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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

160 Young Mengs Part-Time Gig

 "Senior Brother Zhang?" asked Fu Zhenzhen rhetorically, hoping that she had misheard -- by now, her face pale and her eyes frighteningly bright.

The Taoist priest had sensed something strange. Being a Taoist monk, he wasn't sensitive about emotional matters between a man and a woman. "Zhang Yuanshan is one of this generation's seven disciples of the Zhen Wu Sect. Though he is ranked towards the bottom, this does not, however, diminish his importance. Therefore, if the two families were to be joined by marriage, the only candidate that would please the Song family would be Zhang Yuanshan."

He thought that they were doubting whether Zhang Yuanshan was the rightful groom.

Meng wanted to stop him from answering Fu Zhenzhen, but it was too late.

"Great, just spiffing," replied Fu Zhenzhen and turned to walk away disappointed and forlorn.

As she left the group, she subconsciously used the Lightness Skill, which meant that her pace was fast beyond measure as if trying to leave the sadness behind.

Of course, Meng Qi couldn't just go up the mountain by himself, so he sighed and exerted "Arresting Wind and Capturing Shadow" to go after Fu Zhenzhen.

The others in the group all looked at them with confusion. Some had guessed they had an argument; some thought they weren't pleased with the hospitality of the Zhang family.

The Taoist priest frowned and said to himself, "Is this the result of the Zhang fellow sowing wild oats?"

Fu Zhenzhen crossed mountains and traversed rivers, and she had no idea where she was headed. She just subconsciously knew that she had to get away.

All Meng Qi could do was follow her because he had no idea what to say under these circumstances. He fulfilled his duty as a friend to keep an eye on her and ensure that she didn't do anything irrational.

After a while, Fu Zhenzhen slowed down, feeling exhausted. There was a peaceful little hill in the distance, and she could see a temple of some sort on the top.

She covered her face and was about to cry when Meng Qi sighed deciding to provide some comfort. He wanted to let her know that she shouldn't lose hope in life. And though she had lost her lover, she still had her family and her sect.

Suddenly, the solemn beat of a drum could be heard.

Clang!

The melodious tone of a temple bell had followed the drumbeat resonating in everyone's heart, healing all sorrows and heartbreak.

Fu Zhenzhen's whole body jolted, and she dropped her hands. As she looked in the direction of the bell tone, she started walking up the stairs to follow it.

Meng Qi shook his head and followed. As he walked, he was trying to pull some comforting words together to ease her pain.

There were a few surviving Buddhist temples on this hill which doggedly survived near Taoist abbeys. The Buddhist temples weren't exactly crowded with worshippers offering incense, and the monks of the temple looked mediocre as it pertained to their Kung Fu.

Fu Zhenzhen walked past a few temples and came across a Buddhist nunnery.

As she turned her head to look at Meng Qi, he saw the tears reluctant to leave her eyes and a vacant expression on her face. She finally opened her mouth and said, "All along, Master has wanted me to make the pledge to Buddha and become a true heir of the Yinghua Nunnery. Then I could be rid of all temptations of the world and focus on studying the 'Man-saving Sutra'. But I have always been reluctant because I wanted to find my soul mate and roam Jianghu together, hand in hand, just like my parents.

"Now I realize that Master was not lying when he told me that very few couples in the world could have such a loving relationship like that of my parents. Promises, oaths, intimacy -- these have all become void. Though those words and promises are still ringing in my ears, he has decided to marry another. The world is full of pain and suffering since none of it is real. Why can't I become a nun?"

Meng Qi was about to open his mouth and let out those words of comfort that he had organized earlier, but it seemed they had become useless. He still breathed a sigh of relief because making the pledge to Buddha was far better than taking vengeance out on the society. Otherwise, with Fu Zhenzhen's talents in poisons, Zhang Yuanshan might have to have a ghost wedding.

In fact, Fu Zhenzhen just wanted a listener, not really expecting a response from Meng Qi. After those words, she walked into the nunnery to find the directing nun.

Meng Qi exhaled hopelessly and followed her.

The nunnery was neither big nor new, with only a dozen or so Bhiksuni nuns dressed in simple robes. Though the nuns were of different ages, they all exuded a sense of peace and devotion, giving this hall which worshiped Bodhisattva a serene ambiance.

"You want to make the pledge to Buddha and be amongst us?" The directing nun wasn't overjoyed or excited that another wanted to turn to Buddhism. On the contrary, she asked Fu Zhenzhen solemnly about her decision.

Fu Zhenzhen lowered her head, knelt on the hassock, and answered, "Yes, I do."

"Judging from your tears and the young man following behind, forgive my daring speculation. If it's an impulsive move to become a nun, I suggest you think twice." The directing nun advised Fu Zhenzhen.

Meng Qi's mouth twitched upon hearing the words and thought, "T

his has nothing to do with me, I'm just trying to be a good friend!"

Fu Zhenzhen repeated what she had said to Meng Qi and then looked at the directing nun all misty-eyed and pleaded, "I've given up on love, seeing it is so undependable! Please, directing nun, accept my claim."

The directing nun heaved a sigh and finally replied, "Since you are already a Buddhist disciple, albeit non-committal, I will acquiesce your desire to make the pledge. I hope that you can focus on studying the Teachings of Buddhism and truly be enlightened."

As Fu Zhenzhen had belonged to the Yinghua Monastery, she would have to return there and complete the necessary paperwork. Apart from that, everything else was uncomplicated, so Fu Zhenzhen quickly knelt before Bodhisattva and committed.

Meng Qi was watching everything play out in front of him. The directing nun glanced at Meng Qi but did not ask him to leave. She then held the tonsure knife and stood before Fu Zhenzhen.

Using the same solemn tone, she said, "I will ask you one final time to verify that you are certain that you want to make the pledge to The Old Buddha with the Altar Lamp."

Fu Zhenzhen stared at the Altar Lamp in front and answered with a nod, "Yes I am sure."

Meng Qi subconsciously took a step forward and opened his mouth to say something, but, at the end of the day, no words came out. He watched the directing nun hold the tonsure knife on Fu Zhenzhen's head. Locks of hair began falling to the ground.

As the directing nun cut Fu Zhenzhen's hair, she kept repeating, "All your troubles and sorrows haven fallen with your hair. You are now no longer a part of the messy world."

Fu Zhenzhen clenched her teeth as her hair gradually disappeared. She seemed more relieved and at peace.

Upon hearing the words "All your troubles and sorrows haven fallen with your hair. You are now no longer a part of the messy world", Meng Qi reminisced on when he first stepped into this world, thinking about his Master and Junior Brother. Feelings of melancholy started surging from inside.

It wasn't long before Fu Zhenzhen had lost all her hair and changed into nun robes and bonnet. Finally, she walked up to Meng Qi with a sense of calm.

Seeing the meditation hall lit up with a thousand lamps and Fu Zhenzhen dressed in nun robes, all sorts of feelings welled up inside of Meng Qi. He cantillated in a low voice, "Leaving behind all the pain and noise of the world, upon entering the temple, the emotional debts that could fill up a book remain unpaid..."

When Fu Zhenzhen heard Meng Qi's song, she intended to force a smile, but she was drawn to the song the more she listened. Tears again flowed out of the corners of her eyes.

Watching the flicker of the light had made her feel cold and alone.

When Meng Qi saw her face, he stopped singing and heaved a long sigh.

Fu Zhenzhen forced a smile and asked, "How come you started singing that country song?"

Meng Qi smiled as he looked at her, "Forget about that song. How about I recite a sutra?"

"Pain stems from love. Fear stems from love. When love is abandoned, so are pain and fear."

His recital of the sutra was calm and steady, reverberating in the meditation hall. It really did feel as if the real world was nothing but a dream.

"Pain stems from love. Fear stems from love. When love is abandoned, so are pain and fear." As Fu Zhenzhen repeated these words under her breath, she seemed more confused and dazed.

"Alas, silly child,"

Meng Qi sighed inside.

It was some time before Fu Zhenzhen came to her senses and purposely changed the topic, "I thought you'd help her talk me out of becoming a nun."

Meng Qi and Zhang Yuanshan were friends. After all, she had thought that Meng Qi would definitely side with Zhang Yuanshan.

"If the heart is not at peace, even though you are in the monastery, it would still just be on a physical level. Similarly, if the heart were, though you're surrounded by hustle and bustle, you would still be considered a monk," Meng Qi said seriously. "The Buddha does not exist outside of the heart. In other words, Buddha and the real world are all in fact in your heart. How could I talk you out of becoming a nun?"

Fu Zhenzhen was enthralled by these words. In fact, it had brought a bitter laugh to her. "I had always considered you to be an 'improper' monk. I could never have guessed that, after leaving Shaolin, you seem more like a respected monk."

"Of course," Meng Qi said without a hint of modesty, "So, tonsure doesn't mean anything. If one day you change your mind, you can still secularize. And if you get hurt again, you can easily find another nunnery and join. Going in and out is easy. It's just that hair takes a long time to grow back."

Even with so much pain inside, Fu Zhenzhen almost burst out laughing. Just a moment ago, she had praised Meng Qi for being a respected monk, but it didn't take long for him to start acting 'improper' again.

This was the Meng Qi that she knew.

Meng Qi glanced at Fu Zhenzhen and suddenly sighed, "Then again, it still wasn't the wisest move to become a nun."

"Now you want to stop me?" Meng Qi asked without knowing whether to laugh or cry.

Meng Qi nodded solemnly, "If you want no part of this world, why do have to choose to become a nun? I mean, Taoist nuns are also getting away from the real world, and you don't need to cut your hair. You'd look much better, and it would be more convenient to come and go."

Fu Zhenzhen could no longer refrain from laughing. Young Meng was indeed humorous. Even when facing such painful and serious situation, he was still able to ease the tension.

After just moments of laughter, tears again flowed out of the corner of her eyes.

Then she sighed and said, "Meng Qi, thank you for your words of comfort. I feel much better now."

"Those words came straight from the heart." Meng Qi answered seriously, denying that he was comforting her.

At this moment, a familiar voice could be heard outside, "Directing nun, have you seen a young man and woman? The girl is about this tall..."

"Could that be Senior Brother Zhang? Has the ceremony finished?"

Meng Qi was a little frozen.

Fu Zhenzhen became pale again. She said to Meng Qi, "I don't want to see him! Please make something up to send him away."

"I'll talk to Senior Brother Zhang." Meng Qi knew that at this moment, her emotions had gotten the better of her. If Zhang Yuanshan came in now he would just create another scene from a sad love story. It would probably make things worse, so he decided to let Fu Zhenzhen calm down and take Zhang Yuansan away for the time been. Plus, he wanted to clear some things up for him to see if there was any chance to remedy the situation.

Then he suddenly thought of something, and sadness welled up from inside of him. He added with a sigh, "I had always dreamed of becoming a swordsman in white robes, but now, I look like a Residence Committee Mother!"

An old lady who would try to help you solve petty family issues...this picture is getting weirder by the second.

"Residence Committee Mother?" Fu Zhenzhen was confused.

"Never mind, you don't know what I'm on about." Meng Qi walked out of the nunnery with his face covered and walked towards Zhang Yuanshan.

"Zhen, Junior Brother Meng, where is Zhenzhen?" asked Zhang Yuanshan excitedly as he saw Meng Qi.

"Give her some time to calm herself." Meng Qi answered. Letting out a deep breath, "Let's go grab a drink and you can tell me your side of the story."