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Home > The Monk That Wanted To Renounce Asceticism

1096 Not a Professional

 Fangzheng smiled. "This Penniless Monk hasn't done anything that eats at his conscience, nor does This Penniless Monk have anything embarrassing to see. They can watch all they like."

Ong was stunned.

Fangzheng looked up at the ceiling right above him. "There seems to be an eye there."

Ong looked over and indeed, there was an eye hanging high above. It exuded extreme solemnity. With the various deities and sages, Ong felt as though he had been stripped naked, allowing everything to be seen. He felt even more uncomfortable as he hurriedly said, "Master, let's go. It feels really odd."

Fangzheng chuckled and shook his head. He then chose an elevator with Ong.

After entering the elevator, the repressive feeling instantly vanished.

Ong let out a long sigh. "Master, what kind of place is this? Why did they make it feel so strange?"

Fangzheng shook his head. "There's nothing strange about it. It's just that you have guilt in you. This creeps you out when stared at by the sages, saints, and deities. As the saying goes, 'a clear conscience sleeps unperturbed in thunder.' Notice that This Penniless Monk seems perfectly fine."

"Master, what the hell is this place?" Salted Fish suddenly asked. "Why are they worshiping all kinds of random stuff?"

Fangzheng said, "This Penniless Monk has heard that Vietnam has a rising faith known as Caodaism. It combines Eastern and Western doctrines- Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity-into one. They worship Bodhisattva, Buddha, as well as Daoist deities, and God and angels. They believe that God reigns over the Universe at Cao Dai, or literally the High Tower.

"They say that at the beginning of the Universe, only God existed. Following that, the Holy Mother, representing the yin forces, was created by God, the Highest Lord. The Highest Lord imbues part of Him into each living being; thus, giving them life thanks to yin and yang."

"Isn't that blasphemous?" Salted Fish murmured.

Fangzheng smiled. "How so? Their theology combines the essence of many religions. As long as it's good overall, that's sufficient. Every place has its own beliefs. As an outsider, respect is needed. We shouldn't denigrate them for no reason."

Upon saying this, Fangzheng said, "It's just like China's Buddhism. Compared to India's Buddhism, it's completely different. Do you call that blasphemous? Buddha has thousands of Dharma Aspects. Buddha stays in the center of the universe, watching the thousands of worlds. Buddha has never wanted to change others into himself, but his wish is to let all people live like him. Becoming Buddha is about finding one's true self and living one's true life. Be it Caodaism or other religions, you can just interpret them as another aspect of Buddha."

Salted Fish smacked his lips. "Does seem to ring a bell. Buddha said something similar in the past."

Fangzheng smiled. He had no idea what Buddha had said, but he knew one thing. Everyone had their own lives. No one had the right to use their standards to criticize others and to change their lives. As long as one didn't commit any crimes, they were free to do anything. Concerning these matters, there was no right or wrong. What one needed to do was to show respect.

As for Salted Fish's existence, Ong was already mentally prepared. Therefore, when Salted Fish suddenly asked a question, he was only curious. But to approach the fire-spewing salted fish? He didn't have the guts for that.

As they chatted, the elevator reached the top. When they walked out, they saw shimmering gold everywhere. It was a resplendent temple!

This temple seemed to resemble Caodaism. It fused the traits of the three major religions with two gothic-like steeples. At the same time, there was a clear Chinese traditional style. The area outside had awnings with two rows of dragon sculptured columns inside the temple.

There were already many people gathered outside the temple. Fangzheng saw many familiar faces. After all, while he was waiting in the taxi, he had nothing to do other than look at these people who alighted from supercars.

Everyone was having casual conversations, so Fangzheng's arrival attracted much attention. Especially with his kasaya, it was almost impossible not to notice him. However, no one looked at him with contempt, but they gave him a friendly smile.

Ong was originally afraid that Fangzheng would be discriminated against, but he was now relieved. He whispered. "As expected of accomplished monks, masters, and bishops. They are just different."

Fangzheng smiled. Although he had never participated in such events, he had met accomplished monks from Baiyun Monastery and Hongyan Monastery. Truly accomplished monks wouldn't mock someone just because of their appearance. Everyone knew better.

Fangzheng came in front of the hall and looked inside. On a high platform's offering table, there were a few levels.

In the middle of the highest level was Shakyamuni Buddha. By his sides were the Daoism founder, Laozi, and Confucius. In the middle of the second level was Guan Yin. By her sides were famous poets Li Bai and Guan Yu. On the third level was Jesus. On the fourth level apart from Jiang Ziya, there were also statues of Sun Zhongshan and other Eastern and Western sages.

These statues left not only Ong marveling, but Fangzheng as well. Due to the different faith, Fangzheng didn't enter to offer any incense. All he did was circle around the periphery before retreating to a side.

By looking down at Hoàn Kiếm Lake from Mt. Dharma Characteristic, one could see the green waves as they undulated and made for a beautiful vista.

Before long, some staff came and began informing everyone about the program.

Different from what Fangzheng imagined, the summit wasn't one that began discussing upon meeting. The first day was merely a gathering to ensure that everyone was present. Everyone would then return to their room to rest, and they would have their lodging prepared for them on Mt. Dharma Characteristic.

Only then did Fangzheng realize that the card which the attendant gave him upon entry wasn't just a card for participating in the summit, it was also a room card.

As he went down the elevator with Ong, he arrived at the thirtieth floor which had a Buddhist-themed Western Paradise room. When he opened the door, Fangzheng was astonished. There was even green vegetation covering the room!

The bed was in the middle of the vegetation, and there was even flowing water on the floor.

Ong touched the real flowers as well as a chameleon that was on a tree, and he exclaimed. "Who is the one backing the Dharma Characteristics Monastery? Isn't that person just far too rich?"

Fangzheng was puzzled as well. Could it be as those people guessed? Were the people behind this monastery the government and the king? But Caodaism wasn't a national religion of Vietnam, so why would the government go this far?

As Fangzheng was lost in thought, he felt his back lighten. Salted Fish had jumped off his back, shaking his body before burping. It frightened Ong into scrambling away, afraid that the fire-spewing fish would burn him.

Salted Fish rolled his eyes at him and said in the tone of a senior, "Lad, what are you afraid of? I'm a Guardian Protector, not a professional fire-spewing fish."https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiang_Ziya