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A Grass vs A Mountain
- Stories Told by a Young Chinese Monk (7)

13 December 2007

Our Bright Sky Monastery is sitting on the southern hillside approximately halfway to the top of the Thatch Hill (茅山); on the northern slope, there is a three-fold cascade falling from the summit right down the mountain.

The Thatch Hill is neither tall nor steep, so the waterfall descends calmly, and on the ground at the foot of the hill where it lands there is only a gentle spray that produces a thin layer of haze. As it is mainly formed by the mountain springs and streams, it never dries out even during the draught seasons.   

Like the residents of the Watery Town, we monks in the Bright Sky Monastery use tap water for our daily needs. However our tap water isn't from a factory but pumped up from a well. Yet still, some visitors prefer to have their tea brewed with water from the mountain spring. On such occasions, I would ascend to the hilltop to fetch water, and the two novices, No Fool and No Dust, would go with me. Normally we three climb a short way up to reach the source of the waterfall from the second-fold of the cascade where our temple situates, and then I come down on my own. The two boys just use this as an excuse for enjoying an outdoor excursion.

At the moment, May 2007, the season is in the mature spring. Wild flowers have fully blossomed with white butterflies dancing among them. When a gust of wind on the summit blows through, some flowers were snapped off their stems and float in the air, swirling, hovering, for a long while refusing to touch down. After a long while, they would have a soft landing on water, drifting down the hill.

Yesterday we three went to the top again, and I came down alone with a full tub of spring water. On my way I walked past an old man sitting on a stone by the mountain trail, looked gloomy.

“Sir, what concerns you,” I enquired.

“Young master, I heard there is a wonder grass in this mountain, I've traveled here to search, and found nothing,” said he.     

When my master learned this, he sighed, “What a waste, for a tiny grass, he missed the beautiful mountain scene.”

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