When we walked into the temple, all the people who had come to meet us when we first arrived watched us walk in and then began to sing. It seemed to be a kind of prayer scripture, but with all their voices combined, it sounded extremely ethereal and pleasant to the ear.
They crowded around us as we walked toward the head lama’s room, the surrounding temple filled with little spots of light. At first, Fatty and I were puzzled. This was the kind of scene I had been expecting when we first arrived at Jila Temple—surrounded by people all the way to the head lama’s room, where we would then have a deep, zen-like conversation. But these things didn’t happen. (Well, maybe they did but I just wasn’t aware because I was in a coma at the time.)
After that, my trip to Motuo should’ve been full of zen. Every day, I should’ve either been thinking about problems in front of the snow-capped mountains, reading Jila Temple’s abundant collection of information, or asking Little Brother about his past experiences. That way, I could figure out which of the stories I saw here were real, which were fake, which were still missing, and which ones had the actual facts.
But in the end, after we came here, we built a hot spring, constructed a hot spring garden, gained some gold, lost it, discovered a conspiracy, and then found that there actually wasn’t a conspiracy at all. We also wanted to rent land to raise fireflies, but we failed to rent it in the end.
After all the twists and turns, a grand festival was suddenly held in the temple to welcome our arrival just when we were about to leave.
As Fatty said: we had been here a few days and were getting ready to leave, but now it seemed like we had just arrived here. It felt a little weird.
But we soon relaxed. In fact, I was able to quickly relax when it came to unexpected things now because what else could I do? The young lama had also mentioned that this was their custom, and since it was a custom, we might as well respect it.
We continued listening to the people around us chanting those heavenly scriptures until we reached the door to the head lama’s room, which was filled with oil lamps.
When we were led inside, we found the head lama and Deren waiting for us, both wearing lama robes. We went in and sat down by the stove, where all the other lamas were.
The head lama looked at me, and I looked at him. The chanting outside became relaxed and free as various voices began singing. I could hear the answering phrases of duets, as well as folk songs; it seemed that everyone was starting to feel festive now.
“Welcome to Jila Temple,” the head lama said to me.
“Weren’t we already here?” Although I saluted him, I couldn’t help but ask the question.
“We didn’t know if it was really you,” the head lama replied.
“You mean, you didn’t know if I was the real Wu Xie or somebody pretending to be,” I said while thinking to myself, does this problem still exist?
“No, we know you’re Wu Xie, but we didn’t know if you were the Wu Xie who came to Jila Temple for the first time that year.” The head lama pushed the charcoal in the stove in front of me to make me warmer. “The Wu Xie who just arrived at Jila Temple back then was like a rough jade, looking for direction on how to be carved. My master told me that this person may have the opportunity in the future to erase all the nicks engraved on his body and return to the rough jade he was before. If he can do that, then Jila Temple should welcome him with a grand festival the next time he comes. This is something my master felt he owed him.”
I didn’t quite understand what he was saying and glanced at Fatty, who said, “Then what am I? If Mr. Naïve is a rough jade, then what am I? Pork belly?”
I put my hand on Fatty, silently telling him to stop talking nonsense, and then asked the head lama, “So this festival was arranged by the Great Master?”
“Yes, my master came up with this gift for you before he passed away,” the head lama said.
Deren finally spoke up from the side, “The old lama you met back then told us about the future before he died. He said that a few nights after a heavy snowfall, we would meet the patriarch on the mountain—as well as the ignorant stranger—and welcome him back.”
An indescribable feeling came over me as I seemed to understand what he was saying.
At that moment, it was like I could see the old lama smiling right in front of me.
“Did he foresee that we would come back?”
“Yes. At that time, we thought that when you got that painting, your relationship with this place would be cut off since there was no need for you to come back again. But you really did come back, just as the Great Master said you would.” The head lama handed me a cup of warm tea, glanced at Poker-Face, and then poured him some tea as well.
“On that first day, we already conveyed to the patriarch what the Great Master wanted to say. But before his death, there was also a question he wanted to ask you.”
I nodded and glanced at Poker-Face, who was so quiet that he seemed to completely fit in with the atmosphere here.
“Do you want to hear the question?”
“When you first came to Motuo, it was very lively. You accompanied the patriarch with us, walked through several snow-capped mountains, and then came to this temple. But you spent a few days looking troubled and restless and then did hard labor. Now that you’re leaving here, you’ve seen another lively festival where everyone is welcoming you. It seems that you’re back to your original self. If I may ask, which of these days will you remember when you leave Motuo, and which will you forget?”
As I gave him a blank look, the head lama added, “If you know the answer, you know it. But if you don’t, it’s not like it will affect how we enjoy today. If you do know it, though, please don’t say it; now isn’t the time to answer it.”
I was still sitting there in a daze when the head lama handed me a steamed bun, “My cultivation is limited so what I say isn’t as pleasant or impressive as what the Great Master would say, but it should be easier to understand.”
While I did understand it on a surface level, I didn’t seem to understand the deeper meaning behind it.
“Look at his expression,” Fatty said, “he obviously doesn’t understand. Please explain it again.”
“When things are peaceful, sometimes it’s good to be ignorant,” Deren said a little sourly.
I took the steamed bun, feeling that there were too many different meanings hidden within this question. It seemed more like a question directed at the future me instead of the current me.
Great Master, how much more have you seen? I couldn’t help but smile bitterly and look at Poker-Face, who also took a steamed bun, broke it in half, and silently asked me if I wanted it.
“What about me? What about me?” Fatty asked the head lama. “Did the great master mention me?”
The head lama looked at Fatty and said, “Yes, he said that if the fat man comes, we should lock the gates and hide all the thangkas.(1) Moreover, he wishes that fat immortal XXXXXXX.”
The last bit was spoken in some Tibetan that we didn’t understand.
The people outside were singing again, the sound like a mixture of chanting scriptures, happy melodies, and the sound of snow falling on the roof amidst the silence.
<Chapter 21><Table of Contents><Chapter 23>
(1) Thangka=Tibetan Buddhist scroll painting. Info here.
No update tomorrow.
Pic added 12/3/2022 (fan translation courtesy of me).
7 thoughts on “Chapter 22 Traveling Notes”
OMG Fatty! You always feeling like the third wheel!
I always love to know what’s on Wuxie’s mind. He’s way of thinking.
So there’s more in the Great Master’s prediction. Will be able to know what is it? I doubt it. But for now I’m just enjoying the ride. Iron Triangle together is the best I can wish
Thank you for the chapter!
Let’s assume that the calm time he said is right now, so maybe the previous Lama meant that the situation is going to be unstable in the future. That’s why Wu Xie looked at Xiao Ge and he gave him half of his steamed bun as if to calm him down. Now it’s important to know the message of the old lama to Xiao Ge.
If Wu Xie is rough jade then Fatty is gold belly.
I think the unstable time is happening right now, in the Reboot 3 and 4 story, and the calm time is also *right now*, in the Rain Village/Travelling Notes story, like, parallel realities? And all those comments about ‘it’s best to stay ignorant’ are Wu Xie trying not to put any weight onto the bad reality…
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Orrr, maybe it’s just a silly theory. In any case, their trip is very entertaining to read about.
You are right. We have the same thought. If we consider this chapter as their present and the calm time so their future adventures, probably the world second most valuable tomb, will be that unstable time. (But I hope it’s not true.)
And it’s not silly it’s a reasonable conclusion. ᵔ ᵕ ᵔ
I wish Poker Face would smile. Is there anything that could make him smile? Or laugh?
Thank you for the translation!
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Wu Xie and Fatty acting stupid would certainly do the trick 😏
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