Chapter 151 The Enthusiastic Young Monk
Fangzheng finally realized that he had been too mild-tempered!
The monkey asked impatiently, “Do you still have any of those rice dumplings? If not, I’m leaving! Seriously, it’s so late in the night. All I can think of are the rice dumplings. I can’t even sleep.”
Fangzheng rolled his eyes, “You still want more? There’s none left!”
“Really, there’s none?” The monkey clearly did not believe Fangzheng.
Fangzheng looked at the monkey’s scoundrelly look and was tempted to slap him until his ass faced the sky. Only then did Fangzheng understand why Gautama Buddha would imprison Sun Wukong under a mountain. Monkeys truly got on people’s nerves. Fangzheng waved his hand, “At least there’s none left here. A monk does not lie. If a monk does not lie to humans, why would he lie to a monkey?”
“Good-for-nothing. You don’t even have a rice dumpling.” The monkey turned around and scampered off.
The infuriated Fangzheng truly wanted to smack its head with his shoe. Why were the monkey’s words so infuriating?
He returned to his room and went to bed. An uneventful night passed.
The next day at dawn, Baiyun Monastery became lively. The abbots and disciples of each monastery were out in force. There was endless shouting. Thankfully Fangzheng was accustomed to waking up early so it didn’t spoil his mood. He went out and got to work.
The main structure of the Spring Welcoming Blessing Dharma Assembly had been set up. All they still needed to do was put up some simple decorations. With the gong of a bell, Baiyun Monastery’s doors opened.
Fangzheng was dumbfounded. He originally believed that two to three hundred villagers from One Finger Village during the new year were already a spectacular sight. But now, he realized it was completely incomparable!
There were numerous people standing outside Baiyun Monastery’s entrance. The moment the door opened, they poured in under the monks’ guidance. Sounds of men bragging, women grumbling and children crying inundated his ears. The chaotic scene left Fangzheng’s head abuzz.
The Baiyun Monastery monks were accustomed to such situations. They methodically controlled the situation. Although it was noisy, it wasn’t chaotic. Everyone proceeded in an orderly fashion. Fangzheng was extremely impressed with their professionalism. At the very least he was incapable of doing so. He could not help but sigh inwardly. “As expected of Baiyun Monastery. Such organizational ability is truly impressive…”
Although he thought so, a look of confidence emerged in Fangzheng’s eyes. In the past he had thought nothing much of the plaque that hung above One Finger Monastery’s door. But now, in comparison, Fangzheng finally realized the advantages of the unique powers the plaque gave. Anyone who entered the monastery would be influenced by the plaque. No matter how vexed they were, they would calm down. No matter how bad a person’s temper was, they would quieten down. They would even feel reverent towards Buddha.
Of course such an effect was limited. There was nothing absolute. If the other party did not believe in Buddha, was lazy to the bones or completely bewitched by evil people, the effects would not be as striking.
Even so the plaque was able to save Fangzheng quite a bit of trouble.
“Now the monastery’s various enchantments are incomplete. One day when everything is available, it will definitely surpass Baiyun Monastery with ease.” Fangzheng had absolute confidence for the first time since the system and even before.
This was the benefit of traveling. If one did not see the world, they would never understand how good they had it. Nor would they ever know how massive the world outside was.
Past the Baiyun Monastery’s mountain entrance, there was a Bell Tower and Drum Tower that sat opposite each other.
Deeper in was a square, Buddhist pine trees lined the sides of the square. They had lush leaves and thick trunks. Signboards hung on said trees, some reached as old as eighty years!
On the opposite side of the square was Baiyun Monastery’s Mahavira Hall where three Buddhas were consecrated. There was a large bronze cauldron placed by the entrance as incense fragrance and smoke rose from it and into the skies…
Mats lined the square, red lines everywhere. Devotees were not permitted entry and could only stand beyond the red lines.
Fangzheng walked around and saw a monk shouting the names of the various monasteries. Each monastery’s monks would enter the square when their monastery’s name was called. They sat according to an arrangement determined two days ago. Fangzheng went over curiously to join in the bustle.
At that moment, a young monk shouted, “Golden Bamboo Convent!”
Fangzheng saw a familiar person. It was none other than Hong Jin who had previously targeted him. Fangzheng had a deep impression of Hong Jin. Although he spoke like a master, his heart was not that of one. Hong Jin had constantly nipped at him and made things difficult for him. He naturally had a deep impression of Hong Jin. However it was not time for him to seek revenge so he simply watched.
At that moment a young monk suddenly came forward and bowed towards Fangzheng with his palms held together. He asked reverently, “Abbot Fangzheng, hello there. There is a thing This Penniless Monk isn’t sure of. Could you enlighten me?”
Fangzheng was taken aback. Why would a monk ask for his advice? What he knew was probably not greater than the other monks… Fangzheng felt it was inappropriate to reject him. Therefore, he bowed and said with a smile, “Amitabha. Venerable One, you are being polite. This Penniless Monk has many things he is unsure of on the path of enlightenment. However if This Penniless Monk knows anything, he will definitely answer you.”
The young monk was surprised. He never expected that the legendary Venerable Fangzheng, who had crossed the river on a reed would be as humble as the rumors said. He felt his nerves calm as he asked, “Abbot Fangzheng, look at the Golden Bamboo Convent. All of them are men but they come from Golden Bamboo Convent. Why isn’t it called Golden Bamboo Monastery?”
Fangzheng was relieved when he heard the question because he knew the answer. He smiled, “Amitabha. It is common for people to describe temples, monasteries, and convents as one. In fact, they are different. Temples consecrate ghosts and deities while monasteries and convents consecrate gods and Buddha. There are differences between monasteries and convents.”
“For instance a building’s construction, a monastery typically has a Mahavira Hall while a convent doesn’t. No matter how massive a convent is, it cannot be called a monastery if it lacks a Mahavira Hall. Of course there are places that do not abide by this rule. There is another way of putting it.”
“In terms of capabilities, a monastery is meant to give monks a place to live and cultivate. Devotees can offer incense and monks can explain the scriptures to the devotees, reconciling any anxieties that might plague them.”
“As for a convent, it is where monks cultivate in isolation. Typically entry is forbidden for outsiders. Especially bhiksuni , also known as Buddhist nuns. They are women after all. It is not convenient for the monks to be disturbed while they cultivate their mind and being. Therefore they often stay in convents. Over time people began thinking of convents as places where Buddhist nuns reside.”
“Therefore, it’s not strange that the Golden Bamboo Convent only has men.”
The monks eyes widened in realization, he was enlightened as he thanked Fangzheng. “Abbot, thank you for enlightening me. Might This Penniless Monk ask, regarding the Avataṃsaka Sūtra…”
The moment Fangzheng heard the words ‘Avataṃsaka Sūtra,’ his heart skipped a beat. There was no need to continue listening. He was definitely unable to answer for he had never read that particular scripture! Just as Fangzheng was ruminating over the problem thinking of how he could bluff his way through, he heard—
“One Finger Monastery!” The monk that was announcing names a distance away called out for Fangzheng’s monastery. Fangzheng heaved an inner sigh of relief as though he had been granted amnesty. He continued looking calm, “Amitabha. This Penniless Monk will be heading off first. If you really have anything you are unsure of, you could ask your master. This Penniless Monk believes that he will be able to give you a satisfactory answer.”
Upon leaving the young monk with those words Fangzheng made sure to quickly retreat before further unanswerable questions were aimed at him.