Passing through “A World In a Flower,” Su Xing’s legs stepped on air. The surrounding scene disappeared, and he landed on a rock suspended in midair. Su Xing looked around. As far as the eye could see, there were three thousand stones floating about. Each stone clearly corresponded to an entrance from A World In A Flower
The air of the Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda’s Sixth Floor had ceased its flow.
The sky was a heavy, dark cloud, as if it was about to smother him.
Su Xing looked down and immediately drew in a breath.
Below was a vast sea of evil. As far he could tell, it was limitless. Surprisingly, there was no border. He basically did not need to guess. Su Xing immediately knew what trial the Sixth Floor Celestial of the Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda was related to.
The Sea of Bitterness.
Buddhism’s most famous concept of worldly suffering.
“The Sea of Bitterness is boundless, yet a turn of the head is the other shore.”
Even a person who completely did not understand Buddhism had heard of this phrase.
A gentle voice called.
Su Xing glanced out the corner of his eye. He spotted that a blue-clothed woman had already appeared on a rock nearby. It was no one else but Qingci. Then, Wu Siyou and Chan Xin successively walked out of rocks in a range of a hundred meters, and even further away, the high monks of the Buddha Kingdom’s sects appeared in succession.
Already, half of the three thousand paths had appeared.
Suddenly, at this moment, they heard a frenetic voice. He spotted a senior monk attempt to use a tool to fly past the Sea of Bitterness. Who would have thought that the moment his foot left the stone, his figure immediately would plunge down, falling into the Sea of Bitterness. Others had wanted to do the same, but they also likewise disappeared.
Su Xing wrinkled his brow and tested something. As expected, he had only just left the stone when a formless force pushed against his whole body, pressuring him down towards the Sea of Bitterness. It seemed this checkpoint required passing this Sea of Bitterness.
Wu Siyou, Qingci, and Chan Xin gathered around Su Xing. Unwittingly, the three women had already treated Su Xing as their backbone. “This is the Buddha Kingdom’s Sea of Bitterness? The Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda honestly is mysterious.” Wu Siyou exclaimed.
“Is this checkpoint only to cross this Sea of Bitterness?” Qingci pondered.
“What is Benefactor Su Xing doing?” Chan Xin saw that Su Xing was endlessly turning his head around, confusing her.
“Oh, didn’t Buddha often say the Sea of Bitterness is boundless, yet a turn of the head is the other shore?” Su Xing replied as he turned his head: “I’m testing whether or not this is the theory…”
The three women were speechless.
In the end, Su Xing’s neck was sore. This Sea of Bitterness did not have any signs of activity, nor could he see any indication of the seventh floor.
“It would be good if things were so simple.” Qingci smiled.
Su Xing actually hoped for things to be a bit simpler, for example, like A World In A Flower. “It seems we can only cross this Sea of Bitterness.”
The Sea of Bitterness reached past their knees, which was not too deep. The color of the water was pitch-black, complete with an indescribable heaviness. The other monks already entered the Sea of Bitterness and began to walk towards the other shore. Each monk chanted dharma as they walked. Their heads emitted a Buddhist light, a state of solemnity. Compared to Su Xing’s shamefulness, they had a manner of “crossing a Sea of Bitterness.”
Slowly wading through the Sea of Bitterness, they walked seemingly for hours.
Su Xing was unable to hold back his temper. Seeing Chan Xine had taken after the other monks and was similarly chanting dharma as she traveled forth through the Sea of Bitterness, he curiously asked: “Chan Xin, why are you dedicated to dharma? I heard Xinjie say you won’t even participate in the Star Duels? Is comprehending the Meditative Mind truly so important??”
“Is this important?” Chan Xin asked back.
Su Xing paused, briefly unable to reply; indeed, what he felt was important perhaps was not necessarily important in the eyes of others. How could others decide the so-called worthiness of something.
“Without the Heavenly Solitary Star, the other Sisters will rejoice.” Qingci softly said. Any way it was put, the Heavenly Solitary Star was the most capable of the Star Duelists in the Seven Stars Assembly. Without this powerful foe, generally, this was a good thing. However, as far as those martial generals at the peak of power were concerned, they felt it was a pity to lack an opponent as powerful as the Heavenly Solitary Star.
Just as Chan Xin was about to speak, suddenly at this moment, the Heavenly Solitary Star’s eyes were dazzled, as if she had met with a lightning strike, nearly falling over. The Su Xing standing beside her supported her, startled: “What is…” Before the words could leave his mouth, at the same time, he abruptly felt an deathly pain sweep over his whole body. With a snap of the fingers, Su Xing only felt his own consciousness rapidly shrink. Then, the entire world completely disappeared. His consciousness had been compressed into a seed and was being squeezed by the Sea of Bitterness. A sort of completely powerless feeling immediately attacked his mind.
Su Xing promptly used the Heart Like Mirror Extreme Sincerity Soul Technique. Fortunately, when he practiced the Chaotic Tail Escape, he had already tasted the world’s strongest pain, and with the assistance of the Heart Like Mirror, this seemingly unbearable pain lasted just several seconds. Su Xing promptly recovered his clarity.
However, Chan Xin was not so quick. Her brows were tightly locked, her expression bitter, currently persevering with great effort. He saw that Wu Siyou and Qingci were exactly the same.
A long while after, they slowly broke free, taking deep breaths.
“Could this be the Sea of Bitterness’ side effect?” Su Xing was curious.
“Just now, that…may have been…” Chan Xin wrinkled her brows, her sentence half-finished.
“May have been what?” Everyone was curious.
Chan Xin calmly said: “May have been Eight Distresses!”1
“Eight Distresses?” Su Xing rubbed his temples, somewhat unclear.
Wu Siyou then explained: “Birth, age, sickness, death, parting with what we love, meeting with what we hate, unattained aims, and the Five Skhandas2 are the Eight Distresses that Buddha spoke of.”
“Wifey, can you explain clearly.” Su Xing humbly asked for guidance. Buddhist philosophy was boundless as the sea. Although he had stepped into Buddhism temporarily, there was still much he completely was incapable of understanding.
These Eight Distresses that Buddha spoke of were the eight types of painful consequences that all things received in samsara. Let alone that Buddhism was very famous even in Liangshan Continent, everyone regardless of cultivator or normal citizen understood a little. For this reason, Wu Xinjie did not give Su Xing this supplementary knowledge. In actuality, according to the meaning of the text, it was very easy to understand.
Birth was the pain of crying upon being born. Let alone that age, sickness, death, and parting with something loved were things each person would experience from youth to old age, sickness and torment, the death of relatives and loved one were not far from this sort of hardship. Meeting with what was hated described people that complained about evils, who ask to be far away from those, yet gather on the contrary. The unattained aims described of everything in the world, whatever the mind loved, could be ask for yet not obtained. Finally, the Five Skandhas indicated the Five Aggregates of “form,” “sensation,” “perception,” “mental formations,” and “consciousness,” the aggregation of all the hardships of humankind.
After hearing the explanation, Su Xing understood, somewhat impressed with this Buddhism. As expected, Buddhism looked at all things very thoroughly. No wonder it could become a type of belief.
“Chan Xin, your meaning is that after passing this boundless Sea of Bitterness, we may suffer through Buddhism’s Eight Distresses of samsara?” Su Xing wrinkled his brow. Thinking carefully, that sudden sneak attacking pain just now actually had a sort of birthing meaning.
“En. The Sea of Bitterness is borderless. The Eight Distresses of the body will only become more and more serious. Even some senior monks that have obtained the way will find it hard to break out of the Sea of Bitterness. All Benefactors, Chan Xin still feels that to move away from this first is better.” Chan Xin put her hands together, sincere and earnest.
Her words really did not have any contempt, nor was there any boast.
For Buddhist cultivators to cross the Eight Distresses, there was a vast samsara that would not necessarily achieve genuine freedom. Let alone Su Xing, even Qingci only half-understood Buddhism. Although Su Xing’s meditative mind was indeed surprising in the Heavenly Solitary Star’s eyes, the Sea of Bitterness was vast. If one did not have strong willpower to pursue the dharma, this Sea of Bitterness absolutely could not be crossed.
Rather than meet with that sort of worldly suffering, it would be better to let go.
“Just this?” Su Xing laughed.
“En?” Chan Xin was confused at Su Xing’s easygoing nature..
“I never expected this Sixth Floor Celestial would be so simple. Relax, to speak of enduring bitterness, I’m already accustomed.” Su Xing shook his head, not in the least concerned: “I actually want to see just how deep this Buddhist Sea of Bitterness is.”
“Sadhu.” Chan Xin put her hands together, silent.
“Qingci, Siyou, do you want to return first?” Su Xing asked with concern. He had cultivated this Heart Like Mirror Absolute Soul Sincerity Soul Technique and opportunely long already did not fear these Eight Distresses, but Wu Siyou and Qingci were not so relaxed.
“How can Your Servant flee.” Wu Siyou did not hesitate at all.
Qingci also slightly nodded. “Since we have already reached this Sixth Floor Celestial, there is no reason to shrink back, is that not so?” The girl’s smile was very gentle, like a spring breeze caressing his mind in the Sea of Bitterness.
The group then slowly traveled through the Sea of Bitterness. The entire Void World became muddled, gloomy, and oppressive the deeper into the Sea of Bitterness they went. The incorporeal heaviness was increasingly powerful, slowly near the point of a sort of feeling of despair.
Just as Chan Xin had foreseen, after the distress of “birth,” their complexions withered and their strength drained with “age.” The sickness of their organs, limbs, and bones as well as death followed along.
The expressions of the three women also turned extremely painful. Even the Heavenly Solitary Star seemingly struggled in the boundless Sea of Bitterness, unable to move a single step.
Countless cries of fright, pain, and even despair floated above the deathly stillness of the Sea of Bitterness. Not only the girls, the rest of the Buddhist monks that had reached this stage began to break under the torment, sinking one after the other into the Sea of Bitterness.
Under this sort of atmosphere, Su Xing’s Heart Like Mirror also received an unprecedented test.
When the time came for “parting with what was loved,” Wu Siyou quite uncharacteristically grabbed Su Xing’s hand, her fingernails seemingly digging into his flesh. That appearance made Su Xing’s heart break when he saw it. Very clearly, “parting with what was loved” was more intense than the previous four Distresses. Qingci also slowly could not continue. She immediately waved her hand, releasing an old bell. Knocking it beside her ear, that old, clear sound barely allowed Qingci to maintain clear-headedness.
Su Xing also was slightly hurt to see this. His other hand grabbed her.
As if it was life-saving duckweed, after Qingci grabbed hold of Su Xing’s hand, she firmly held fast, unwilling to let go.
Again seeing Chan Xin read incantations, her hand holding the prayer beads, the girl using upright dharma to cross these Eight Distresses indeed was somewhat more relaxed than Wu Siyou and Qingci, but as time dragged on, Chan Xin also became increasingly pained.
When Su Xing saw this, he advanced several steps forward, using his shoulder to support her.
Chan Xin opened her hazy and unfocused eyes, not at all wanting to rely on Su Xing.
Su Xing nevertheless could not care that much anymore. He silently exercised the Soul Technique, and usage of the Heart Like Mirror Absolute Sincerity Soul Technique finally reached its limit. The boundless sea of churning evil finally settled. Su Xing’s Heart Like Still Waters realm also reached the Wu Siyou and Qingci to his left and right. The agony of the two girls slowly weakened, and even Chan Xin could not help but involuntarily be attracted by this profound tranquility, no longer resisting.
In the middle of the Sea of Bitterness, one man and three women seemingly melded into one. The Sea of Bitterness surrounding them inconceivably cleared and become transparent.
When the tree women returned to their senses from the Sea of Bitterness, red clouds flew across their faces. They hastily left Su Xing’s side.
“That was a bit improper.” Su Xing was embarrassed. He knew Wu Siyou would not mind, so long as he showed apologeticness to Chan Xin and Qingci.
“Lord Su truly is…” Qingci did not know what she had ought to say.
Chan Xin looked at Su Xing who was unexpectedly calm in the boundless Sea of Bitterness. To even still be able to help them was simply inconceivable, and she immediately whispered.
“Just who are you?”