T/N: Abby, Abi, Ai, Angelica, Ann, Azmar, Bradford, Brittany, Carla, Carthun500, Chris, Christiine, Clarisia, Daoist, Deanna, Deibby, Destroner, Dionne, Dora, Egosumqt, Emma, Estelle, Fatjona, Foxygal, Gerelt, Hewan, Innesfree, Karen, Kswatanabe, Laura, Ling, Linh, Mai, Michelle, Michelle, Mochakat9, Mommie, Myla, Nadia, Naz, Neejkajsiab, Oe2Xt, Olivia, Oopmybad, Paulette, Pitcch, Ple, Pudgyhamburger, Rc, Rhian, Rkdewi, Sarah, Sean, Senait, Siti, Sleepypanda, Sophia, Sujey, Tae, Tamar, Terri, Tiffany, and Tuong for your patronage!
Schedule will stay at 7x/week.
Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 384 - Faithfulness to Buddha and faithfulness to you (1)
Feeling a jolt of surprise, Ji Man turned her head and saw that Luo Qianqian was talking to a monk. Those two people weren't standing far from her. It was only that the peach blossoms were partially obstructing their view.
Luo Qianqian placed her palms together and asked out of curiosity, "What will happen if that tree dies?"
The monk answered with a smile, "All of the peach trees here are well looked after. Although their flowers blossom later because of the colder weather on the mountain, they’ll still blossom. The peach trees that hold each of the donor's heartfelt intentions are even less likely to die."
These trees were the same as those frequently seen altar lamps that burned day and night in modern-day temples. They were both used to swindle people out of their money. Once Ji Man heard the monk's reply to Luo Qianqian’s question of how much each tree cost, she immediately understood why there was still five trees without any carvings.
Although there were plenty of fools, there were very few fools that had that much money.
Ji Man lowered her head in the peach tree grove as she shuffled around. Should she come out and greet Luo Qianqian, or should she secretly leave first?
As she passed by a peach tree, she noticed that there was something carved on the tree trunk. Ji Man swept her gaze over it. Anyways, the carvings on these trees were just other people's names.
But, when she looked at it, she saw that it was Nie Sangyu's.
Dumbstruck, Ji Man crouched down by the tree for a while before snorting and walking away.
The carving looked like it had been carved a long time ago. Someone had probably carved that name out of impulsive after climbing up the mountain to pray at the temple for blessings. Perhaps, Wen Wan, Liu Hanyun, and Qi Siling’s names had also been carved on nearby trees.
After walking a few steps, Ji Man turned around and narrowed her eyes as she checked the trees nearby the one with Nie Sangyu's name.
She didn't see any familiar names.
Ji Man pursed her lips. Really, it was a bit laughable. If Ning Yuxuan had been the one that carved that name, then it must have happened when he had brought the rest of the household here with him to pray for blessings. What was the point that he was trying to make by leaving her behind in the capital to face Nie Clan's sudden and unexpected calamity by herself while he came here to lovingly carve a name?
She really couldn't understand the feelings of ancient people. If someone told her that Ning Yuxuan sincerely loved her, Ji Man wouldn't believe that person. While it was possible that Ning Yuxuan might like her, if her importance to him was compared to how much he valued his great endeavors, she would definitely be flung three Pacific Oceans away.
She didn't want to have any emotional involvement here, much less have it with Ning Yuxuan. If she fell in love with a man like Marquis Moyu, she would definitely be the one that was hurt.
Shaking her head, Ji Man left the peach tree grove through another exit. Behind her, Luo Qianqian was earnestly carving Zhao Kaifeng's name onto a tree.
That evening, the group gathered together to sit around the temple's most respected and virtuous elder monk and wrote poems of meditation. The space was brightly lit with candles. For the members of Tonghua Poetry Association, they excelled at this type of thing. However, Zhu Yurun was obviously very bad at this. She was so nervous that her hands were very clammy, and she kept looking at Qian Yingchen.
Qian Yingchen didn't look at her and was focused on writing a poem on a small, thin piece of wood.
Ji Man was sitting on the other side of Zhu Yurun. After she casually wrote out a poem, she looked at the blank piece of wood that Zhu Yurun was holding. She took the piece of wood from her, wrote out a poem, and calmly stuffed it back into Zhu Yurun's hand.
Zhu Yurun gratefully nodded several times.
Everyone's poem would be read aloud. Qian Yingchen wasn't expecting that Zhu Yurun would be able to write a good poem. It would be good enough if she could write a line or two. Recently, right after dinner, Xiao Tianyi had come over and asked him why he would marry Miss Zhu. In the eyes of other people, he had suffered a great loss by marrying Zhu Yurun.
Luo Qianqian, who wasn't aware of the rumors around Zhu Yurun, was only the only married woman in the group that was friendly towards her. The other madams all looked at Zhu Yurun in askance. Zhu Yurun had neither talent nor beauty. She really wasn't suitable to come along on this outing.
Qian Yingchen had thought about having her stay home, but if he did that, he might end up seeing a pitiful-looking and bullied steamed bun when he returned from this trip. Thinking of it that way, he decided that he might as well bring her with him.
The great monk opened his eyes and started to take the thin pieces of wood from the guests. He had already looked at several of the poems without saying a word, but his eyes brightened when he saw Zhu Yurun's poem.
I'd go out for a walk alone when I so please,
What a pleasure this brings, only I would know.
Stroll to the river's source,
And watch the clouds rise.
(T/N: These lines are from My Retreat in the Zhongnan Mountains by Wang Wei. The first two lines are from https://28utscprojects.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/123. The second part of the poem has become an optimistic idiom that figuratively means even when you're at a dead end, there's still hope.)
"This female donor is very broad-minded and unfetteredly elegant." The great monk handed the poem back to her, pressed both palms together, and said, "What a rare sight."
Everyone was slightly stunned. Qian Yingchen took the thin piece of wood from Zhu Yurun. After reading it, he raised his head and looked at her with a furrowed brow.
Zhu Yurun felt somewhat guilty and started to instinctively lean towards Ji Man.
However, before she had gotten halfway there, Qian Yingchen pulled her back to her original position. "Sit here and don't move."
Once that thin piece of wood was passed around the group, the married women looked at Zhu Yurun with slightly warmer gazes. In the end, they were a group of people that had gathered together because of talent. Talent was the most important thing to them.
Zhu Yurun shrunk her neck and didn't say a word.
The great monk took Ji Man's thin piece of wood next. After the great monk muttered a few words to himself, he actually loudly laughed before reading it aloud,
"Ashamed that my feelings have dirtied the holy path,
I remained afraid of the alluring beauty after entering the mountain.
In this world, who can fulfill both,
Faithfulness to Buddha and faithfulness to you."
(This poem is by the 6th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tsangyang Gyatso. The translation is from https://snowjadeflowers.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/faithful-to-buddha-faithful-to-you/ with tiny edits for clarity.)
"Donor, you're truly a mortal world mediator. Even a monk might have deep feelings of love." The great monk laughed for a while. Looking at Ji Man with a bright gaze, "This is truly a good poem. Donor's beloved must be a breath-taking beauty for the donor to compare her to Buddha."
En, Ji Man also really liked this poem by Tsangyang Gyatso. She placed her palms together and respectfully answered the great monk, "Earthly feelings are pervasive, and this one is unable to part with them. It's good that the great monk is able to chortle with delight over it."
Translator Ramblings: I think it's reasonable that the other married women look down Zhu Yurun. She had the same opportunities as the other women in the gathering to learn how to write poetry, but she wasn't interested in learning that skill and chose to squander her opportunities. It's perfectly okay that she has different interests from Qian Yingchen, but I think it's fair that there's going to be negative consequences when she chooses to not learn useful skills and wants to marry a man based on his looks.
Just like Zhu Yurun, Luo Qianqian doesn't have stellar looks, but she chose to work hard on learning useful skills, so that she can be judged favorably on her accomplishments. It was nice of Ji Man to write a poem for Zhu Yurun, but is continuing to save Zhu Yurun from the consequences of her previous choices and giving a false impression a good idea in the long-term?
Anyways, I like how the author created a character like Zhu Yurun, and her messy relationship with Qian Yingchen. Neither of them are bad people. Zhu Yurun is a very sweet girl, who doesn't have any bad intentions, but they're fundamentally not suitable for each other. If something doesn't change between them, Ji Man's interference can only serve as a temporary fix.
What do you guys think?