Journey to The West
control of his host of monkeys, apes, gibbons and others, the Handsome
Monkey King divided them into rulers and subjects, assistants and officers.
In the morning they roamed the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit and in the
evening they settled down for the night in the Water Curtain Cave. They
made a compact that they would not join the ranks of the birds or go with
the running beasts. They had their own king, and they thoroughly enjoyed
Handsome Monkey King's innocent high Spirits could not, of course, last
three or four hundred years. One day he suddenly felt depressed during
a banquet with his monkey host, and he started to weep. The startled monkeys
crowded round, bowed to him and asked, "What's the matter, Your Majesty?"
"Although I'm happy now," the Monkey
King replied, "I'm worried about the future. That's what's getting
me down." The other monkeys laughed and said, "Your Majesty
is being greedy. We have parties every day; we live in a mountain paradise,
in an ancient cave in a divine continent. We are spared the rule of unicorns,
the domination of phoenixes, and the restraints of human kings. We are
free to do just as we like--- we are infinitely lucky. Why make yourself
miserable worrying about the future?" To this the Monkey King replied,
"Yes, we don't have to submit to the laws and regulations of human
kings, and we don't live in terror of the power of birds and beasts. But
the time will come when we are old and weak, and the underworld is
controlled by the King of Hell. When the time comes for us to die, we
won't be able to go on living among the Blessed, and our lives will have
been in vain." All the monkeys covered their faces and wept as everyone
of them thought about death.
host of monkeys ushered the Handsome Monkey King to the seat of honor
and sat down below him according to age. Each of them took it in turns
to bring him wine, flowers, and fruit, and they drank hard for a whole
day. The next morning the Handsome Monkey King got up early and ordered,
¡°Children, tear down some old pines and make me a raft. Find a bamboo
pole to punt with and load it up with fruit. I'm going.¡± He went
aboard the raft all by himself, pushed off with all his might, and floated
off towards the waves of the ocean. He intended to sail with the wind
and cross over to the Southern Jambu Continent.
had chosen just the right time for his journey. After he boarded his raft
the southeastern wind blew hard for days on end and bore him to the northwestern
shore of the Southern Continent. Testing the depth of the water with his
pole he found that it was shallow, so he abandoned the raft and jumped
ashore. He saw humans by the coast, fishing, hunting geese, gathering
clams, and extracting salt. He went up to them, leaping
he asked about the way of the Immortals, the Monkey King was unable to
meet one. He spent eight or nine years in the Southern Jambu Continent,
going through its
great walls and visiting its little counties.
When he found that he had reached the Great Western Ocean he thought
that there must be Sages and Immortals on the other side of it, so he
made himself another raft like the last one, and floated across the Western
Ocean until he came to the Western Continent of Cattle-gift.
He went ashore and made extensive and lengthy enquiries until one
day he came upon a high and beautiful mountain, thickly forested on its
lower slopes. Not fearing wolves, and undaunted by tigers or leopards,
he climbed to the summit to see the view. It was indeed a fine mountain
A thousand peaks brandishing halberds,As he was looking at the view the Monkey King heard a human voice coming from the depths of the forest. He rushed into the trees, and when he cocked his ear to listen he heard a song.
¡°Watching the chess game I cut through the rotten,The Monkey King was overjoyed to hear this, and he said with glee, ¡°So this is where the Immortals have been hiding." He hounded deeper into the woods for a closer look and saw that the singer was a woodcutter cutting firewood. He was wearing the most unusual clothes:
Monkey King went closer and called to him, "Old Immortal, your disciple
greets you." The woodcutter dropped his axe in astonishment and turned
round to say, "No, no. I don't even have enough to eat or drink,
so how can I possibly let you call me an Immortal?" "If you're
not an immortal," the Monkey King said, "why do you talk like
one?" "I don't talk like an Immortal." the woodcutter said.
"At the edge of the wood just now," the Monkey King replied,
"I heard you say, ¡°The people I meet are Taoists and Immortals, sitting
quietly and expounding the Man Tingfang¡± The Mantingfang contains the
truth about the Tao, so if you're not an Immortal, what are you?"
The woodcutter laughed. "It's quite true that the song is called
'The Fragrance of the Mantingfang' and an Immortal who lives near
my hut taught me it. He said
he saw how hard I had to work and how I was always worried, so he made
me sing this song when things were getting me down. It lightens my cares
and makes me forget my weariness. I was singing it just now because I
had some problems on my mind, and I never imagined that you would be listening."
"If you've got an Immortal for a neighbor, you ought to learn from
him how to pursue Tao and get him to teach you a recipe for eternal
youth." "I've had a hard life," the woodcutter replied.
"My mother and father brought me up tilt I was about eight and just
when I was beginning to know about life my father died. My mother remained
a widow, and I had no brothers or sisters. As I was the only child
I had to look after my mother morning and night. Now she is old that I
can't possibly leave her. Our land is so overgrown that I can't grow enough
to feed and clothe both of us, so I have to cut a couple of bundles of
firewood to sell in the market for a handful of coppers to buy the few
pints of rice that I cook for myself and for my mother. That's why I can't
practice to pursue Tao."
saw that the doors of the cave were shut fast, and that everything was
still, with no signs of any people.
He turned round and noticed that there was a stone tablet about
thirty feet high and eight feet wide at the top of the cliff. On it was
carved in enormous letters: SPIRIT-TOWER HEART MOUNTAIN, CAVE
OF THE SETTING MOON AND THE THREE STARS, The Monkey King exclaimed with
When this boy had come out he shouted, "Who's making that row out here?" The Monkey King scampered down the tree, went up to him, and said with a bow, "Immortal child, I am a disciple who has come to ask about the Way and study under the Immortal. The last thing I'd do would be to make a row here?" The boy laughed. "So you've come to ask about the Tao, have you?" "Yes," the Monkey King replied. "Our master has just got up," the boy said, "and has now mounted the dais to expound the Tao. Before he had started to explain about origins he told me to open the door. He said, 'There is someone outside who wants to pursue Tao. Go and welcome him.' I suppose he must have meant you. 'Yes, he meant me," the Monkey King said with a smile. "Come with me," the boy said.
The Monkey King straightened his clothes and followed the boy deep into the depths of the cave. He saw majestic pavilions and towers of red jade, pearl palaces and gateways of cowrie, and countless rooms of silence and secluded cells leading all way to a jasper dais. He saw the Patriarch Subhuti sitting on the dais and thirty-six minor Immortals standing below it.
An Immortal of great enlightenment is free from any dust,As soon as the Handsome Monkey King saw him he bowed low and knocked his head on the ground before him many times, saying, ¡°Master, master, your disciple pays his deepest respects.¡± ¡°Where are you from?¡± the Patriarch asked, ¡°You must tell me your name and address before you can become my pupil.¡± ¡°I come from the Water Curtain Cave in the Flowers and Fruit Mountain in the land of Aolai in the Eastern Continent of Superior Body,¡± replied the Monkey King. ¡°Throw him out,¡± the Patriarch roared. ¡°He's a liar and a cheat, and even if he tried cultivating his conduct he would get nowhere.¡± The Monkey King desperately kept hitting his head on the ground and said, ¡°Your disciple spoke the truth. I promise I wasn't lying.¡± The Patriarch asked, "If you were speaking the truth, why did you say that you came from the Eastern Continent of Superior Body? Between here and the Eastern Continent there are two seas and the Southern Jambu Continent, so how could you possibly have come here from there?" The Monkey King, still kowtowing, replied, "I sailed across seas and oceans, crossed frontiers and wandered through many countries for over ten years before I arrived here."
"So you came here by stages," the Patriarch remarked. "What is your surname?" "I'm not surly," the Monkey King replied. ¡°If people call me names it doesn't bother me, and if they bit me I don't get angry. I'm just polite to them and that's that. I've never been surly." "I didn't ask if you were surly. I wanted to know the surname you inherited from your parents." "I didn't have any parents, the Monkey King replied. "If you had no parents, did you grow on a tree?" "I grew not on a tree but in a stone," the Monkey King replied. "All I remember is that there was a magic stone on the top of the Flower and Fruit Mountain, and that one year the stone split open and I was born." Concealing his delight at hearing this, the Patriarch remarked, "In other words, you were born of Heaven and Earth. Walk around for a moment and let me have a look at you. The Monkey King leapt to his feet and shambled round a couple of times. The Patriarch smiled and said, "Though you have rather a base sort of body, you look like one of the rhesus monkeys that eat pine seeds, and I ought to give you a surname that fits your appearance and call you Hu ('Macaque'). The elements that make up the character Ru are 'animal', 'old' and 'moon'. What is old is ancient, and the moon embodies the Negative principle, and what is ancient and Negative cannot be transformed. But I think I would do much better to call you Sun ('Monkey'). Apart from the 'animal' element, the character Sun has one part implying male and one part suggesting a baby, which fits in with my basic theories about children. Your surname will he Sun."
When the Monkey King heard this he kowtowed with delight and said, "Great! Great! Now I have a surname. I am eternally grateful to you for your mercy and compassion, master. I beg you to give me a personal name to go with my new surname, then it will be much easier to address me. "There are twelve words within my sect," said the Patriarch, "which I give as names. You belong to the tenth generation of my disciples." "What are these twelve words?" asked the Monkey King. "Broad, great, wisdom, intelligence, true, likeness, nature, sea, bright, awakened, complete and enlightenment. If we work out the generations of disciples, then you should have a name with Wu ('Awakened') in it. So we can give you the Dharma-name Sun Wukong, which means 'Monkey Awakened to Emptiness'. Will that do?" "Marvelous, marvelous," said the smiling Monkey King. "From now on my name will be Sun Wukong." Indeed,
If you want to know what success he had in pursuing Tao you must listen to the explanation in the next installment.
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Mr. Wang Tao
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