Upon realizing that, the way he looked at Fangzheng was filled with awe and fear. He did not say a word and, without Fangzheng’s urging, carried the water buckets down the mountain.
Monkey scratched his head and stood at the door. As he watched Zhou Wu run down the mountain, he asked Fangzheng curiously, “Master, isn’t this guy being too enthusiastic? Could it be that he’s being wily, running away with our water buckets? Those are the only big buckets we have.”
Fangzheng was stunned. He realized that the buckets were indeed quite precious. However, he shook his head with a smile when he thought of Zhou Wu, “He won’t. He will work even harder as time goes by.”
“Are you sure?” Monkey was skeptical about it and ended up standing by the door. He was curious about the number of buckets the human would be able to persist.
This time, Zhou Wu filled up both buckets. He clenched his teeth and carried them up the mountain. When he poured their content into the Buddha Vat, he immediately used the water in the Buddha Vat as a reflection. Indeed, the moles on his face had reduced again, exactly the size of a fingernail! It also meant that two full buckets of water could only remove moles the size of a fingernail! Half-full buckets could only remove moles half the size of a fingernail.
After coming to this conclusion, the exhausted Zhou Wu, who could hardly feel his legs, immediately turned spirited. Without a word, he charged out with the buckets. He even stirred a wind behind him.
Monkey scratched his head, mumbling, “Did he really get addicted to fetching water? That can’t be, right?”
With the passage of time, villagers began coming up the mountain. Some were there to dig for bamboo shoots, while others were there to pay their respects to Buddha. However, when they saw Zhou Wu, they immediately looked strangely at him. Zhou Wu was no stranger to them. He had dug up bamboo shoots haphazardly and news of moles growing on his face had long spread.
When they suddenly saw Zhou Wu going up and down the mountain fetching water, they exchanged looks and discussed in secret.
“Did you see that? It’s that fellow. He was very fierce yesterday and now, he’s obediently fetching water. Heh heh. Look at that face full of black hair. Retribution.”
“What Man does, Heaven watches. It is only right that one should do less wicked deeds.”
“The gods are watching. How one acts has to be reasonable.”
Zhou Wu heard all of that, and his face oscillated between a blushed red and fuming lividness, but due to the moles and hair on his face, no one could tell. Zhou Wu had the intention to curse back, but recalling how his actions had brought him to his present state, he gave up that thought completely. He fetched the water obediently and ignored what the people said.
Ge Yan and her child waited a long time at the foot of the mountain but did not see Zhou Wu. Finally, she could not help but scale the mountain with the child to look for him. On the way, they saw Zhou Wu fetching water. She immediately turned anxious, shouting, “Old Zhou, what are you doing? Why are you fetching the water?”
Zhou Wu smiled bitterly, “Do you think I want to? Look at my face. Are there any changes?”
Ge Yan went forward to take a look and exclaimed, “There are fewer moles!”
“That’s right. Every time I carry two buckets of water up, the number of moles decreases a little. Tell me, should I fetch the water or not?”
“But Isn’t that too exhausting?” Ge Yan looked at the huge buckets and felt her heart ache for her husband.
“Exhausting? That doesn’t matter. After going up and down the mountain several times, I started thinking. I now understand things that I have never thought about before or formerly failed to understand. Tell me, why did we act so foolishly yesterday? It was only digging bamboo shoots, so why did we need to cause so much trouble? It’s because I met such a monk that I only grew moles. If I encountered someone that was not to be offended, what would have happened to me? If the person with such divine powers wasn’t a monk but a homicidal maniac, we might have been dead without realizing why. Brother mentioned to me in the past already that I should change my character and that if I continued in my ways, I wouldn’t survive long even if I was quite rich. Ge Yan, tell me your opinion. Do you think this is a little cowardly? Like I’m someone’s toady grandson? Not manly enough?” With that said, Zhou Wu briskly went down the mountain.
Ge Yan looked at Zhou Wu’s departing back and suddenly realized that the man in front of her was a little unfamiliar to her, but She realized that she preferred him that way!
Ge Yan chased up to him while carrying Zhou Wenwu. “Old Zhou, I realize you are even more manly today! I was at fault in this matter too. If I were not such a shrew, I wouldn’t have given you such trouble. My mom used to say that a good wife is able to end wars with her mouth and not send her husband to the battlefield. I did not understand it in the past, but I now understand. In the future, we will be good people. Wenwu, you are not to be like how your father was in the past. Don’t be a bully, do you understand?”
The little fatty nodded immediately when he heard that. If his father had been taught a lesson, how would he dare keep out of line?
Ge Yan accompanied Zhou Wu in fetching water the entire time. They spent the entire day and with that, slightly fewer than half the moles on Zhou Wu’s face were removed. The trio stayed the night at the foot of the mountain. At dawn the next day, Zhou Wu went up the mountain once again. Without Fangzheng’s instruction, he began fetching water.
This continued for three days before Zhou Wu’s moles were completely removed.
Under the bodhi tree three days later.
Zhou Wu put the water buckets down and came in front of Fangzheng. He bowed politely, “Thank you Master for your teachings.”
Fangzheng smiled, “All you gained was through your own enlightenment. This Penniless Monk was only a witness.”
Zhou Wu shook his head, “If not for Master’s guidance, I would probably still foolishly think that I’m only second to heaven and earth. If I got my family into meaningless trouble because of my crappy attitude, it would be too late for regret. Master, you made me understand a fundamental truth. The gods are watching and there are always people and things that one cannot offend. If one is to live and let live, there will be peace.”
Fangzheng got up slowly when he heard that. With palms pressed together, he bowed at Zhou Wu, “Amitabha!”
Zhou Wu, together with Ge Yan and Zhou Wenwu, went to the temple hall to offer three sticks of incense to pray for peace and thank Bodhisattva. After they left the monastery, Zhou Wu turned back and looked at the white-robed monk underneath the bodhi tree. He could not help but ask, “Master, I always had this question on my mind.”
“Make way!” However, before Fangzheng could say a word, he heard a fierce voice behind him. Zhou Wu turned back and saw Red Boy carrying two huge brimming buckets of water over. He subconsciously made way. Red Boy raised his foot and stepped across the door sill. Zhou Wu saw the entire process of Red Boy taking light-footed steps into the backyard.
Upon seeing this scene, Zhou Wu smiled wryly, “Master, I no longer have any questions.”
That’s right. Zhou Wu was constantly puzzled if Red Boy could carry the two buckets of water. He wasn’t sure whether Fangzheng had known he would come and deliberately tricked him by getting two huge buckets to put up an act. From the looks of it now, he had been overthinking things. At the same time, he was more certain that the people in the monastery were filled with wonders! An abbot that could make his face grow moles, a six-year-old child being able to carry more than a hundred kilograms like it was nothing. Although Monkey was a monkey, he had a Zen-like nature to him All of these left him all the more bewildered.
As such, when Zhou Wu reached the foot of the mountain and turned back, he still felt as though he were lost in a dream, unable to tell reality from illusion.
“Dear, tell me. Have I been dreaming for the past three days?” Zhou Wu asked on the way.
“I don’t know. I’m a little dazed as well.”
“Dad! Mom! Let’s eat bamboo shoots!” Zhou Wenwu offered the bamboo shoots as he enjoyed his share.
The both of them looked at the bamboo shoots and exchanged looks. They were simultaneously amused. It did not appear to be a dream.