With this in mind Fangzheng stepped out of the car. The stirring villagers had been wary of Jing Yan but when they saw Fangzheng dressed in monk robes with a smooth bald head that could reflect light better than snow, their eyes lit up and the people came forward.
When Jing Yan saw this she heaved a sigh of relief, “Don’t stand on ceremony. Take whatever you need. One person isn’t allowed to take too much. I mainly have stationery and some clothes. Little girl come over here. This is for you.”
As Jing Yan spoke, she took out a stationery case and handed it to a curious girl that had leaned forward. The girl’s clothes were tattered and her face was a little dirty. Her eyes were wide and black. She had a yearning look on her face but she hesitated to go forward.
Jing Yan frowned. “I’m not a crook. Take it. It’s for you.”
Fangzheng looked at Jing Yan and then the girl. He knitted his brows and took a step forward. He grabbed the stationery case and then placed it back into the trunk under Jing Yan’s odd gaze.
The girl immediately took a few steps back in fright. The other villagers frowned as well. The wariness in their eyes appeared once again.
Jing Yan asked perplexed, “Venerable Fangzheng, what are you doing?”
Fangzheng returned her with an unhappy question, “And what are you doing?”
“Me… What about me? Can’t I share some kindness?” Jing Yan had a fiery temper to begin with. She flared up with Fangzheng questioning her. She had traveled from afar to share her love and kindness. She was even being yelled at for giving a stationery case? What was the meaning of all this? She wanted to know what the monk was up to!
Fangzheng also realized that his tone had been a little harsh. He pressed his palms together and gave a Buddhist proclamation. “Amitabha. Female Patron, what you have done isn’t sharing your love and kindness. You are trying to bury them forever in an abyss formed by your love. This isn’t kind love but a sin.”
“What… What do you mean by that?! I came with goodwill from afar with all these things. You even say that I’ve sinned? Fangzheng, if you don’t give me a good explanation today, walk back to Mt. One Finger yourself!” Jing Yan trembled in outrage.
Fangzheng was not enraged when he heard that. Instead he showed her a faint smile, “Patron, why don’t you leave these items to This Penniless Monk?”
“What? It’s a sin for me to give them out but it’s not when you are the one doing it?” Jing Yan said with a scoff unhappily.
Fangzheng smiled without a word. It was not appropriate to mention certain things, at least, not where they werein front of the villagers and children. Therefore he chose silence. He looked quietly at Jing Yan. He believed that Jing Yan was a good person. If not, she would not have helped him the last time. Nor would she have come to the village today to donate items.
Jing Yan, who turned uncomfortable from Fangzheng’s shining, sunlight-like gaze, rolled her eyes, “Alright you deal with them! But if it doesn’t end well, hmph! Walk home yourself! I’m not fooling around!”
Fangzheng smiled. He went to the trunk and looked at the items inside. Jing Yan drove an SUV and the back row of seats was lowered. There were four large boxes and four small boxes. The large boxes were clothes and the small boxes were stationery.
Fangzheng understood as he turned around. He pressed his palms together at the surrounding villagers and bowed, “Patrons, This Penniless Monk came from afar. The journey was tiring and made me exhausted. There are items on the car that need to be taken out. Is there any patron that is willing to help This Penniless Monk?”
Everyone had seen Fangzheng’s actions. He had not allowed Jing Yan to give their children gifts and now he was asking them to help? They frowned.
Someone walked over anyway. He was a short man with dark skin and did not have a friendly look on his face. He looked rather strong. The man did not say a word as he came in front of Fangzheng. He directly removed a small box from the car. Just as he was about to take the second box.
Fangzheng spoke up, “Thank you, Patron. One box is already enough. There’s no need for more.”
The short man looked at Fangzheng as though he was a retard. He was completely baffled why Fangzheng needed help carrying such a light box? How precious was this monk? His eyes rolled as he prepared to walk off.
Jing Yan was puzzled as well. She had witnessed Fangzheng’s combat strength before. How could he not move a box? Was that possible? She was the one who had moved the boxes onto the car. She knew how heavy they were.
Just as the crowd was watching suspiciously, Fangzheng stopped the man who was beginning to leave. “Patron, please stop.”
The man turned back to look at Fangzheng suspiciously but he remained silent.
Fangzheng smiled as he took out a down jacket from the box in the car. He said, “Amitabha. Thank you for your help, Patron. This Penniless Monk is very poor and has no money to pay you. This jacket shall be given to you as payment.”
The man was momentarily dumbfounded. He looked at Fangzheng in shock and then the jacket before looking at Fangzheng again. After this repeated a few times, the corners of his stiffened face’s mouth twitched suddenly. His cold eyes seem to take on a luster. He even smiled as he took the jacket and smiled, “Master, do you still need any help? I’m quite strong.”
When Jing Yan saw this, she was dumbfounded. She was no fool. As a reporter she was a discerning person. Although she had never been to Dongliang Village, she had been to similar villages. Dongliang Village was a target for charity by the rich and influential. There was definitely no lack of people that came to share their love and kindness. It did not make sense for the villagers to be this cold. Could it be that the particular situation had happened according to the rumors? If that were true, the culprits were utterly devoid of conscience. They should be executed by a firing squad!
When she saw how the villagers looked at her extremely coldly but smiled at Fangzheng, she felt a little displeased. “Hey, the items were mine! I finally understand what it means to present Buddha with borrowed flowers…”
Although she grumbled inwardly, she was still happy deep down. It still puzzled her. All Fangzheng did was give a jacket but she saw shock in the villagers’ eyes. They looked excited, an indescribable excitement! Furthermore, the villagers seemed to stand up straighter. They seemed to exude a completely different disposition. It was as though they had gone from beggars which everyone looked from above to laborers that had earned their keep based on their own abilities to feed their family. They were taking the items like it was only right and proper.
“This is… respect…” Jing Yan suddenly realized! Since ancient times food had been handed out to them in contempt. How were her actions any different? Looking back at Fangzheng, he was not giving alms. Instead, he was letting them work in exchange for the items. Although the work they did was trivial and the payment was nothing to talk about, this was probably the first time since the charity drives began that everyone in Dongliang Village had exchanged labor for payment! This was the first time they were given their dignity instead of pity!
When Jing Yan looked at Fangzheng the displeasure in her eyes vanished. All that was left was admiration. She was baffled. Fangzheng was clearly not an elderly person. He had even stopped schooling midway. There were not many books on the mountain for him to read. Even if there were any it would only be a sutra or two. Under such circumstances how did he figure such things out?