Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng daydreamed as he descended the mountain. Midway down the mountain, he saw groups of people pulling blocks of wood and rock towards the mountain. Without any machines on this tall mountain, only manual labor could be used.
Unfortunately the labor force was a little inadequate. There were only a bit over twenty people. At that speed, Fangzheng estimated it would take quite a while to build the bell tower.
Fangzheng greeted the workers as he made way before heading down the mountain.
It was chaos at the foot of the mountain. A huge number of villagers was gathered there. Women were pouring water, while the men carried bricks, rocks, or wooden beams. Children were also playing around the site. They were following the adults with a few bricks in hand, appearing all adult-like while giggling.
“Dog Song, use more strength!” Sun Qiancheng shouted.
“What are you shouting for? My pants are dropping! I need to pull them up!” Dog Song held his pants with one hand as he shouted.
“Chen Jin, you are already so old. There’s no need for you to help.” Yang Hua and Yang Ping shouted when they saw a wooden beam pass them by.
“Nonsense. I’m still as fit as a fiddle. I’m telling you, you might still be by the mountain side when I reach the peak.” After Chen Jin said that, he called out, “Son, use more strength. Let’s work hard to overtake them!”
Chen Jin’s son, Chen Long, laughed out loud. “Don’t worry. Let’s go!”
Following that, the two ran forward while carrying the wooden beam. The two groups of people began a competition.
“1, 2, 3… Heave, ho!” Elsewhere, Tan Juguo was around too. He was singing some local cheers, and all the men in the village shouted in unison as they exerted their strength according to the beat. They carried wooden beams and walked forward.
Fangzheng even saw several villagers from other villages rush over to help. All of them looked excited as though they were not there to do manual labor but to share the joy.
Upon seeing this scene buzzing with ardor, Fangzheng grinned widely. He scratched his head and laughed. He liked the feeling of being shown concern.
“Abbot Fangzheng, why did you come down? You don’t have to do a thing here. Leave it to us!” Dog Song looked at Fangzheng as he shouted immediately.
Everyone looked over and echoed him. “That’s right. All you need to do is chant some scriptures. Leave this bit of work to us! We promise you that we will build up the bell tower at the fastest possible speed!”
Tan Juguo reminisced as he said, “I remember that there was a bell back in One Finger Monastery too. That bell was a little small, but it sounded good. Every day, Zen Master One Finger would strike it. Heh… When we heard the bell at the foot of the mountain, we knew that dawn had come and we should return home for breakfast. That feeling… Such a rich memory.”
“That’s right. Later the bell broke, and there was nothing. It took us a long time to get used to it,” said another elder.
At that moment, Chen Jin’s wife, Su Hong, came over and said with a smile, “All is good now. The mountain has a bell again. Heh heh, Abbot Fangzheng, it’s your good luck as well as ours. Building a bell tower is a matter of merit. We are also rubbing off some of that merit. You have to get Buddha to bless us.”
Fangzheng pressed his palms together. “Amitabha. Good begets good. This Penniless Monk will definitely pray for all of you.”
Everyone laughed as they continued the laborious work.
Fangzheng did not sit by idly either. He carried a wooden beam and followed behind the crowd. It instantly caused gasps, but after seeing Red Boy and his strange strength, everyone was able to accept Fangzheng’s feats more easily. He was an adult after all…
Fangzheng naturally wasn’t stingy when they reached the mountaintop. He could not afford to feed them, but he provided them with as much water as they wanted. This only made Red Boy suffer as he had to constantly carry buckets of water up the mountain.
However, the villagers professed their enjoyment after drinking the Unrooted Clean Aqua. It was as though the hot sun was no longer as scorching! They felt rejuvenated, and they worked hard.
A day passed with the villagers’ help.
However, the villagers had their own farms to tend to, so it was impossible for their entire families to help out the whole day. Not much was finished the first day, but it was definitely several times faster than relying only on the workers Fatty had hired. The workers were quite perplexed. They had built and renovated several monasteries, but this was the first time they were seeing people take the initiative to help! In the past, monasteries might have had to pay the volunteers for their labor, or provide food at the very least; but for this tiny monastery, all it did was provide water… It baffled them. How godly was this tiny monastery?
“I heard that this abbot grew up at the foot of the mountain and was brought up by the kind will of the people. The villagers treat him as half their child. Now that their child is building something, they naturally are willing to help,” someone said at night on bed.
“I see. It’s no wonder then. No matter how formidable a young monk is, it’s impossible for him to be so well-liked by an entire village of people,” said a thin-faced man with a smile.
“Alright. What’s the point talking about this? Let’s do a good job and leave after getting paid,” sad another honest-looking man as he lay in bed.
“Aren’t we just chit chatting? However for him to become an abbot at such a young age, he’s quite the person. Also, he even had someone sponsor the bell tower. That’s even more impressive.”
“Come on. I’ve seen many monks. How many young monks these days can uphold the precepts? They might chant the sutras on the mountain, but they eat meat and drink alcohol when off the mountain. Many of them even flirt with women. By the way, aren’t there a group of monks which are permitted to marry and have children? From my point of view, that Fangzheng is probably cut from the same cloth,” said a short-haired, dark-skinned youth with a scoff.
“What do you know? Those aren’t monks, but students who have graduated from Buddhist Theological Institutes. Their goal for becoming monks is to research Buddhist scripture. In fact, they aren’t considered monks. Once they leave the monastery, they are considered ordinary people. There are still real monks. I have seen quite a few. Real monks give off a different vibe. It’s as though they have an auspicious aura to them. Just looking at them feels comfortable,” said an elderly man.
“Master Ma, isn’t what you say almost like a folktale or legend? Then do you see Abbot Fangzheng have that auspicious aura to him?” The young man refused to believe.
“Luo Yang, can’t you see for yourself? Yes… I do feel that this monk is different from other monks. Others have a mild temperament which leaves one at peace. As for him… He’s like a sun, very bright. Looking at him washes away all my troubles. It makes me feel enlightened and clear. It’s hard to describe it,” said Master Ma.
“Hehe, me too.” Someone echoed him immediately.
Luo Yang rolled his eyes. “I didn’t feel that. Forget it. There’s still work to do tomorrow. I’m guessing that no one will help us tomorrow with the moving of materials. They must have found it fun today and helped on impulse. Tomorrow will be terrible for us…”
Meanwhile, Fangzheng was also feeling vexed in his monastery.
“Master, why don’t you return me my Dharmic powers? I’ll move all the materials up overnight. Wouldn’t that settle everything?” asked Red Boy.
Fangzheng rolled his eyes. “It’s easy for you to do it, but how should it be explained when the time comes? Should I say that you flew down and settled everything with your divine powers? There’s too much trouble, and it would be too hard to explain. This method won’t work.”