Fangzheng happily agreed. He was still worrying over how to get to the meditation quarters. He was naturally very happy that someone would lead the way.
Upon coming to the living area, Yi Xing pointed to the meditation room ahead. “Venerable Fangzheng, that’s your meditation room. The first row is where the abbots live. As for us, we live over there.” Yi Xing pointed to another set of rooms.
The meditation rooms for the abbots were single ones, while Yi Xing lived in a common room. This was in a way quite nice treatment.
At that moment, Fangzheng happened to see Jingxin’s head pop out from one of the meditation rooms. Immediately he said, “Yi Xing, I’m rather tired today. I’ll go get some rest. Let’s continue tomorrow.”
Yi Xing, who was also tired, bade farewell and left. However before he left, he mysteriously asked, “Abbot Fangzheng, if there’s a chance, could you Could you preach the scriptures once more?”
Fangzheng smiled. “Definitely, if it is fated.”
What a joke! Preaching the scriptures again?
Wouldn’t he be fumbling the ball if he did not produce lotus flowers? He obviously wouldn’t do such things. Of course, he would definitely do it if he was fated to do so. As when such fate would befall, that was hard to say
Yi Xing did not think too much about it. He believed that Fangzheng had agreed and that he would preach in the near future. Extremely happy, he bade Fangzheng farewell again.
The moment he saw Yi Xing leave, Fangzheng quickly ran to his meditation room. The moment he entered, he cried, “Jingxin, where’re our rice balls?”
Red Boy pointed at the bag on the bed. “They’re there. Why? Master, your eyes are green. Are you starving?”
“What do you think?” Fangzheng rolled his eyes at Red Boy and sat on the bed. He took out a rice ball made from Crystal Rice and began eating it. It would have been fine if there wasn’t any comparison, but after his meal that evening, Fangzheng thought the mouthful was just delicious! At the same time, Fangzheng felt pity for the poor child that was Yi Xing
Red Boy came over and asked curiously, “Master, Sunglow Monastery’s vegetarian food is pretty good. Why are you so hungry? Doesn’t Sunglow Monastery provide you enough to eat?”
Fangzheng said with a bitter smile, “They did, but the food was too horrendous. Who knew that Sunglow Monastery’s food was worse than what we have at One Finger Monastery.”
“I think it was still alright.”
“Still alright? Okay, join me for the meal tomorrow.”
Red Boy believed that all the eateries’ food would have the same taste, so he immediately agreed to it. He was also curious as to what Fangzheng had eaten.
Fangzheng was similarly perplexed. Red Boy, who was most picky with his food, actually found Sunglow Monastery’s food not bad? Then did that mean that he could consider giving Red Boy a separate menu? If that were the case, he could save quite a bit on food
The night passed uneventfully. The next day before dawn, Sunglow Monastery was already boiling over in excitement. Countless monks walked out, decorated the monastery, and cooked vegetarian meals. Everything appeared lively and orderly. Fangzheng no longer found it amazing. It was the same back at Baiyun Monastery, the only difference being that there were more people here.
Yi Xing, Hong Jin, Zen Master Hongyan, and Zen Master Baiyun had already woken up. Everyone got together and discussed the matters that were to happen that day. Ouyang Fenghua and the rest of the devotees stayed at the monastery’s guest area. It was located elsewhere and was separate from the monastery’s main buildings. They were not allowed to go to the mountaintop for the blessing activities. Instead, they could only wait at the foot of the mountain.
After all, the mountaintop was filled with monks. Having women there was ultimately improper.
After a brief chat, Fangzheng realized that there was nothing for him to do. He ended up getting Red Boy to roam around with him. Although the mountain where Sunglow Monastery was located had been developed commercially, its air remained clean and clear. There was the idyllic twittering of birds and insects early in the morning and walking amid it made one feel refreshed.
Unfortunately, Fangzheng did not walk far. As the sun began to rise, an uproar seemed to come from down the mountain, its sounds growing in intensity. Clearly, the devotees had arrived and were beginning to congregate at the foot of the mountain. It also turned into a cacophony with the number of people present. By then Fangzheng had arrived by the mountainside. There were mats already set up there, with large numbers of devotees rushing over to take their seats. It was quite chaotic, but when they saw Fangzheng, they immediately greeted him since he was a monk. Fangzheng returned their greeting one after another.
At that moment, Red Boy commented, “Master, look! Isn’t that the man who was handing out pamphlets yesterday?”
Fangzheng looked over and indeed, he saw a man standing at the foot of the mountain handing out pamphlets to anyone who passed by him. “Let’s go take a look.”
However the moment Fangzheng set off, he saw a few people looking like city officials walk over. The man ran off immediately.
Fangzheng had many people in front of him, so it was not easy for him to chase up to the man. By the time he reached the foot of the mountain, the man was gone. Fangzheng picked up one of the pamphlets and indeed, the drawing was identical to the one he saw yesterday.
“Master, could it be that he has lost his daughter? Is he hoping to take advantage of the number of people here to find his daughter by handing out pamphlets?”
Fangzheng shook his head. “No idea. However, the merit on him is far brighter than his negative karma. In essence, he should be a very good person. If he can be helped, This Penniless Monk wishes to help him. Unfortunately”
As the sun rose, the bell on the mountaintop sounded with a gong. Fangzheng knew that the Dharma Assembly was about to begin. Therefore, he could only temporarily put the matter aside and return with Red Boy.
By the time Fangzheng entered the monastery, he was just in time to see Zen Master Sunglow sitting on a mat with a string of fifty-four Buddha Beads. He appeared dignified as his palms were pressed together with his eyelids lowered. He did not speak a word.
Zen Master Baiyun signaled to Fangzheng with his eyes as Fangzheng immediately took his seat. He was seated beside Zen Master Hongyan, and a few seats further up was Hong Jin. Fangzheng did not know any of the other monks.
The other monks also took their seats. However, some murmuring discussions arose with Fangzheng taking his seat.
“Who’s that young monk?”
“He’s an abbot at such a young age?”
“Isn’t he too young? Are his Buddhist Dharma insights enough?”
“Shush. I heard that Senior Brother Tongguang was punished and sent to the vegetarian hall because he offended this monk.”
“What? He’s that Venerable Fangzheng? I heard of him too. Yesterday, Senior Brother Tongguang and Southwind Monastery’s Zhiyun and Zhineng worked together to put him down, but the monk was just frighteningly formidable.”
“That’s right. Zen Master Hongyan and Zen Master Baiyun even supported him openly. Besides, from what I heard, he came because of Zen Master Baiyun’s strong recommendation.”
“What background does he have? Why are so many abbots willing to befriend him?”
Fangzheng’s ears were far better than the ordinary person’s, so he naturally heard the conversation the rest were engaging in. However he thought nothing of it. People in the limelight were always bombarded with problems. His future was destined to not be limited to Mt. One Finger. With his divine powers, he was bound never to be ordinary. Problems would revolve around him, so if he could not dismiss such tiny problems, it would be pointless for him to leave the mountain. It would then be better for him to just die from old age on the mountain.