Zhineng only wished to give Zhiyun a good beating when he saw him act that way! He was always causing messes that were double the trouble, but never did anything once the damage was done! For the first time, Zhineng regretted bringing Zhiyun into the monastery with him. Wasn’t he only inviting trouble for himself?
However Zhineng also knew that it was best if Zhiyun kept silent in such periods. The more he said, the more mistakes he would make. However Zhineng could not choose to do nothing. He needed to do something at least.
Therefore Zhineng took a step forward and said respectfully, “Greetings Zen Master Baiyun. Zen Master, what you said is not something that can be admitted. Today, we came out to have a walk and happened to see the conflict between Venerable Fangzheng and Senior Brother Tongguang. We only stood on the side of justice to say a few words. That shouldn’t be too much, right?”
Zen Master Baiyun did not say a word. Instead, he looked at Zen Master Southwind. “Abbot Southwind, Zhineng is your disciple, so you should be the one resolving the matter.”
Zen Master Southwind, with his high cheekbones, nodded slightly before saying harshly, “Zhineng, are you still hoping you can get over this hurdle with words? A few disciples came to me moments ago. We are already completely aware of what happened in its entirety. Yet here you are quibbling? Venerable Fangzheng might have maligned you, and it could be possible that Zen Master Hongyan maligned you, but would monks who do not even know you malign you?”
When Zhineng heard that, he immediately broke out in cold sweat. He originally believed that the matter only involved him and Fangzheng. He never expected someone to snitch on him! He cursed all the culprit’s ancestors inwardly. Wasn’t that person too much of a busybody? Had he offended him?
However Zhineng still clenched his teeth. “Master, there’s no reason for us to target Venerable Fangzheng since there’s no grudge between us. However, we admit our faults. We shouldn’t have interfered in matters of others without investigating first.”
Zhineng admitted his fault, for according to his past experience, doing so would quickly put an end to the matter. There was no way for him to escape punishment, but it would not be anything serious either.
“You are still trying to shirk the responsibility at this moment in time?” Zen Master Southwind’s eyes were filled with disappointment. Then he said, “You were given chances in the past, but you remain obstinate. It looks like what Zhiyong and the rest previously said was true. Sigh”
Zhineng’s heart jolted. He knew that many people in the monastery knew of his sordid deeds and had openly or secretly snitched on him. However Zen Master Southwind had never believed in the accusations. But now, Southwind’s words implied that Zhiyong and company had snitched on him again today. While furious, he also knew that he was in trouble today.
Zhineng quickly said, “Master”
“Amitabha.” Zen Master Southwind cut him off and turned to the slightly plump monk. “Zen Master Sunglow, This Penniless Monk’s disciple is obstinate. Please let Tongguang air the situation.”
Upon hearing this, Zhineng jumped in fright. Tongguang knew everything. If he were to betray him, he would truly be in big trouble!
Zhiyun also turned anxious. He stupidly signaled Tongguang with his eyes.
Upon seeing this scene, Zhineng really wanted to give him a good beating! With so many people around, how could anyone not see that? At that moment, even if Tongguang had had the intention to help them, he would no longer dare do so. It would only lead him down the path of peril!
Indeed, Tongguang shook his head inwardly when he saw the signal. “How foolish. Why did I work with such fools? Such people won’t go far. Master is extraordinarily clever. There’s no lying to him. It’s better I admit.”
With this in mind, Tongguang went forward. “Master, I am sorry. Last night, Junior Brother Zhineng gave me a call and asked for my help. According to him, he had a conflict with a monk last night and was unhappy. He wished for me to help punish the monk to clear the unhappiness in him. Therefore we discussed and decided to make things difficult for Venerable Fangzheng’s lodging. It would be best if we could chase him away and prevent him from joining the Dharma Assembly.”
Upon hearing Tongguang say so, Zhineng let out a long sigh. He knew that everything was over!
After Tongguang confessed, Zen Master Southwind looked at Zhineng. “Zhineng, do you have anything else to say?”
“I am sorry, but this matter is not fully my fault. It was all because Venerable Fangzheng insulted us. We found it impossible to let the matter rest.”
Zen Master Southwind looked at Fangzheng and pressed his palms together. “Venerable One, can you please share with us what happened last night? Can you confide with us directly?”
Fangzheng returned the bow, but did not say a word when he heard someone exclaim, “Venerable Southwind, we all saw what happened last night. Venerable Fangzheng did not provoke your two disciples. They were the ones who found fault with Venerable Fangzheng. They scolded him for getting a room at the hotel with a woman and that he was improper and a fake monk. They even used the fact that they were from a large monastery like the Southwind Monastery to repress Venerable Fangzheng. They spoke very nastily. In the end, Venerable Fangzheng asked them what constituted a big monastery and small monastery. Zhineng said that monasteries which occupied a huge area and had many monks were big monasteries, and those that weren’t were small ones.”
Upon hearing this, Zen Master Southwind was completely infuriated as he glared at Zhineng. His meaning was clear: Who taught you that? It’s nonsense!
Zhineng lowered his head in shame.
Zen Master Sunglow asked with a smile, “Then, what did Venerable Fangzheng say?”
“Venerable Fangzheng said that they did not know anything about the Buddhist Dharma and walked off. Zhineng stopped him from leaving and insisted on an answer. To that, Venerable Fangzheng said: ‘Is there a need to distinguish a monastery by size? It’s only a place to consecrate Buddha.’ He said that one just needed to be sincere, and that it had nothing to do with the land a monastery occupied or the number of monks it had,” said the person immediately.
“Amitabha!” Zen Master Sunglow, Zen Master Baiyun, and Zen Master Southwind exchanged looks and pressed their palms together. They bowed towards Fangzheng, saying, “Venerable One, we have learned much from your deep insights.”
Fangzheng looked around and finally, he realized that no one was snatching the right to speak from him. He immediately dodged the trio’s bow, for he could not accept it. He also did not believe that the trio would not understand such a principle. The trio acted thusly mostly to show others, taking it as an opportunity to educate their own disciples. They wanted them to know the principle of how size did not matter for monasteries.
Fangzheng returned the bow. “Abbots, you are most kind.”
The person continued, “Oh yeah! When Zhiyun and Zhineng went upstairs, they dropped a bag. There was beer inside!”
When this was said, there was a collective gasp! A monk even drank? If they were foreign monks or monks from special places, it would be understandable that one drank, but obviously, Southwind Monastery prohibited their monks from drinking. The two were really bad sheep!
Zen Master Southwind knew about the drinking incident. Last night, Zhiyun had gone to admit his mistakes after being beaten. He originally believed that it would only remain an isolated incident, but from the looks of it, there were deeper underlying problems!
At that moment, someone stepped forward and shouted, “Zen Master Southwind, both these disciples of yours aren’t anything good. They often bully people!”
“That’s right, our monastery’s disciples have been bullied by them in the past!”
“They even forced us to hand over money!”
“These two bastards even went to a bar yesterday. I saw it.”
“That Zhiyun even had his arms around a woman. If it hadn’t been inconvenient, he might have already brought her onto a bed.”