Fangzheng was ambivalent towards such a way of bringing him up. The outcome of completely having a hands-off approach left him unfettered for years. After growing up, he was still full of it and spouted vulgarities all the time. Although he had been enlightened in particular philosophies of life and on how to be a better person, he was ultimately an ordinary child who had not received higher education. No matter what Zen Master One Finger did in his hopes that Fangzheng would figure things out by himself, how much could Fangzheng really comprehend by himself? As for why he did see some merit to it, it was because Zen Master One Finger had given him a happy childhood. His true nature had not changed. He was still himself, the Fangzheng from years ago!
Even though the sudden appearance of the System had shackled him somewhat, he had soon gotten accustomed to it. He could not curse? Although he would occasionally burst out, not being able to curse did not seem to influence his life. As for maintaining the forbearance of a master in front of others, it was already something Fangzheng had to do. Regardless, by acting as a master, he could accumulate more merit to expedite his early renouncement!
As he considered his situation and then looked at Red Boy, Fangzheng was increasingly certain of his educational style. The present Red Boy was wilder than he had been. Therefore, he had to roughen up Red Boy appropriately. In addition, he had to forbid him from having thoughts of killing people without much thought. He would then begin guiding and reforming him. The rest would be left to Red Boy to figure out by himself. The earlier he gained enlightenment, the earlier he would be released. If he took too long, he could stay and attend Fangzheng’s wake.
To be honest, Fangzheng did not have much confidence in reforming the fierce Red Boy.
Red Boy refused to eat lunch and sat there in a daze.
“Jingxin, why aren’t you eating?”
Red Boy held up his chin and continued looking forward, speaking with a disparaging look, “I’ve had enough. Although I no longer vomit, I lose interest… just looking at food. I really don’t understand all of you. Aren’t you sick of eating the same thing day in and day out? How can this white rice with some lousy vegetables be as delicious as meat? Master, I’ve seen monks on Mount Numinous eat meat. Why is meat forbidden here? Did that old witch also-”
Red Boy immediately changed his sentence. “Did Bodhisattva trick you?”
Lone Wolf secretly stole a glance at Fangzheng when he heard the conversation. Although Crystal Rice was delicious, Lone Wolf was a wolf after all. He still had a penchant for meat.
Fangzheng knew that Lone Wolf must have long thought of the question. He just had not dared to ask. Since Red Boy had raised the question, he did not mind giving an explanation.
Fangzheng put down his chopsticks and sat straight up. “Do you know why monks do not eat meat?”
Red Boy rolled his eyes. “If I knew, would I have asked?”
Fangzheng ignored him and looked at the three animals. Indeed, they shook their heads. Fangzheng continued, “In the Buddhist scripture, Buddhist Precepts, it is stated clearly that there is no vegetarianism rule for Buddhists. What Buddhists are forbidden from eating are calledhun. The term is not what we presently understand when referring to meat from animals such as chicken, ducks, fish or other animal products. What we talk about when we say meat is labeled fetid in Buddhism. Furthermore, the word is not readhunbutxunin the Buddhist scriptures. The meaning ofxunrefers to the pungent vegetables. As the saying goes, among all vegetables,hunis the smelliest. The Brahmajala Sutra speaks about it in greater detail: A disciple of the Buddha should not eat the five pungent spices. Garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and asafoetida are the five pungent spices.Hunrefers to these five spices. Remember, the Five Spices also do not refer to these five vegetables. Instead, it refers to all pungent vegetables. As such pungent vegetables are not to be eaten.”
“The radical of the wordhunrefers to plants and not meat. It elucidates the original meaning that it refers to plants and not animals. Therefore, the earliest monks were permitted to eat meat.”
“However, there are always exceptions.”
“About fourteen hundred years ago during the Southern Dynasties, Xiao Yan, Emperor Wu of Liang, made a change.”
“Xiao Yan himself was a Buddhist. How deeply did he believe in Buddhism? To describe his fervor you could say that in order to become a Buddhist, he really racked his brains. He renounced his throne and gave up his beautiful harem. All he wanted to do was to be a monk. He even called himself the slave of the Triple Jewel. Even worse, in order to be a monk in peace, he even offered himself to the service of Buddha at Tongtai Monastery.”
“Unfortunately, that was an era where the emperor ruled over the world. There was no such thing as a deputy emperor who could take the place of the emperor when the emperor was spending time in the monastery reciting scriptures. Instantly, the entire country fell into chaos. The officials were helpless. They held many meetings on this matter. No matter how headstrong he was, the country needed a ruler! Therefore, after much thought, everyone finally came up with an idea. They ransomed him with funds paid by the national treasury!”
“Therefore, these officials brought the money to Tongtai Monastery and forcibly ransomed the emperor. However, this emperor was quite an oddity. You ransomed me? I’ll offer myself again! The officials acted tit-for-tat. We’ll ransom you while you offer yourself! The money was the country’s anyway!”
“This continued on, benefiting Tongtai Monastery in the process. However, Tongtai Monastery also knew that this could not continue. The present emperor was a fervent Buddhist. If the emperor was changed, the new emperor might find his predecessor a sore sight. He might also take action against them considering how they were rich. With Xiao Yan adamant about being a monk, no one could do a thing.”
“It shows how fervent a Buddhist Xiao Yan was. He later read the precept of refraining from killing. He pondered over it and believed that merely banning the killing of creatures was insufficient. Nothing would happen if there were no buyers and sellers. If no one ate meat, who would kill? Therefore, he gave the restraining order, banning all monks from eating meat. He also extended his rule to deities and ancestors. All of them shared the same treatment as monks. It also meant that in the sacrificial offers to the heavens, deities and ancestors, one could not use the three sacrifices such as pig heads. All of them switched to pig heads or pig meat made of flour.”
“And it was from that moment forth that the rule of monks not being able to eat meat was established. However, it has been so many years since the Southern Dynasties era. Besides, they never unified the country and the influence their rule had could hardly affect far into the future.”
“However, when Kumrajva translated the Buddhist scriptures, he added the rule of not eating meat into the Bodhisattva Pratimoksa Sutra. The original precepts in the Bodhisattva Pratimoksa Sutra were long gone. What the preceding generations read were whatever Kumrajva translated, so they naturally saw that meat was to be abstained. However, it is only encouraged and not a hard and fast rule. After all, Kumrajva had married his younger cousin. This was also the beginning of the precept’s proliferation, and it had widespread influence.”
“The rule of monks not being able to eat meat also became a hard and fast rule when Zen Buddhism flourished in the Tang Dynasty. In the Pure Rules of Baizhang, it clearly stipulated that monks were not to eat meat but in the beginning, it was only targeted at martial monks. Later, it became a requirement for all monks.”
“Even so, a monk’s choice on whether to eat meat depends on the situation. It is not a sweeping rule.”
“Buddhism is split into the Mahayana and Hinayana branches. The Mahayana doctrine is about the liberation of all beings. Salvation is obtained by devoting oneself to the mindfulness of the Buddha. Therefore, no meat is to be eaten. That was also Xiao Yan’s principle. If no one eats, there is no need for any animal to be killed.”
“The Hinayana aims to gain enlightenment for oneself and not all beings. Therefore, it permits eating three kinds of ‘clean meat.’ The three refer to meat that is seen, heard, or suspected to be specially killed for the monk.”
“As for the Bhikkhu sick, or in other words, sick monks, they are permitted to eat meat due to humanitarian policies for they deserve special care. Now, monks in India, Sri Lanka, and minorities in China’s Inner Mongolia, Tibet, and Dai are permitted to eat meat.”
“Master, I understand. We are from the Mahayana doctrine, right? We want to liberate people so we are forbidden from eating meat!” Squirrel was the first to raise his claw as he shouted.