Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Xue Zong said, “Abbot, no one here is a child. Can you not say things that even a three-year-old wouldn’t believe? The offer still stands. If you are agreeable to it, I’ll pay for the transportation of the tree and the subsequent maintenance.”
Fangzheng felt helpless in front of the three warmhearted people. How was he to explain?
Seeing Fangzheng’s silence, Shao Min treated it as though he was unwilling. Her face turned cold as she said, “Abbot Fangzheng, are you unwilling?”
“Of course not. It’s not like this bodhi tree hasn’t lived through winter. It did even better during the winter. Why must you move it south?” At that moment, Red Boy jumped out and grumbled.
Shao Min looked over and saw a kid jump out. He looked adorable with his supple skin. Shao Min thought nothing of what Red Boy said as she shook her head and said, “Kid, what do you know? Did even better during winter? It will probably be dead the moment winter comes. Abbot Fangzheng, are you willing to answer me?”
Fangzheng sighed. “Amitabha. Patron, this bodhi tree cannot be moved.”
“You!” Shao Min was infuriated. This monk was truly obstinate.
Xue Zong tightly knitted his brows and did not speak further. He patted Shao Min on the shoulder. “Although it’s a pity that this tree will freeze to death, the tree ultimately belongs to the monastery, and it’s none of our business. Since the abbot is unwilling, I think we should forget it.”
“That’s right. Let’s offer incense, pay our respects to Buddha, take in the sights, and leave. We still need to head to Changbai Mountain,” Zhao Gang said.
“Both of you! This is truly maddening!” Shao Min was instantly pissed that the two men were revolting. She flung her hand and glared at Fangzheng. She charged out the monastery with wide strides while grumbling loudly. “Since there’s no Buddha in his heart, why pay respects to his Buddha! Let’s go back!”
Xue Zong looked at Fangzheng and nodded slightly before leaving.
Zhao Gang smiled at Fangzheng, feeling a little embarrassed. From his point of view, the tree was Fangzheng’s. How Fangzheng dealt with it was his business. Shao Min definitely had the right to have a different opinion, but it could only serve as a suggestion. If the monk were agreeable to it, that would be that, but if he was disagreeable to it, that was understandable too. Why force your own intentions on someone else?
Shaking his head, Zhao Gang chased after the duo.
Seeing the trio leave, Red Boy grumbled. “Master, is this woman nuts? Just because she wants something, it has to be done her way? Aren’t you angry that she said such things to you? This doesn’t match your personality!”
Fangzheng smiled. “This Female Patron was doing it out of good intentions. She just came across as a little too radical, but one should be forbearing towards a kind person.”
“Oh.” Red Boy nodded in thought. Then he probed Fangzheng. “Master, then why are you so brutal to us?”
Fangzheng grinned at Red Boy. “My dear disciple, I still remember you enjoy using rocks as snacks.”
“Master, I have a question to which the answer eludes me! I hope to seek your wisdom,” Red Boy’s heart palpitated the moment he heard that as he hurriedly exclaimed.
Fangzheng rapped him on the head. “What a smartass. Go ahead and ask.”
“Master, do you think that what she did was wrong? It’s good to be a good person and do good deeds, but there should be a limit, right?”
Fangzheng’s eyes lit up when he heard that. He stared at Red Boy from top to bottom, causing Red Boy to feel goosebumps all over. Only then did Fangzheng say, “Jingxin, you have finally learned to consider problems. Not bad, not bad at all!”
This was the first time Fangzheng was praising Red Boy in such a manner, yet why did Red Boy feel like the praise was a bit warped? It was not like he didn’t have a brain. When did he not use his brain? However, he just seldom used it like this. In the past, he often used the same way of thinking as his parents—how to beat something to death, how to eat something, using what kind of pot… But that was still considered thinking, right?
Seeing Red Boy roll his eyes, Fangzheng said without minding it, “There should be a limit to doing anything. Being excessive is bad. It is the same with doing good, especially when there’s not enough understanding. If one judges a situation based only on one’s own understanding of things, one will think that what one does is right and end up forcing others to do the same. Then, good intentions will become bad. This bodhi tree survived by the power of faith and Buddhistic aura. When it leaves One Finger Monastery, it will probably die even if it’s shipped back to the south. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know that.”
Red Boy said, “So helping people shouldn’t be done blindly. I now realize why you insist on fully understanding the situation before you take action and don’t take action immediately when you feel the situation isn’t right. Among the times I went along with you, there was the hoarding of corpses, and the elderly woman and that cheat, and so on.”
Fangzheng said, “Sometimes, what you see with your eyes and hear with your ears isn’t necessarily the truth. By understanding a little more, you can make fewer mistakes. Understand?”
With that said, Fangzheng turned his head to look at the three stacked heads by the door—Squirrel’s, Lone Wolf’s, and Monkey’s.
The few animals instantly nodded.
At that moment, Lone Wolf took a sniff. “Master, what’s that smell? It’s odd…”
Fangzheng took a sniff and frowned. Indeed, it was an odd smell.
Squirrel, Red Boy, and Monkey also smelled it.
The next moment, there were tragic wails throughout One Finger Monastery.
“You idiots! Weren’t you watching the mooncakes? Is this how you watch over the mooncakes?” Fangzheng could not stop clawing at his bald head as he looked at the black mess inside the pot.
When Squirrel looked at the pot emitting black smoke, and the mooncakes inside that looked like black ash, he asked, “Master, can it still be eaten?”
“Go ahead and try!” Fangzheng rolled his eyes, took out a piece, and stuffed it into Squirrel’s hands.
Squirrel took a sniff and said sobbingly, “It smells bad!”
He peeled open the mooncake and was surprised to discover that the insides had not charred. He took a light nibble…
“Pui! It tastes horrible! Water! Where’s the water?” Squirrel scampered away in search of water.
Red Boy and company looked pitifully at Fangzheng. “Master, our mooncakes are gone.”
Fangzheng wore a look of exasperation when he heard that. The ingredients had all been used, and this was the outcome. Were they going to miss out on mooncakes this year? His heart felt stifled.
The wailing in the monastery was heard by Xue Zong, Zhao Gang, and Shao Min as well.
Shao Min immediately laughed. “That’s retribution. Serves you right to not be able to eat mooncakes during the mid-autumn festival!”
Zhao Gang smiled bitterly. “Must you have such a huge grudge against him? Although the bodhi tree is valuable, it’s ultimately someone else’s. How he deals with it is his business. Why must you be so insistent?”
“I’m not being insistent. Do you know how hard it is for a hundred-year-old tree to grow? Such a precious tree should be protected and not left to freeze to death!”
Zhao Gang said, “I obviously know, but I also know that typical transplanting requires the branches and leaves to be chopped off to reduce evaporation and the loss of moisture. If this tree was transplanted here this year, how can it have grown so luxuriantly? And if it had been transported here intact, the cost would have been high. Who would be willing to spend so much money and effort on transporting a complete bodhi tree for the sake of such a remote monastery?”
Shao Min was taken aback when she heard him. She had only been occupied with the possible loss of the tree, but on second thought, that was true indeed.
Xue Zong said, “The bodhi tree in the yard seemed to have a very rich root network. It doesn’t look like it was temporarily planted. The soil doesn’t look like it was dug up recently either…”
Shao Min was stunned when that was said. She had been agitated previously, but now, on careful thought, the bodhi tree did not look like it had been transplanted. It looked like it was one with the monastery as though it had grown naturally! Thinking back to Fangzheng’s words, Shao Min looked up at the massive bodhi tree’s splendor and felt lost. Could it be that there was a bodhi tree in the world that was resistant to the cold? But… Was that possible?
“Shao Min, I think you were too rash. We should sit down and discuss slowly when we encounter situations like these. We should figure out the situation before making comments. Besides, what’s the use of flaring up? It’s someone else’s after all. Whatever advice or help we offer is dependent on the other person. If they like the suggestion, we should help. But what can we do if they aren’t willing to take the suggestion? Are we going to force them to do so? We aren’t at home with family, and it’s not even necessarily true that family always listens,” Zhao Gang leaned on a wall and said. He was the kind of person who looked boorish, but he was very meticulous when it came to details.
Upon hearing Zhao Gang’s words, Xue Zong nodded and said, “Indeed. We didn’t consider the full situation previously.”
Shao Min’s temper was quite fiery. Seeing how the two men were directing their fire at her, she felt aggrieved, so her stubborn temper flared up. “Isn’t all of that just a guess? I might not know about other things, but if this monastery really had such a wealthy person gift the bodhi tree, it should be famous, right? It’s the mid-autumn festival today. Other monasteries are packed to the brim, but this monastery doesn’t even have a rat! How can this be explained? If you were to ask me, I think it’s because this monastery is problematic to begin with. Otherwise, it would be impossible for it to not have any visitors. I remember that when I went to Daming Monastery last mid-autumn, many devotees were gifting mooncakes to the monastery. That’s what a huge monastery is like. Look at this One Finger Monastery. That baldy even needs to make his own mooncakes! Can’t we tell something from the circumstantial evidence?”
With that said, Xue Zong and Zhao Gang were at a loss for an answer. They were actually feeling puzzled. Why wasn’t there anyone during a holiday?
With questions filling their minds, the trio headed down the mountain. But the more they walked, the more they felt that Shao Min made sense. It was almost noon by the time they reached the bottom of the mountain, yet they didn’t see anyone. This implied that there was a problem. Was the monastery really problematic, and no one was visiting it?
As the trio was feeling perplexed, they saw a person sitting by the mountain’s entrance. Standing in front of him was another man.
“Village Chief, what are you doing?” Dog Song looked confused as he asked Wang Yougui who was seated on the staircase.
Wang Yougui smiled. “Nothing much. It’s the mid-autumn festival, so I’m delivering some mooncakes to Abbot Fangzheng. Old Master Tan just gave me a call, and he wants to go as well. I’m waiting for him so that we can accompany each other. What’s up with you?”
Dog Song was instantly amused. “What a coincidence. I’m here to deliver mooncakes too. Village Chief, what kind of mooncakes are you giving? Let me take a look.” With that said, Dog Song leaned over.
Wang Yougui said, “What’s there to see? It’s just some ordinary mooncakes. With the little I earn, what can I actually give?”
However, Dog Song noticed that there was an intrinsic box of mooncakes inside. From the exterior, it didn’t look too bad! Dog Song chuckled. “Village Chief, those mooncakes of yours weren’t cheap, right?”