Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng said with a bitter smile, “Don’t think so highly of me. I do not have my own theories. Many of them were taught to me by my master, Zen Master One Finger, who is also your grandmaster. He said that monks have to take on all the sufferings of the world before they can understand what bliss is. Only by knowing what bliss is will a monk be able to put others on the path of bliss and of doing meritorious deeds. Buddha made monks undergo all sorts of sufferings such as not being able to eat meat, the Five Pungent Spices, have beautiful hair, or wear beautiful clothes… All these precepts are meant to take away all the nice things, to let you understand how precious they are. You will then be able to truly appreciate and cherish them the day you have them.”
“Just like Wang Lun? Only at the instant when he was about to lose Sister Ding Yu did he realize who was most important in his life and who the person he loved was.”
Fangzheng nodded before rapping Red Boy on the head. He reprimanded, “As a child, stop talking about love and emotions. Return to recite the scriptures!”
Red Boy immediately felt like tearing up. It was true he had no human rights. Why couldn’t he say that? However, the little rascal diverted the topic. “In that case, does Grandmaster allow us to marry and have children?”
Fangzheng said with a bitter smile, “He does, but your grandmaster believes that one has to suffer all the sufferings in the world before becoming Buddha first.”
“Uh… Doesn’t that mean we can’t marry until we become Buddhas?”
Fangzheng nodded in resignation.
“If that’s the case, wouldn’t family lines be severed if everyone became a monk? Wouldn’t that destroy a country? Then what’s the point of preaching all this?”
Fangzheng shook his head. “The meaning of life is in continuation. Getting married and having children is just one of the necessary steps in life, otherwise it would represent extinction indeed. But what you said is too idealized. Buddhism might be very good, but with the precepts, there are naturally countless people unable to step through that door. Buddhist cultivators are ultimately in the minority. The purpose of the minority is to be a lighthouse in the sea. They give people hope and guide them.”
“That’s true… Just the need to shave off one’s hair makes me refuse to become a Buddhist. Uh.” Red Boy smiled wryly when he said that. Apparently, he was already one.
At that moment, violin music came from upstairs. However they had never heard the piece before.
“Master, this piece sounds very familiar.”
Following that, someone shouted, “Why aren’t you sleeping so late in the night? Why are you renovating your house?”
“Why are you moving furniture around in the middle of the night? Do you want to go to heaven?”
Fangzheng exchanged looks with Red Boy and said wryly, “It’s indeed a familiar sound, the sound of dragging furniture! It looks like Ding Yu only knows one piece…”
With a thought, Fangzheng opened the Formless Door. They returned as they could not stand the sound!
As for Ding Yu’s diary, it had long been placed back at her place. There was an additional slip attached to it. It was an apology slip. Fangzheng had planned to apologize directly, but he did not even have a chance to say a word in the situation from before, so he gave up in the end.
On the way back up the mountain, Red Boy asked, “Master, why couldn’t Wang Lun see how good Sister Ding Yu is?”
Fangzheng pointed to the ground. “The ground is nice, but have you ever noticed it?”
Red Boy was stunned.
Fangzheng did not continue. He allowed Red Boy to figure the rest out himself.
By the time they returned to One Finger Monastery, Lone Wolf, Monkey, and Squirrel were already asleep. Fangzheng returned to his quarters directly and slept. However, he suffered from insomnia. With nothing to do in bed, he began humming, subconsciously humming Weeping Lily. Fangzheng looked at the moon hanging outside the window and thought, “If This Penniless Monk had not gone, what would the outcome have been? There are many miseries in the world, but the people undergoing them are unable to see or figure things out clearly, naturally giving them hardship. I should go out more often when I have nothing to do.”
After a night without events, Fangzheng heard Lone Wolf whimpering before the rooster crowed.
Fangzheng pushed open the door and saw Red Boy standing on a table. Squatting beneath him were Monkey, Lone Wolf, and Squirrel. Squirrel looked like a rotund ball of flesh, but the meatball was wiping the tears from his eyes. “Sister Ding Yu is such a great person. She has dedicated herself without a word. That’s love! Indeed, those who give love in exchange for acorns are all fake… Boohoo!”
Lone Wolf was yelling, “In my life, I’ve had countless female wolves. But when I was in trouble, none of them took a second look at me. To have a confidant like Ding Yu in one’s life will allow one to die without— Master… When did you come?”
“I just came. I didn’t hear anything. Continue. What would you die without?” Fangzheng sat on a chair smiling as he looked at Lone Wolf.
Lone Wolf gulped saliva as he looked at Red Boy. The punk had already run off and entered the kitchen to prepare breakfast when he realized that things were trending towards trouble.
Fangzheng looked towards Monkey, but where was he? All he heard was the sound of sweeping outside.
As for Squirrel, the fellow was carrying a pine nut and raising it high. He looked fawningly at Fangzheng like he was trying to redeem himself from blame. Lone Wolf suddenly realized that he had been betrayed! Furthermore, it was the kind of situation in which no one cared about him or stood up for him! Immediately he felt like crying. Indeed, one shouldn’t brag without thought or sigh reflectively about one’s life. It would be easy to be struck by lightning then!
“Master, what I wanted to say was that even if I didn’t have such a confidant, I would not feel regret even if I were to die! I’m happy to be a monk. I’m proud to be a monk!” said Lone Wolf immediately.
Fangzheng patted Lone Wolf on the head in satisfaction. “Well said. You are in charge of fetching water from today forth.”
Lone Wolf: “…”
With that said, Fangzheng walked out and pressed his palms together. He looked at the bell tower in a stately manner as he slowly walked toward it. He gave a Buddhist proclamation and grabbed the bell hammer with both hands. Pulling it back with his strength…
A melodious bell gong sounded. As the gongs reverberated, the chickens at the foot of the mountain began clucking. Smoke began curling up from the kitchen chimneys… In the forest, birds began to eat worms, as all life seemed to awaken. People in the distant Songwu County also began to wake up. They stood at their windows and enjoyed the serenity the gongs brought them. As they watched the sunrise, they embraced the feelings of a brand new day.
Fangzheng slowly struck the bell as his mind turned ethereal. As he read the scriptures in front of him, he began singing them. The bell gongs spread along with Fangzheng’s chanting. It blanketed the entire monastery and resounded throughout the mountaintop. The Frost Bamboo grew as the Crystal Rice swayed. A mist rose up and under the sunlight, it scattered golden beams of light. It was extremely beautiful. It seemed to hang One Finger Monastery in the sky, exuding its gorgeous magnificence!
Upon seeing this scene, countless villagers at the foot of the mountain walked out of their homes. They looked up at the summit in shock.
“This is the first time I’m seeing such clouds.”
“Mt. One Finger is becoming more sagacious. It feels like the entire mountain is transforming.” Tan Juguo and the other elders sighed.
“How beautiful. It’s as though Mt. One Finger is about to ride off on the clouds,” whispered someone.
Of course, most people were taking selfies. They shared the pictures on their social media accounts and instantly attracted the notice of many people.
“Aiyah! The sudden appearance of a golden sea of clouds on Mt. One Finger!”
“Heavens, it looks spectacular. There’s resplendent Buddha light, and the clouds seem glided!”
“Amitabha. It feels like Buddha has descended onto Mt. One Finger.”
“Impressive. I wonder if it’s real.”