“This must be fake, right?” said a monk subconsciously. He extended his hand and touched it. Immediately, the lotus flower withered. The monk exclaimed, “It’s real! It’s actually a real lotus flower!”
Everyone snapped out of their reverie as they looked at their surroundings. They realized that they were sitting in a sea of lotus flowers! The entire monastery was filled with lotus flowers. There were even frogs on them. Sparrows had landed on the ground but they jolted awake from the exclamations. They spread their wings and began flying away.
Upon seeing this scene, everyone’s jaws dropped. They were speechless. The scene that played out in front of their very eyes made them recall somethingWhen Buddha recites the scriptures, it could be described by Lotus Flower Conveyance, Golden Fountains Arise. All beings would gather to listen!
Everyone suddenly raised their heads and looked ahead. The person preaching the scriptures was gone!
“Where’s Abbot Fangzheng?”
“Who has seen Abbot Fangzheng?”
“It’s Lotus Flower Conveyance! The preaching of the scriptures is like a miracle!”
“Crossing the river on a reed, Lotus Flower Conveyance. Is he a living Buddha?”
“Crossing the river on a reed can be considered a divine power but Lotus Flower Conveyance is true Buddhist Dharma. Abbot Fangzheng is really a living Buddha!”
At that moment in time Zen Master Baiyun and Zen Master Hongyan looked dumbfounded as well. They had been practicing Buddhism for decades. They had attended the sermons of accomplished monks both inside and outside the country but they had never encountered such a situation! Lotus Flower Conveyance was no longer possible by mortal means. Nor was it achievable through magic. It was a miracle!
They exchanged looks and saw shock in each other’s eyes. There was also a trace of excitement! Who wouldn’t be happy for such a godly person to be Buddhist!
When they realized that Fangzheng had vanished, they became anxious. They led a group of monks and ran to Fangzheng’s room.
In the end, no one dared to knock at the door!
Crossing the river on a reed was enough to fill them with respect towards Fangzheng. Lotus Flower Conveyance was enough to completely revere him as a god or living Buddha. Who would dare disturb Fangzheng’s sleep?
Everyone exchanged looks. Even Zen Master Baiyun did not step forward to knock at the door.
They ended up standing there for an hour. Although everyone was feeling anxious, no one made a sound. They only stood there quietly, waiting…
Among the crowd the person who was most shocked was Yi Xing!
Yi Xing was completely flabbergasted. He originally believed that Fangzheng was a cheat but he realized that not only was Fangzheng not a cheat, he was also a real accomplished monk! At that moment he felt deep regret. “If I had known so, I would not have forced him. Great, I’ve offended him. If I want to listen to his sermons in the future… Sigh…” Although he grumbled in his heart, he knew deep down that ignoring the Lotus Flower Conveyance just Fangzheng’s comprehension of the Avatasaka Stra was already at a level higher than his. One of them pondered over the scriptures by studying it while the other comprehended life through the reading of scripture. They were already on completely different levels. He had been unconvinced causing him to end up getting humiliated. All the karma that he received was due to his actions.
Yi Xing felt deep regret.
Beside him Hong Jin was in a similar state. He had experienced a lot more than Yi Xing. He did not fluster but pondered for a solution to resolve the situation. With Fangzheng being so impressive, he was bound to be a master of a generation. It was fool’s talk to befriend such a person but at the very least, listening to his sermons to elevate their own understanding of the Buddhist Dharma was definitely good.
Another hour passed. The crowd’s legs had turned numb from standing. The older ones could not bear with it any much longer. At that moment a monk ran over and yelled, “Abbot, there’s no need to wait. Abbot Fangzheng has long left the mountain!”
“What?” Everyone was stunned.
Zen Master Baiyun asked, “Is what you said true?”
The monk nodded. “I had a look at the camera just now. After Fangzheng finished his preaching he immediately left Baiyun Monastery. It was about two to three hours ago. He has long since left.”
When Zen Master Baiyun heard that, he pushed open the room’s door. Indeed, it was empty. Fangzheng was no longer around!
Everyone exchanged looks. What the hell were they doing? They had been standing outside an empty room for two hours.
A few people slumped to the ground.
Zen Master Baiyun said, “Bring This Penniless Monk to see the video.”
When everyone heard that there was a video, all of them pleaded to go with him. Zen Master Baiyun did not reject their request.
Although Baiyun Monastery’s final discussion over the Buddhist scriptures was not publicly released, they would leave behind video and audio resources. Firstly, it was for archival purposes so that it was convenient to look back and watch, gaining new insights from reviewing the material. Secondly, it was a kind of remembrance. Baiyun Monastery was responsible for the recording the ongoings and distribute the material to the various monasteries later.
Everyone rushed to the camera and saw that some monks had already put up a white cloth and even a projector.
“Abbot, I knew that everyone definitely wanted to watch it so I extracted the video and planned on projecting it,” said a monk as he came forward.
Zen Master Baiyun nodded with satisfaction, “Then, play it.”
As the projector began to run, everyone saw Fangzheng begin to deliver his sermon. Then birds came to listen as lotus flowers bloomed. Frogs jumped out as the moonlight poured down in the yard like water. It was all in all an entirely mystical scene. If anyone had any doubts previously but now there was video evidence. They were completely convinced!
Everyone felt a terrible impact. Such a miracle was the work of an omnipotent being!
“Abbot Fangzheng is the abbot of One Finger Monastery, right?”
“Does anyone know where One Finger Monastery is?”
“Yes, what’s the fastest way there?”
“Zen Master Hongyan, I heard that you are not far from One Finger Monastery. Can you introduce a route?”
Instantly, countless people began asking about One Finger Monastery. Zen Master One Finger was especially surrounded.
Zen Master Hongyan gave a wry smile and said, “Everyone, This Penniless Monk knows that everyone wishes to visit Venerable Fangzheng and listen to his Lotus Flower Conveyance. But has anyone thought about it? Buddhist Dharma is not something readily instructed. We were lucky to hear it once and it’s a huge honor. Yet we covet listening to it a second time? This Penniless Monk has lived for seventy-six years and this is the first time I’ve heard something like that. Do not fall to greed…”
“Besides, why did Abbot Fangzheng not stay behind to talk to us? Why did he leave once he was done? It’s probably because he’s afraid to be surrounded by everyone like this, preventing him from extricating himself. This Penniless Monk believes that Abbot Fangzheng does not wish for the matter to turn into a fuss. Nor does he wish to be chased and surrounded by everyone, disturbing his peaceful cultivation. Therefore, please listen to This Penniless Monk. Do not talk about it outside nor should you organize groups to head to Mt. One Finger. You might end up disturbing Abbot Fangzheng’s peaceful cultivation. If you really wish to go, go alone when you have the time.”
Everyone found the advice reasonable.
Zen Master Baiyun added, “We who cultivate in the Zen enjoy peace and silence. For Abbot Fangzheng to have such attainment in the Buddhist Dharma yet hide in the deep mountains, it probably means he does not like the din of the external world that will disturb his peaceful cultivation. This Penniless Monk also believes that we should not disturb him. Leave everything to fate…”
Although everyone yearned to meet and listen to Fangzheng preach the scriptures, they felt even more respect for Fangzheng. They were at a loss whether to go or not. Now that the two accomplished monks had spoken with very reasonable explanations, they obtained the address and wondered when was the best time they could visit and think of a better way of phrasing their questions.
After the two-day ruckus at Baiyun Monastery, the monks departed and finally, everything was restored to normal.
However the monks from Baiyun Monastery were not at peace. Fangzheng’s performance made them feel threatened. Anyone who had any discerning power could tell that if Fangzheng wished, Baiyun Monastery was unlikely to hold its title as the number one monastery in Black Mountain City…
No one knew that at that moment, the master or living Buddha in their hearts was almost close to tears!