When Lone Wolf realized Fangzheng was being serious, he turned to run. Monkey followed but unfortunately for him, could not run fast enough.
After a merry chase, Fangzheng led them to kneel in front of the Buddha plaque in the temple hall. Behind him were the wolf, monkey and squirrel. Squirrel and Monkey were in better shape as kneeling did not put too much pressure on their forelimbs. Lone Wolf nearly cried. It was just too tough on him!
Fangzheng said, “The three of you just became intelligent but your bestial nature has not changed, especially Monkey. You liked to steal things in Baiyun Monastery. Back then, you were a wild monkey in the mountains so no one taught you otherwise. But now that you have entered One Finger Monastery, you are This Penniless Monk’s disciple. It’s This Penniless Monk’s fault for not teaching you well.”
Although the film crew had left and everything seemed to settle down, Fangzheng realized that certain things had yet to be settled.
For example, he had not resolved his doubts about killing. Another example was the present predicament he was in. Who was at fault, Monkey or him? Finally, Fangzheng realized that it was not Monkey’s fault. Even if Monkey was considered intelligent, he was an animal after all. An animal had a curious nature so why would it care what it took? All an animal cared was if it was fun or interesting.
Ignorance was not to be blamed. Therefore, the blame was ultimately his. It was his wrong not teaching Monkey well. With a mistake committed, he had not admitted to his faults and sent the items back. Instead, he chose to conceal the matter out of shame. Although he later realized, it had taken him too long. Having learned his lesson on this matter, Fangzheng finally understood a few new things.
Yet a fault was a fault. He could not let the matter pass just because it was in the past.
“You three, listen carefully. You are not to touch the items that do not belong to you, do you understand?”
Lone Wolf and Squirrel nodded immediately as a way to express their contrition.
Monkey furrowed his furry brows. “Back when I was in Baiyun Monastery, no one told me that those things couldn’t be taken. Why are there so many restrictions on me here?”
Fangzheng turned his head and looked at Monkey. “If This Penniless Monk were to secretly take away a peach you plucked, is that okay?”
“Of course not.”
“It was plucked by me so it’s mine. How can you just secretly take it away?” Monkey stated.
Fangzheng smiled. “Yet you can take the items of others? Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you. Since you do not want to suffer such tragedies, why do you want others to suffer them? Monkey, do you want to have shoes thrown at you no matter where you leave, or do you want to have peaches stuffed into your hands wherever you go?”
Monkey was taken aback as he scratched his ass. “Of course the peaches.”
“Only by bringing happiness to others would others give you peaches. If you only bring pain and suffering on others, you will only have shoes thrown at you. Stay in the temple hall today. This Penniless Monk will stay with you to think it through. Whenever you have thought it through is when we leave,” said Fangzheng.
Monkey was taken aback as he scratched his ass. “What about our meals?”
“We will have our meals whenever you think it through.”
“Ah… How can you do that?”
“If you kneel a day, This Penniless Monk will kneel two days. If you kneel two days, This Penniless Monk will kneel for four days.”
Monkey was rendered speechless by Fangzheng’s double punishment on himself. All he could do was kneel and think about it. Despite knowing he was at fault, his stubbornness reared its head. He grumbled inwardly, “It’s already taken so why do you blame me…”
Fangzheng ignored Monkey. He made Lone Wolf and Squirrel kneel the entire morning before he let them leave. After all, they were only accomplices and they were penitent. As for Monkey, he remained obstinate. He felt uncomfortable kneeling an entire morning as he faltered. Yet, he refused to admit his fault.
Fangzheng was in no rush either. Since Monkey was unwilling to admit his mistakes, he would accompany him. Besides, Fangzheng was pondering over his own mistakes…
“It is ultimately because of my lack of training. I turn flustered when I encounter trouble, easily losing my conscience. I would always think of trying to keep it a secret. Yet, I forget that justice has long arms. How can I hide a mistake I committed?” With this thought in mind, he realized that he had committed more than a single mistake!
Upon coming to this realization, he sighed and got up. “Monkey, let’s go.”
Monkey was taken aback. “Abbot, where are we going? Do we not need to reflect anymore?”
“Follow This Penniless Monk down the mountain,” said Fangzheng.
“Down the mountain?” Monkey was stunned.
“Down the mountain to confess our mistakes.” He had already walked out the temple hall.
Monkey cried out confused, “Isn’t it already over?”
“The matter is over but it has not eased the mind. Monkey, do you feel at ease?”
Monkey subconsciously scratched his ass. “It’s quite alright…”
At the foot of the mountain, the film crew was already beginning to pack their items. They prepared to leave in the evening. All the props and costumes were sent into the lorries. Lin Dongshi did the accounting of the items while Luo Li did a headcount. Yu Guanze and Li Xueying were discussing the script.
Old Tao suddenly shouted, “Venerable Fangzheng, why are you here? Is it because you miss us?”
When everyone heard that, they subconsciously looked over. They saw Fangzheng looking calm. His smile had a look of relief as he walked over. An embarrassed Monkey followed him in tow. He would cover his face every two steps.
“Venerable Fangzheng, are you here to send us off?” joked a woman.
Li Xueying and Yu Guanze looked over as well when they heard the commotion. Li Xueying looked at the calm Fangzheng and had an ominous feeling. She thought, “Is this monk crazy?”
Fangzheng shook his head. “Amitabha. This Penniless Monk is here to apologize.”
“Apologize?” Everyone was stunned. Through the interactions they had for the past few days, everyone knew Fangzheng’s character. He was an extremely kind monk and his smile radiant. He treated all of them well. No one had a bad impression of him.
Li Xueying knew that something was amiss! Just as she was about to stand up to stop him, she saw Fangzheng cast his gaze at her. His eyes were limpid and untainted. Li Xueying sighed when she saw those eyes. She knew that Fangzheng would not be the man he was if he did not confess the matter. The reason why he gave people that feeling of cleanliness was because his heart was clean, with no room for any impurities. If he did not confess, the stain would only accumulate in his heart…
Only when Fangzheng saw Li Xueying’s inaction did he speak up, “A few days, many of you lost your items. It was actually This Penniless Monk’s fault.”
“What?!” Many exclamations sounded, especially the men. They looked astounded before they looked at Fangzheng oddly. It was not disgust. Instead, it was a form of awe and a hint of playfulness.
Even Lin Dongshi covered his face as he grumbled, “Holy shit, Master is truly a good example of our generation. F**k, he should have given me one of the undergarments. I can ignore the rest, but I’m willing to spend all my wealth to buy Xueying’s…”
Luo Li instantly rolled his eyes at him. “Good for nothing… I just want Xiaoliu’s.”
Lin Dongshi: “#$%$#…”