Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Squirrel looked pitifully at Fangzheng and said with a sobbing tone, “Master, can you understand the pain of having good food in front of you yet not being able to eat it?”
The others mimicked Fangzheng’s methods and began to pull off the stuck layer on the bottom, each of them eating with great relish. The only pity was that there was too little of it. It was still alright for the small-bodied ones like Squirrel, Red Boy, and Salted Fish, but for Lone Wolf with his big appetite, even if he threw it into his mouth in one go, it felt like nothing. All he could do was watch sadly.
Fangzheng also ignored him and suddenly picked up an entire bean bun before placing it in his mouth.
Red Boy said, “Master, it isn’t fully heated up.”
Fangzheng smiled. “There’s another way of eating it when it’s fully heated, same when it’s not fully heated. Have a taste. It’s a totally different feeling.”
Red Boy and company were curious, but Fangzheng had never tricked them when it came to good food; therefore, all of them reached out and grabbed a bean bun. None of them ate yet, though, as they first watched Fangzheng eat.
Fangzheng first peeled off the outermost hard shell before eating the softened fillings inside. Finally, everyone saw that the bean paste had not melted and was still a frozen lump. Although there wasn’t any frost on it, it still looked rock solid. Then, they watched Fangzheng chew on it as though he was eating a sugary bean.
His disciples didn’t have any questions as they quickly learned from him.
When Red Boy ate the outermost shell of the bean bun, he did find it crispy and delicious. And when he ate the soft meat inside, he found it sticky, full, and fragrant. The only bad thing about the entire thing was that the bean bun was scorching hot the moment it was taken out of the oven. However, when he ate the bean paste inside, he felt an icy coolness at his lips. It felt like eating ice-cream in the middle of summer. It was especially stimulating!
Red Boy stuffed the bean paste lump into his mouth and, with the icy-coldness and the burning heat mixed together, everything melted at the same time, causing the bean paste lump to reveal layers of sweet bean paste which came with its own fragrance and sweetness. The clash of hot and cold in his mouth and the flavors that effused left Red Boy spellbound.
It was especially so when the bean paste just melted. There was a coldness to it, but once it was squashed by the tongue, the fragrance and flavors would spew out!
By the side, Monkey couldn’t help but give a big thumbs up. “Master, this is delicious!”
Salted Fish added. “Although there’s no Spirit Qi, and you would think it all tastes the same, when you eat the combination in this way, it is indeed special. Delicious!”
Squirrel salivated as he watched, but due to his satiated state, he really couldn’t eat any more.
Squirrel looked around and when he finally looked at Lone Wolf, he instantly felt mentally balanced.
He saw Lone Wolf shaking his head and crying. “Master, it sticks to the teeth. I can’t get it out… Why is this thing so sticky? Awoo!”
Fangzheng looked at the silly dog and wanted to smack him to death! The rest had taken their time to sample it slowly, but this idiot was in such a rush it was like he was heading for the battlefield. He had swallowed the entire bean bun in one bite. The heat only left him shaking his head and when he bit down, the entire bean bun stuck to his teeth with no way for him to get it off…
With regards to this, Fangzheng sighed and got Monkey to help him.
The eating continued. After the bean buns were completely heated up, they had a steaming hot outer crust. Once that was bitten through, the fillings were filled with melted bean paste, making the fragrance even richer. Although it lacked the intermix of hot and cold, there was another level of granular flavor. There were pros and cons to the different ways of eating.
After finishing the bean bun, Fangzheng realized that although his disciples were still relishing in the aftertaste, Squirrel’s eyes were red from crying.
Seeing the pitiful little guy, Fangzheng couldn’t bear tempting him any further. Hence, he led them all up the mountain.
However, before Fangzheng could even warm his seat, he heard rowdy sounds outside the door. When he peeked out, he saw a bunch of reporters with all kinds of cameras. Even Jing Yan was among them.
Jing Yan had sharp eyes, allowing her to instantly see the bald head that peeked out from behind the door. She hurriedly waved her hands and cried out. “Abbot Fangzheng, hi there. Can we interview you?”
Fangzheng thought, “With you shouting like that, can I even shrink my head back?”
Hence, he coughed and took a deep breath, taking on the demeanor of a master. He slowly walked out and pressed his palms together before saying to the bunch of reporters, “Amitabha. Patrons, is there something?”
“Master, we obviously have something to talk about since we came all the way here. We actually wished to come earlier, but it was snowing, and the mountain was sealed off. We couldn’t come up. Now that we are here, do you have time for a press conference or an interview? Uh, let me introduce myself. I’m Tang Shi—as in Tang Poems,” a female reporter of small build shouted. She looked quite special, with a machine around her. There was a camera lens facing forward on the machine and a microphone facing herself. Her cell phone was clamped on top of it. The entire combination looked rather technological like she was a robot from an American blockbuster. Fangzheng couldn’t help but notice her with such a getup.
Fangzheng looked down slightly at the petite girl and thought, “It sure must be difficult on her, carrying such a huge machine with such a small build.”
Seeing the looks of desire in the reporters’ eyes, Fangzheng believed that although there was no chance of him renouncing asceticism, it wouldn’t be bad to make One Finger Monastery famous. This would at least fulfill one of Zen Master One Finger’s wishes.
Hence, Fangzheng nodded and said, “Sure. However, the monastery is a place of worship that is meant to be tranquil. Patrons, why don’t you follow This Penniless Monk out?”
Jing Yan immediately said, “No problem. Let’s go. Let’s conduct the interview outside.”
When the reporters heard that, all of them rushed out to get a good spot.
Fangzheng was left behind as Jing Yan deliberately slowed down her pace and came over. “How do you plan on explaining Chen Danian’s matter? Also, how are you going to explain Wang Dayou, Xia Jili, and I Originally Wanted Face’s matter? As well as Mt. One Finger’s changes… Sigh, anyway, there’s lots of problems with your Mt. One Finger. It was fine as long as the reporters didn’t come to ask, but there will be an endless barrage of questions now that they are all here. It’s best you think about how to answer them.”
Fangzheng immediately felt his scalp tingle when he heard that. He was someone who couldn’t lie. If they asked him a lot of questions, there really wouldn’t be a good way of answering them… However, his eyes darted around as an idea came to mind!
Outside, the reporters helped Fangzheng choose a particular background. It was that of the Bridge of Helplessness with the Heavenly Dragon Pond to both sides, the bell and drum tower slightly further behind, the two gingko trees that were more than two meters tall at the entrance, and the huge bodhi tree inside One Finger Monastery.
All of this was reflected against the water surface, accentuating One Finger Monastery’s extreme mystery and beauty! Fangzheng’s spot seemed to be a spot where gold converged. In his white monk robes and with the background serving as a foil, it added a Buddhistic charm to him. It lit up all the reporters’ eyes as they couldn’t help but take a few photos first, planning to use it as their desktop wallpaper.