The Monk That Wanted To Renounce Asceticism Chapter 761
Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Upon returning to Mt. One Finger, Fangzheng and Red Boy suffered from insomnia.
Red Boy missed home as he watched the stars while lying on the rooftop, mumbling something. Squirrel sat beside him, looking up as well as he dazed off.
Fangzheng lay in the meditation room, looking at the ceiling. He recalled the scene he saw when he first struck the drum. Parents… He had them too. But where were they? Were they sad when they left him behind? After all these years, did they miss him? Probably not, right? Otherwise, they would have paid him a visit.
With this in mind, Fangzheng’s heart winced. He subconsciously took out a photograph. It was a picture of Zen Master One Finger, and he was smiling amiably. The picture didn’t show the many wrinkles he later developed. His brows were still black, and he looked good as he smiled.
Without realizing it, Fangzheng fell asleep hugging Zen Master One Finger’s photograph.
An uneventful night passed.
The next morning, the drum and bell sounded, and in the nearby One Finger Village and the distant Songwu County, everyone heard it and woke up. Workers got up to get to work and others did what they needed to do. This had already become a habit of everyone.
After the drum and bell sounding came to an end, Fangzheng returned to the yard, closed the doors, and swept the temple hall. The monastery was not open to the public before the temple hall was swept. This was also a rule of Fangzheng’s. After he finished sweeping the monastery and eating breakfast, he pushed open the door to the yard and was stunned!
Standing by the door was a man. He had an imposing appearance. Clearly, he was someone of lofty status and even if he wasn’t rich, he was likely an official.
Before Fangzheng even greeted him, the man’s solemn expression beamed into a smile. “Abbot Fangzheng, meeting you sure is difficult. Let me introduce myself. My name is Qi Dongsheng. I am the current county head of our Songwu County.”
Fangzheng was taken aback. Man, this county head doesn’t sleep in? Why did he come so early to wait for me at the door? What kind of vendetta is at play here? He shot a glance at Qi Dongsheng who was empty handed. He hadn’t brought any weapons or bodyguards. From the looks of it, he wasn’t there to cause trouble.
Fangzheng pressed his palms together. “Amitabha. So it’s Patron Qi. Greetings.”
Although he was the county head, Fangzheng was a monk. No matter what rank the other person was, he called all of them a uniform “Patron.” As for greetings, he would greet anyone.
County Head Qi clearly didn’t mind that as he also greeted Red Boy who had just come from the backyard. “Abbot Fangzheng, do you have the time to take a walk?”
Fangzheng thought and said, “Yes, let’s go.”
One Finger Monastery was too small and not big enough for the two to take a stroll. Therefore, the two stepped through the morning fog to the peak of the mountaintop. During this period, it felt like they were walking on clouds and looked like immortals visiting the mortal world from afar.
“Abbot Fangzheng. There’s the ancient story of showing sincerity by visiting three times. I have already come to One Finger Monastery thrice now,” County Head Qi said with a smile.
Fangzheng said, “A monk doesn’t lie. In the two times you came before, This Penniless Monk was in the monastery, but This Penniless Monk just didn’t come out to meet you.”
“Uh…” County Head Qi was taken aback. Having been in government for so many years, most people would hide their negative emotions behind smiles. They would at the very least try to always be beaming and heap praises unto him. He had never seen someone immediately claim that he had been present, but unwilling to meet him. So what about it!
County Head Qi smiled ruefully. “Abbot, you sure are frank.”
Fangzheng shook his head. “Not really. This Penniless Monk just doesn’t want to lie as it’s easy to be struck by lightning. Besides, what is to be discussed today doesn’t need any beating about the bush. Patron, you wish to develop One Finger into a tourist destination so as to attract tourists, right?”
County Head Qi was taken aback. This monk sure was humorous. Struck by lightning? Heh heh. County Head Qi nodded. “In that case, I’ll just be frank as well. To be honest, our Songwu County is too poor. It can be said that there’s nothing especially good to speak of, while anything that’s bad, we have plenty of. We have none of the beautiful sceneries or built up industries. Undesirable poverty is everywhere. In such a situation, not thinking of means to break out of this conundrum won’t do. I won’t even say that it’s for the country and the people that I want to create progress, but for my own political career. I want to climb higher while I’m still young, wishing to accomplish certain things. I’ve been in Songwu County for two months and have visited all the big and small villages and towns in Songwu County during this time. Some places are indeed good, with scenery that has potential. Unfortunately, they don’t come in a complete package! Furthermore, their basic facilities aren’t as good as Mt. One Finger’s. The cost of developing them is too huge.”
Fangzheng didn’t say a word as he continued listening. This was also the first time he was hearing a high-ranking official like the county head speak so frankly. To many people, a county head might not be too big of an official, but to a commoner living in a county, its county head is a high-ranking official! At the very least, whatever the mayor says on his piece of land is useful.
Following that, County Head Qi described the situation of the neighboring Hongyan Village and Snow Village. Fangzheng was shocked when he heard that. Having grown up in the area, he knew a lot of these places and villages. And it was because of this that Fangzheng was shocked by what County Head Qi said. This was because he wasn’t just talking about generalities, but detailed information about each village! He went into details as small as which elites and big farming families the villages had and into broad aspects such as the agricultural land areas, the production levels thereof, and the heights of certain mountains.
That proved that County Head Qi wasn’t bragging. Even if he didn’t know Songwu County like the back of his palm, he knew a lot about it.
This was the first time Fangzheng was meeting a county head who put in such great effort. Seeing this, he had to admit that this fellow was truly hoping to accomplish certain things. But that begged the question—was Mt. One Finger really suitable for developing tourism?
Therefore, Fangzheng asked the question.
This question ended up being the key to County Head Qi’s box of words. He began analyzing things from every angle to Fangzheng, and the final conclusion was that although it wasn’t the best and ideal, it was indeed an opportunity that could be seized at present! Furthermore, doing so would definitely be a double-win for the monastery and Songwu County. County Head Qi would be responsible for doing the promoting, and he and his staff wouldn’t take a single cent of the incense offerings or even collect entrance tickets!
Fangzheng asked suspiciously when he heard that, “No entrance tickets? Then how will the government earn anything?”
County Head Qi laughed heartily. “Visitors that come are still human right? There are a whole range of services that they need in the course of their day such as board and lodging. When they leave, they will bring some souvenirs with them, right? Doesn’t that require money? When the people earn money, we collect taxes. Isn’t that a win-win situation? As for maintaining the monastery, I have already discussed it with Secretary Liu. We will apply for funds for One Finger Monastery. And these funds will include mending and improving the mountain trail. That way, this scenic location basically won’t need to be paid for by the local government and yet, it will be able to stimulate the local economy. Of course, if One Finger Monastery were to one day become a major scenic spot, we won’t mind collecting entrance fees.”
Fangzheng looked at the smiling County Head Qi and asked, “Patron Qi, as you can see, This Penniless Monk’s mountain probably can’t hold many people. Furthermore, the mountain path is steep, narrow, and dangerous. During blizzard storms and the like, it will be dangerous if there are too many people. Are you sure you want to develop this place?”
“That is indeed a problem. But as long as you are agreeable to it, we will think of solutions to these problems,” County Head Qi said very seriously.