“It is indeed ridiculous,” interposed the Taoist. “Never before have I heard even the very mention of restitution by means of tears!
Why should not you and I avail ourselves of this opportunity to likewise go down into the world?
and if successful in effecting the salvation of a few of them, will it not be a work meritorious and virtuous?”
“This proposal,” remarked the Buddhist, “is quite in harmony with my own views. Come along then with me to the palace of the Monitory Vision Fairy, and let us deliver up this good-for-nothing object, and have done with it! And when the
company of pleasure-bound spirits of wrath descend into human existence, you and I can then enter the world. Half of them have already fallen into the dusty
universe, but the whole number of them have not, as yet, come together.”
“Such being the case,” the Taoist acquiesced, “I am ready to follow you, whenever you please to go.”
But to return to Chen Shih-yin. Having heard every one of these words distinctly, he could not refrain from forthwith stepping
forward and paying homage. “My spiritual lords,” he said, as he smiled, “accept my obeisance.” The Buddhist and Taoist priests
lost no time in responding to the compliment, and they exchanged the usual salutations. “My spiritual lords,” Shih-yin
continued; “I have just heard the conversation that passed between you, on causes and effects, a conversation the like of which few mortals have forsooth listened to; but your younger
brother is sluggish of intellect, and cannot lucidly fathom the import! Yet could this dulness and simplicity be graciously
dispelled, your younger brother may, by listening minutely, with
undefiled ear and careful attention, to a certain degree be aroused to a sense of understanding; and what is more, possibly
find the means of escaping the anguish of sinking down into Hades.”
The two spirits smiled, “The conversation,” they added, “refers to the primordial scheme and cannot be divulged before the proper season; but, when the time
comes, mind do not forget us two, and you will readily be able to escape from the fiery furnace.”
Shih-yin, after this reply, felt it difficult to make any further inquiries. “The primordial scheme,” he however remarked smiling, “cannot, of course, be
divulged; but what manner of thing, I wonder, is the good-for-nothing object you alluded to a short while back? May I not be allowed to judge for myself?”
“This object about which you ask,”
the Buddhist Bonze responded, “is intended,
I may tell you, by fate to be just glanced at by you.”
With these words he produced it, and handed it over to Shih-yin.