many people like to settle in the middle of the Hatch
Hill, thus the mountain trails
are narrow and steep, and at
night the lights are few and far in between. Unlike the
brilliant evening in Watery
Town, night around our temple is pitch black - after
sunset, we seldom venture out the monastery.
But there are exceptions. When some of our guests staying
in our outer quarter lodge wish to have spring water to brew
their evening tea, my master would order me to fetch the
water at the peak. Once I went to the upper stream again
at night, and No Dust and No
Fool pestered the master to let them go with me. No
Talk was equally keen, but he didn’t bother to talk around
to get a permission; he simply following us into the darkness.
Only after a while, we realised that we had an extra company
I carried a small lantern with an electrical bulb inside.
In the shadow of darkness, there were tiny dots of lights
from fireflies darting forth and back; and around the lantern,
moths danced in circles. Beyond, all was dead quiet, and faint
fragrance of wild blossoms could be detected. The scent
existed even during the daytime, but by then we were overwhelmed
by visual sights that we neglected other forms of existence.
Then out of nowhere came an eerie
sound of shouting, and that frightened No Dust a great
deal. “What’s that, Big Brother!”
I couldn’t answer for I did not know.
“Can it be from a tiger?” he asked again.
I had no idea, but I never heard that there were tigers
haunting the woods in this mountain.
No Dust was terrified and gripped my hand tight. His soft
little hand was all wet. “What if tiger comes? What should
we do then?” He pounded me with anxious questions.
“If that happens, we have No Talk to protect us,” that was
all I could say.
But my reply didn’t seem to give the little boy much assurance,
and he kept interrogating me about whether and how a vegetarian
pet could overpower a blood-thirsty beast.
I thought about his questions long and hard, yet failed
to find a rational explanation to convince him that No Talk
could work wonders and we were truly safe. But soon we all
safely returned to the monastery.
No Dust however was still haunted by the result of a possible
bloody battle between a tiger and a dog, and went to our
master for an answer.
My master grinned. “Well,” he said, “It’s indeed a good
way to squander your time by imagining a fight and speculating
its outcome that could hardly ever happen, I mean if you
really have nothing else to do in your life.”
(You can visit Monk No Anger's personal blog to read his
original posts in Chinese at "http://787129669.qzone.qq.com")
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