Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng poured the money in the Merit Box onto his bed and when he saw the brand new notes, his eyes curved into a crescent shape from smiling. Now, Fangzheng would be given 20% of the incense money, which meant that 20,000 of the 100,000 was his! As someone who slightly worshiped money, how could he not be happy?
Stuffing 20,000 yuan into his pockets in delight, he lay in bed and felt that Jing Yuhang was quite a nice guy.
After an uneventful night, Fangzheng got out of his meditation room early next morning and struck the bell and drum with Monkey. Then, Monkey swept the ground as Fangzheng prepared to walk around. But when he looked up, he saw a flock of birds making its migration south.
Fangzheng could not help but sigh. “Wild geese come as guests; sparrows enter the sea and become molluscs; and Chrysanthemums show yellow flowers. I never expected Cold Dew to come so soon.”
Monkey was baffled when he heard that as he asked, “Master, what does your sentence mean? I don’t understand it at all.”
Fangzheng smiled and said, “Read more when you are free. It will be beneficial to you. This is an ancient saying. It’s about how when Cold Dew comes, there are three major phenomena. Cold Dew is the seventeenth solar term of the twenty-four solar terms in the lunar calendar. After Cold Dew, the ground begins producing icy dew. At the same time, the temperature makes a significant drop. Once Cold Dew comes, we won’t be far from winter. At this time, three phenomena will be seen.
“‘Wild geese come as guests’ depicts how geese fly in formation towards the south to avoid the harsh winter.
“‘Sparrows enter the sea and become molluscs’ means that there will not be many tiny birds seen in the north. Meanwhile, a lot of clams of different colors like the feathers of birds will appear on the shore. The ancients believed that birds would fly into the sea to become clams.
“‘Chrysanthemums show yellow flowers’ means that it’s a season when chrysanthemums bloom.”
“That sounds very profound, but can’t it just be said more simply? I would have understood immediately if you said that from the beginning,” grumbled Monkey.
Fangzheng couldn’t be bothered with the uncultured dumb monkey.
At that moment, Squirrel jumped off from the tree and landed on Fangzheng’s shoulder. Fangzheng frowned and said, “Jingkuan, you need to go on a diet. In the past, you landed lightly, but now, it’s like you’re a lead ball.”
Squirrel replied embarrassed, “I’m preparing for winter.”
Fangzheng struck him. Ever since autumn had started, the little guy seemed to have found an excuse to eat whatever he liked. That tiny mouth of his ate all day without stopping.
Squirrel rubbed his head and hurriedly diverted the topic of conversation. He looked up at the geese in the sky and asked out of curiosity, “Master, why are those silly birds flying in such a formation? It looks weird… Eh? They changed formation. They are now forming a V shape. How strange.”
Fangzheng looked up and saw the geese. He said with a sigh, “This is their intelligence. The winds are strong high in the sky, so flying long distances is draining on their strength. Be it whether they form a V shape or a straight line, they do so mainly to conserve strength.”
With that said, Fangzheng caught a falling leaf and threw it into the air. When it was about to drop again, he waved his hand upwards. Immediately, the leaf moved upwards from the wind that Fangzheng’s wave generated. Fangzheng then said, “My hand is the goose flying right in front. The goose right in front is usually the strongest and most experienced goose. When flapping its wings, it will create a rising flow of air. The geese behind it are like this leaf. They can save their strength from this flow of air and are able to last a little longer. Therefore, those who fly in the middle are the younger geese or the weaker ones. Moreover, as the goose leading them is experienced, it is able to recognize danger. Once it encounters danger, it can give a warning.
“The long journey from north to south is impossible to make for a lone goose without any cooperation. It’s the same with geese as well as us. There’s no way for a person to live alone in solitude. Only through unity, by helping each other mutually, can we go further. And if someone is only a burden on others, it makes it impossible for anyone to go far.”
Upon hearing Fangzheng say that, Squirrel fell into thought. It was unknown when Red Boy, Lone Wolf, and Monkey had gathered around, but all of them looked deep in thought as well.
At that moment, Lone Wolf looked up and said in excitement, as though he had figured out a flaw, “Master, what you said can’t be right. Isn’t Perfected Letian living a solitary life in the mountains? Isn’t he living completely fine?”
Fangzheng struck the smug fellow and chuckled. “Do you think Perfected Letian is really living alone? Although he is self-sufficient, he lacks certain things on the mountain. He has to buy things like oil, salt, vinegar, and tea. In addition, even if he can get those things himself, he can’t survive alone. Think about it, if there were only him in this world, would dangerous animals like tigers, leopards, wolves, and jackals be scarce and nearly extinct? If these animals were still thriving, how could that one person survive?”
Lone Wolf was instantly left speechless.
Fangzheng continued. “A person can live seemingly alone but in fact, they benefit from the unity of their environment. This is not something that can be accomplished by a single person. Therefore, all of you should get along well and help each other. That way, our monastery will only become better.”
The few guys nodded in unison.
When Fangzheng saw how clever these fellows were, he felt pleased as he walked out. During Cold Dew season, the vegetation outside would be filled with crystalline dew. At dawn, the sun’s rays would scatter and refract golden beams through the dew. It was as though there were beads of gold hidden in the vegetation.
Although the Frost Bamboo remained emerald green in the cold winds as though it was oblivious to the cold, the distant pine trees had turned dark green. The cedar trees were turning yellow and with a gust of autumn wind, large amounts of leaves dropped and scattered in the sky beautifully. The even more distant Mt. Tongtian was also silently changing its shade. All of this implied that autumn was almost over.
At that moment, there was a series of exclamations behind him. “One two one! One two one!”
Fangzheng turned his head and saw Lone Wolf walking right in front. Behind him were Red Boy, Squirrel, and Monkey. The four guys were walking in line in quite a silly fashion.
Fangzheng pricked up his brows and asked, “What are all of you doing?”
“Master, we’re learning from the geese. By forming a line, we can save strength.” Squirrel jumped onto Lone Wolf’s head and exclaimed.
Fangzheng rolled his eyes. “The geese do that because they lack stamina. As for you guys, it’s obvious that all of you are brimming with energy and have nothing to do!”
“Master, why don’t you join us?” Squirrel ignored what Fangzheng said because he found it fun.
Fangzheng chuckled. What a joke, he was an intelligent adult, an accomplished monk of a monastery, a future Buddha. To walk around with animals in line? It would be embarrassing if word got out!
“One two one! One two one! Jingzhen, you are taking a slanted path!”
On the mountaintop, a particular monk followed at the back of a line, calling out the timing. In front, a few animals and a child were walking on a patch of grass…
After Cold Dew was over, the weather turned increasingly cold. The frequent appearances of flies and mosquitoes also dwindled until they could no longer be seen.
After having quite some fun, Fangzheng led Monkey, Red Boy, Lone Wolf, and Squirrel down the mountain.