Fangzheng smiled. “Patron, you saved someone valiantly. You will probably be commended.”
Wang Yougui chuckled. Clearly, he shared the same thought. He had not thought further when he attempted to rescue the trio. Who wouldn’t be happy with the benefits one received after a successful rescue?
Wang Yougui floored the accelerated and departed with Fangzheng and Monkey.
The villagers on the bridge heaved a collective sigh of relief after seeing the trio rescued. They went their separate ways. Some people pushed Hong Qianxi and Hong Qianjie’s bicycles to the side. Then, they squatted there to chat, so that they could keep watch on the brothers’ bicycles.
On the ambulance.
“Nurse, what I said is… Ah choo… is true! A water ghost really pulled us out of the water,” bawled Hong Qianjie. The nurse sneered at him. Only a ghost would believe him.
Hong Qianxi smirked. “My brother isn’t lying. When I dived into the water, I saw him. He was a monk dressed in white robes. Unfortunately, I failed to make out his appearance.”
The nurse curled her lips and smiled. “Please, our two great heroes, can we not keep talking about ghosts? It’s not funny at all.”
The Hong brothers were rendered speechless. No one believed the truth in this day and age. They preferred to believe people made things up or were joking.
The woman was lying in bed, receiving even more checkups. She had also woken up by now. She confirmed their story, “There was really a ghost. He touched my feet. It was terrifying.”
Hong Qianjie rolled his eyes. “Sister, it’s freezing cold in April. Why the heck did you jump into the river… Ah… Ah choo! Ah?”
The woman frowned. “Who would want to die if they can live on…”
With that said, the woman turned around and fell silent.
Hong Qianjie curled his lips. “Then will you be returning to jump into the river?”
“Not anymore,” she replied.
“It’s good that you have thought things through.”
“There’s a ghost in the river. It’s too scary… Even if I were to jump, I wouldn’t jump into that river.”
Hong Qianjie: “@#[email protected]…”
At the hospital, with the development of the situation, the woman’s family arrived as well. What left the Hong brothers extremely gloomy was that the reason for the woman’s suicide attempt was only because she had broken up with her boyfriend! With her family persuading her, the woman finally thought things through. Especially when she learned that the Hong brothers had nearly died while saving her. The fearful thought caused her to break out in cold sweat. By the time she wanted to thank them for rescuing her, the both of them had already left the hospital.
And at that moment, Fangzheng was also pondering a question.
“System, This Penniless Monk saved three people this time. Shouldn’t there be a huge draw this time?”
“Yes, are you sure you want to draw now?” asked the System.
Fangzheng shook his head. “Not now. Wait till I return home, bathed and changed clothes. I’ll pray to Buddha and raise my favor with the world to its pinnacle. By the way, let me ask you a more practical question. I gain merit saving others and doing good deeds. I can also have a draw at the lottery. There are many benefits. But like the two heroes from before. They did a good deed but will they receive any benefits? If I had not helped them, they would be in trouble. Not only would they not be able to save that woman, they would have lost their lives.”
“Everyone suffers their own tribulations. Anyone who saves another person will gain merit. Those with great merit will automatically nullify one tribulation. This is not something that can be seen… but, if someone sacrifices their life to do good, their merit will be bestowed onto their family and descendants. At the same time, they will also have priority to be reincarnated into a good family during Samsara. Their next life would be more comfortable.”
Fangzheng scratched his head, “Isn’t none of that concrete? Who can predict future tribulations? Benefiting one’s family is something even less concrete. Furthermore, there are many patriots whose descendants do not appear to lead a better life according to the news. They suffer even more.”
The System bleeped in answer, “I’m talking simply about the usage of merit. What you mentioned involves a lot of things in multiple aspects. Merit can be used to nullify negative karma. At times, things you think are right might not be the right thing to do in the end. Doing those things will instead generate negative karma. This is something unavoidable for ordinary people. But from the people’s point of view , they did nothing wrong. Therefore, Buddha described the secular world as hell, a big dyeing tub. If you aren’t careful, you might be covered in negative karma without even knowing it.”
When Fangzheng heard that, he was shocked. “Aren’t… aren’t your standards opposite from the values of everyone else? That doesn’t sound like the right thing to me. Buddhist cultivation is about cultivating the mind and body. By treating them as Buddha… wouldn’t it make everyone in the world evil?”
“Of course not. Good people will always do more good than bad. It is only necessary for their merit to be greater than their negative karma. Even the mediocre can have merit to nullify it. Only the evil will be filled with negative karma, unable to enter Samsara, with only hell left as their destination.”
Fangzheng said ruminatively, “I think I kind of understand. But aren’t there any material benefits? If not, being a good person and doing good deeds is just too disadvantageous.”
“With a lot of merit, one’s luck will flow. For example, the duo from before. If you have the chance, look at them carefully and you will understand.” With that said, the System came to a slight pause before continuing, “Of course, you can always help them.”
“Oh? How do I help?” Fangzheng was stunned. He only knew how he could bring terror on others. He never knew he could help others.
“Figure it out yourself.”
Fangzheng was rendered speechless. The System was indeed unreliable. While conversing with the System, Fangzheng had arrived outside Hongyan Monastery’s entrance. Fangzheng got off the motorbike with Monkey as Wang Yougui dashed straight for Hongyan Village’s Countryside Commission.
This was not the first time Fangzheng was coming to Hongyan Monastery but he realized that everytime he came, there was always something new. It was thriving.
“Venerable Fangzheng!” At that moment, Fangzheng heard a familiar voice and looked over. It was the repentant young monk, Hong Xiang. Hong Xiang appeared less witty now. His eyes had an enlightened look of wisdom. He now looked more like a proper monk.
After experiencing the crossing the river on a reed, Hong Xiang was completely enlightened. Hence, he was even more respectful towards Fangzheng. When he heard that Fangzheng was participating in the Dharma Assembly, he nearly waited at the entrance every day. If he did not have things to do in the monastery, he would have ran to One Finger Monastery to bring Fangzheng here.
Fangzheng was like a living Buddha in his heart. Once he saw Fangzheng, he was delighted. He rushed forward to bow.
“Amitabha. Venerable Hong Xiang, long time no see.” Fangzheng had no airs. Although he was an abbot which meant he held a higher status than an acolyte monk like Hong Xiang, the only difference Fangzheng felt was that they belonged to different monasteries. There was no reason for him to be arrogant.
“Venerable Fangzheng, hehe. It’s really been a while. Well… Abbot is waiting for you. This Penniless Monk will bring you to him.” Hong Xiang was a little lost for words.
Fangzheng did not mind as he followed Hong Xiang into Hongyan Monastery.
Past the main door was a huge hall. In the middle of the hall, a golden large-bellied Maitreya Buddha with a relaxed smile was consecrated. But beside it were two towering godly figurines that were dressed in armor. They looked stern with their feet on ghouls. They held four different kinds of weapons. All of them looked awe-inspiring. Fangzheng knew that they were the Four Heavenly Kings of Buddhism.