Ouyang Fenghua frowned. “Why would there be a rooster in the city? How strange.”
Fangzheng was just about to expose Red Boy when he saw a group of people with glazed over and reddened eyes walk into the restaurant. All of them were grumbling angrily, “What the hell. Where did the rooster come from. That crowing nearly killed me!”
“Don’t let me find that rooster, or I’ll stew it!”
“How infuriating. I just had a dream of becoming rich, but How infuriating!”
“Let’s see if there’s chicken. I only want to eat chicken now!”
Upon hearing this, Fangzheng immediately swallowed the words he was about to say. As for Red Boy, he lowered his head to drink his congee in silence.
Ouyang Fenghua looked at the duo oddly. Something felt odd about the entire situation, but she did not think further about the matter and continued having her breakfast.
After breakfast, the trio left the hotel and got a car that went straight for Sunglow Monastery.
It was a lot easier traveling to Sunglow Monastery. It did not have a river like Baiyun Monastery which separated the monastery from land. A road led straight to Sunglow Monastery’s entrance. Although Fangzheng and co. had come early, there were quite a number of cars on the road. The cars kept close to each other as they kept inching forward. It was already noon by the time Fangzheng and company arrived at the entrance.
“Master, look at their entrance. This is what a huge monastery is!” Red Boy looked at the towering entrance with lucky beasts lining the sides. The top of the entrance was grand like flying dragons and dancing phoenixes. Engraved on it were the large words: Sunglow Monastery!
Ouyang Fenghua curled her mouth. “It’s just a bunch of stone sculptures. The most important words aren’t much! Master’s plaque is a lot better. Those words are what can be called beautiful.”
Red Boy shot a glance at Fangzheng. “Master, you have a braindead fan.”
Fangzheng smacked Red Boy in the back of his head. “Continue your nonsense, and you won’t be coming along the next time.”
Red Boy decisively shut up.
After stepping through the entrance, there was a long stone staircase. Sitting at the end of the staircase was a red hall. On it were three huge words: Heavenly Kings Hall!
At that moment, there was already a sizable crowd in front of the Heavenly Kings Hall. Most of the people there were monks. After all, the Dharma Assembly was tomorrow. Today was mainly for monks to register. There were also a bunch of devotees that had come to offer incense or join in the mood before the Dharma Assembly.
Sunglow Monastery’s Heavenly Kings Hall was even larger than Baiyun Monastery. The four Heavenly Kings that lined the set looked tall and mighty. The lesser ghosts at their feet looked lifelike. Sitting right in front of them was a large-bellied Maitreya Buddha. He was smiling with his mouth wide open. People who walked past would bow at the statue, offer three sticks of incense, and make a wish.
Beyond the Maitreya Buddha statue was the back door of the Heavenly Kings Hall. Standing there was a Skanda which had its demon-felling pestle held to the ground.
Red Boy curled his lips. “Such a huge monastery, yet it doesn’t even host traveling monks. How stingy.”
With regards to this, Fangzheng also frowned slightly. Certain monks were not restricted by monasteries and traveled the world. They would seek accommodation at the monasteries they came across on foot before continuing the next day. The hosting of traveling monks by monasteries represented a form of accommodation and generosity, depicting the concept that all monks in the world were one family. Under ordinary circumstances, only truly small monasteries would not host monks. For example, Baiyun Monastery would host monks, but Sunglow Monastery, which was a larger monastery, did not. It left Fangzheng a little baffled.
However, these were the affairs of others, and it was not his place to comment on it. Going past the Heavenly Kings Hall, there were more steps. Lining the sides of the steps were Arhat Trees. Twelve large ones were split into two, with six lining each side. Crossing another door was the Mahavira Hall. The incense cauldron spot in front of the Mahavira Hall was filled with incense sticks and visitors.
There was a tiny square in front of the Mahavira Hall. On it were extended tables with large words hanging over them: Monk Reception.
Many monks were participating in the registration before they were brought away by other monks.
Fangzheng immediately walked over with Ouyang Fenghua and Red Boy. When Fangzheng reported his name
“You have an invitation for being at the bottom of the mountain, so our monastery will not be providing you with lodging. I suggest you find accommodations at the village at the foot of the mountain. If you go early, there may still be vacancies. Any later, and there will not be any more vacancies.” The monk who was in charge of receiving the guests threw his invitation letter to the side and said impatiently.
Fangzheng asked baffled, “Does your esteemed monastery distinguish between monks?”
“Naturally. Can’t you see where you are? This is Sunglow Monastery! At our Sunglow Monastery’s annual Dharma Assembly, there are countless monks participating. If we do not have rules, wouldn’t everything be in chaos? There wouldn’t be enough meditation rooms no matter how many we have! Therefore we sent out invitations and ensured that there are enough spots. Alright, what needed to be said has been said. Go on down the mountain.” The monk waved his hand, chasing them away.
“Hey! How can you speak in this manner? Take a good look! Venerable Fangzheng is the abbot of One Finger Monastery! In terms of standing, he is Sunglow Monastery’s abbot’s equal! Yet, you said something like that? That’s ludicrous! This is the first time I’m seeing such an impatient monk!” Ouyang Fenghua fumed as she went forward to berate him.
When the monk heard that, he was slightly peeved. He shot a glance at Fangzheng before looking at Ouyang Fenghua. He said eccentrically, “One Finger Monastery? Never heard of it. It’s no wonder you don’t know the rules since you come from some tiny rural monastery. To bring a female companion around, it’s obvious you are no proper monk. Quickly leave or don’t blame This Penniless Monk from chasing you away.”
Ouyang Fenghua turned more infuriated. Just as she was about to flare up, Fangzheng stopped her and smiled. “Patron, there’s no need to get angry. We shall leave the mountain. Venerable One, please return the invitation letter to This Penniless Monk.”
“Invitation letter? You still want the invitation when you have a female companion with you? It’s already void and null. Return to wherever you came from.” After the monk said that, he put away Fangzheng’s invitation letter.
“Return the invitation!” Red Boy had been watching by the side amused since he enjoyed seeing Fangzheng suffering. However when he really saw Fangzheng suffer, he suddenly fumed for no reason as he shouted.
The monk was just about to speak when they heard a distant voice. “Aiyah, isn’t this the cheating monk? As a monk, it can be ignored that he got a room with a female at a hotel, but now, here he is, creating trouble at Sunglow Monastery. Hehe. This monk sure knows how to cause trouble! Venerable Tongguang, there’s no need to be angry. This person is scum among us Buddhists. It’s not worth it to be angry over such scum.”
Fangzheng frowned as he turned his head. He saw Zhiyun and Zhineng walk over. The both of them had walked out from the monks’ living quarters. Clearly they had arrived early at Sunglow Monastery and had already taken up residence. When Fangzheng saw Zhiyun winking at Tongguang, he immediately understood that Tongguang was not acting in accordance with the rules. Instead, he had been in cahoots with Zhiyun and Zhineng to give him trouble!
Upon seeing this, Fangzheng shook his head gently and thought to himself, “What a pity for such a huge and nice monastery.” Since he knew the reason for his treatment, Fangzheng’s displeasure was gone instead of turning worse. Since he was being targeted, it meant that he was not at fault. All he needed to do was resolve the problem.
“Master, you have become scum. What do we do?” Red Boy asked with his head tilted up.
Fangzheng smiled and was just about to say something when he heard a familiar voice from outside. “Scum? Haha! What a joke! If Venerable Fangzheng is scum, there is no one good in this world!”