a lively morning, the crowd dispersed.
Fangzheng drank two bowls of the remaining congee. Then, he distributed it to Lone Wolf and the squirrel for them to have their fill. Following that, he led the two of them to begin cleaning up the battlefield with brooms.
There had just been too many people. Fangzheng also did not expect everyone to pay attention to the rules of not throwing their trash wantonly. Therefore, cleaning was still a must.