Chapter 146: Doubts
Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Therefore the punishment was necessary!
Elder Du had selfish motives regarding Hong Xiang and did not mention him. He knew very well that if Hong Xiang was implicated, his life would be over. It would be considered a light punishment if he was only expelled from the monastery.
Noticing that not only did Fangzheng not pursue the matter with Hong Xiang, he even went so far as not asking about the details, Elder Du could not help but lament inwardly. “Such broad mindedness. Is it something a young monk at his age can possess? The differences between people can indeed be mind boggling.”
Upon coming to this realization there was only gratitude in his heart. How could he have even the slightest bit of displeasure?
The rest didn’t know of Fangzheng’s intentions but when they saw Elder Du following reverently behind him without any complaints, they kept their silence. Most of them were discussing the crossing of the river on a reed, such a thing was after all not a daily occurrence.
The crowd that followed Fangzheng was clamorous. There were those joining in for the buzz, taking pictures, chatting, bragging and even yawning. It was really quite a bustle.
As for Hong Xiang, he had mentally prepared himself to be dragged out and denounced. He would likely lose his reputation and be expelled from the monastery. However, despite waiting all day, he realized that everyone had left. He realized that everything was fine!
Hong Xiang was taken aback. He looked at the departing crowd feeling dazed. After some time, he scratched his head and followed. However, there were vicissitudes in his heart. At that moment, he finally realized many things he had never understood.
Meanwhile, a group of people descended the mountain and leading them was none other than Zen Master Baiyun! There were more than a hundred monks from various monasteries behind him!
Both groups met midway and were stunned.
At that moment, Brother Hei charged forward suddenly, “Master Baiyun, please be the judge on this matter. All of us run ferries. We have the say as to who to ferry. This monk is actually punishing Elder Du. Elder Du is already so old”
“Liu Heizi, shut up!” Elder Du rushed forward and covered Liu Heizi’s mouth.
Zen Master Baiyun looked at the indignant Liu Heizi before looking at Fangzheng and Elder Du. Elder Du looked furious and embarrassed while Fangzheng appeared composed. His smile was warm and filled with gentleness. His warm temperament made it difficult to think of him as a monk. Most of the time, one would ignore his attire and status and treat him as a sunshine boy.
Zen Master Baiyun nodded gently at Fangzheng and pressed his palms together. “Amitabha. This Penniless Monk is Baiyun Monastery’s abbot, Baiyun. Teacher, you have an unfamiliar face. Might This Penniless Monk know which monastery you come from and what your name is?”
Fangzheng looked at the amiable master in front of him and was reminded of Zen Master One Finger. They had a benign look and their eyes were forever clear like a fountain pool. Zen Master One Finger had once mentioned that the eyes are the window to the soul. The clearer the eyes, the clearer one’s heart was. Buddhist practitioners had to cleanse their heart daily.
Zen Master Baiyun was clearly an accomplished monk. Fangzheng felt even more respect for him as he pressed his palms together, “Amitabha. This Penniless Monk is One Finger Monastery’s abbot, Fangzheng. Greetings, Zen Master Baiyun.”
“Oh? You are Fangzheng?!” The crowd suddenly let out a series of exclamations. Just moments ago, no one knew who Fangzheng was when Zen Master Baiyun asked. No one expected the young monk who had crossed the river on a reed to be Fangzheng!
As they looked at Fangzheng’s young appearance and connected it to his crossing of the river on a reed everyone was filled with mixed thoughts.
At that moment a slightly plump monk came forward, “Venerable Fangzheng, why didn’t you take the ferry and instead crossed the river on a reed? Aren’t you playing to the gallery by doing so? If you truly wanted to be famous, you shouldn’t have done it at the foot of Mt. Baiyun and use the Spring Welcoming Blessing Dharma Assembly as a way to get people talking. Isn’t that so?”
With that said the crowd started bustling once again. They had been shocked by Fangzheng’s divine power of crossing the river on a reed but on careful thought, why didn’t he take a ferry? Why did he cross the river on a reed? By crossing the river on a reed in front of so many people, what else could he be doing except be playing to the gallery? Coveting fame wasn’t a pure state of mind. Such a person was unworthy of being called abbot.
Immediately, there were odd looks coming from the crowd. They were looking curious just a moment ago and even had looks of reverence but now their expressions turned derisive.
Upon hearing this Fangzheng knitted his brows. He wanted to take the ferry but there had to be a ferry for him to take! Fangzheng was just about to speak when Elder Du beat him to it. He went forward and bowed in front of the group of monks. “This matter is not Venerable Fangzheng’s fault. It was all my fault. I have become foolish with age. I believed some slanderous talk and thought that Venerable Fangzheng was a shallow fraud that has cheated many people. I was afraid he would come to Baiyun Monastery and sully a holy land. Therefore, I made the ferry workers deny him. He had no choice but to cross the river on a reed.”
With that said everyone felt enlightened. The slightly plump monk found it unacceptable. Wasn’t this rebutting his words? His face flushed red as he insisted on pressing the issue, “All of you might refuse to ferry him, but he could have made a phone call. Our side would be able to figure something out. There was no need to go so far. The way he sensationalized it is way too obvious.”
When Fangzheng heard that he pricked up his brows, he thought, “Is this fatty sick in the head? Here I am minding my business and I haven’t offended him. Why is he so insistent on putting me down? Besides, who knows what Baiyun Monastery’s number is. I don’t.”
Fangzheng was just about to speak up when Zen Master Hongyan, “Amitabha. Venerable Hong Jin, what you said is imprecise. Baiyun Monastery’s telephone number is not known by anyone. Besides, although we are beyond the secular world there are certain secular matters we cannot avoid. Baiyun Monastery runs the Spring Welcoming Blessing Dharma Assembly and sends out invitations. If one cannot arrive on time, even if Zen Master Baiyun doesn’t mind, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Everyone should know what repercussions there will be. Anyone would be anxious if they were placed in that situation.”
“Zen Master Hongyan is right. However, there is something This Penniless Monk can’t figure out. Might This Penniless Monk ask you when there are numerous monks coming to Baiyun Monastery. Why would someone target you? As the saying goes, there’s no smoke without fire. There’s probably a reason behind this, right?” Venerable Hong Jin did not dare argue with the esteemed Zen Master Hongyan so he diverted the problem back at Fangzheng.
Fangzheng frowned. “In fact, this is something This Penniless Monk couldn’t figure out. This is the first time This Penniless Monk has left the mountain ever since he took over One Finger Monastery. Reasonably speaking there shouldn’t be any conflict with others.”
“That’s strange. If you do not have any conflict with others, this begs the question. Why would someone target you? Why didn’t that person target This Penniless Monk? This Penniless Monk believes that you should do some introspection. See if you have done wrong without noticing.” When Venerable Hong Jin said that, he revealed a victorious smile. He felt that Fangzheng had been rendered tongue-tied.
Fangzheng was vexed himself. He had been posturing and did not ask the reason behind the matter. Now, how was he to explain?
Just as Fangzheng started feeling troubled Elder Du sighed. He knew there was no sweeping the matter under the rug. Just as he was about to confess he heard someone shout, “Let me do the explanation!”