Hua Luo and company gave a few unresigned shouts when they realized the situation. However, Fangzheng’s calm voice sounded from inside, “Patrons, please return. If you wish to have some, remember to come early next year.”
Everyone resigned themselves to the situation and could only plead with Wang Yougui.
Hua Luo said, “Village Chief, we have known each other for so many years. We have also frequently helped your village. In your opinion, shouldn’t”
Wang Yougui said with a bitter smile, “You don’t know Fangzheng’s temper. He abides by his words. If he said there are none, it definitely means there are none. But on account of our good relationship, I’ll return and discuss with the others and see if we can share some with you.”
Hua Luo had lost all hope at obtaining the dumplings. With Wang Yougui saying that, he immediately beamed and was of course agreeable to the offer.
Therefore, the group of people descended the mountain noisily again. Wang Yougui had quite some authority in the village. After passing the word, the villagers did not act stingily. Every household contributed a few, allowing all the visitors to have one each. Those that had tasted it before carefully stored it away, hoping to return home to slowly savor it. As for those that had yet to try it, they impatiently unwrapped it to taste it. They were very curious about how tasty the dumplings exactly were to make all those people have the will to wait on the mountain an entire day!
But after eating their dumplings, all of them regretted.
“Aiyah, there’s none left to eat. What do I do if I still want more?”
“I regret it. I should have only taken half and put away the rest.”
“I just wanted to sample it, but why couldn’t I resist!”
And the person who regretted the most was the woman who had initially raised problems with Fangzheng’s dumplings. If she had not shot her mouth, she could have eaten at least a few by now. How regretful!
Regardless of how much they grumbled, the villagers had done their best. Furthermore, they had enjoyed the taste without spending any money! They were still pleased in the end no matter how displeased they were about having none left to eat. All of them soon drove of. However, all of them secretly remembered One Finger Monastery. They remembered the date and made a mental note about the day one year from then. They would definitely come early in the morning!
Simultaneously, all pictures of One Finger Monastery and the bamboo forest were shared. After receiving benefits from the villagers, everyone naturally did their best to flaunt One Finger Village. They also repeated the stories the villagers had shared with them. One of the most miraculous ones had to be Yang Hua’s successful bearing of a child.
One Finger Monastery became something people talked about over their meals. News of One Finger Monastery’s efficacy also reached one particular man as he was in the middle of eating a mantou. He looked up, thought about it, and put away the remaining half of the mantou.
A brand new day soon ushered in. The stir from the before also came to an end.
Before the sun appeared above the horizon, the sky had already turned bright. Ever since Red Boy explained what the rooster was shouting about, Fangzheng decisively set an alarm, and refused to listen to the rooster’s crowing. He kept feeling like the crowing was filled with ball-hurting pain.
After cleaning up the temple hall and eating breakfast, Fangzheng calmly opened the monastery’s door to see two people standing outside!
There was a man in black pants and a gray shirt. He wore long sleeves which he rolled up despite it being a hot day. Beside him was a young girl who was hugging a wool rabbit with one ear gone. The girl wore yellow clothes and red cropped trousers. She stood beside the man looking afraid. She was holding the man’s hand and was a little nervous. When she saw Fangzheng come out, she immediately hid behind the man.
The hair on the man’s sides was a little white. He did not look very old, but his eyes looked like he had experienced a lot.
Fangzheng pressed his palms together, “Amitabha. Good morning, Patrons.”
The man tried his best to force out a smile, “Venerable One, morning.”
“Amitabha. Please come on in, Patron.” People that came to the monastery were there almost without exception for Buddha. Therefore, Fangzheng naturally invited them in.
However, what left Fangzheng surprised was that the man did not walk in. Instead, he hesitated and asked, “Abbot, might I know if this place is really efficacious?”
Fangzheng had encountered this question too many times, so he casually replied, “Efficacy depends on sincerity.”
The man nodded and entered the monastery with the girl in tow. As he saw the lush bodhi tree, his frustrations were greatly attenuated due to the plaque’s Buddhist Dharma. The girl was no longer afraid either as she secretly smiled at Fangzheng.
Fangzheng smiled back in return.
The man led the girl to the entrance of the temple hall. When he saw the plaque there, a look of hesitation flashed in his eyes.
Fangzheng said softly, “The difference between high incense and ordinary incense is merely the shapes. It has nothing to do with one’s sincerity. If your mind is there, it’s there.”
The man heaved a sigh of relief and gave Fangzheng a grateful look. He led the girl into the temple hall and whispered, “Do whatever Daddy does, alright?”
“Okay,” the girl nodded obediently. Then, the man offered the incense and got the girl to kneel down with him as they prayed for something. After it was done, he left the temple hall with the girl and asked Fangzheng, “Venerable One, might I ask what time the monastery opens every day?”
“The daily opening time isn’t fixed.”
“Then could you open earlier?” asked the man after some hesitation.
Fangzheng was taken aback before he said with a smile, “Of course. Patron, what time do you want it to be open?”
“How about six?”
Fangzheng was stunned. That early? Although the amount of hours of daylight in the northeast increased after winter, with the sky lighting up early and it turning dark late, six in the morning was still a little early. However, Fangzheng still nodded when he noticed the embarrassed, anticipating look in the man’s eyes, “Sure.”
“Thank you very much, Venerable One.” The man heaved a sigh of relief and left with the girl.
Fangzheng silently activated his Heavenly Eye as he looked at their backs, but he did not detect anything. He activated his Wisdom Eye and also saw nothing
Fangzheng shook his head slightly and thought nothing of it.
Over the past few days, Red Boy would summon the rain at night. The nearby villages which were experiencing drought also needed rain. Claiming that he was too tired, he did no errands, sleeping until the point of waking up naturally every morning. His days were quite good. Fangzheng did not do anything to bother him on this matter. Instead, he placed a bunch of vessels in the yard to collect rainwater. Fter pouring that into the Buddha Vat, the taste of their water was identical.
After half a month of continuous rainfall, coupled with the villagers’ initiative to switch off the machinery at the wells, the soil quality was greatly boosted. The rainwater quickly penetrated it, and the water table accumulated. One Finger Spring was also spouting water again, but just not as much as before.
Thankfully, the villagers placed more attention to their environment now. The original river channel of One Finger Spring was also cleared up by them, mixing it with a stream from Mt. Tongtian, making it look quite scenic.
Seeing that One Finger Village was engaging in rural tourism, with their days getting better, the other villages turned envious as well. However, not having bamboo was a huge shortcoming! However, they did not lose heart. They began planting other fruits like watermelons and muskmelons. And One Finger Village was right in the middle of a whole lot of villages. Anyone that wanted to enter One Finger Village had to pass by these villages. Therefore, the villagers set up shop along the way, selling their vegetables and fruits which they promoted as organic and pesticide-free. They actually received good business! Immediately, the other villages also slowly changed their production development as a result of One Finger Village. Their quality of life and environment was improving, but the process was still very slow. They did not see any drastic changes in the short term.