Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng ignored his disciples. After all, he had the final say in One Finger Monastery. Protests were invalid, and objections were overruled!
Fangzheng led Lone Wolf down the mountain and bought some butter, snowskin powder, milk, chestnut flour, and white sugar. He threw everything into the basket hanging over Lone Wolf’s body and immediately returned up the mountain.
Red Boy had already fetched the water, and Monkey had already boiled a pot of it.
Fangzheng mixed the snowskin powder and the chestnut flour together in a basin and then mixed in sugar and oil. After that, he placed it in water to be cooked for about ten minutes before putting in milk. With the milk, the mooncake’s skin turned smooth and glistening.
At that moment, the water had already boiled. Fangzheng immediately poured the condiments into the prepared powder and mixed it evenly. Then, he gently kneaded it, turning the dough and oil to mix well, so that the colors would appear uniform without leaving any bubbles.
During this process, Squirrel squatted by the side with his eyes wide. He drooled as he watched. It was obvious from the way he looked that he planned to be the first to taste the final product.
Fangzheng ignored him and continued scattering some snowskin powder on the rolling board before cutting the dough into tiny lumps with a knife. Then, he kneaded them into oblate shapes. Their cores were made tougher than the parts around them. Next, Fangzheng used the bamboo shoots Red Boy had prepared, ground them, and mixed them together with Crystal Rice to form a paste. Finally, he stuffed the paste into the mooncake before sealing the orifice from the bottom up. He then pressed it down into the shape of a mooncake before throwing it into a pot to be baked.
Fangzheng had learned this technique from Zen Master One Finger. He had managed to reproduce what looked like a mooncake, and although he wasn’t very skilled at it, it was still quite a success.
“Master, is this a mooncake?” Squirrel stared at the pot, feeling wistful that he could see nothing with the pot’s lid closed.
“That’s right. That’s a mooncake. Just wait. Once it’s out of the pot, you can eat it after it cools down.” After Fangzheng said that, he walked out of the kitchen and sat outside to take in the autumn breeze, drink bamboo shoot tea, and read his scriptures. It was a relaxing day.
Lone Wolf, Squirrel, Red Boy, and Monkey had no intention to leave as they stayed inside the kitchen. They were worried that a moment’s carelessness would result in the mooncakes being eaten clean once they were done. Therefore, all of them guarded the pot.
Seconds turned into minutes, and as the disciples caught a whiff of the faint fragrance, they nearly drooled.
At that moment, a series of footsteps sounded from outside. Fangzheng was perplexed. One Finger Monastery wasn’t holding a Dharma Assembly today, nor were there any activities. So who would come to him on a holiday?
This was also the difference between One Finger Monastery and the other monasteries. Other monasteries would have many people during the holidays, but One Finger Monastery would have very few people. After all, Hongyan Monastery and Baiyun Monastery would organize large-scale Dharma Assemblies. Be it to join the bustle or to make prayers, people would choose the bigger monasteries first. With regards to this, Fangzheng had no intention of changing the status quo because he was lazy!
Now that he had food to eat and water to drink, Fangzheng had no intent to organize a Dharma Assembly which would tire him out. With the free time, he could be carefree and easy. It felt awesome!
When he left the backyard, he saw two men and a woman walk in. They were surrounding the bodhi tree while they marveled.
He found these people unfamiliar, so they were most likely not from the area.
Their clothes resembled those of vacationers who often traveled.
“How marvelous. A southern tree like the bodhi tree can grow in the north. This world really has no lack of amazing things.” A man kept taking photos.
The other man stood under the bodhi tree and took a selfie. He immediately made a post on his WeChat Moments and asked, “Guess, am I in the south or north?”
Only the woman had her brows furrowed. “A bodhi tree should be a tree of the south. We have traveled more than half of China, but we’ve never seen anyone manage to grow a bodhi tree in the north successfully. This tree was probably transplanted here when the weather was okay during the summer. This old tree is rather thick, and its crown is huge. It’s probably about a hundred years old. Once winter comes, it will most likely die from the cold. This monastery is far too ruthless. It has wrecked such a good tree in order to make it look better.”
“Shao Min, that’s the monastery’s business. Why poke your nose in the matter? If they have the money, let them do as they please,” a man said without much care.
“Zhao Gang, it’s because of people like you with such thoughts that the number of good things this world has to offer gets reduced. Shouldn’t we leave things behind for our future generations? Let’s go. I know what kind of moral conduct this is just from looking at this tree. To sin in such a manner, aren’t they afraid of offending Buddha? Let’s hope a bolt of lightning smites the darn monks.” Shao Min’s mouth rattled off like a machine gun, leaving Zhao Gang speechless.
Even Fangzheng was left dumbfounded. This female patron was fierce!
Upon hearing the commotion, Red Boy, Squirrel, Monkey, and Lone Wolf came out. Then, they peeped out from the door, with their heads lined up. Squirrel was at the bottom, and above him was Red Boy, followed by Lone Wolf. Finally, Monkey was tip-toeing.
Fangzheng turned back as his disciples turned their heads over to him. From the looks on their faces, it was evident they were waiting to see what Fangzheng would do with regards to such a problematic patron.
At that moment, the man with the camera said, “I think Shao Min is right. Someone should step forward and promote the right values. This monastery and the monks are just too much. They claim that killing is bad, but this hundred-year-old tree is about to be killed by them.”
Shao Min immediately said, “Well said! Zhao Gang, you should learn from Xue Zong. That’s how you should be.”
Zhao Gang rolled his eyes. “Come on. The both of you are just short of a marriage certificate to be truly together. Do you think he will disagree with what you say? If you want to gang up and bully me, just say so.”
“Is this bullying? This is being principled, alright?” exclaimed Shao Min.
The two immediately broke out into a debate, but just as Zhao Gang was about to say a word, Shao Min would retort with a huge bunch of reasons, talking about the preservation of Earth’s environment for the sake of future children. Her answers left Zhao Gang at a loss for words. When she was done, she did not forget to add more. “My conclusion is still the same as before. Just seeing the tree is as good as seeing the person. There’s nothing good in this monastery!”
Fangzheng was truly rendered speechless. Which eye did they use to witness him committing murder? Was common sense the truth? Ridiculous!
Xue Zong, who had been watching the spectacle, looked up and was surprised to notice a monk beside him. Realizing that Shao Min was cursing the monk with such great gusto, he hurriedly nudged the silly lass. However, she didn’t realize it and continued. “What are you nudging me for? Did I say anything wrong? Can a monk without any kindness in his heart be called a monk?”
“Amitabha. If he’s not a monk, what should he be called?” Fangzheng could not help but ask.
With how blunt her thought processes were, Shao Min failed to realize as she said, “He’s obviously a demonic monk!”
Zhao Gang looked at Fangzheng before winking at Shao Min.
Shao Min raged on. “Zhao Gang, just say it if you have something to say. Why do you keep winking? Did sand get into your eyes? What’s in your right eye? What are you looking at… Uh…”