He Feifei looked at Guan Yin Bodhisattva in a daze, “Bodhisattva, what do you mean?”
Bodhisattva had no intention to explain. Instead, she asked, “Do you really wish to meet Meng Yuan once again? Regardless of the cost?”
Hearing Guan Yin Bodhisattva mention her wish directly, she was given a fright. She had never told anyone of the secret, not even Chen Bin who she was closest to. She had only mentioned it to Guan Yin Bodhisattva so the tiny doubts in heart instantly vanished when it was repeated back at her.
He Feifei quickly kowtowed, “Bodhisattva, please grant my wish. I’m willing to pay any price!”
“Five centuries for a look. Are you willing to wait?” asked Bodhisattva.
“Five centuries?” He Feifei was stunned. Wasn’t that extremely long? The moment she thought of him, she firmly nodded. “Yes!”
“This look will require you to abandon everything you havefamily and friends. Are you still willing to do so?”
“Yes!” He Feifei clenched her teeth. She had enough of the days of thinking of him all day. She wanted to meet him!
“In that case, wait.” Bodhisattva waved her hand.
He Feifei only felt the world change as she transformed into a rock that lay in the wilderness. She could neither move or talk. He Feifei thought nothing of it in the beginning. But as the sun rose into the sky, the blaring heat it emitted made He Feifei feet like she was immersed in flames. The blistering heat was intolerable and painful. After putting up with the blazing sun, there were strong winds that struck her like blades. She nearly cried from the pain. Rain fell, striking her body, injecting coldness into her bone. But she continued clenching her teeth to endure it. She kept mumbling, “If I can meet him, this is nothing.”
Four hundred and ninety-nine years passed. Despite enduring the elements, He Feifei did not see Meng Yuan. She felt depressed and felt as though she was breaking down.
At that moment, a team of construction workers passed by, digging her up and used her to build a stone bridge. On the day the stone bridge was completed, a man walked over from afar. He was still in that familiar getup, appearance, and bearing. She finally got her wish of seeing him! She wanted to shout but could not shout. She wanted to cry but tears did not come. All she could do was watch him in a daze.
He did not even give her a single look. He came quickly and left just as quickly. He did not leave any lingering feelings behind.
Seeing his figure depart, He Feifei felt only like crying. This was not what she wanted!
“Amitabha. Patron, as you wished, you have met him. How was it?” Guan Yin Bodhisattva appeared once again as she asked with a smile.
“Bodhisattva, I beg you. I wish to see him more. No… I want to touch him! Yes, I… really want to touch him.” Upon saying this, He Feifei lowered her head in embarrassment. She did not realize that the Bodhisattva-disguised monk above her was also embarrassed. His face was red… Having not made any contact with such nascent love, Fangzheng suddenly realized that he was rather pure compared to girls. All he did was look and not make physical contact!
As such, Bodhisattva said, “Are you sure you want to touch him?”
“Yes, I’m sure,” replied He Feifei.
“This is a bit troublesome. Wait another five centuries,” said Bodhisattva.
He Feifei was stunned. She found the past five hundred years nearly unbearable. Now, she had to wait another five centuries? Thinking of the figure in her heart, she clenched her teeth and said, “I can wait!”
“Amitabha, as you wish.” Bodhisattva waved her hand.
The world in front of He Feifei’s eyes changed. She realized that she was now a tree and was surrounded by wilderness.
She believed that she was already accustomed to being weathered by the elements from her experience as a rock. But after becoming a tree, she realized how naive she was. How could a rock compare to a tree? Rocks were hard and had no need to fear the wind or rain. But a tree was different. She underwent the tempestuous winds and the scorching sun, as well as lightning strikes and the cold. It felt like she was experiencing torture in the deepest depths of hell.
Finally, after putting up with the elements for four hundred and ninety-nine years, at the moment when He Feifei nearly gave up, a figure walked over from a distance. Although the strolling man had changed his clothes, she found his face with its every action and smile familiar. He Feifei smiled. Her wait had finally paid off. She smiled as if she was relieved from a huge burden.
The weather was hot as Meng Yuan came under the tree. He put his luggage down and sat under the tree, leaning against its trunk. He closed his eyes and soon, fell asleep.
He Feifei smiled. She had finally gotten her wish. As she touched him, she studied his peaceful sleeping face. She tried her best to gather up her leaves to block him from the sun.
However, this did not last for long. After Meng Yuan woke up, he did not say a word. He picked up his luggage and set off once again.
Looking at Meng Yuan’s back, He Feifei felt empty once again. However, she no longer felt as adamant as before.
“Amitabha. Patron, how was it?” Guan Yin Bodhisattva appeared once again.
“Thank you, Bodhisattva.” He Feifei said politely.
“Do you wish to meet him again?” Guan Yin Bodhisattva asked. From Fangzheng’s point of view, her two meetings was unlikely enough.
He Feifei shook her head. “There’s no need. I’m satisfied with meeting him twice. I always wanted to meet him when I couldn’t see him while he was near me. When I ended up seeing and touching him… I suddenly understood the meaning behind the gatha you mentioned.” He Feifei suddenly laughed.
“Oh? Patron, what did you realize?” Fangzheng was somewhat curious. Different people and different situations resulted in different comprehension of a gatha. Fangzheng wished to know what He Feifei had understood.
“Beautiful and moving love are all fantasies! A love fantasy is most beautiful! It’s as though one is trapped in a dream. Unable to touch despite being inches away. Distant but always perfect. As it cannot be reached, imagination fills the mind, preventing one from ending something pointless. True beauty would be fantasies created by a person’s heart. This beauty is worthy of pursuit. Even if one were to spend their entire lives only to end with a broken heart, it is still something worth looking forward to.”
“But a fantasy is a fantasy after all. Living in a fantasy only leads to pain. Only by escaping one’s fantasies would one be truly free. Meng Yuan was not that perfect. It was me who made him perfect,” said He Feifei with eyes that exuded clarity.
Fangzheng felt a jolt through his heart when he heard that. He never expected He Feifei to truly gain something from her experience. Furthermore, it was different from his!
Fangzheng’s comprehension of the sentence was more about living. He subconsciously said, “Patron, you are truly wise.”
He Feifei smiled and asked politely, “Might I ask, are there other explanations to that gatha?
Fangzheng laughed. The lass was actually probing if the dream was real. She was even testing Bodhisattva! She sure was bold! At the same time, Fangzheng realized a problem. In a world without god, everyone had their guesses about god. He Feifei’s test did not daunt Fangzheng. After studying the Buddhist Dharma for so long, he did have some insights after all. He said with a smile, “Patron, your insights pertain to love. And in life, this sentence means: If a person does not get over absorbed in material benefits, they would not be controlled by them, it is because humans pursue these sensory materials that they become unhappy… All things change and there is nothing that lasts forever. Mortals pay too much attention to their feelings and sensations, as such, they end up stuck in tragedy. Everything can be thought of as fantasy as life passes like a dream! To meet and to part, happiness and sorrow are all fated!”