Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Squirrel was unable to move the bell hammer, so eventually Monkey took on the job. Every day, he would strike the bell, and he would be obsessed with striking it. According to his own words, striking it an entire morning calmed his flighty feelings. More importantly, he could figure out a lot of things that usually evaded him when striking the bell.
Fangzheng also clearly sensed the changes in Monkey after his return. Monkey stood there with the demeanor of a monk. Although he had a monkey’s face, he exuded the feeling that he was an accomplished monk. As such Fangzheng decisively left the bell striking spot to Monkey. As for the fallen leaves? Fangzheng first took on the role for himself.
This day, Fangzheng woke up early and made a pot of Crystal Rice dumplings. After wrapping them up, he placed them together.
Red Boy came over and asked curiously, “Master, what are you doing?”
“Gifts. Today is the day Yang Hua will be celebrating his child’s birth. He invited all of us, so we can’t just go empty handed, right?”
“Is this what you call gift compliance?” asked Red Boy.
Fangzheng nodded. “Yes, this is gift compliance. But nowadays, most people do cash compliance. We are poor, so we can only do dumpling compliance.”
“Master, didn’t you bring back a lot of money the last time? It would be fine even if we do cash compliance, right?” asked a baffled Red Boy.
Fangzheng shook his head. “No cash compliance.”
Fangzheng smiled in a profound manner. “Watch and listen when you go down the mountain.”
Red Boy, Monkey, Squirrel, and Lone Wolf were perplexed.
After closing the monastery’s doors, Fangzheng led Monkey, Squirrel, and Lone Wolf down the mountain.
Before they reached the foot of the mountain, they heard the sound of firecrackers from below. Double bang firecrackers shot into the sky and exploded. It lit up the atmosphere of the whole village.
The moment Fangzheng arrived down the mountain, he saw that almost the entire village was empty. As he walked further, he saw Yang Hua’s yard. The door was open, and there were tables set up that reached out into the roads. As it was summer, the fields were filled with vegetables, so there was nowhere to place the tables. In winter, it was a very common choice for the farmers to hold their banquets under a tent on the fields. But all they could do now was place the tables on the roads and in the yards of neighbors.
However that wasn’t important anyway. One Finger Village was quite isolated. Few outsiders came, and there were few vehicles. Yang Hua’s house was also not on the main street, so occupying the street was fine as long as the villagers did not say a word.
Fangzheng immediately attracted the attention of everybody when he arrived. All of them greeted him as he acknowledged them one after the other.
However Fangzheng did not see Yang Hua. It was unknown where he had gone off to. Du Mei was seated by the window as she shouted from afar, “Fangzheng! You finally came to see me. Come here. Let me hit your bald head!”
This shout immediately brought Fangzheng back to his childhood. Back then, the one who struck his head the most was probably Du Mei…
Of course Du Mei was only saying it in jest. Fangzheng was already an abbot. Furthermore, he was praised by everyone. She was obviously too embarrassed to hit him. When Fangzheng came over, Du Mei immediately took out a huge bag and handed it to Fangzheng. She said with a smile, “Take it. I prepared this for you. They are fruits Yang Hua bought from the county city. It’s said that they were produced overseas and taste wonderful.”
Fangzheng hurriedly thanked her and got Monkey to accept it.
He then took a bag from Lone Wolf’s mouth and gave it to Du Mei. “Patron Du, these are some dumplings This Penniless Monk made personally. They are for you.”
“Pa!” Fangzheng was smacked in the back of his head.
Du Mei said fiercely, “What are you giving me? Keep whatever you have for yourself!” Although she said so, Du Mei still gleefully kept the dumplings.
Fangzheng smiled bitterly in resignation. He was really helpless when it came to Du Mei.
A large group of children was running around in the yard. Only then did Fangzheng recall. “Patron Du, where’s your baby?”
“Sleeping. He’s like his father. It’s like they reincarnated from piglets. They sleep after having their meals.” Although Du Mei spoke fiercely, her eyes were filled with love.
Fangzheng walked into the house and saw a rocking crib hanging down from the roof. Such rocking cribs were very rare these days. Many people no longer used them. Back when Fangzheng was young, such rocking cribs were very common, though.
“Master, what is this?” Red Boy was pushed in by Lone Wolf as he asked irritatedly. Clearly it was Lone Wolf who was curious, and he had asked him.
Fangzheng said, “This is a crib. In the past, some people would go hunting, and it would be inconvenient if they brought their children with them. Therefore they needed something to place their children in. They used this method to hang their infants up in trees, making it easier to hunt without having to worry that wild beasts would snatch them away. Later on society developed, but this tradition remained. Babies are no longer hung outside but hung inside. For one, it can prevent any wild beasts from hurting the child, but a second benefit is that the oscillations of the crib will generate a breeze which will make the child sleep more comfortably. Thirdly, due to the constant motion it will chase away flies and mosquitoes. And fourthly, it emulates the way adults cradle a baby. This makes the child sleep more soundly too.”
The moment he finished his sentence, Lone Wolf stood on his hind legs and looked down at the baby in the crib. It was as though he was saying: Prevent wild animals? Wouldn’t I be able to reach it just by standing up?
Fangzheng smacked the silly dog immediately. Didn’t he see Du Mei extend her hand towards the feather duster the moment he stood up? Fangzheng knew that Lone Wolf was benign, but the villagers did not believe that the idiot really knew everything and that he wouldn’t harm a baby.
Squirrel scuttered up the crib and patted his chest as though he too could reach the baby.
Fangzheng could not be bothered with the clowns as he carefully looked at the little guy in the crib. He was fair and plump. His eyes were closed as he slept soundly. It was unknown what he was dreaming, but his mouth was pouted a little, making him look adorable.
Fangzheng gently caressed the baby’s cheeks as he silently said, “Amitabha. May Buddha bless you with a life of peace.”
“Ding! Are you certain you want to give blessings to this child? One blessing expends a hundred merit points,” said the System suddenly.
Fangzheng was stunned. “What? I… I can give blessings? And you deduct merit for it?”
“You are now filled with merit, and you are augmented by your monastery and divine powers, as well as by me. Would you still believe me if I said you were an ordinary monk? The blessings you give can be augmented by merit. In the future, if this child encounters any danger, the merit will augment him naturally, saving his life. Of course if he were to grow up and commit evil deeds, negative karma would befall him, diminishing the merit you bestowed him with. The blessings you gave him would then be useless.”
“Then, I’ll give the blessings.” Although it pained him a little to give up a hundred merit points, Du Mei and Yang Hua were really nice to him. He had to be grateful and repay the debt. Although his merit was precious, it was not as precious as interpersonal relationships.
The next moment, Fangzheng saw a blob of Buddhist light gather in between the baby’s eyebrows. The little guy seemed to sense something as he smiled in his dreams.