The duo smiled wryly before raising a big thumbs up at the same time. “He was awesome!”
Zhao Hongxiang still had to ask, “Director Yu, that monk… master’s dropping of his Kasaya at the last moment to reveal the white monk robes… Was that planned by you? It was expertly planned! It was truly beautiful! I felt as though I had seen Buddha!”
“Yea, that was wonderful! But then again, Director Yu, that kind of stole the limelight,” said Hu Xiao.
“It did steal the limelight a little. If what was filmed was released, perhaps everyone will only remember the monk and forget Hua Mulan. But I really can’t bear to edit away such an excellent scene. As for the Kasaya, all I can say is that it was a coincidence. It was an unexpected bonus.” Yu Guanze did not have the habit of taking credit for something he did not do.
“Director Yu, then what do you plan on doing?” asked Hu Xiao.
Yu Guanze smiled wryly, “Let me think on it. There are still many scenes left to film. I have to think about it. I’ll keep it at first… Even if I can’t use it, I will keep it. It’s just too memorable…”
Hu Xiao and Zhao Hongxiang said thickskinned, “About that, can you give us a copy as a memento?”
Yu Guanze laughed. “CEO Hu, CEO Zhao, what do you want that for? He is neither a veteran, nor is he a graduate from a famous university. He’s also young. As the saying goes, a youth without facial hair cannot be relied upon…”
Yu Guanze’s words made the duo blush red but they still thickened their skin to request it.
Yu Guanze laughed. “Don’t worry. I’ll definitely give it to the two of you.”
Only then did the two smile. Although it was embarrassing, they felt that they had a good deal by being able to collect such a memorable scene.
“Eh? Where’s Venerable Fangzheng? Lin Dongshi, where’s Venerable Fangzheng? Did you see him?” shouted Yu Guanze after he jolted to his senses and surveyed his surroundings, only to find Fangzheng gone.
Lin Dongshi immediately ran over, “Director, Venerable Fangzheng has returned to One Finger Monastery. The door is closed. I’ve tried knocking but he says he wants some peace and quiet. Also, he said he will not be acting in any of the subsequent scenes.”
“What? He’s not acting anymore?!” Yu Guanze instantly turned anxious as he exclaimed, “He acted so well. Why isn’t he acting? What happened?”
Hu Xiao asked, “Is he trying to raise the price?”
“Raise the price my ass. He did a pro bono cameo. He wasn’t paid,” said Yu Guanze.
“That’s it then. He’s not acting because you aren’t paying him,” said Hu Xiao.
“Let me figure out the situation.” Yu Guanze could not be bothered arguing with such a crude person. He pushed aside the crowd and ran to the monastery’s door. Indeed, the door was closed.
Yu Guanze knocked on the door and shouted, “Venerable Fangzheng, I’m Director Yu Guanze. Are you there? Can you hear me?”
“Patron, is there something you need?” The door opened as Fangzheng appeared by the door.
Yu Guanze looked at Fangzheng’s sorrowful face and was stunned. He came to the realization that Fangzheng had gone too deep into character and the sorrow of battle had etched itself on his heart! Hence, Yu Guanze inquired, “Venerable Fangzheng, are you still feeling upset because of the film’s plot?”
Fangzheng sighed. “That’s right. Although it was only one scene, there were just too many inexplicable things happening.” He had never experienced some of the feelings before. Having suddenly experienced it, he felt shaken. He was so shaken that he couldn’t compose himself for a long time.
“Venerable Fangzheng, you got too into character. And being able to get into character is the most basic technique an actor should have. If one isn’t capable of doing so, that’s not acting but posing. But nowadays, too few people can truly get into character. When it comes to getting into character, you are the fastest person I have seen in all these years in the film industry. I never expected you to get so deeply into character… It was an oversight on my part.”
Fangzheng pressed his palms together and smiled, “Patron, there’s no need to blame yourself. You were the one that allowed This Penniless Monk to experience a second life. This opportunity is indeed rare…”
“Venerable Fangzheng, about the later scenes…” Yu Guanze felt as though he had seen hope. Fangzheng’s acting might not be the best but if he could get into character, that was the best, most natural form of acting! Nothing was better than that. He naturally wished for his film to have such a person.
Fangzheng shook his head. “Patron, This Penniless Monk’s attainments are insufficient and is unsuitable to continue acting. Accept my sincere apologies…”
Fangzheng really did not wish to continue acting. This was because while he was tidying the corpses’ clothes, the ‘corpses’ he touched were not only Northern Wei soldiers but also Rouran soldiers. If soldiers of Northern Wei were heroes, what were the Rouran soldiers? Were they savages? Clearly not.
Those who killed were evil but if they did not kill, they would end up being killed. Then, is killing right or wrong? Is it a sin to engage in war to make a country flourish? Is it a sin to kill so as to protect the safety of civilians?
Fangzheng believed that it was not a sin killing the evil but there were lines in the Buddhist scriptures that had many contradictions. His heart was in turmoil so he naturally was in no mood to act. He wanted to calm his emotions or he would find it difficult to pass his days. The Zen farming experience was more than enough for him.
“About that… Venerable Fangzheng, let’s put it this way. You acted extremely well. It was really, really good. If possible, I would ask you to continue acting. This is a blockbuster. This show might well go international. When that happens, you will be promoting the Buddhist Dharma. Your name and One Finger Monastery will become famous overseas,” persuaded Yu Guanze.
Fangzheng was tempted but Zen Master One Finger had once said: “I indeed wish for One Finger Temple to become a huge monastery but without the corresponding moral conduct, having a large monastery is not a merit but a sin. The uplifting of a monastery should start from the person. And to uplift a person, one has to first improve one’s moral conduct.” The moral conduct here refers to moral character. It also refers to Buddhist Dharma cultivation.
After traveling to Baiyun Monastery, Fangzheng already realized how his Buddhist Dharma cultivation was insufficient. He now had few devotees but one day, when the devotees increased, how was he to deal with the increase in people seeking advice? It was impossible for the System to give him Lotus Flower Conveyance daily. Therefore, Fangzheng only wished to take it slow and steady. He would proceed bit by bit and not make momentous leaps which would only lead to his downfall.
“Amitabha. Patron, although This Penniless Monk does wish to bring the monastery to a greater height of development, This Penniless Monk’s morals are insufficient. This Penniless Monk might not be able to bear the fame. Patron, thank you for your kind intentions. This Penniless Monk does not wish to act again… Besides, Patron Lin mentioned that this was only for contingency as there were no other choices. This Penniless Monk believes that it wouldn’t matter if This Penniless Monk remains.”
When Yu Guanze heard that, he was stunned. He had seen countless monks. This was the first time he had encountered such a humble monk. His morals were not enough to bear the fame? But how many famous people in the world had the morals to match their standing? It was already a common occurrence to see a person failing to match their morals.
Facing the young monk, Yu Guanze suddenly realized that a famous director like him seemed shorter while standing in front of Fangzheng. He sought fame and profit while the monk had relinquished them. To have such a temperament at such a young age, he would definitely become a generation’s master barring any unforeseen circumstances.