Liu Tao chased Fangzheng.
Xiaolei and Xie Ming exchanged looks and were about to follow when they heard the foreman, “Liu Tao, what happened?!”
“Both of you go down and answer the foreman. I need to go up the mountain to thank the master monk!” shouted Liu Tao.
Xie Ming and Xiaolei had no choice but to descend the mountain to report.
“Heh heh… Keep up that story of yours. Go on! Why didn’t I realize that the both of you are rather talented when it comes to fabricating stories? With that skill of yours, why are the both of you doing construction work? You should be writing novels!” chuckled the foreman coldly after he heard the duo’s recount of the sequence of events.
What else could they say? Since he did not believe in the truth, they might as well…
Xie Ming sighed. “Alright, we will tell you the truth. A rock fell and Master instructed us to leave since it might be dangerous up there.”
“You should have said so earlier. Isn’t the truth so much simpler? Look at the foolish face on the both of you. You want to lie? You should think before you lie. Do you think I’m an idiot? No matter how foolish I am, I’d not be foolish enough to believe your lies! These sharp eyes of mine can tell when you are spouting bullshit, I am an expert bullshit detector! Alright, go back to work. I don’t have the time to waste it on the two of you.” After bragging a little, the foreman sent the duo back to work.
After Xiaolei and Xie Ming left, they exchanged looks before shaking their heads, mumbling, “Those sharp eyes of his have gone blind…”
Fangzheng was walking back up when he heard footsteps behind him. Yet he continued walking without pause.
After Liu Tao caught up to him, he realized that Fangzheng had no intention to stop. So instead of saying anything, he shut his mouth and followed silently.
After they reached the mountaintop and entered One Finger Monastery, Fangzheng turned around and pressed his palms together. “Amitabha, Patron, is there a reason why you followed This Penniless Monk all the way to One Finger Monastery?”
“Master, I’m here to thank you. If not for you, my life would be gone.” Liu Tao was a boorish man. He felt a little embarrassed thanking someone so sincerely.
Fangzheng smiled. “Everything is a mere result of fate. As This Penniless Monk said, This Penniless Monk saves the fated. Since you have been saved, that can be considered as conditioned Dharma. There’s no need for thanks.”
“That’s different. If not for you, my brains would have splattered all over the road. About that… Master, I’m a boor. How… do you think I should thank you.” Although Liu Tao was in the construction business, or in a way, an engineer, which to many was a glorified construction worker, he was a simple man and did things simply and frank. He was the kind of person that did not become indebted to others. He felt a little lost now that he was so indebted to Fangzheng.
Fangzheng smiled. “Patron, if you wish to thank This Penniless Monk, that’s simple. Go to Buddha and thank the Bodhisattvas.”
Liu Tao thought Fangzheng would make other requests but he never expected it to be so simple. He blinked, “Just that?”
“What else should a monk ask for?” Fangzheng retorted with a small smile. Fangzheng did wish for more acts of gratitude but they could not be used for meals. What use were they to him? Fangzheng did not place much importance on incorporeal matters. In contrast, giving him some money that was not incense offerings was a nice act. Unfortunately, there was no way for him to collect money in that manner with the System watching him. As for the incense money… Fangzheng felt embarrassed to ask for it. He decided to leave it up to to fate.
Liu Tao stared at Fangzheng intently. He found his eyes extremely bright and simple. He was untainted by the base world, nor did he have a scheming mind. He knew that the monk in front of him truly had no other intentions. All he wanted was for him to thank the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Liu Tao could not help but sigh inwardly, “This is a true monk and all they represent! Indeed, one cannot judge a book by its cover. Age does not determine the level of one’s attainment in the Buddhist Dharma. It’s the heart that counts!”
Liu Tao walked into the temple hall. He chose the high incense and paid respects to Buddha. When he touched his wallet, he nearly cried. Why would he bring his wallet up the mountain to do work? All he had was some spare change on him to occasionally buy some beverages. Great. All he could rummage from his pockets was about ten yuan…
Liu Tao did not turn back but his face was flushed red. He had been saved by Fangzheng and he burned his high incense but he lacked the money for it! The miserable feeling… embarrassed him enough to not dare turn back at Fangzheng.
Fangzheng was completely unaware of what was happening inside the temple. Instead, he waited outside quietly. It was disrespectful to watch as another person pays his respects to Buddha.
After a while, Liu Tao came out with an ashamed look on his face. He fidgeted mumbled quietly, “Master… Can I… owe you for now?”
Fangzheng was taken aback. Owe him? Ignoring the moment since he took over One Finger Monastery, he had never heard of anyone owing donations to a monastery!
Fangzheng blinked, “Patron, what do you mean?”
Liu Tao’s face darkened to a deeper red. “Well… Well… Aiyah, Master wait a moment. I’ll be back soon!”
Liu Tao ran outside. After taking two steps, he ran back. He placed a somewhat old cell phone by the door. “Master, I’ll leave my cell phone here. I will come for it later.” Liu Tao dashed off
Fangzheng was dumbfounded. What was going on?
Moments later, Fangzheng finally realized what was happening. He looked at the high incense that was burning in the temple hall and the miserable ten yuan in the Merit Box. He laughed helplessly. “System, can donations be owed?”
“Ding! Money is worth something but kindness and genuine thoughts are priceless. “What do you think?” asked the System.
Fangzheng smiled. “So giving money doesn’t matter. Why don’t you waive the money of high incense?”
“Buddhist scriptures are not something readily instructed. Similarly, kindness is not something to be easily given. If too much is given, it becomes worthless.”
Fangzheng was somewhat enlightened. He had seen the news on the Internet. There were two children whose fathers knew each other. One of them was diligent and the other lazy. The lazy one never did work while the diligent one would always help him with the household chores and prepare his meals. The lazy one was extremely grateful and treated the diligent one as his best friend. But the lazy one got accustomed to it after seven years of such care… One day, the diligent person did not come to the lazy person’s home. Tortured by his hunger, the lazy man went to find the diligent man. He realized that the diligent man was dating someone. He fumed and shouted, “You didn’t spend time taking care of me and are here gallivanting?” Next, he picked up a vegetable knife and seriously injured the other man…
Fangzheng sighed when he recalled this anecdote. One could be a good person but one must not make a person get accustomed to such kindness. Otherwhise it would not be kindness but the nurturing of evil.
Fangzheng looked at the cell phone by the door and shook his head helplessly. “This man sure is pragmatic. He’s afraid that I would think that he had run off. Did he leave his cell phone here as a promise to return?”
Fangzheng shook his head and did not touch the cell phone. He sat down under the bodhi tree and waited patiently.
Monkey looked at Fangzheng and then the cell phone in his hand. Next, he looked at the cell phone by the door and felt intrigued. He went over, hoping to touch it.
“Monkey, you can touch things that belong to you but you are not to touch things that do not belong to you.” Fangzheng’s voice suddenly sounded.
Monkey pouted and retracted his arm. He kept staring at the cell phone. Clearly, he could not repress the curiosity in him. Although Fangzheng always had a cell phone, he had only seen Fangzheng use it. Having a cell phone of his own was still quite an alluring preposition. All he could do was shake his head when he thought of Fangzheng’s words. All he could do was look on enviously.