Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Sun Qiancheng voiced his agreement as well. “I also support this motion. To be honest, all that gift-returning in the past required records to be made when we returned. If too great a loss was made, we would think of means to hold a banquet. This matter really put stress on the mind and face. It’s really stressful! The poorer you are, the more banquets you hold, and the more you hold them, the poorer you become. There doesn’t seem to be an end to this. I think that we should respond to Abbot Fangzheng’s call today. We should end this custom and not do this in the future. How about that?”
“I support it!” Dog Song yelled. “If we want to talk about losses, I’m definitely one of those people! I didn’t even have a sow in the past, so there was no way to even collect money from having a piglet be born.”
Everyone laughed immediately when they heard him.
Dog Song continued, “Although I wasn’t anything to speak of in the past, I have never let down people on gift-returning, right? I have done it with every family, right? To be honest, back then, I puffed myself up at my own cost, only to not have a sip of alcohol for the following week. Those days were unbearable.”
“Come on! You do a gift-returning of a hundred, you take back enough to feed your entire family for three days. One meal was your one month’s alcohol allowance,” scolded Sun Qiancheng jokingly.
Dog Song blushed. “Let’s not talk about the past. I’m now a role model for our village! If anyone doesn’t accept my claim, let’s see who can sweep faster!”
Everyone laughed again.
Upon seeing everyone taking a stand, Wang Yougui finally stood forward. “Since everyone agrees to it, let me say a few words. To be honest, as village chief, things are rather difficult for me. All of you have some banquet every other day, and I have to attend all these celebrations. Many people call me a Celebration Village Chief, but they do not know that this Celebration Village Chief is actually a poor one. My bit of money is all used for gift-returning. Yet, I can’t run a banquet, because a big banquet would be scrutinized for corruption by the government! In short, there’s only losses and no gains, so my losses are crazy. Today, I’ll thicken my skin and plead with everyone to spare me. Don’t take cash-gifts for every trivial thing. Let’s do this, if something good happens to someone, bring some food and alcohol there for a potluck. Together, we can have a good time eating, how about that?”
“Alright!” Everyone agreed one after another.
Upon seeing this, Squirrel said into Fangzheng’s ear, “Master, you sure are impressive. Your face is big!”
Fangzheng’s face blackened as Lone Wolf began sucking up to him. “What do you mean Master’s face is big? This is called being of high esteem. Everyone gives him face!”
Fangzheng smiled bitterly, “All of you are overthinking things. Although This Penniless Monk has some esteemed morals, that is not enough to change the entire situation. The outcome of today is solely because of a harmony of reasons. The Chen family is a huge family in One Finger Village, just second to the Wang family. With them taking the lead, the rest will naturally follow. Besides, everyone can no longer tolerate this vile custom that has changed from the original meaning. In addition, everyone was moved by the kind actions of Yang Hua’s and Wang Yunfeng’s family. All these factors managed to take down this vile custom. Therefore This Penniless Monk did not contribute to the resolution of this matter. It’s the good in their hearts that managed to suppress this vile custom.”
Monkey nodded and said, “Amitabha. It’s good indeed.”
Red Boy punched Monkey. “You stupid monkey, what do you know? All you do is act.”
“Evil cannot prevail over good. Even the most awesome demon king makes my meals,” Monkey did not flare up as he just retorted smugly.
Red Boy rolled his eyes and had a yearning to beat the stupid monkey to death. Why did he have to rub his nose in it?
“Heh, enough. Let’s be quick. Yang Hua is now the richest guy in our village. He invited chefs from the county city. Hehe, I have to sample their culinary skills,” exclaimed Dog Song.
“That’s right. Hehe, Yang Hua bought more than thirty chickens. There’s also softshell turtles. I’m already salivating. I don’t want to waste time bragging with you. Food is of utmost importance,” said Sun Qiancheng with a smile.
“Softshell turtles are good. They are revitalizing. Let’s go have some softshell turtles!” Wang Yougui shouted as he enlivened the mood.
“Let’s go! It’s mealtime!” Chen Jin shouted as well as everyone took their seats rowdily.
However Fangzheng was in a predicament. The banquet was an all-meat feast. He could not eat any of that!
At that moment, Yang Ping ran over and said, “Abbot Fangzheng, have a seat over there. There’s a table specially meant for Buddhists and vegetarians. Don’t worry. My brother specially bought a brand new set of utensils and cutlery so that specialized cooks would cook for you. There will be nothing non-vegetarian,” guaranteed Yang Ping as he patted himself in the chest.
Upon hearing about Yang Hua’s arrangements, Fangzheng felt touched as he thanked him profusely.
Monkey asked him when there was no one around, “Master, must we be so particular? Won’t we be troubling people when we leave the mountain?”
Fangzheng shook his head. “The dogma is targeted at the heart and not the object. In fact, they could have used ordinary utensils for our meals. As long as there’s no meat and we do not crave for meat deep down, that is us upholding the precepts. To forcefully hold back solely for the purpose of pursuing that goal would make it mediocre in spirit.”
“Master, why didn’t you tell that to Patron Yang?” asked Red Boy.
Fangzheng smiled. “He did it out of goodwill and has already prepared everything. What’s the point in telling him that? All that matters is that you know what is truly important deep down.”
Red Boy, Monkey, Squirrel, and Lone Wolf nodded.
Shortly after, the food was served, Yang Hua jumped onto a temporary stage and began speaking. “Hello everyone. I’m no leader, so I don’t have much to say. I just have one thing to say. I, Yang Hua, have a son now. I’m happy! So everyone, have a good meal! Now, dig in and bottoms up! After you have your fill, follow me to the school’s square to watch Two-people Rotation 1 ! It’s Fifth Zhao’s team. I guarantee you a good show!”
“Nice!” Everyone turned spirited when they heard him as they cheered. Fangzheng knew Fifth Zhao too. He was a famous Two-people Rotation performer in the area, and he led his own team. He made performances everywhere, but Fangzheng had never really seen the full performance before either. When he was young, Zen Master One Finger did not permit him to watch. When he grew up, he did hear it once as he rushed back the mountain with a blushed face. He recited Buddhist scriptures for days and from then on, he never watched Two-people Rotation…
Just as Yang Ping said, Yang Hua had prepared a full set of vegetarian meals. They were all prepared meticulously by the master chef himself. The food looked beautiful, and as for the taste…
Fangzheng only took one bite!
When he was about to take a second bite, he saw a fat butt in front of his face. The owner of this butt was desperately grabbing the deep fried butter dough and stuffing it into his mouth! The animal that looked as though it had never eaten was naturally Squirrel.
When Fangzheng saw the embarrassing clown, he took some shredded potatoes and said with a smile, “Jingkuan, have some of this. It tastes good.”
Squirrel looked up and saw the glistening delicacy in Fangzheng’s hand. He nodded immediately as he widened his mouth. Fangzheng stuffed the potatoes in as he watched Squirrel happily chew on the potatoes. Suddenly, Squirrel’s eyes turned into a look of shock and then into appalment, before finally turning into panic. Following that, he ran to the side to dig out the food in his mouth…
Elsewhere, Monkey was eating very slowly, but the fellow was secretly stuffing the fruits from a plate into his pockets…
Lone Wolf was the most comfortable. He was sprawled on the ground as he had a huge basin of food. As he wolfed down the food, his head seemed stuck in it as his ass was aimed high into the sky. It was even aimed at Fangzheng! When Fangzheng saw that a**hole, he sighed and poked it with his chopsticks…
Lone Wolf sat on the ground and looked aggrievedly at Fangzheng.