Fangzheng could only smile wryly. This was not the first time he encountered this situation. Ever since he gained a little fame on the Internet, there were many people who would come just to take pictures with him. Incense offerings were only done in passing. Fangzheng had a nagging feeling that these female patrons were not here to offer incense to pray for blessings but here to sexually harass him! If he were an ordinary person, he would be the victim of such harassment but… he was a monk! He was a monk who could easily have his thoughts led astray, only to be struck by lightning! The situation sucked, it made him feel terrible!
But how was he to reject them? Fangzheng could not find a suitable explanation. Under ordinary circumstances, as long as photos were not taken of the Buddhist statues in the monastery, there were no other things to take note of. Even if one wanted to take a picture of the Buddha statue, that was fine. One had to take a full picture of the statue and not pictures that only captured half a head or something similar.
Of course, most people did not encourage taking pictures of Buddha statues. What was one to use it for after snapping one? Use it for consecration at home? Clearly, that was impossible. If it was not used for consecration but left collecting dust, it was a show of disrespect to Buddha.
Many people also claim that a monastery has many spirits who visit the monastery to listen to the scriptures or imbibe on the incense. It was easy to snap pictures of the supernatural. Fangzheng only smiled in silence regarding such explanations.
In summary, Fangzheng still had reason to object to the snapping of the Buddha statues but for a person?
“Thank you, Abbot!” The two girls ran away happily.
Fangzheng looked at the girls’ departing backs as he could not help but sigh inwardly. “Should This Penniless Monk collect a fee? Perhaps this is a way to get rich…”
He suddenly heard a familiar voice.
“Venerable Fangzheng, it’s been a while!” Following that, a petite figure appeared in front of Fangzheng. She was none other than the female streamer, Zhu Lin, who he had met on the way to Baiyun Monastery.
“Amitabha. Female Patron, it’s really been a while.” Fangzheng pressed his palms together.
“Venerable Fangzheng, I’m here to rub off some of your popularity. Can I have a picture with you, pretty please? It’s best if it’s a live broadcast,” requested Zhu Lin as though they were old friends.
Fangzheng decisively shook his head. He had seen her stream live before. She seemed to change into a complete person during her broadcasts and every word she said made him turn red. Therefore, he said, “Female Patron, a picture would do but not a live broadcast.”
“That would do. Here, pose. Smile!” Zhu Lin immediately closed in on Fangzheng. She also knew that he was a young innocent virgin so she maintained a safe distance. With a snap, she ran to the side to do a live broadcast. “Guys, take a look. I didn’t lie to you right? I came after I made the promise to hit on the monk!”
“Do we look intimate enough? You really want me to have a relationship with Master? Come, report your location. I’ll travel there to beat you up…”
“I’m not joking. Master is formidable. I have great respect for him. Scram. You are the demoness. Your whole family is to be vanquished!”
Not a while later, Zhu Lin put away her cell phone and went to offer incense.
After offering incense and making her wish, Zhu Lin looked at Fangzheng’s backyard out of curiosity. “Venerable Fangzheng, can I take a look?”
Fangzheng had just sent two people away after taking a picture with them. He had no way to reject Zhu Lin’s request since he had once stayed at her place. Hence, he nodded. He allowed Monkey to lead her there. Monkey was overjoyed with the instruction. He finally did not need to be pulled around by those ravenous people who kept snapping pictures of him. The snapping sounds really made him want to snap their necks! If not for Fangzheng’s putting up with it, he would have long run up the trees to hide. Now, with a perfect reason to leave, he was overjoyed. He beckoned for Zhu Lin and ran to the backyard.
Fangzheng shook his head gently. Monkey’s character still needed some training…
The moment after he sighed, a middle-aged man walked over. He took out his cell phone and without a thought, took a photo. Fangzheng realized that he too needed training…
When it was almost noon, the visitors finally dispersed. Fangzheng heaved a sigh of relief and planned on returning to his backyard to take a look.
Suddenly, he heard a series of footsteps behind followed by a reprimanding voice. “You darn brat. Come over here!”
Fangzheng turned back at saw a middle-aged woman wearing a cleaner’s attire. She was dragging a boy towards him. He looked about ten years old. The boy kept struggling and did not appear willing to proceed. He did not cry either. He had a stubborn look of disgruntlement.
Fangzheng walked over perplexed. He pressed his palms together, “Amitabha. Patron, what are you two doing?”
When the woman saw Fangzheng, she huffed, “This child has been possessed. I heard that this place is really efficacious, so I brought him here for you to take a look.”
Fangzheng was taken aback. Possessed?
Fangzheng opened his Wisdom Eye and looked at the boy. Man, the child had immense negative karma! Black aura lingered around him. The woman, on the other hand, looked normal. Although there was some negative karma, it was very little. Most of it was golden merit aura.
Fangzheng knitted his brows. “Female Patron, This Penniless Monk is One Finger Monastery’s abbot, Fangzheng. What do you mean by possession? From what This Penniless Monk can tell, this child must have done something terribly wrong. But this should have nothing to do with possession.”
The woman was stunned when she heard that Fangzheng was One Finger Monastery’s abbot. She had only brought the child here because she heard that Mt. One Finger had a very efficacious monastery. She was not familiar with the place and she never expected the abbot to be such a young monk! Could such a young monk be well-versed in the Buddhist Dharma? Could he resolve her problems?
Although the woman was filled with such questions, she did not have her hopes up when it came to Fangzheng. She thought, “I probably came to the wrong place or was tricked.” But since she was here to make a last ditch effort. “This child used to be very obedient but I have no idea why he suddenly became obsessed with watching live broadcasts. He would even tip the streamer with my cell phone when I’m not paying attention. Tipping a few bucks would have been fine but…” With that said, the woman’s tears streamed down her face. Her eyes turned puffy as she raised her hand to give her son two slaps.
The child yelled in indignation, “So what if I spent a bit of money? Why?!”
The woman nearly flared up, having expected better from her son. “Abbot, look. Look at his eyes. Its so fierce. What thing other than possession could cause this? If he isn’t possessed, what good child would take the hard-earned money of his parents to give to others? Furthermore, he even gave tens of thousands!”
When Fangzheng saw how stubborn and indignant the child looked, he believed that he had only tipped the streamer with a few hundred. That would not have been a major issue but when he heard that the amount was in the tens of thousands, even Fangzheng wanted to slap the child twice! He had seen profligate sons, but he had never seen one as bad as this! Was earning money easy? If earning money was easy, would a mighty abbot like him have to be poor enough to dig up wild vegetables every day? Would he have to scam Squirrel for pine nuts so he would at least have a snack?
Fangzheng felt enraged when he saw the woman’s attire! The woman was clearly a cleaner. What a cleaner’s job? They would sweep the streets before dawn. They would work all day and it was a perfect example of those that did arduous hard work but never earn much. The average person would not do such a job.
How difficult was it for a cleaner to earn tens of thousands? Fangzheng had once seen a piece of news. The salary of a cleaner was only slightly more than a thousand! Deducting the living expenses from a thousand plus yuan, how much was left? The saving of tens of thousands of yuan would probably take years. Yet, the kid easily tipped a streamer with that amount of money and even felt indignant about his punishment?