“Benefactor Su Xing, you are…what are you doing.”
Even the Heavenly Solitary Star Chan Xin whose heart was like stone, when she saw Su Xing had acted for her sake to pollute his karma by breaking the vow of no killing, destroying all the effort he had put in until now, could not help but be moved. Just how much of an urge was there to be able to renounce the very thing he was pursuing just for an indifferent person.
Wu Siyou and Qingci rushed to Su Xing’s side. Although they said nothing, each of them showed moved expression. Qingci’s gaze glittered. Watching Chan Xin’s touched expression, her brows tightly locked.
“This man is very crafty, unexpectedly using this sort of method to move the Heavenly Solitary Star.”
The Sisters inside Qingci’s Star Nest gnashed their teeth, believing Su Xing had deliberately done so.
Qingci’s eyes were deeply conflicted. She lowered her head, not uttering a word.
“Lord Husband?” Wu Siyou was very worried and sick at heart.
“What’s the matter?” Su Xing saw the girls’ hurt expressions as comical.
“Why would you save Chan Xin. Could it be that you came for my sake?” Chan Xin questioned.
“As the Eternal Primary School Student1 once said: Killing a person perhaps requires a reason, but saving a person doesn’t need a reason.” Su Xing shrugged his shoulders.
The girls did not know what this Eternal Primary Schooler was, but hearing Su Xing’s downplaying words, they still felt moved. “In following, don’t be so pessimistic, alright? The mystery of the sea of bitterness isn’t necessarily this.” Su Xing patted Chan Xin’s shoulder, consoling her.
The person that should have been consoled was contrarily consoling her. Chan Xin’s mind was somewhat confused. This man apparently was overturning her mind all the time.
“En, perhaps it is indeed as Lord Su says.” Qingci slowly spoke. “These monks made the first move. We cannot be blamed.”
Chan Xin was expressionless, her gaze towards Su Xing somewhat indifferent.
The other shore of the sea of bitterness.
When the monks saw Su Xing and the others approach, their gazes were shocked and furious. However, these gazes only existed for a fleeting instant. They then recovered their steadfast expressions.
“Everyone who has come, follow Novice Monk into the Seventh Celestial.” The yellow-browed boy put his hands together.
“Thank you for your troubles.”
Chan Xin seemed to be somewhat preoccupied.
“However, this Benefactor was incapable of laying down the butcher’s knife. He has not crossed the sea of bitterness and can only make himself comfortable here.” The yellow-browed boy calmly set down an order of banishment.
Everyone’s gazes were completely glued to Su Xing.
“Benefactor was merely acting for the sake of saving Your Servant that he would pollute karma with killing intent. This consequence arose from me, Chan Xin ought to assume the responsibility.” Chan Xin interrupted.
Her resolve actually made the Aratha and others that had originally impatiently schemed for her departure quite surprised. Now, seeing that the Holy Monk was merely a step away and giving up like this honestly was incomprehensible.
The yellow-browed boy looked indifferently at Chan Xin.
“How can you assume responsibility for the karma he polluted. This is cheating Buddha, and you also ought to lose your qualifications.”
Chan Xin froze.
Aratha nearly laughed out loud. Truly, the Heavens are helping me. Although the five great Supercluster Ancestral Masters could not stop the Heavenly Solitary Star, hearing the yellow-browed boy’s words made his heart burst with joy. It could be assumed that this yellow-browed boy also was not pleased the Heavenly Solitary Star had come for the robe and bowl.
“How can this be.” Each of Wu Siyou’s words were full of killing intent. Lord Husband staked everything and brought Chan Xin this chance with great difficult. How could all of that be negated by a few words from the other party. What did everything before count for?
Was this all a joke?
A gentle hand made Wu Siyou’s murderous air subside. The Su Xing with a face like still water advanced a step and smiled at the boy. “May Your Servant venture to ask what this place is?”
“The other shore.” The yellow-browed boy answered.
“Since this is the other shore, why would you say Your Servant has not crossed the sea of bitterness?” Su Xing ruminated: “Could it be the one cheating Buddha is not you? Since this is the other shore, then Your Servant crossed the sea of bitterness. This is Buddhism’s great logic. You have inverted the world, truly irreverent.”
No one would have thought that Su Xing would actually face the gatekeeper of the Sixth Trial and say such things.
The yellow-browed boy disdainfully laughed: “In the middle of the sea of bitterness, all living things taste the Eight Distresses of life. You rashly initiated killing in violation of Buddhism, thus you are incapable of breaking free from within the Eight Distresses. The sea of bitterness naturally has not been crossed, thus this other shore is not Benefactor’s other shore.
Worthy of a boy serving Holy Monk Four Noble Truths in the Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda, speaking without leaking a drop of sweat.
Seeing that Su Xing was apparently taken aback, the yellow-browed boy smiled: “Benefactor nevertheless is lucky. You ought to be reverent of Buddha.”
“If this is not Your Servant’s other shore, then how would the other shore’s gate open?” Su Xing suddenly pointed at the gate to the front, smiling.
The yellow-browed boy and the others were stunned. Subconsciously turning their heads, indeed, the other shore’s gates were still shut. There were no signs of opening. Just as the yellow-browed boy thought of mocking Su Xing for nonsense, suddenly, his brain had a sudden realization, saying in shock – Not good.
He heard Su Xing laugh: “If this other shore is not Your Servant’s other shore, then when Your Servant spoke of the other shore’s gate, why would this novice monk believe Your Servant?”2
Everyone was stunned.
“Benefactor, you are cunning…” Great Master Still Void put his hands together.
“Cunning, ha, ha, ha, ha, Great Master’s way of speaking is truly interesting. If I am not on the other shore, then where is the Great Master?” Su Xing sneered.
“This other shore is not Benefactor’s…”
“Enough of the slippery speech.” Su Xing impatiently waved his hand, “This Novice Monk hearing Your Servant’s words just now clearly acknowledges this is Your Servant’s other shore, otherwise, why would you turn your head to the other shore’s gate upon hearing Your Servant’s words?”
Great Master Still Void was speechless. This man was too cunning.
“Could it be you wish to negate what you said about crossing the sea of bitterness and there being no other shore?” Su Xing seemingly smiled.
The yellow-browed boy coldly said: “You violated the vow of no killing in the sea of bitterness…”
“However, I still crossed the sea of bitterness.” Su Xing calmly answered.
“But you broke this pagoda’s rules. Naturally, you cannot pass. Despite your extravagant embellishments, you nevertheless cannot hide that you broke the rules.” The yellow-browed boys apparently found a gap for victory, steadily arguing.
“The sea of bitterness was contaminated with the karma of killing, breaking the rules. Is this what you determined?” Su Xing asked back.
The yellow-browed boy had an “I knew you would say that” expression, saying: “As expected, you are a layman. The boundless sea of bitterness naturally gives all living things a taste of the Eight Distresses of Living. Breaking free of these Eight Distresses, Benefactor violates the vow of no killing and is thus unable to free himself of the word ‘distress.’”
“What is distress?”
“The distress of life, age…”
“What is unferried?”
“Those unable to bear distress, those who have violated the vow of no killing, they are the unferried.”
“Then about unferried, if the other shore is not beneath Your Servant’s feet, what is there?”
“The sea of bitterness appears to have been ferried, but you are actually unferried. This other shore is not your other shore…”
The two asked and answered. Great Master Still Void vaguely felt things were far from encouraging. The yellow-browed boy already was being unwittingly led by the nose. Great Master immediately walked over, interrupting: “Poor Monk feels nothing more should be said. This man has a glib tongue, reversing what is false. Directly banish him and be done.”
“Well-spoken, it seems this Great Master also has not ascended the other shore from the sea of bitterness.” Su Xing had an expression of “I was waiting for you to say that.”
Which made everyone’s stomachs feel fully suffocated.
“What does Benefactor mean.” Great Master Still Void’s tone sunk.
“The Eight Distresses of Living – the distress of meeting what you hate. Just now, Great Master spoke of banishing Your Servant. Could it be because you aren’t hateful of Your Servant that you would say banish?”
Great Master Still Void’s face was cold as frost, “Poor Monk advises that Benefactor not struggle at the very end, to be an annoying troublemaker. Poor Monk disdains speaking with you.”
“Struggle at the very end, be an annoying troublemaker? Obviously, it is the lot of you that are trapped in the Eight Distresses, yet you speak of contaminating the karma of killing. To say Your Servant broke the rules, you cannot see the forest for the trees. The deranged are you all.”
“You dare speak off the cuff.”
Aratha’s tone was disdainful.
“Buddha says, what every sort of shape and form a person sees, hears, thinks, meets, feels, are all false images. You will lose yourself, sinking into suffering. The people are frequently confused by ideas, and therefore are deeply set among them. Could it be Great Masters have not sunk into the Five Skandhas?” Su Xing was deadpan.
The yellow-browed boy seemed to have seized onto a tear in Su Xing’s argument, mocking: “Benefactor contaminated the karma of killing in the sea of bitterness and still dares to say our bodies are in the Five Skandhas. Truly laughable.”
“Don’t believe it? I indeed have a way to prove it.” Su Xing laughed.
“Do not indulge him…” Great Master Still Void promptly obstructed, sensing that Su Xing had lain some trap.
“Novice Monk accepted the orders of the Holy Monk to oversee this other shore of the sea of bitterness. For Novice Monk’s body to be trapped in the Five Skandhas is contrary to the thoughts of the Holy Monk. Novice Monk actually wants to see how Benefactor will prove it. However, if you are incapable of proving, then Novice Monk can only ask Benefactor’s friends to leave this place together, so as to avoid blaspheming Buddha.”
“Don’t be so quick to say blaspheming Buddha. I am inviting Buddha to prove it.” Su Xing calmly said.
The maidens inside the Star Nest did not dare breathe.
What was Su Xing thinking of doing?
The others were also quite curious. Inviting Buddha to prove it, could it be that this man had the capability to call forth Buddha Western Paradise? All confused lines of sight gazed at Su Xing. Su Xing then leisurely asked: “Your Servant wonders which of you has an image of Buddha?”
“Benefactor would not be happening to invite an image of Buddha to be Buddha, would he?” Senior Monk Extreme Happiness mocked.
“However, this image of Buddha, how can Your Servant be able to carry it on his person. This blasphemes Buddha.”
Su Xing furrowed his brow.
“How about this gold Buddha?” The yellow-clothed person spoke. Waving his hand, a golden Buddha statue appeared before them. Carved so very lifelike, the precious statue was solemn, as if Buddha had actually descended. It made their hearts feel like bowing in worship. The Buddhist Chan Masters immediately put their hands together in salute.
“Many thanks.” Su Xing glanced at this mysterious yellow-robed person.
“Could it be you are thinking of asking Buddha to climb onto you?” The yellow-browed boy asked.
Who could have anticipated that Su Xing would briefly inspect it, then suddenly raise his hand and envelop this golden Buddha in Purple Cloud True Star. Instantly, this stately gold Buddha became a puddle of molten gold.
“How dare you blaspheme Buddha, to burn away a gold statue of Buddha,” The yellow-browed boy rebuked.
The other Chan Masters were also suddenly indignant.
Su Xing was neither hurried nor slow. He conscientiously inspected the thick molten gold: “I am currently smelting the Buddha’s sarira.”
The yellow-browed boy was even more angry: “How can there be sarira inside a golden statue.”
Su Xing feigned a sudden epiphany and stood up: “Since there is no sarira, then there is no harm in me burning a few images of Buddha.”
The yellow-browed boy was flabbergasted.
Everyone present was a peak Chan Master in the Buddha Kingdom. Immediately, they understood the significance that Su Xing was raising. They were suddenly stunned beyond compare.
“The Diamond Sutra says: All phenomena and perceptions are illusions. When one sees through them, one sees tathagata.”3 Su Xing slowly said. “The Chan Sect often emphasizes ‘Buddha-nature is inherently empty,’ ‘the intrinsic Buddha is devoid of marks,’ the so-called image of Buddha, lies in guiding believers to go worship the essence and truth behind the idol. Speaking from a Buddhist logic, not only can you not treat the image of Buddha you see as seeing Buddha, even if you go see Buddha in person, you cannot recognize as having seen his corporeal body and think it the master. Otherwise, you will violate the mistake of ‘attachment.’ Do you dare to say you were not confused by this false image just now, not being trapped in these Five Skandhas?”
Everyone drew in a breath.
How could the Buddha Kingdom Six Ancestors not have understood this logic. It was just that they had never thought of daring to burn Buddha.
“You…” The yellow-browed boy tried to speak for a long time but could not say anything. Su Xing’s words were invulnerable. How could the other Chan Masters dare to retort even half a word.
“Amazing, amazing. Your Highness’ Buddhist mind has made Your Servant expand his horizons. The burning of this golden Buddha was worth it.” The yellow-clothed person struck his palm.
Su Xing hid his embarrassed expression.
The yellow-browed boy had always felt the progression of things until now had been very fishy, but he could not figure out where. His words were stuck in his throat, and he was dumb as a wooden chicken.
“Su Xing, you’re so awesome, to stun these monks.”
“Now, they ought not have anything to say.”
“This is sophistry.” Great Master Still Void had cultivated Buddhism for countless years, and very quickly, he recovered and bellowed: “Little Monk, you cannot believe him. He has obviously polluted the karma of killing in the sea of bitterness and broke the rules, yet he tore himself above the Eight Distresses. Clearly, he has used a straw man argument, reversing karma.”
Su Xing sneered.
No mistake, Su Xing’s was indeed sophistry. The so-called sophistry was to lay down the next logic in a debate that made the other party follow and debate upon.4 By doing so, the other party would save little and lose much. The other party would undoubtedly lose the debate. However, Great Master Still Void sensed this too late.
Because Su Xing’s peerless sophistry that shocked the world had firmly constricted the yellow-browed boy.
Straw man arguments were fine, as was reversing karma. The yellow-browed boy and the others really were puzzled by the idea of Su Xing burning Buddha. That was to say, everyone present honestly did not have the qualifications to say that had ferried across the sea of bitterness’ Eight Distresses and ascended the other shore.
Su Xing did not ascend the other shore, this point was not discredited.
The corner of Wu Siyou’s lips curled in a smile, very full of a desire to open and look into this man’s mind, an impulse to see just what sort of things that were loaded inside, to unexpectedly be able to twist and warp the world under the rules the other party established. Honestly, this was inconceivable.
Qingci and Chan Xin also were lost and confused by what Su Xing said. By the very end, Su Xing had already turned back to front, completely reversing karma, only then did his counterparts return to their senses.
Qingci only felt this man’s thoughts honestly were very frightening.
“Lord Su honestly is more glib-tongued than those Buddhas.” Qingci softly laughed.
Chan Xin did not reply. The Heavenly Solitary Star’s always firm expression were placed on Su Xing arguing with those Chan Masters and began to never leave. She followed Su Xing’s eloquence, his contentions. Chan Xin only felt her heart pound powerfully.
And when she saw Su Xing burn the gold Buddha to obtain sarira, Chan Xin was even more stifled.
This was the first time the Heavenly Solitary Star felt her heart stir. There was a sort of urge to follow him for her whole life. Qingci shook her several times. Only then did Chan Xin return to her senses, whispering her thanks. She shut her eyes in contemplation, reciting Dharma, making her mind maintain calm.
Qingci very helplessly sighed.
The Buddha Kingdom Six Ancestors still quarreled over the rules of the sea of bitterness. The Great Ancestral Masters felt Su Xing was far scarier than the Heavenly Solitary Star, how could they be willing to let him go see the Saint.
Just as they were utterly noisy, suddenly, a faintly discernible Buddhist sound came from the other shore.
“You are trapped in the avidya of the suffering of all things. The reason is that you are unable to see the true ultimate essence within and manifest your dormant spiritual nature. When you covet things, you are incapable of seeing clearly the desire rising within yourself the moment it does arise. When you are angry, you are incapable of seeing clearly the hate rising within yourself the moment it does arise. When you are sluggish, you are incapable of seeing clearly seeing angry ignorance within yourself the moment it does arise.”
“Therefore, desire, anger, and stupidity still control you within deep avidya. You actually are not at all masters of your own hearts. You have been spurred about by your untamed hearts.This is it. What is terrible is that you cannot even see that you yourself have been spurred about by this matter. To still think you wanted as much. Actually, this is not true. That greed nevertheless is your untamed heart inciting you to endless chatter. That anger is your untamed heart instigating you to struggle slanderously. That stupidity is your untamed heart playing jokes on you…”
This voice was clean as nature, going nonstop through their hearts. Instantly, everyone seemed to have come to a realization, ending their bickering.
“Holy Monk Four Noble Truths.”
The Chan Masters saluted.
“Little Boy, you have yet to be able to comprehend the Great Way. Return to the pagoda’s interior and meditate.”
“As Holy Monk orders.”
The yellow-browed boy saluted, and his figure immediately vanished like smoke.
The gate of the other shore slowly opened, without a word said. Not needing to say anything more, Great Master Still Void understood that Holy Monk Four Noble Truths had already recognized that Su Xing had the qualifications to enter.
After saluting, the group walked in.
After a boundless white light passed through their eyes, they saw an ordinary room of a monastery.
An old man like stone sat in meditation. His face was calm as a dry well, exuding solemnity.
Everyone felt deep veneration.
He was precisely Holy Monk Four Noble Truths, Buddha West Approaches.
Originally, I wanted five chapters. Four thousand characters is so restrictive. Tomorrow, another chapter.
- A reference to Case Closed! Said by Shinichi Kudo ↩
- This is a “made you look” kind of trick. If the gate would never open for Su Xing, the monk would not have bothered to look. ↩
- 凡所有相，皆是虛妄。若見諸相非相，即見如來 Credit to https://nosarthur.github.io/ancient%20teachings/2017/10/21/diamond-sutra.html ↩
- More accurately, it is the use of fallacious arguments, arguments with faulty logic, and forcing an opponent to follow up on them. This is both an underhanded and liable to backfire tactic, but a majority of people don’t even know what fallacies are being committed at any one time. Thus, sophistry is oft let pass, out of ignorance. ↩