Chapter 801: Meeting an acquaintance at the scenic area
Translator: Legge Editor: Legge
In the afternoon.
Wuyi Mountains scenic area.
After purchasing the admission tickets, they boarded a tour bus and traveled along a narrow but picturesque mountain trail. They were finally traveling as tourists now as they began their sightseeing tour.
The scenery was extremely beautiful.
There were also tourists around them who chose to walk on foot for the tour.
"Look at that person in the vehicle!"
"Damn, isn't that Zhang Ye!?"
"Is that Zhang Ye?"
"It's him! It can't be wrong!"
"Wow, Teacher Zhang! I saw Teacher Zhang!"
"He's a huge star!"
"Teacher Zhang, when are you coming back to do variety shows again?"
With his mind still on the Da Hong Pao matter, Zhang Ye had forgotten to put on his sunglasses and was recognized by quite a number of tourists as a result. The crowd started waving at the tour bus that was carrying them.
Zhang Ye also smiled and waved back to them.
Little Wang flattered, "Director Zhang has so many fans!"
Huang Dandan agreed, "That's true, that's true."
"Oh come on." Zhang Ye said, "It's just an undeserved reputation."
After touring around for about an hour, the tour bus suddenly came to a fork in the road. On the right, the path went uphill and connected to the other famous attractions of the Wuyi Mountains. The path on the left was much narrower and was just a road leading on with no road signs or location designations in place. Looking far ahead on the left path, there wasn't even a tourist in sight.
The tour bus was just getting ready to take a right turn.
Zhang Ye immediately called out, "Driver, please stop."
The tour bus came to a stop and the driver turned around. "Teacher Zhang? What's the problem?"
The driver was aware of who Zhang Ye was and had specially allowed their film crew to come aboard the tour bus without letting anyone else on. It was as though Zhang Ye had chartered the entire bus.
Zhang Ye pointed left. "Let's go that way."
The driver looked in the direction he was pointing and asked, "There? There are no scenic attractions over there."
Zhang Ye smiled and replied, "It's fine. I just want to have a look around there."
The driver advised, "There's really nothing to see over there. It's pretty deserted and there's only a nameless monastery there. The scenic area's workers don't even go there most of the time, much less the tourists. The scenic attractions cover a vast area and you won't even be able to finish seeing everything in four or five days if you want to visit every attraction. So why would you want to head in that direction?"
Zhang Ye insisted, "Just go there please, thank you very much."
"Alrighty then." The driver could not dissuade him and just turned his steering wheel to the left and headed off in that path's direction. "If I go further ahead, there won't be a road that I can travel on anymore."
Zhang Ye nodded. "OK, then we'll have a walk around there later."
If he didn't remember wrong, Zhang Ye knew the Da Hong Pao attraction spot was at the end of the path. The only difference between here and his previous world was that this place did not even have a proper road leading in, much less a designated Da Hong Pao attraction. As expected, the history of Da Hong Pao in this world had an unknown deviation somewhere in time, so hopefully, those few tea trees would still be there.
They reached the end of the road.
Zhang Ye and the others got out of the bus and continued on foot.
Ha Qiqi asked, "Director Zhang, what are we doing?"
Zhang Ye laughed as he said, "We're just taking a stroll around. There isn't much to see at those scenic areas actually."
Since they were already used to following Zhang Ye wherever he wanted to go, they just went along this time as well.
After walking for about half an hour, the path ahead of them suddenly opened up. A small hill appeared in front of them, and to everyone's surprise, they discovered that Director Zhang was suddenly walking much faster than them. He did not even tell them that he was going ahead first and just hurriedly walked on, as though he was searching for something.
Everyone looked at one another and started trotting up behind him as well.
"Please be careful of where you're going."
"Aiya, wait up for us."
"What on earth are you doing?"
Zhang Ye could no longer be bothered to answer them. They only saw that fellow standing at the foot of the hill, gazing excitedly at a small raised platform built on the hillside. There were several short trees whose trunks looked really obscure and thin as they grew out of the platform! [1.]
He found it!
It was really still around!
Da Hong Pao still exists!
Little Wang looked over as well. "What is that?"
Tong Fu was befuddled. "A bush? What's there to see here?"
"What's with Director Zhang?" Wu Yi asked, "What's he so excited about?"
Huang Dandan replied, "I don't know, aren't those just some small bushes?"
Zhang Ye thought to himself, how are these just some small bushes? These trees are made of gold; they're money trees-they're by far the most valuable trees in the world. You can just pick some leaves off of it and they would sell for an astronomical price!
Without another word, Zhang Ye climbed straight up. He looked fixedly at those insignificant looking small trees from a very close distance. It was already past the season for picking tea leaves, so there weren't any suitable leaves that he could pick at the moment. So these were the legendary Da Hong Pao parent trees. In Zhang Ye's previous world, the surrounding area here was cordoned off and protected by the government. There were also regulations to prevent the picking of tea leaves here as the trees needed to be protected and cared for, so there was no way a tourist could get so close to the Da Hong Pao trees. But now, Zhang Ye was standing here at the foot of the hill where the parent trees were growing. He could easily climb up there if he wanted to. Moreover, he also noticed that there was no trace of the stone inscription of the three Chinese characters for "Da Hong Pao" on the hillside. It was as though it had never appeared before!
That might just be the point in history where the deviation occurred! Da Hong Pao, which should have been famous since antiquity, had not been discovered by anyone in this world. No one had written the inscription, no one had given it a name, and as a result, these trees were left unknown all this while. It had seemingly been forgotten by the people of this world with nobody paying any attention to them.
Eh? The parent trees looked like they have had their leaves plucked and were even pruned before?
Someone had been picking tea leaves from this tree?
Who was it? Who picked the tea leaves?
Zhang Ye was shocked. He looked around the area and his gaze fell upon the monastery not too far away. The monastery was not big and sat at the foot of the hill. There was no name board hanging at the entrance of it, so it was really as the driver had told them earlier. It was indeed a nameless monastery. In Zhang Ye's memory of this place, there didn't seem to be a monastery that existed here.
Zhang Ye immediately led his group toward the monastery. He wanted to find out more about those tea trees and see if he could lease them, or even better, buy them outright. But he didn't know who he could approach about this.
Inside the nameless monastery.
In the backyard, two monks were having a talk.
The younger abbot said with a smile, "Senior Brother, how long do you intend to meditate during this trip from Beijing?"
The elder abbot smiled. "I'll leave it to fate."
The younger abbot shook his head. "You've really changed. You've really changed a lot."
"Yes." The elder abbot's expression was a calm one. "This old monk's Qingshan Monastery might not have as good scenery as you have here, but with so many people coming and going, it's a rather lively place to be at. I've met many people in my years over there and have gone through a lot as well. There are very interesting stories, just like the gatha that I sent you last year. Did you receive it?"
The younger abbot exclaimed, "I received it. Every word was a gem."
The elder abbot said, "Through its enlightenment, this old monk has had a truly beneficial year. I feel like I have gained a deeper insight into the teachings of Buddha. Therefore, I decided to make my travels to your peaceful abode to have some time to myself, but I'm worried that I will be intruding on your peace instead."
The younger abbot said, "Senior Brother, please don't say that. You can stay however long you wish. I don't get to see many people in an entire year here. There are no tourists who would come down here from the scenic areas..."
As he was saying that, a young monk came in. "Abbot, we have guests."
The younger abbot was surprised. "What guests?"
The young monk touched his head and said, "I think they're tourists, but they said that they want to meet the leader of our monastery."
"Leader?" The younger abbot didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Then he turned to the elder abbot and said, "Senior Brother, I'll go take a look then."
"I've been sitting here for too long, so why don't we go together? I need to stretch my muscles a little as well," the elder abbot replied as he stood up.
The two of them went out to greet the guests.
Outside, Zhang Ye had made his way into the monastery's front yard with his group.
As the two groups came face to face, at that moment, a person from each group was stunned!
Zhang Ye said, "Abbot?"
The elder abbot also said, "Almsgiver Zhang?"
"Aiyo, what are you doing here?" Zhang Ye was amused at the coincidence.
The elder abbot responded, "This old monk was just on his travels. I came to my Junior Brother's monastery to visit him."
Zhang Ye slapped his thigh and remarked, "This must be fate, or rather, the two of us were truly destined to meet again!"
The elder abbot also laughed, "Yes, I had just brought up Almsgiver Zhang to my Junior Brother a moment ago. I couldn't have expected to meet you so soon after just mentioning you. If this isn't fate, then what is?"
The younger abbot was slightly taken aback. "Senior Brother, is he the one you were talking about?"
The elder abbot nodded.
The younger abbot immediately went up to Zhang Ye with his hands pressed together. "Amitābha. I've heard much about you."
Zhang Ye quickly returned the courtesy. "I'm ashamed, I'm ashamed."
Ha Qiqi, Tong Fu, and the others were stunned by what they were seeing. Damn, could Director Zhang's reputation be any greater? Even in a such a faraway place deep in the mountains, he could still meet an acquaintance? Even monks knew who he was? And they even looked like they knew each other pretty well?
Zhang Ye introduced to them, "This is the abbot of Qingshan Monastery in Beijing, in the past we...uh, never mind, let's not talk about that."
The elder abbot smiled and finished his thought. "Without that fight, we wouldn't have gotten to know each other."
Ha Qiqi inquired, "Fight?"
Zhang Ye coughed under his breath and explained, "When I was filming a movie last year, their monastery did not allow our film crew into the mountains, so I beat up the monks from their monastery. About that, well, that's already ancient history not to be mentioned."
Ha Qiqi, Little Wang, and everyone else did not know what to say anymore!
Beat up monks? Oh my god, I'm fainting! So Director Zhang has already been that fierce since a long time ago!
A female colleague of the film crew asked with great curiosity, "Director Zhang, quickly tell us more about it!" The team had always enjoyed listening to stories depicting Zhang Ye's wicked deeds.
Zhang Ye said in a speechless manner, "Why do you guys want to bring up those things?"
The elder abbot laughed heartily. "It's nothing that we can't talk about. Come on in, almsgivers. Out here is not a place to talk. Let's go in and drink some tea as we chat. I'll tell everyone what happened."
Inside, everyone took their seats.
The abbot started relating to them the incident that occurred at Qingshan Monastery.
When he came to the part where Zhang Ye started fighting with the monks, Ha Qiqi and the others were listening to it excitedly. Then, when they heard about the part where Zhang Ye and the abbot had a debate about Zen, everyone was even more interested. Even the elder abbot's junior brother and the monks of the nameless monastery were fully engrossed listening to the story.
The abbot laughed. "At the end, Almsgiver Zhang saw the gatha that I had engraved into a stone tablet: The body is a Bodhi tree, / The mind is a mirror bright. / Never stop dusting and wiping, / Lest dust alight."
Ha Qiqi praised, "What a good gatha!"
Wu Yi commented, "You have a really good state of mind, Master!"
Everyone began praising how good it was.
The young monks of the nameless monastery also nodded in agreement, looking in admiration at the elderly abbot.
Little Wang quickly asked, "Then how did Director Zhang reply? Who won in the end?"
Tong Fu repeated, "Yeah, who won?"
The story was really too interesting!
The abbot replied, "Obviously, it was Almsgiver Zhang who won."
"Ah?" A young monk was surprised by this.
Another young monk also questioned in disbelief, "But how?"
The elderly abbot smiled and answered, "Because Almsgiver Zhang responded to my gatha with another gatha: By origin there is no Bodhi tree, / Nor is there a mirror bright. / Originally there is not a single thing, / Where does dust alight?"
When everyone heard that, they were all stunned!
The looks in the eyes of the young monks staring at Zhang Ye now changed!
Only Zhang Ye felt a little embarrassed at this moment. "Ahem, I'm ashamed, I'm ashamed."
[1. Da Hong Pao tea trees -
Sorry for the late release people, I was a little drunk earlier :(