Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Therefore, the villagers would all recommend any visitor they saw to visit One Finger Monastery. Unfortunately, the sun was scorching hot, and the people that came were there only for the carvings. They would at best be polite and climb the mountain early in the morning as a stroll. Nonetheless, One Finger Monastery did enjoy more incense offerings than before.
And all of this happened within a week.
At that moment in time, Fangzheng was sitting under the bodhi tree laughing himself silly!
“System, for real?” Fangzheng was laughing maniacally in his heart.
“Of course. Preaching and teaching the way is much better than doing charity bit by bit. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Is there a need for me to explain this? The villagers have always been poor, but after diligently practicing this skill, they will no longer need to worry for the rest of their lives. This is great merit! I have told you in the past that you were too short-sighted. All you knew was to rescue others to earn merit, but you had no idea how to develop the treasures you have. But alright, you somehow pushed open this door by yourself by sheer happenstance. You will receive a merit reward for every person who learns from you and whose life improves as a result,” said the System.
Fangzheng grinned and said, “In the past…” Fangzheng wished to retort, but on careful thought, wasn’t it true that he hadn’t figured it out before? The main reason for that was that he had had his eyes closed and had been lacking in enlightenment.
“Alright, I was indeed crap in the past,” said Fangzheng with a sigh.
“How about it? You earned quite a sizable amount of merit this time. Do you want to try your luck?” The System paused before continuing. “Do you want to use the merit from before in the draw too?”
Fangzheng’s heart palpitated. Now that he had amassed a lot of merit, he absolutely wanted to get a big one! After some thought, Fangzheng said, “Do it!”
“Together?” The System’s voice sounded a little excited.
“Uh… Why are you so excited?” Fangzheng suddenly felt something was amiss. It was understandable if he was excited about drawing a big prize, but why was the System excited as well?
“Am I? No way… Heh heh,” said the System with a dry chuckle.
Fangzheng found it increasingly odd. “System Bro, if you aren’t going to be honest, I will hold back on drawing. It’s not like I lack anything for now. My days are quite good, and I’m in no hurry. I can afford to wait.”
However, the System fell silent. The System did not say a word despite Fangzheng waiting all day. It made him think, “Could this a**hole have blocked me? He can’t be that petty, right…”
At that moment, the System said, “Actually, it’s nothing much. It’s just that I also get merit rewards when you do a lottery draw. The reward this time would be enough for me to level up. It’s that simple. However, my leveling up is also beneficial for you. You should have realized that all the items you draw originate from the bottom of Mount Numinous. To not mince words, they are considered OEM products 1 . That’s also because of my lacking level. However if I level up, you will be able to obtain items from Mount Numinous itself. For example, Buddhist treasures made by real Arhats and Bodhisattvas. You could learn true divine powers, etc.”
Fangzheng was taken aback. “It can’t be? After all this time, everything I have is an imitation? But didn’t you say that those pills or whatever were―”
“Those were just words said to convince you. However, they cannot be considered lies as those people would be considered living Buddhas if placed here,” replied the System.
Fangzheng looked up into the sky and really wished to curse! What a scam! Even the System was bluffing him. What happened to trust in this world?
“So, are you gonna draw or not?” asked the System.
“How much more do you need to level up?” asked Fangzheng.
“I’ll level up after amassing ten thousand merit points. However, I only obtain a tenth of the merit points you use. That means that after you have amassed a hundred thousand merit points and used them up at the draw, I will reach my ten thousand merit points as a reward and complete my leveling up,” explained the System.
Fangzheng rolled his eyes when he heard that. A hundred thousand merit points? That sure was a huge number!
“You currently have 6784 merit points. Don’t think of it as a small number. Many of the things you have done still have lingering effects. As long as the effects exist, you will receive merit, even if it is only a small amount. For example, if you teach your techniques a few hundred times, all you need to do is sit on the mountain without doing a thing to obtain large swaths of merit. Therefore, work hard, dude.”
Fangzheng sighed. “I’m coming to the realization that my path to renouncing asceticism is fraught with potential pitfalls. It’s not easy to traverse it.”
“Why are you so insistent on renouncing asceticism? Isn’t it nice being a monk? When you become a Buddha, you will be in the joyful pramudita stage. You can still have a woman then,” said the System.
Fangzheng shook his head. “I’m not a sexual deviant. This has nothing to do with women. You won’t understand.”
Only Fangzheng knew where his persistence stemmed from. He looked up at the clouds in the sky as he let out a long sigh.
“Alright, I don’t understand. So, are you drawing now? To be honest, the best item I can give you is a treasure worth 5000 merit points. It’s perfect if you draw now. Even if you accumulate more, all you will be able to exchange for will be treasures of this level. It’s pointless to accumulate any more,” said the System.
Fangzheng said, “Of course! Do it!”
“Alright, let the lottery begin!” said the System.
“Ding! Congratulations, you have obtained a Sutra Cabinet!”
“No way. I used so many merit points and you give me a cabinet? This isn’t as good as the Yongle Bell, right?” Fangzheng nearly went mad. He had gone through great difficulty to amass merit after so long only to receive a cabinet. He was pissed! Extremely pissed! He even suspected if the System had profited from him by taking a commission.
“Not satisfied?” asked the System.
“Definitely!” said Fangzheng boldly.
“Then I’ll refund you, how about that?” asked the System.
“Since when are you so nice?” Fangzheng asked as he scanned the introduction of the Sutra Cabinet, only to…
Sutra Cabinet: Produces a sutra book every week. The sutras come from Mount Numinous and cannot be destroyed. Disseminating them is forbidden!
Upon seeing this, Fangzheng’s eyes nearly popped out! After so many years of living in a temple, the only decent sutra he had previously was half a Diamond Sutra. Later on, he managed to draw the entire sutra, and he treated it as his baby, studying it day in and day out. And that was all he had!
Although Fangzheng could read the scriptures on the Internet, he realized that the world’s sutras could not be compared to the real sutras from Mount Numinous. The disparity was like a toddler’s scribbles and a professor’s research thesis. The difference was like night and day! Having eaten the best delicacies, who would wish to return to eating wild vegetables and chew wax?
Therefore, Fangzheng desired for more sutras right to his bone! His thirst for them exceeded his desire for any other item. After all, these were things with which he could truly improve himself. By reading more and understanding more sutras, it would prevent him from getting slapped in the face figuratively when outside. This was a powerful weapon to arm himself with.
Now, he had finally had his wish fulfilled. With the Sutra Cabinet, he could have a new sutra appear every week. Four books a month, 52 a year! He would have 520 books in a decade! They were real sutras too! Fangzheng could not even close his mouth from laughing.
“I’m just so good to you. I’ll refund it for you now,” said the System suddenly.
Fangzheng immediately turned anxious when he heard that. He hurriedly exclaimed, “No! I want it! I want this!”
“Master, what do you want?” Red Boy poked his head out and asked.
“It’s none of your business. Go play elsewhere.” Fangzheng waved his hand as he hurriedly shouted in his mind, “System Bro, I know you are the best to me. I want this cabinet! Hahaha!”
“Look at how embarrassing you are. Work hard to accumulate merit. Once you surpass a hundred thousand merit points, won’t you die laughing when I level up and allow you to draw a Sutra Repository Pavilion?”
“I can even draw a Sutra Repository Pavilion?” Fangzheng’s eyes widened.
“Of course. I’m omnipotent!” bragged the System.
“System, since you are that powerful, let me renounce asceticism,” said Fangzheng.
“System Bro? System Bro? Are you still there? System Bro?” Fangzheng pressed for quite some time only to not receive any reply until the end. Fangzheng shrugged his hands helplessly and said, “Don’t brag next time. It’s easy to get slapped in the face.”
With that said, Fangzheng pinched a blob of Buddhistic light, and he returned to his meditation room. With a wave of his hand, a two-meter tall cabinet made of solid wood appeared in his room. It was simple and not fancy. When he opened the doors to the cabinet, it was empty inside. However, a soft fragrance emitted from it. It was refreshing to the senses and very pleasant to the nose.
“From the looks of it, I’ll have to wait a week for the goods to arrive. Sigh.” Fangzheng shook his head, feeling a little disappointed.
However, Fangzheng soon got over it. He was able to go with the flow.
He went outside and looked at the sun in the sky. After making an estimate of the date, he said, “Time sure goes fast. The festivities are coming again.”
“Master, we are indeed going to have some festivities soon. The Yulanpen Festival is coming soon.” Red Boy, who was sitting in the yard watching Squirrel use a tiny carving knife to carve a Frost Bamboo piece the size of a thumb, answered.
“Master, what’s the Yulanpen Festival?” Lone Wolf poked his head out of his kennel. His eyes had a thieving look to them. Although he had no idea what the festival was, he knew according to experience that a festival definitely meant good food! Furthermore, it would be lively. It was an awesome time!
Squirrel also put down the carving knife in his hand and looked curiously at Fangzheng. Monkey also came over.
When Fangzheng saw this, he beckoned for everyone to take a seat. “Then, I’ll explain to you what the Yulanpen is.
“China has three Prime festivals. They are the Upper Prime, the Middle Prime, and the Lower Prime festivals.
“The Daoist religion believes that the three ingredients with which all things in the world were created are Heaven, Earth, and Water, which are known as the Three Primes. The three are also known as Offices, which are the segments of the flow of space-time.
“At the Office of Heaven sits the Emperor of Purple Tenuity Who Confers Happiness. He was born on the fifteenth of the first month, and so this day is known as the Upper Prime Festival, also known as the Lantern Festival.
“At the Office of Earth sits the Emperor of Purity Void Who Liberates from Faults. He was born on the fifteenth of the seventh month, and so this day is known as the Middle Prime Festival, also known as the Ghost Festival or Yulanpen Festival.
“At the Office of Water sits the Emperor of Insight Femininity Who Eliminates Dangers. He was born on the fifteenth of the tenth month, and so this day is known as the Lower Prime Festival. It is also the day the Office of Water eliminates danger and is commonly known as Shi Day.
“As such, during the Three Prime Festivals, the Three Offices tour the lower realm and do their jobs. The commoners celebrate the occasion as they receive the Three Offices.”
“Master, you said these Three Offices are part of the Daoist religion. Aren’t we monks? Why do we believe it as well?” Monkey had also begun studying from Buddhist scriptures recently. He had many things he had just begun interacting with, so he naturally had many questions.