Fool (戒痴) is a young novice, only 11 year-old, younger than
the age when I first came to the monastery 10 years ago in
1997. He’s quite a mischievous boy to be honest, and my master
often says he’s more like a monkey like
Our Bright Sky Temple is not well known to the outside world
and doesn’t attract many incense bearers, but still we have
visitors from all over the country and even from overseas.
Among the visitors, there is a women called Mrs Li who comes
to burn incense and donates money every year, and complains
to my master about her life in particular and in general.
Her husband is a government official in a big city and, according
to her, often receives anonymous letters accusing him of taking
bribery and being corrupt. She is worried to death that
one day the misfortune may fall upon her family.
Once Mrs Li came to visit us again, and like what she did
previously, stayed for a few days in our visitor lodge in
the outer quarter of the monastery.
One morning she spotted No Fool in a hall and later enquired
my master who was that unfortunate little novice.
My master was baffled and asked her why she thought No Fool
“Look at him, in such torn-ragged clothing,” replied Mrs
It is not that the monastery is so poor that it can’t afford
decent clothes for the young novices. The truth is No Fool
is so restless and keeps running around carelessly, soon
after he puts on a new robe he would magically transform
it into dirty rags in no time.
But since Mrs Li noticed that, we thought it isn’t a nice
thing to have a little novice running around the temple in
rags, so that afternoon, I went to help the boy to change
“Who is that unfortunate lady?” When putting on a new robe,
No Fool enquired.
I was baffled and asked him why he thought Mrs Li was unfortunate.
She wears fashionable and expensive clothes, and for Heaven’s
sake, her necklace alone would have more gold in it than
that in our biggest gold painted Buddha statue.
“Look at her, always knit her brows,” replied No Fool.
It seems feeling fortunate or
unfortunate mainly depends on what you look at: the clothes
and the necklace, or the brows.
Fake Shoe Seller