Book 19, Empyrean God, Chapter 2 – The Secret History of the Three Realms (2)
A reminiscent look was in Subhuti’s eyes. He said softly, “Let us start the tale from the dawn of the primordial chaos. Long ago, before the Primordial Era began, our ‘Three Realms’ was located in a region of complete primordial chaos. The primordial chaos, in and of itself, is an incomparably marvelous thing. It began to give birth to Elder Gods, True Gods, and Empyrean Gods. Due to them having been birthed within the primordial chaos, they styled themselves the same way, calling themselves the ‘Elder Gods of Primordial Chaos’ and so on.”
“Elder Gods?” Ji Ning was instantly stunned by his master’s words.
“The Daos contained within this region consisted of ten Heavenly Daos, eighty-one Grand Daos, and 108,000 lesser Daos.” Subhuti continued, “The ten great Elder Gods were born with control over a Heavenly Dao.”
“Pangu, born with control over the Heavenly Dao of Primordial Chaos.”
“Nuwa, born with control over the Heavenly Dao of Life.”
“Fuxi, born with control over the Heavenly Dao of Destruction.”
“The Phoenix, born with control over the Heavenly Dao of Yin.” 1
“The Ancestor Dragon, born with control over the Heavenly Dao of Yang.”
“As for the Heavenly Daos of the Five Elements, they were controlled by Firegod Zhurong, Watergod Gonggong, Metalgod Rushou, Woodgod Jumang, and Earthgod Houtu.”
“These ten were all born with innate control over the Heavenly Daos. Pangu was the greatest of them!” 2
Subhuti looked towards Ji Ning. “Disciple, you seem to have many questions for me.”
“Yes. Elder Gods…your disciples has never heard of such a thing.” Ning was stunned. “Your disciple always believed that the True God level represented a limit.”
“Very few in the Three Realms know of them, and I’ll explain the reason for that later. Pangu, Nuwa, and the others are not like us. They were born with control over the Heavenly Daos, and they are innately more powerful than us,” Subhuti said. “In addition to them, the primordial chaos also gave birth to powerful True Gods who were born with control over a Grand Dao! I was one of them, as were Threelives, Crimsonbright, Daoist Three Purities, Lord Tathagata the Buddha, and the Welcomer Buddha. All of them are True Gods.”
“On a still lower level were the 108,000 Empyrean Gods who were born with control over an ordinary Dao.”
Subhuti continued, “These are the Elder Gods, True Gods, and Empyrean Gods who were born from the primordial chaos.”
“The most exalted and most powerful of the gods was Pangu, born with control over the Heavenly Dao of Primordial Chaos. Although Pangu was extremely powerful…the invisible hands and machinations of fate worked through him.” Subhuti let out a sigh. “He was born with the destiny of establishing our world. He was the last to be born, and when he emerged from the primordial chaos, he came out with his great Pangu Axe in hand. He cleaved apart the primordial chaos itself, separating Heaven from Earth, burning up his very lifeforce and dying in the process. As a result…the utterly enormous Primordial Pangu’s World was created.”
“After being established…the Primordial Pangu’s World began to give birth to many different lifeforms, all of whom were born from Heaven and Earth. The strongest were born at the Empyrean God level, while the weakest were at least at the Xiantian level.”
Ning listened carefully.
“Heaven and Earth gave birth to so many incomparably exquisite things. Those of us who emerged from the primordial chaos were filled with curiosity towards this new world.” Subhuti sighed. “Some of us took over territories for our own use, while others went into seclusion. As Pangu’s World gave birth to more and more living creatures, the world itself became an increasingly exciting place to be in. People like Threelives began to create their own kingdoms, as did several of the Elder Gods…and thus war began to erupt, with many being slain.
It was very common for wars to erupt due to conflicting ambitions.
“The various major powers even created Ki Refining techniques for the countless living creatures of Pangu’s World,” Subhuti said. “In fact, Tathagata even created a completely separate system called ‘Buddhism’, which in reality can be considered a variation on the Ki Refining system. The various True Gods such as myself and Tathagata then were able to train to become Daofathers, using the Ki Refining techniques we developed.”
“Mother Nuwa was the first to break through,” Subhuti said. “Mother Nuwa possessed tremendous willpower and wisdom. After gaining insights into the Heavenly Daos of Yin and Yang, her power instantly increased explosively, and she then created the human race. Only then did all the major powers of the Primordial Era understand that one’s power could increase to a higher level once one comprehended a set of Heavenly Daos.”
“And so, the major powers of Pangu’s World all began to focus on training…but they then discovered that once you mastered a particular Heavenly Dao, mastering the opposite Heavenly Dao would be incredibly difficult. For example, if someone who had already mastered the Heavenly Dao of Life wished to then meditate on its opposite, the Heavenly Dao of Destruction, the Heavenly Dao of Life itself would forcefully disturb him. There was simply no way to gain insights at all.”
“For a very long period of time, no one aside from Mother Nuwa was capable of gaining insights into a matching set of Heavenly Daos.”
“But then…Daoist Three Purities appeared.”
“Daoist Three Purities was born a True God of Primordial Chaos; his original name was Yuanshi! He was extremely talented, managing to first master the Heavenly Dao of Yang, then the Heavenly Dao of Destruction. However, he was never able to succeed in mastering the Heavenly Dao of Yin or the Heavenly Dao of Life, the complimentary Daos to what he already had. And so…he steeled his mind and made a major decision.”
“He killed himself.”
“Killed himself?!” Ning was stunned.
The nearby Redsnow, however, simply smiled. Although this was a secret, Redsnow had been born when Pangu’s World had been created, and had followed Daoist Threelives for many years. He knew many things, including this story.
“Daoist Three Purities set down a seal upon his own truesoul, a seal that would lock away his former memories unless he mastered either the Heavenly Dao of Yin or the Heavenly Dao of Life,” Subhuti said. “And then, Daoist Three Purities entered the paths of reincarnation, then killed himself. Because he died within the paths of reincarnation, his truesoul was naturally sent straight into the cycle of reincarnation.”
“This was a huge gamble.”
“If Daoist Three Purities’ soul was shattered in his next life, then his truesoul would be sent to the River of Destiny. He would be finished,” Subhuti said.
To seal away one’s memories unless one mastered either the Heavenly Dao of Yin or the Heavenly Dao of Life. In other words…unless he became a Daofather once more, there would be no way for him to reawaken his memories from the past. But how incredibly difficult would it have to be for one to become a Daofather once more, without any past memories at all? Even though one might be incredibly talented due to the quality of one’s truesoul, the path of cultivation was an incredibly dangerous one.
Once one was killed and one’s soul was shattered, everything would be oever.
“He failed numerous times. He was reincarnated a total of nine times,” Subhuti said. “Of his nine reincarnations, six of them were as ordinary mortals who didn’t even embark on the patho f cultivation. Thus, upon dying he was naturally sent to be reincarnated once more. In two other lives, he died at the Zifu level and was once more sent to be reincarnated. Finally, during his ninth life, he was reborn as a member of the primordial human clan…Laozi!”
In this life, he was an absolutely dazzling figure. He advanced at an absolutely breakneck pace, and because his memories of his past life were unable to disturb him, he was able to train all the way to become a Daofather through mastering the Heavenly Dao of Yin. Only then did were his former memories awakened…and both the Heavenly Daos of Yin and Yang were now under his control. His power instantly exploded!”
“He then devised the Three Pure Ones technique, becoming so powerful that even Mother Nuwa might not have been a match for him at that point in time. He essentially became the number one leader of the entire Primordial Era. Because Yuanshi had devised the Three Pure Ones technique, he gave himself the title ‘Daoist Three Purities’. He then established the Daoist Path, passing down many Daoist techniques and becoming the leader of the Daoist Path.”
Ning was stunned by what he heard.
“Because his memories were masked during the reincarnation process, he was able to gain insights into a complimentary Heavenly Dao without being impacted by his original Heavenly Dao. But this was a gamble. If his soul was shattered, he would have truly perished.” Subhuti sighed. “Because of Daoist Three Purities, there were a total of six Daofathers who also committed suicide after setting down seals upon their truesouls.”
“But…there has never been any word of them since. From the Primordial Era to the modern day, there has never been any traces of them,” Subhuti said. “Perhaps they have died…or perhaps they are continuing to pass through the endless cycle of reincarnation.”
Ning sighed to himself.
Those Daofathers who committed suicide all had extraordinary truesouls; their talent had to be extraordinary as well. As long as they had a chance to embark on the Immortal path, they undoubtedly would…but the Immortal path was an extremely deadly one. One might be slain by an enemy, resulting in one’s soul being shattered and dispersed! An extremely long period of time had passed since the Primordial Era. Those six Daofathers were most likely long deceased, their souls having entered the endless River of Destiny.
“After the six of them disappeared, a very long period of time passed with no other major powers deciding to reincarnate themselves. However…all the major powers had hearts that were focused on the Dao, and all of them wished to grow more powerful.” Subhuti sighed. “And so, Buddha Tathagata, then an ordinary figure amongst major powers, sent himself into the paths of reincarnation, killing himself and being reincarnated anew. Back then, Tathagata had already mastered four of the Heavenly Daos of the Five Elements. All he needed to do was master the Heavenly Dao of Earth, but he could not; whenever he tried, the other four Heavenly Daos would disturb him.”
“A crazy man can get crazy results.” Subhuti shook his head and sighed. “On Tathagata’s third reincarnation, he became the prince of a small human kingdom. His name was Sakyamuni. He was naturally a brilliant, dazzling figure…and in the end, he mastered the Heavenly Dao of Earth and became a Daofather. His former memories were awakened, and the Buddhists, previously just one of many organizations within Pangu’s World, instantly skyrocketed in power. Tathagata thus became the leader of the Buddhist Sangha.”
“You have now heard the tales of how the leaders of the Daoist Path and the Buddhist Sangha rose to power. What do you think?” Subhuti looked towards Ning.
“Incredible determination. Incredible willpower.” Ning sighed in amazement.
Those two had already been Daofathers to begin with. They could live eternal, careless lives of freedom…but both of them had hearts that were extremely focused upon the Dao. For the sake of gaining a higher level of enlightenment, they were willing to wager their eternal lives!
They had won their bets…but many other Daofathers had lost.
To train in the Dao to a higher level…it was far, far too difficult.
“Back then, the Primordial Era was an era of nonstop war,” Subhuti said. “The most powerful actors were the kingdoms that were controlled by a few of the Elder Gods.”
“Once, a war erupted between the kingdoms led by the Elder God of Water, Gonggong, and the Elder God of Fire, Zhurong. These two Elder Gods began to battle with reckless abandon atop Pangu’s World. Gonggong, seeing that his forces were about to be defeated, went completely berserk. The crazed Gongong, in his madness and fury, actually rammed against and shattered Mount Buzhou, which Pangu had used as a pillar to hold up the heavens.”
“As a result…the heavens themselves were shattered. The very foundation of Pangu’s World was in danger.”
“Heaven and Earth began to tremble, as though the end times had come.”
“Both Gonggong and Zhurong panicked. All the major powers of the Primordial Era gathered together, wanting to stop the destruction of the world, but none of them had any solutions. In the end, it was Mother Nuwa who saved us. At such a critical moment, she actually made yet another a breakthrough, resulting in her gaining complete mastery over the Heavenly Daos of the Five Elements. She gathered together the essence of the Five Elements from Heaven and Earth, then created a divine five-colored stone which she used to repair the hole in the skies. Only after she did so did Heaven and Earth slowly return to normal. Since she was now a master of Yin, Yang, and the Five Elements, she became the indisputably most powerful figure of the Primordial Era. Because Nuwa healed the heavens and saved the world, everyone in the Primordial Era would respectfully refer to her as ‘Mother’.”
“Mother Nuwa was extremely close to Elder God Fuxi, who was like a brother to her. He disliked battle, but he saw Mother Nuwa making constant breakthroughs while his own power barely budged. As a result…he committed suicide and threw himself into the cycle of reincarnation. He sealed away his memories, which would only be awakened once he mastered the Heavenly Dao of Life.” Subhuti shook his head. “He was reborn as a human, and he became one of the Three Sovereigns of Mankind of the Primordial Era, Fuxi. But to this very day, he has yet to awaken his former memories.”
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- Readers may be surprised that the phoenix has control over ‘Yin’, when it is normally considered a creature of fire. The answer is that in traditional Chinese culture, the phoenix is the ultimate symbol of feminity, with the dragon being the ultimate symbol of masculinity. ↩
- Every single one of the deities listed here come from actual Chinese myths and legends. ↩