Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
“No, it’s Fenghua,” said Ouyang Fenghua while dragging out her sentence.
“Okay, Patron Fenghua,” said Fangzheng seriously.
“No, without that word.” Ouyang Fenghua turned flustered.
“Okay. Patron.” Fangzheng continued unyieldingly.
“Ah! You are driving me insane. Are you doing this on purpose?” fumed Ouyang Fenghua.
Fangzheng solemnly and seriously looked at Ouyang Fenghua before saying extremely certainly, “Yes.”
“Pfft…” Ouyang Fenghua was immediately amused.
After the banter, Ouyang Fenghua asked out of curiosity, “Master, is that an invitation from Sunglow Monastery in your hands?”
Fangzheng handed the invitation to Ouyang Fenghua in a vexed manner. “Patron, take a look. Sigh…”
When Ouyang Fenghua received it, she was immediately stunned before exclaiming, “This is an invitation for the Heart Cultivation Blessings Dharma Assembly that happens annually? Heavens! Master, you actually have this invitation?”
Fangzheng looked at Ouyang Fenghua oddly and asked, “Is this invitation very hard to obtain?”
Fangzheng had not gone far. The biggest monasteries he knew were only the relatively famous sacred lands of Buddhism, such as Putuo, Shaolin, Mount Wutai, etc. The others he knew were the few monasteries that were not too far from him. He did not know much about the further ones which were not famous throughout the country. He had heard of Sunglow Monastery and knew it was a huge monastery, but he had no idea how impressive their Dharma Assembly was.
Ouyang Fenghua rolled her eyes. “If I didn’t know better, I would really think of you as a fake monk. How do you not know of Sunglow Monastery’s Heart Cultivation Blessing Dharma Assembly? Let’s put it this way, Baiyun Monastery’s annual Spring Welcoming Blessing Dharma Assembly emulates Sunglow Monastery’s Heart Cultivation Blessing Dharma Assembly. But in terms of scale, it’s far inferior to Sunglow Monastery’s. The crucial point is that the Dharma Assembly is not split into two segments, but one. The ones at the top of the mountain will cultivate the Heart and have a Dharma exchange. The devotees at the foot of the mountain will have a Blessing Dharma Assembly. It’s truly a grand event that the whole town turns up to celebrate. There will be people all over the mountain. The scale is something that can be ranked among the top in Jilin Province.”
Fangzheng had a look of astonishment. “The whole town turns up for the celebration? That impressive?”
“It can only be more impressive. Baiyun Monastery’s Dharma Assembly only has a few thousand people participating. As for Sunglow Monastery’s Dharma Assembly, it usually has more than ten thousand people showing up. Martial policemen and ordinary policemen need to be sent there to maintain public order. The scale… There’s a good saying, ‘Northeastern monks can’t call themselves monks if they do not participate in a Dharma Assembly with more than ten thousand people.’ Of course, most ordinary monks will be praying for blessings with the devotees at the foot of the mountain. Those that can go to the summit to participate in the Heart Cultivation Dharma Assembly are the impressive ones. However even if the area at the foot of the mountain is split between monks and devotees, there are still limited spots and are served on a first come first served basis. Of course, there are exceptions, basically people who received invitations. They have spots reserved for them. Let’s see where you will be at…” Ouyang Fenghua took a careful look before exclaiming, “How… How is this possible!?”
Fangzheng asked perplexed, “What is the matter?”
“Master, you are so impressive, but why have you only received an invitation for the ordinary zone at the foot of the mountain? Is… Is this Sunglow Monastery looking down on you?” Ouyang Fenghua pouted her lips and found it unfair.
Fangzheng thought nothing of it as he smiled. “As you said, there are many people and few seats. It’s already pretty good that they invited me.”
“That’s not it. You are an abbot after all. To think they gave you an invitation for the mountain foot zone.”
Fangzheng shook his head and did not say a word. Although he was an abbot, he knew the truth about himself. One Finger Monastery was ultimately tiny, and its influence was just too small. Many people did not know the existence of One Finger Monastery. Furthermore, there was only one actual monk in One Finger Monastery. As for Lone Wolf, Monkey, Squirrel, and Red Boy being Fangzheng’s private disciples, few people knew about it. Even if they knew, no one thought much of it. A human taking animals as disciples? They only found it a joke.
Just like how Fangzheng did not know Sunglow Monastery, it was normal that Sunglow Monastery did not know him. Of course, just as Ouyang Fenghua mentioned, regardless of the size of the monastery, Fangzheng was fundamentally still an abbot. There was no difference in his position with Sunglow Monastery’s abbot. Yet he had been arranged to be at the foot of the mountain. It was indeed a little overboard.
After all, monks might not mind, but board and lodging at the foot of the mountain was inferior to the mountaintop. The importance was also different. In the eyes of outsiders, wouldn’t that imply that One Finger Monastery was a monastery that failed to meet the mark?
However as abbot, Fangzheng could not have such thoughts or he would be indulging in superficiality. More importantly… Fangzheng was too lazy to go up the mountain. It would be enough for him to join in the bustle and broaden his horizons. There were bound to be a lot of troublesome matters at the mountaintop. Someone as lazy as him was definitely happy not to be on the mountaintop.
When Ouyang Fenghua saw how Fangzheng had no intention to fight his relegation to the foot of the mountain, she resigned herself to the situation. She curled her lips. “Master, an attitude like yours makes it easy for you to be bullied.”
Fangzheng chuckled. He was being bullied? He had never been bullied after all these years. Fangzheng smiled. “Patron, there’s no need to mind it.”
“Alright, what else can I say if you don’t mind it. By the way, when are you heading for Sunglow Monastery?”
Fangzheng’s face immediately turned wry when he heard that. When was he going? This was indeed a problem. How was he to go without money? To go only when he had the money? It would probably be years before that happened. Fly over? That was a solution… But he could not say that!
When Ouyang Fenghua saw how stumped Fangzheng was, an idea came to her head. “Master, I have never been to Sunglow Monastery either. Since I don’t have an invitation, why don’t you bring me along?”
Fangzheng’s brows knitted together. It was not nice for him to have a woman beside him.
“Master, bring me there. I’ll pay for the transportation, board and lodging.”
Fangzheng’s eyes lit up when he heard that. He pressed his palms together. “Amitabha, let’s go together.”
After arranging to set off three days later, Ouyang Fenghua happily went down the mountain.
Fangzheng looked up into the sky. “System, is it really nice to make This Penniless Monk so poor?”
The System ignored him.
Three days passed by quickly. Red Boy worked especially hard when he heard that Fangzheng was leaving the mountain. He woke up the earliest and was fully dedicated at making breakfast, fetching water and doing work. He was really diligent.
Instead, it was Lone Wolf who had no interest in leaving the mountain. However, he kept pestering Fangzheng, mumbling, “Master, can you bring me a basketball when you return?”
Fangzheng rolled his eyes. “Do you think we can afford a basketball?”
Lone Wolf: “…”
Squirrel was a little interested in the world beyond the mountains, but when he saw Red Boy help clean his squirrel nest daily and even give him a pile of pine nuts, he decided not to vie for the spot. He would even tell Fangzheng randomly, “Master, I think it’s not bad if I leave the mountain at a later time.”
Monkey was interested in leaving, but with Red Boy addressing him as ‘senior brother’ all day, to the point of even washing his monk robes, Monkey felt embarrassed to vie with him.