“Are you asking my Dharma name or my actual name?” When Red Boy heard Letian speak up for him, he felt a lot better.
“Oh, actual name then. This child of yours is rather cute. Could his name be Red Boy?”
“My name is indeed Red Boy,” said Red Boy proudly as he lifted up his head.
“Uh” Perfected Letian was stunned as he looked at Red Boy and then Fangzheng.
Fangzheng pressed his palms together, “Amitabha, his name is indeed Red Boy.”
Perfected Letian laughed again, “That’s good. That’s really good. The Child of Wealth, isn’t it?”
Perfected Letian was a people person and was quite good at idle chat. He chatted with Fangzheng about everything under the sky and was quite a good conversationalist.
As for Fangzheng, he was also curious over some things about Daoism. “Perfected One, if This Penniless Monk isn’t wrong, your clothes are cassock robes, right?”
Perfected Letian blushed, “They are indeed cassock robes. There’s no other way about it due to poverty. Cassock robes are thick and when out, they won’t be easily torn when one sits anywhere.”
Fangzheng was surprised. Perfected Letian was really quite an adorable person. Anyway, cassock robes were indeed the clothes of choice for traveling Daoists. The reason was precisely because it was hardy!
“Perfected One, where is your Daoist temple?”
Perfected Letian pointed to the Mt. Tongtian range behind them, “Somewhere in the mountains. It can’t be considered a Daoist temple. It’s more like a thatched temple.”
“Then how do you settle your meals and drink?”
“Farming, weaving by myself. By being self-sufficient for food and clothing, it is quite a free life while feeding on the wind and drinking the dew.” As Perfected Letian said that, his eyes appeared rather proud and carefree. Clearly, he was not trying to keep up appearances but was someone who truly enjoyed such a life. Letian changed topics, “Venerable, This Penniless Priest actually came here for a request.”
When he said that, Perfected Letian blushed.
Fangzheng noticed that Perfected Letian wore his heart on his sleeve and found him quite an interesting person. “What is it? Perfected One, speak freely.”
“Uh, well I dug up some of those bamboo shoots of yours Well, uhm, how do you think I should paid for it?” Perfected Letian’s face turned even redder.
Fangzheng was stunned. He had dug up his bamboo shoots? Did Perfected Letian come up the mountain to dig? Why didn’t Lone Wolf mention it? Or did he zone out and not notice it?
With Fangzheng looking stunned, Perfected Letian mistook it as unhappiness. He turned even more embarrassed and said, “This Penniless Priest did not know that they had an owner. The bamboo grew to the foot of the mountain, and the boars were digging it up to eat, so This Penniless Priest dug two up as well. Only later did it come to my attention that the bamboo belongs to One Finger Village. This Penniless Priest went to seek out Village Chief Wang Yougui originally, but he said that the bamboo was yours. So”
Fangzheng was rendered speechless when he heard that. The Daoist priest was so unsophisticated that it bordered adorableness. He smiled and said, “Perfected One, you are too nice. Although the bamboo shoots source from This Penniless Monk’s side, it is no longer mine when it can grow all the way down. If you enjoy eating it, don’t mind it since you have already dug it.”
“Oh? But- Eh, are they really ownerless?”
Fangzheng smiled, “Of course. However, they will belong to the village in the future. Of course, if you wish to eat them, just dig them up.”
Perfected Letian smiled instantly, “Like that, This Penniless Priest can feel at ease. To be honest, the bamboo shoots are really delicious.”
Fangzheng waved his hand and Monkey brought a mountaintop bamboo shoot over. “There’s even better ones here. Do you want to try them, Perfected One?”
However, Fangzheng was caught by surprise when Letian shook his head, “No.”
Fangzheng asked perplexed, “Why?”
“There are countless good things in the world. How can all of them be in one’s possession? That’s what it means to be contented with what one has. Look at the sky and that azure blue. How beautiful it is. Unfortunately, some people think nothing of it when they see the sky daily. Must they really stay in a big city covered with smog to know what beauty is?” Once Letian finished his sentence, he stood up. “It’s not early. This Penniless Priest won’t disturb you any further. If you are ever free, you can come to the back mountain where This Penniless Priest’s Daoist temple is. Although it’s quite austere, it’s still a rather elegant piece of land.”
Fangzheng got up and said, “Definitely. By the way, might This Penniless Monk ask if there are other cultivators in the Mt. Tongtian mountain range?”
“There are. The Mt. Tongtian range is undisturbed, and it is quiet and peaceful. It is rich in produce, so there are people cultivating inside. According to what This Penniless Priest knows, there is a scholar who claims to be a student of Confucianism. He set up a residence inside.”
Fangzheng was astonished. He had not known of this in the past. All this time, he believed that Mt. One Finger was already at the outermost periphery. There was nothing further in other than bears or wolves, he believed. He never expected that people would go deep into the mountains to cultivate.
After sending off Perfected Letian, Fangzheng’s mind turned active. From the looks of it, he should visit the Mt. Tongtian range in the future.
“Master, we are disciples of Buddhism. Why did you chat with that Daoist Cow Snout for so long?” Red Boy asked perplexed.
“Why can’t we chat?”
“We believe in Buddha and he believes in the Dao. As the saying goes, there is little common ground for understanding between people of differing principles. It feels odd to see you together.”
Fangzheng chuckled, “That’s because you are overthinking things. It doesn’t matter what one believes in. What’s important is that a person is good. Besides, since time immemorial, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism have never had much conflict. On the contrary, they have been quite harmonious.”
“Are you serious? Your beliefs are different but you can mix with each other?” Red Boy was truly intrigued.
Fangzheng brought Red Boy out the monastery’s door and as they walked, he asked, “Then mention in detail what is different?”
Red Boy pouted his lips and frowned. Although he was a demon king, he had never traveled the world, so he was actually lacking in knowledge. However, being of pedigree birth, he still had some general knowledge. “The Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism you mentioned have different cultivation methods.”
Fangzheng smiled, “Confucianism cultivates in the Qi of righteousness. Buddhism cultivates in the Qi of harmony, while Daoism cultivates in the Qi of purity. All three are about Qi. Righteousness, Harmony, Purity, the three Qi are ultimately aiming for the same goal through different means. Together as one, isn’t what they seek the Qi of the Heaven and Earth?”
Red Boy turned silent as he said immediately, “Then Then, is not being the same good? The core isn’t the same.”
“How is it different? The way of Confucianism is about having a righteous heart. The way of Daoism is about having a naturally tempered heart and Buddhism seeks to cultivate a clear heart. Righteousness, tempered and clear. Aren’t all three in the pursuit of being true to oneself? It’s simply same goal through different means,” said Fangzheng. He had been reading Buddhist scriptures every day, and it was not for nothing. Buddhist scriptures never rejected the teachings of other schools of thought. On the contrary, he had even read some parts that extolled them. Furthermore, in many places, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism were indeed like one family. There was not as much conflict as people would imagine. True cultivators did not pursue fame and gain of the mortal world. By sharing with each other and gaining something in the process to bring one closer to one’s intrinsic heart in a bid to gain transcendence, why would there be so many scruples? Anyone that actually kicks up a fuss is unlikely to be a true cultivator.”