When Old Tao saw this, he looked up into the sky as he tightened his expression. He looked like he was forcing himself to hold in a fart He was afraid that the moment he produced a smug smile, he would be fired immediately.
Director Yu’s mind whirled as he said in all seriousness, “This must be the disciple of the accomplished monk. Let’s go. We should not disturb his recital of the scriptures and meditation. Let’s do what we were here for.”
“Amitabha. Patron, this monastery only has This Penniless Monk.” Fangzheng naturally heard the commotion from the group of people. He had simply not bothered with them. He had been pondering the problem of Zen farming. As such, he had not planted his seeds yet. With the rowdy group of people here, it upset him a little.
The moment Fangzheng spoke, Director Yu became grumpy. It was not easy for him to find an excuse to get out of the embarrassing situation but before he even did so, the monk had refuted him! Why was this monk so lacking in discernment!?
Director Yu knew that he could not pin the blame on the monk. All he could do was glare at the guys stifling their laughter. He turned back at Fangzheng and bowed, “I believe you are One Finger Monastery’s abbot?”
Fangzheng stood up and pressed his palms together. He returned a bow, “That is This Penniless Monk. Patron, is there something This Penniless Monk can do for you?”
As he spoke, Fangzheng walked out of the temple hall. It was a place to consecrate Buddha, not a place to discuss matters.
“We are from Spring City Pictures. We plan on filming the scenery of this mountain for a movie. One Finger Village’s village chief has agreed to it. So, what do you think?” With a clever sleight, Director Yu did not claim he was here for negotiations. Instead, he claimed to come under One Finger Village’s village chief’s banner. As for the village chief, he had indeed met him. But he did not mention that they were here to film a movie. After all, he had not seen the scenery on the mountain yet. He was unsure if he would actually choose the location. If he discussed the matter with them and obtained approval, it would be unpleasant if he decided against the location.
Therefore, he came first to save himself the trouble. He also used a clever sleight by getting Fangzheng’s agreement before seeking the village chief’s. If it worked, the success of the negotiation would almost be a certainty. And from the looks of it, such a tiny monastery was probably patronized by the villagers. It was unlikely for the monk to discount the village chief.
Fangzheng’s heart filled with contempt when he heard the lie. The lie could be used to deceive others but as for him? He knew Wang Yougui well. Although Wang Yougui had quite a sharp mind, he would absolutely refuse anything that violated his principles. Mt. One Finger’s ownership had been placed under One Finger Monastery. It was impossible for Wang Yougui to have any say in the matter. Even if he was interested, he would first communicate with Fangzheng before agreeing to anything.
Since Wang Yougui was not here, the lie was clear.
Fangzheng smiled, “Patron, This Penniless Monk does not understand what you are referring to. If there is anything, it’s best you discuss with the village chief in detail. When This Penniless Monk understands the situation, we can negotiate further.”
“Young abbot, didn’t we just tell you? The village chief has already agreed to it. All you need to do is give a nod of approval and this matter will be settled.” Lin Dongshi sprung in.
Fangzheng smiled calmly at Lin Dongshi, Director Yu and the others who were about to speak out. He did not say a word. All he did was look at them. Faced with Fangzheng’s bright, unadulterated gaze that was void of impurities, they swallowed back the lies they were planning to deliver. For some reason, they felt ashamed to lie in front of sure a pure young monk that resembled sunshine. As experienced rats in society’s rat race, they were confident they could win an Oscar with their lying ability. They were impervious and hardheaded.
But against the young monk in front of them, they felt ashamed and could not bear to lie to him.
Director Yu smiled wryly, “Sorry, Abbot. I lied to you just now. I’ll discuss with the villagers first before coming back up to discuss with you?”
Although they had made brief contact and had no idea how accomplished Fangzheng was in the Buddhist Dharma, he still liked him for his pure and natural vibes. In a world full of material desires, a person of such bearing was rare. He did not wish to make things difficult for such a monk. He did not know that Fangzheng was not a naturally untainted, naive person with no desires.
It was just that Fangzheng’s desires were a lot weaker than most people. For example, his ideal was to find a girl that was not considered pretty. All he wanted was to marry and have children before leading a simple life. He was not a person with ambition or grand dreams. He was just an ordinary and simple guy. It was good enough for him to have his days pass by peacefully. With the Crystal Rice and Unrooted Clean Aqua cleansing his body, the melody of the wooden fish that cleansed his soul, and his recent ruminations of the Buddhist Dharma, as well as the White Lunar Monk Robe magnifying his best side to its fullest extent and suppressing everything else, these made him exude a pure and untainted feeling.
Fangzheng returned the bow. “Amitabha, Patron, goodbye.”
Director Yu nodded but did not immediately descend the mountain. Instead, he brought the group to the temple hall. Everyone offered a high incense, gave the incense offerings and left. This was also a habit they and the entire film industry practiced. Others might not believe in Buddhism or other religions but to them, they had to pay their respects to any temple they came across. It was a habit.
The group of people left as Fangzheng looked at the money in the Merit Box. He smiled and said to himself, “At least I wouldn’t need to worry about starving.”
The group of people did not descend the mountain. Instead, they walked around the mountaintop and filmed. They observed the surroundings carefully for an hour before they descended the mountain. On the way, Director Yu nodded constantly. Clearly, he was very satisfied with the scenery. Most importantly, the scenery was natural. It gave off an otherworldly vibe and there was nothing out of place. It was very suitable for the movie he was about to film.
Wang Yougui was obviously supportive of filming on Mt. One Finger. He nearly agreed to it. But on careful thought, he said with a wry smile, “Mt. One Finger is under One Finger Monastery’s jurisdiction. The village can only express its support. As for whether you are permitted to film, the decision lies with One Finger Monastery’s abbot, Venerable Fangzheng.”
“You are the village chief. Can’t you make the decision on such a trivial matter?” asked a puzzled Luo Li.
The chief folded his arms, “I’m the village chief but I can’t act in such an authoritarian way. I refuse to be a bully. The rules are rules. This is a rule I cannot violate. Your filming in Mt. One Finger is great for our village.You have my blessing. However, the filming needs Venerable Fangzheng’s approval.”
Director Yu said, “I understand. We have already visited Venerable Fangzheng. He seems like he will defer to you. It’s difficult for me if both of you are acting in such a manner.”
“Oh, I see. Wait a moment. I’ll make a phone call to ask him.” Wang Yougui went out the door to make a phone call.