Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
As such, the morning bell and the evening drum were considered to be very important to a monastery. Back then, One Finger Temple had a rundown bell, but it was in such a terrible state that it no longer sounded when being struck. Later on, the System had thrown it away during the renovations. Fangzheng had grumbled back then because a monastery not having a morning bell and evening drum was akin to it not having a Mahavira Hall. The lack of several trademark items ultimately left the monastery lacking.
Now the bell was back. Could the drum be not too far off as well?
And there was something else; the bell was a huge object. It was impossible the System would just give him a bell without a bell tower, right? Fangzheng would be laughing if the System gave only a bell.
“System, is there a bell tower?”
Fangzheng turned excited as he exclaimed, “There is?”
“No!” The System was indeed pausing in the middle of its sentence again…
Fangzheng rolled his eyes and nearly slapped himself twice. He had nearly forgotten how often the darn System liked to pause mid-sentence.
“However, don’t be too sad. The bell I have given you is not an ordinary bell. It used to be one of the main bells in one of the shorter mountain peaks on Mount Numinous. It was taken down and given to you. This bell has a unique characteristic. Every chime it makes enhances the bell tower it is in. If you were to strike it for centuries, the bell tower… would remain intact even if the Earth were to explode.”
Fangzheng grinned. “Don’t say that. About the bell tower, though… Do you think I can afford one? You have taken away all the money, so how am I to build a tower?” Fangzheng felt truly resigned. He was poor, but it was fine as long as he was not reminded of it. The moment he was reminded, there was only a sense of bitterness and helplessness left in him. Fangzheng had thought of using a divine power to build one himself, but the monastery had its rules too. This was something he realized from reading the Diamond Sutra which came from Mount Numinous. The best monastery was not built by oneself! Instead, it was best when it was a result of donations from devotees! This would represent the world’s affirmation of the monastery. Then it would be able to amass merit, and every strike would benefit the abbot tremendously. If Fangzheng built one himself, it would only be a mortal item, nothing more than a decorative accessory.
Therefore although Fangzheng grumbled, he already had an idea. “Let’s wait… Perhaps a wealthy person would one day donate a bell tower?”
“Cut the crap. Will you accept the morning bell now, or in the future?” asked the System.
After some thought Fangzheng still said, “Now!”
The next moment, a blob of Buddhist light descended. It was merely the size of a palm, and Fangzheng extended his hand to grab it. He saw a tiny bell the size of a finger inside the Buddhist light. It was extremely intricate, and upon a careful look one could see countless scripture texts engraved on its resplendent surface. It was ancient and unadorned. It did not appear like a bell at a glance, but appeared more like a world or a Buddha itself! It had infinite Zen-like properties amid the solemn repression it exuded.
At the same moment, information appeared in Fangzheng’s mind: “Yongle Bell (Already augmented). Cast during the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty in the year 1607. The bell was moved to Wanshou Temple where it enjoyed the incense offerings from the world and the respects from the imperial family. Afterwards it was taken to Mount Numinous by Zen Master Tuoshan. With Mount Numinous’ gold and bronze, it was recast, making it bigger and thicker than its original form.
The bell became eight meters tall, and it is not uniform in thickness. Its thickest spot is 235 millimeters, while the thinnest part is 103 millimeters. It weighs 64 tons. The scripture written inside and outside the bell numbers 327,000 characters! All the words were personally written by Bodhisattva with the Dragon Buddha Epithet. It is grand with primitive simplicity and feels formed naturally. The charms engraved in it allow it to have an infective gong and a melodious aesthetic to it.
A light strike lets out a clear and melodious gong which can resonate for less than three minutes. A heavy strike produces a majestic and loud gong which can continue on for as long as eight minutes. It can be heard from hundreds of kilometers away. Its gong can awaken all who seek fame and wealth in the world and summon back those who have lost themselves in the sea of misery.”
“Ding! Do you wish to place the Yongle Bell down now?” asked the System suddenly.
Fangzheng nearly said yes subconsciously, but quickly came to a realization as he hurriedly said, “No! Wait until I find a suitable spot!”
What a joke. Something as heavy as 64 tons would cause tremors once it was placed on the ground. Other than Red Boy with his restored Dharmic powers, no one in One Finger Monastery would be able to move it an inch. It would be problematic to have to move it again. Fangzheng naturally wanted to place One Finger Monastery’s most important object well. It was, after all, something worth showcasing.
“Alright. Up to you. Tell me when you need it released.” The System appeared quite cordial.
Fangzheng was very pleased about this, but he soon turned vexed. One Finger Monastery was not large. There was nearly nowhere he could place such a huge bell! Where should he place such a huge bell? This was indeed something troubling!
Just as Fangzheng was fretting over it, Fangzheng’s cell phone rang. He raised it up and saw that it was Fatty!
“Master, I would like to thank you for your advice the last time. I’ve sent you a little gift. I won’t be able to visit now, but I’ll definitely be there in a few days!” After Fatty said that, he chuckled. It was quite noisy on the other end of the line, and it was a mystery what he was doing.
Just as Fangzheng wanted to say something, the line was cut off.
“What is this guy gifting? Why is he acting so mysterious?” Fangzheng was puzzled.
After a night without events, the monastery received a knock when dawn broke.
When Fangzheng opened, he saw Wang Yougui panting at the door as he asked, “Abbot Fangzheng, your item has arrived. Do you want it to be brought up?”
“What is it?”
“Stone, wood, bricks, and a bunch of bricklayers and wooden craftsmen.”
“What do you mean?”
“They said that they are here to build a bell tower under the behest of a benefactor’s donation. They are in charge of building the bell tower.” When Wang Yougui said that, he asked in curiousness, “Don’t you know?”
Fangzheng was instantly overjoyed when he heard that. He was really getting whatever he wanted. He smiled. “Amitabha. This Penniless Monk knows. That patron called This Penniless Monk yesterday, but who knew it would come so quickly? Please let them come up. It’s rather hot down below.”
Wang Yougui laughed out loud. “Look at how anxious you are. I have already gotten people to move the materials up the mountain for you. However, as you know, although the mountain path has been fixed, moving so much stone and wood isn’t a simple task.”
Fangzheng nodded immediately as he turned his head and shouted, “Jingfa, Jingzhen, Jingxin, watch the monastery. I’ll be going down to carry stuff up.”
With that said, Fangzheng dashed down. When Wang Yougui saw this, he gave an amused curse. “This fellow should watch his image! He should be an accomplished monk!”
Fangzheng waved his hand. There was no need for him to act in front of Wang Yougui since he had watched him grow up. So what if he showed his true self? Besides, he was really happy. There was no need to hold back those feelings. Moreover, the System appeared to be allowing him greater freedom lately. In the past, there were all sorts of requests which required him to maintain the image of an accomplished monk, but now…
However Fangzheng had realized that although he was quite unlike most accomplished monks, his actions were not necessarily wrong. All he needed to do was to act according to his true nature which possessed goodness. He was unlike his former self when he was nothing otherworldly. Back then, he resembled Monkey when he first came. He was obstinate and did not know better. Although he was not evil, he was definitely nothing like a monk.