Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
June went by as Fangzheng and company waited in anticipation. The drum tower was finally done constructing! When the final tile was put in place, Master Ma cheered out loud. All the workers, artisans, and villagers who had caught wind of the news, cheered together in excitement.
“What a pity. Master did not agree to my donating of a drum, or this drum tower would be perfect,” said Monkey with a sigh.
Fatty said, “Enough. I didn’t donate a bell either. Master said that he had prepared one himself. I asked, but apparently it’s not very big and it was broken before. Sigh… Shouldn’t such a bell be changed? I offered to cast a bigger one for him; wouldn’t that be nice…”
The moment his voice faded, he heard a dull thud that sounded like the buckling of trees under heavy weight. Everyone subconsciously turned their heads over and saw that there was already a huge bell hanging from the bell tower!
Fatty’s eyes nearly popped out when he saw the huge bell.
Monkey was astounded as well, but he did not forget to mock. “Fatty, you said this bell isn’t large? Heh heh, and that it’s quite broken? Tell me, where have you seen a bell bigger than this!? Or one that’s more beautiful than this! F**k, just looking at this bell makes me want to steal it!”
“Oh my mama, it’s no wonder Master did not wish for me to donate one. He actually has a such a huge treasure! Tsk, it’s f**king dignified!” Fatty clicked his tongue.
“It’s indeed dignified. I finally understand why Master asked me not to donate a drum. The bell tower and drum tower have to be of the same scale, but for a drum to be in the same league as this bell… I might not be able to afford one even if I went bankrupt.” Although Monkey and Fatty were crude with their words, they were knowledgeable people. They had seen the Yongle Bell, a national treasure. It was more than six meters tall and priceless!
As for the bell in front of them, it exuded an ancient charm. It was obvious it was an antique, and might not even be younger than the Yongle Bell. Furthermore, the bell was even bigger, and there was more scripture text carved on it. Even more surprising was that each text could be seen clearly. Under the sunlight, it did not suffuse the bronze colors of the Yongle Bell, but appeared to be a golden object that emitted golden light! It was resplendent, but not extravagant. It was dignified, but not domineering. It was beautiful, but it also bore the weight of history on it!
Both of them knew that none of them could afford such a bell!
Master Ma and the other artisans were astounded by the huge bell as well. They were artisans, so they naturally could tell the preciousness of the bell. All of them looked up at it as though it was a rare treasure. Finally, Master Ma knelt down and kowtowed thrice. “It’s the pinnacle of workmanship!”
“A sacred item!” Luo Yang and company knelt down.
The villagers did not know why the artisans were kneeling, but they could tell that the bell was extraordinary!
Wang Yougui and Tan Juguo knitted their brows tightly, especially Tan Juguo. He knew very well what One Finger Monastery had or did not have. Back when One Finger Monastery was handed over to Zen Master One Finger, he was present! One Finger Monastery was a dilapidated temple back then. It had a broken bell which was in a state which could not be any worse. It cracked just half a year after it was struck… Then, how did this huge bell appear? On careful thought, there were too many miraculous deeds that happened on Mt. One Finger. There were really many matters that was inexplicable… However, Tan Juguo and Wang Yougui did not say a word. This was because back when Fangzheng renovated One Finger Monastery without a word, and produced the divine Crystal Rice, they knew that something had happened to the monastery. They only chose to hold their tongues. Firstly, Fangzheng was one of them. He was brought up by the villagers and was half the child of every villager, including them. They wanted to protect him. Secondly, they were also filled with anticipation. They wanted to know what the miraculous monastery would bring their poor village.
In fact, they had already received whatever they wanted. Fangzheng was going to further distances and greater heights, and whatever he did pleased them. Furthermore, the village was rubbing off some of One Finger Monastery’s glory. Many of their troubles were gone, and many families were on the road to riches. Everything was turning for the better.
Therefore, both of them exchanged looks and chose to remain silent. They did not continue, for they wanted to silently protect these secrets and Fangzheng.
The crowd was not the only ones in dazes or excitement. Fangzheng was the same as well. After waiting for two months, he had finally hung up the huge bell! Furthermore, Fangzheng was pleasantly surprised that there was not only a bell, but also a hammer to strike the bell. It was a circular wooden beam as thick as an adult’s torso. It was wrapped in red ropes both front and back. It was gilded and resembled the legendary Golden-Hooped Rod of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong.
Fangzheng caressed the hammer as his eyes were filled with glee. With this, One Finger Monastery was able to engage in half the activity of the morning bell and evening drum.
“Venerable Fangzheng, this bell looks really stately! Strike it!” Fatty was the first to shout out. Although the bell had nothing to do with him, he was the one who had donated the bell tower. Seeing such an awesome-looking bell, he felt like he was riding its coattails. He also looked forward to hearing the bell’s gong.
“That’s right. Venerable Fangzheng. Strike it once!” Dog Song shouted as well.
“Venerable One, strike it.” Master Ma and company shouted in excitement. They also wished to hear what appeared to be an extremely extraordinary bell. They wanted to know if it was really extraordinary! Master Ma mumbled, “Historical records mention that the Yongle Bell is 6.75 meters tall. The bell’s thickness is non-uniform. It’s thickest is 185mm, and the thinnest is 94mm. It’s about 46 tons. The bell’s exterior is filled with scripture, numbering 227,000 characters. A light strike produced a resonance for a minute. A heavy strike would last three minutes which lingers on. It could be heard tens of kilometers away! It’s the world’s biggest bell! Although Country E has a bigger bell that weights 200 tons, a huge crack appeared the day it was done casting due to a technical error. It cannot sound, so it can’t be called a bell…”
“Master Ma, why are you mumbling?” asked Luo Yang.
Master Ma said in extreme excitement, “We might have witnessed a miracle. The world’s biggest bell will be struck… What do you think I’m mumbling about?”
Luo Yang was instantly stunned rooted to the ground. Miracle? The world’s biggest bell? At that instant, his blood began to boil over…
“Witnessing a miracle!” an artisan shouted. Others echoed him as the shouts reached a crescendo.
Fangzheng pressed his palms together and bowed at everyone before giving a Buddhist proclamation. “Amitabha, Patrons, if you wish, This Penniless Monk will strike the Buddhistic bell.”
With that said, Fangzheng said a Buddhist proclamation to the Yongle Bell. Then, he grabbed the massive hammer with both hands. He used all his strength to pull it backwards, only to discover that the hammer was extremely heavy! Even with his strength, he still needed to use all his strength to move it!
“Wow. If it were an ordinary person, they wouldn’t even be able to move the hammer. How would one strike the bell?” Fangzheng sighed inwardly as he bellowed. He exerted his strength and pushed the hammer towards the Yongle Bell!
At that instant, everyone’s eyes were trained on the hammer while they looked forward to the bell’s gong!
A extremely clear and ethereal gong sounded. It wasn’t sonorous or deafening, but everyone heard it clearly. It sounded like it came from beyond the highest heavens. It came down like the rain, cleansing one’s heart and mind, washing away all worried in an instant. Everyone entered an ethereal state. Many things they usually could not figure our or understand instantly became clear to them. Their bodies and minds turned joyful, as everyone subconsciously smiled.