Each year on the night of the first full moon of the year,
lantern festival is held all across China since the Han
Dynasty (206B.C. - 220A.D.), the government of the Watery
Town would organise a lantern
show; on each lantern, there would be a riddle; and people
who crack a riddle would be rewarded with a prize.
My Master Wisdom Follower, the abbot of our
monastery, is both a highly creative riddle creator
and a top smart riddle cracker. Each year prior to the
festival, Mr Chen, the organiser of the show, would come
to the monastery to collect dozens of riddles from the
On the night of lunar January 15, strings in various colours
were lined up along a small river outside the town, and lanterns
in various shapes were hung from the strings. The town folk
were all dressed up and attended the show; many of them would
place a candle on a plate and release it to flow downstream;
and some of them would further put a memorable note in the
candle plate, hoping that a potential soul mate might pick
it up and read and respond.
For this is in fact a festivity of romance and love and
passion, my master forbids us to participate, which is of
course a great disappointment to some fun-seeking young monks,
especially to No
Ego (戒傲) who loves to go party millions times more than
to sit in meditation.
Once when seeing No Ego and other young monks in such low
spirits for not being able to attend the show, Master Wisdom
Follower made a concession, provided that we could crack
a riddle created by him.
We all agreed the deal and thus each received a paper from
the abbot. On the paper there were eight characters: "月夜静思，过犹不及" (Reflecting
in the moonlit eve, going too far is as bad as not going
far enough), and the answer is said would be a daily item
in the monastery.
On the following days leading up to the lantern show, I
gathered all my thoughts on resolving the riddle, while No
Ego and No Hurdle (戒障) looked in every corner in the monastery
for inspiration. The moon was perfecting its roundness by
the day and the festival night was fast approaching, yet
none of us had any clue on the answer. By then our minds
were no longer concentrated on the upcoming lantern show,
as we all keenly looked forward to the day when Master Wisdom
Follower would disclose the answer to the riddle.
The answer did come the day after the lantern show: "The
answer is in your own hand".
We eventually realised that the answer was on the reverse
side of the paper, if only we bothered to read it and read
it in relation to the words on the reverse side of the papers
in other monks' hand.
(You can visit Monk No Anger's personal blog to read his
original posts in Chinese at "http://user.qzone.qq.com/787129669/blog")