When many of the accomplished monks saw Fangzheng take his seat in a perfectly calm and collected manner as though he was a meditating old monk or imperturbable mountain, they nodded in silent approval. They had met many geniuses as well as those that were inordinately proud of their own abilities, but few could act like Fangzheng. He was not pleased by external gains or saddened by personal losses. He remained unfazed in the light of discussion.
However, this was only a prelude. Soon, the Dharma Assembly began. There was the sutra recitals, Buddhist prayers, and Dharma preaching. All of these went on in orderly fashion. Meanwhile a series of loudspeakers outside the monastery transmitted the proceedings happening inside. Of course, none of this had much to do with Fangzheng. He naturally did not get a chance to go up on stage to preach the Dharma at the Dharma Assembly. Zen Master Baiyun and company kept their mouths shut on anything regarding the matter.
Yi Xing could not help but grumble softly, “What’s going on? Why aren’t they letting Venerable Fangzheng go up the stage”
Hong Jin whispered, “Although Abbot Fangzheng is a genius, with him able to perform Lotus Flower Conveyance, he is still too young. At such an age, this talent without the appropriate experience and mindset might result in the mistaken hope of helping a seedling grow by pulling at it if he were to discuss the scriptures on such a major stage. The various Venerable Ones have considered this point before deciding not to let Abbot Fangzheng go on stage. Everything should be done one step at a time. Give him space and time to grow further. As for the stage, old fellows like us are very willing to hand the stage to you young people. Yi Xing, you are extremely talented, but there’s an arrogance deep down in you. Look at Abbot Fangzheng again. He crossed the river on a reed and managed a Lotus Flower Conveyance. With all his skills Has he ever been arrogant about them? To be honest, just those two abilities of his would be enough for someone to brag his entire life if it were someone else. He could view others in contempt no matter where, including all the Venerable Ones sitting here!
If you were placed on such a high pedestal, would you be able to do as Fangzheng does?”
Yi Xing was stunned. He wanted to claim that he could, but on careful thought, he realized he was not up to the task.
Hong Jin felt assured seeing Yi Xing turn introspective. He knew his disciple best. He was overly intelligent and had a little too much drive. Such excessiveness was not a good thing.
The morning quickly flew by. Many accomplished monks discussed the scriptures, which were not traditional ones. Instead they translated the scriptures into colloquial form, and delivered them in the form of stories. That way, it was much more interesting than listening to dry and insipid scriptures. Everyone had a good time listening to the scriptures and gained immensely from it.
Of course, Fangzheng also knew that the motive for delivering it in such a manner was not for the monks, but more for the audience at the foot of the mountain. They did not know the scriptures, so if it was purely about sutra chanting or preaching the traditional scriptures, they would definitely not understand a thing. But by delivering it in story form, they could immediately understand the conveyed principles. Of course, there were advantages and disadvantages to doing so. The sutras were profound and had been studied by countless accomplished monks since time immemorial. To this day, the careful research of each word had resulted in great benefits. Different people in different environments would gain different insights from reading them.
And if the accomplished monks were to preach in a colloquial manner, it severed the possibility of gaining any other insights. Basically, it was like two bottles pouring water into the other. The accomplished monk would pour his aqueous insights into the bottle of others. Although they could understand, the possible insights transmitted were ultimately limited.
Of course, everything had its pros and cons. Fangzheng still enjoyed such a manner of preaching. It did not tax his brain, and it was easily understood. Furthermore the tiny anecdotes and stories gave him inspiration.
The Dharma Assembly lasted the entire morning. The remaining time was left to charity rituals and the delivering of incense.
Sunglow Monastery had opened its doors to everyone, so it provided all sorts of vegetarian dishes, mantou, buns, etc. Meanwhile, they invited the devotees into the monastery to offer incense and pray for blessings. Of course, monks monitored this the entire time. Once there were too many people, they would temporarily stop others from entering.
Fangzheng watched the dense crowd and saw the monks sweat profusely. He realized for the first time that having a popular monastery was not necessarily a good thing! If this were to happen in One Finger Monastery, his door might burst from the squeezing
“Yes, this kind of explanation of the Buddhist Dharma should be left to the various large monasteries. This Penniless Monk shall be a young monk who enjoys his peace and quiet, sitting in the corner reciting the scriptures or eating, or resolving problems for others. Well Even if some interaction is needed, there shouldn’t be such a disturbance in One Finger Monastery!” Fangzheng decided inwardly.
If this thought were to be known by the other monks, they would likely slap him twice. Everyone usually racked their brains for ideas to attract more visitors and incense money, but this fellow didn’t even want it. What an oddity.
Groups of people entered and left in batches. Fangzheng was in no rush. As for his meals? Sorry, but he was fine with his mantous. As for the vegetarian hall? Anyone could go if they wished to! Fangzheng was definitely not going!
Red Boy was taken away by Ouyang Fenghua, and it was unknown where they went gallivanting.
Fangzheng closed one eye towards it. As long as the brat did not stir trouble, he permitted him to do as he pleased. Going out into the world and experiencing it could be considered beneficial for both Red Boy and Fangzheng.
At that moment, a black figure entered Fangzheng’s field of vision. Fangzheng pricked up his brows and tore a piece from the mantou in his hand before putting it gently into his smiling mouth. “He’s finally here.”
Yuan Hai was walking among the crowd with his head hanging low, afraid he would be recognized by the other monks who would chase him away again.
In order not to cause any misunderstandings today, he did not bring any bags. He was dressed simply and mixed himself into the crowd as he silently joined a line to enter the Mahavira Hall. At the hall’s entrance, Yuan Hai took three sticks of incense, kowtowed and silently murmured something
Fangzheng said something to a monk in whispers, only to leave him dumbfounded. He was unsure what Fangzheng was up to, but he followed his instructions. Silently, he led the crowd behind Yuan Hai to another spot where they could offer their incense and pay their respects to Buddha.
Fangzheng’s eyes flashed as he conjured A Golden Millet Dream!
However what surprised Fangzheng was that Yuan Hai did not immerse himself in his memories. Instead he made a silent prayer, hoping for Buddha to bless him into finding his daughter. After which he stood up and prepared to leave.
Fangzheng sighed and dispelled A Golden Millet Dream before secretly following him. Midway, he saw Red Boy. Beckoning for him, Red Boy immediately ran over and asked, “Master, what’s up?”
“You are needed. Tail him with me in tow. Don’t let others notice us,” whispered Fangzheng.
Following which Red Boy felt the long missing Dharmic powers return to his body. He grinned. “Don’t worry, Master. That’s a piece of cake!”
The next instant, Red Boy chased after Yuan Hai with Fangzheng in tow. After a short distance, they went around a bend and turned invisible. Following which, Red Boy flew into the sky with Fangzheng as they tailed Yuan Hai.
After Yuan Hai descended the mountain, he found his motorcycle and dashed to the ruins again. He took out a bag from the motorcycle, and in it were some dishes. It was obvious that the meal was made with great detail to attention. There were three dishes: green peppers fried with meat, a dish comprising of stir-fried potatoes, eggplant, and sweet peppers, and double cooked pork slices.