Monkey: A Journey to the West, by David Kherdian

Part II - - retold by Teacher PJ Wigowsky

(based on a retelling of the Chinese folk novel, by Wu Ch’eng-en)
-- an original retelling in condensed form by Tr. (teacher) Paul J. Wigowsky
-- for educational purposes


Chapter 10 -- Kuan-yin’s Search for a Pilgrim

1. The Buddha was lecturing his congregation about the morality of the inhabitants of the four continents. “I have 3 bundles of scriptures that could help the people of the Southern Continent,” he said.

2. “Someone needs to go to the Eastern lands and find a virtuous person to go on a quest over the mountains to obtain the truth-revealing scriptures.” Kuan-yin volunteered to find a pilgrim to make the hard journey.

3. Kuan-yin received several talismans or good luck charms to give to the pilgrim: an embroidered cassock (priestly robe), a nine-ringed staff, and a special magical headband.

4. Kuan-yin and her disciple bodyguard Hui-an set off on the journey and soon came to a large body of water called the River of Flowing Sands. A hideous monster attacked the bodyguard Hui-an. They fought without anyone winning. The monster was surprised to discover he was fighting Kuan-yin’s bodyguard.

5. The monster happened to really be the former Curtain-Raising Marshal who used to wait on the Jade Emperor at the Treasure Hall of Divine Mists. He accidentally broke a crystal cup and was banished to the Region Below and turned into a monster shape.

6. Kuan-yin promised to help the monster return to his old position if he will help the pilgrim in his quest to get the scriptures. The monster agreed, and he became the Sandy Priest. He waited faithfully for the arrival of the scripture pilgrim.

7. Kuan-yin continued on the journey and soon came to a mountain where a ferocious monster with huge ears and drooping lips came at her with a muckrake. The bodyguard defended Kuan-yin, and she threw lotus flowers at the monster. When the monster found out that he had attacked the Lady who saves from Three Calamities and Eight Disasters, he asked for her forgiveness.

8. The monster confessed that he used to be a Marshal of the Heavenly Reeds in the Heavenly River, but he was banished to the Lower Regions because he became too cozy with the Goddess of the Moon. The monster thought that there was no hope for him, but Kuan-yin told him: “Heaven helps those who help themselves.”

9. The pig-looking monster who had a big appetite promised to do penance for past sins and to become a disciple of the scripture pilgrim when he arrived. Kuan-yin gave the monster the religious name of Pigsy.

10. Soon Kuan-yin came upon a dragon suspended in mid-air. He was being punished for setting fire to his father’s palace and destroying his precious magic pearls. The Lady of Mercy went to the Jade Emperor to plead for the dragon’s life so that he would help her in her mission to find the scripture pilgrim. The Jade Emperor gave permission, and Kuan-yin told the dragon to wait in his cave and turn into a white horse to serve the pilgrim when he came by.

11. On the following day Kuan-yin finally arrived at the Mountain of Five Elements where the Great Sage was imprisoned. The Monkey asked the merciful Kuan-yin to rescue him. He had already served his 500-year sentence. Monkey reassured her that he was now going to behave himself and do good works.

12. Kuan-yin told Monkey to wait for the pilgrim and then become his disciple. Monkey agreed to wait. Kuan-yin reached Ch’ang-an, the capital city, and went to the temple to find a true monk to become the pilgrim.

CHAPTER 11 -- The Journey to the West

13. When Kuan-yin arrived in the capital city of the Great T’ang Nation, the Emperor was choosing a supreme religious leader for the land. The chosen priest Hsuan-tsang was at his temple preparing for the ceremony. Kuan-yin offered the cassock or priestly robe to Hsuan-tsang.

14. At the day of the Great Ceremony, the priest Hsuan-tsang delivered his sermon about Salvation and Divine Protection for the Nation. After he finished talking about Right Conduct, Kuan-yin approached him and asked: “Why are you only teaching about the Little Vehicle? Don’t you know the teachings of the Great Vehicle?”

15. Hsuan-tsang told Kuan-yin that none of the monks had any knowledge of the Great Vehicle. She told him that the teachings of the Little Vehicle only lead to confusion. “However,” she told him, “I have three sections of the Great Vehicle, called Tripitaka or Three Bundles, which can help people reach Heaven.”

16. When the Emperor heard about Kuan-yin’s statement, he called for her and asked where she kept those Three Bundles. “It is located in India,” she said, “in the Great Temple of Thunderclap of the Great Western Heaven.” She recited parts of the scriptures to convince him.

17. The Emperor was so overcome with joy that he made plans to send a traveler to India to get the scriptures. Hsuan-tsang declared his willingness to make the journey for the good of the empire. The Emperor and Hsuan-tsang made vows to achieve their goal, and they became bond brothers.

18. On the day when the long journey began, the Emperor gave Hsuan-tsang a new name: Tripitaka, in honor of the scriptures he would bring to China from India. Tripitaka was given traveling papers, a golden bowl to collect alms, two attendants, and an imperial horse to ride on.

19. It was now late autumn and Tripitaka and his attendants had arrived at the mountains which stood as a barrier between China and India. Somehow they got off the path and fell into a deep pit. About half a hundred ogres attacked them and started eating up the attendants.

20. Tripitaka was saved from the cannibalistic ogres by an ancient old man, who told him the ogres were various animal spirits of mountains and trees. The old man led Tripitaka to safety because he was a pure person. Before the old man disappeared, he left a message on a piece of paper: “The Planet Venus from the Western Heaven,
Came to rescue you.”

CHAPTER 12 -- Tripitaka Takes a Disciple

21. On the following day Tripitaka came to a rugged mountain where he saw a hunter. The hunter told him about the monkey who was locked up in an iron box at the base of the mountain. This Mountain of Five Elements, as it was called, was thrown down from heaven during the Han dynasty.

22. When Tripitaka got to the base of the mountain to see the Monkey, he heard Monkey say, “Master, get me out of here and I’ll help you get safely to India.” Monkey told him the whole story of how he was imprisoned because he made a ruckus in the Halls of Heaven.

23. Tripitaka wasn’t sure how to free Monkey, so Monkey told him that all he had to do was remove the seal of golden letters from the top of the mountain and he would be freed. At the top of the mountain Tripitaka found the golden letters “OM.” He made a simple prayer, “If Monkey is meant to be my disciple, let the letters be removed.” Instantly the letters rose skyward and Monkey was released.

24. So Monkey became the keeper of the horse and Tripitaka’s disciple, and they traveled together toward India. Tripitaka wanted to give his new disciple a religious name, but Monkey told him he already had a name: “Empty-of-Mind.”

25. They had not gone far when they were approached by a savage tiger. Monkey told Tripitaka not to worry. “I’ll just tear this beast apart and use his skin for a new outfit,” he said. Monkey used his magic weapon on the tiger and within minutes he took care of the tiger and had himself new clothes.

26. Tripitaka was amazed at Monkey’s powers. Monkey reassured him that he had many transforming powers which would be helpful in a pinch. So they continued chatting as they rode on the horse toward the setting sun in the southwest.

27. The following morning they were met by six heavily armed bandits. They wanted the horse and the packs. They said they were called Eye that Delights, Ear that Grows Furious, Nose that Wants, Tongue that Desires, Mind that Imagines, and Body that Suffers. Monkey told them, “We are your masters, so don’t block our way.”

28. The bandits wouldn’t listen to Monkey, and they started beating on Monkey’s head with their weapons. When Monkey was not dazed, they said, “He has a hard head.” Then Monkey took out his weapon and beat them to a pulp and took their belongings.

29. Tripitaka was shocked at Monkey’s behavior. “How could you take another man’s life?” he asked. Monkey answered, “If I had not taken their lives, they would have taken ours.” Tripitaka scolded Monkey and told him he was unworthy to be a priest. Monkey felt insulted and he decided not to go to India to help Tripitaka in his quest for the scriptures.

CHAPTER 13 -- The Cap of Discipline

30. As Tripitaka walked on alone he met an old woman who was carrying a silk robe and an embroidered cap. The old woman asked him why he was traveling alone. He told her about his unruly disciple who left him alone. She told him about a spell called True Words for Controlling the Mind, or the Headband Spell. She told him she would persuade his disciple to come back. When she disappeared, Tripitaka realized the old woman was really Kuan-yin in disguise.

31. Meanwhile, Monkey was headed for the palace of the Dragon King of the Eastern Ocean. Monkey told the Dragon King about his adventures as a priest and disciple. Dragon King congratulated him on leaving the bad and trying to attain the good. However, when Monkey told him why he left his Master, the Dragon King said, “Shouldn’t you learn a little patience?”

32. Monkey decided the Dragon King was right and that he needed to learn to control his temper. So he headed back to fulfill his task. On his way back Monkey met Kuan-yin, who scolded him for breaking his vow to her. Monkey promised to improve and behave this time.

33. When Monkey returned to Tripitaka he saw the robe and cap that Kuan-yin had given the scripture pilgrim for his journey. Tripitaka told him that wearing a cap allows a person to recite scriptures without learning them, and wearing the silk robe allows a person to perform ceremonies without any practice. Monkey wanted to try the cap and robe on, and Tripitaka let him.

34. Monkey felt intense pain when he put on the cap. Tripitaka was reciting the Headband Spell, and Monkey’s pain only stopped when the reciting stopped. “You put a spell on me,” cried Monkey. Tripitaka told Monkey he wouldn’t recite the spell if Monkey listened to his instructions. Monkey agreed.

35. However, when Tripitaka turned away for a moment, Monkey took out his magic staff and was ready to strike the Master, but the Master turned in time to say the magic spell. Once again Monkey fell to the ground in pain. This time Monkey promised to follow obediently without causing anymore trouble.

CHAPTER 14 – Riding the Dragon

36. Now that it was winter, traveling was much more dangerous through the slippery mountain passes. When they came to Coiled Serpent Mountain, Monkey remembered that there was a river called Eagle Grief Stream nearby. When they arrived at the water’s edge, a dragon swirled out of the waves and swallowed their horse.

37. Tripitaka started thinking he was having a bad dream. Monkey told him not to despair. He would go after the dragon and retrieve the horse. Monkey used his magic powers to make a turbulent storm in the stream. This caused the dragon to think a monster was threatening him. “Blessings never repeat themselves, but troubles always come in pairs,” he said to himself.

38. When dragon came out of the water to face the strange monster Monkey, he was challenged to a fight for the horse. When it seemed like Monkey was going to win the battle, dragon turned into a snake and wriggled away in the tall grass. Monkey called on the god of the mountain to help him.

39. The god of the mountain came and told Monkey that Kuan-yin had rescued that dragon from elsewhere and put him in the mountain stream for safe-keeping. Then Kuan-yin was summoned, and when she arrived on a beam of light she told Monkey who the dragon really was. “That dragon is the son of Ao-jun, the Dragon King of the Western Ocean,” said Kuan-yin. “I saved him from a death sentence for setting fire to the royal palace and destroying some magic pearls, and I put him in the stream so that he could carry the scripture pilgrim to India.”

40. When the dragon heard that Kuan-yin was at the stream, he came out of the water and told her he was still waiting to hear news of the scripture-seeking pilgrim. Kuan-yin told him Monkey was the pilgrim’s eldest disciple. Both dragon and Monkey had to agree not to fight anymore and follow Kuan-yin’s instructions to complete the task assigned to them.

41. Kuan-yin then sprinkled the dragon with the sweet dew in her vase and blew on him. When she cried, “Change!” the dragon instantly changed into an exact image of the Master’s white horse. Then Kuan-yin instructed Monkey to lead the horse to Tripitaka. Monkey was reluctant to go through anymore hardships. Kuan-yin told him, “Without faith and perseverance nothing is possible.” Kuan-yin also promised to help Monkey in times of his greatest trials. Monkey thanked her and took the horse to Tripitaka.

CHAPTER 15 -- Pigsy and the Dragon of the River of Flowing Sands

42. It was now early spring. The mountain forest was turning green and willow leaves started to appear. The traveling pilgrims were approaching Cloud Ladder Cave, and Monkey saw a pig-faced demon with a nine-pronged muckrake in his hand at the entrance to the cave.

43. When Monkey somersaulted in the air to attack the demon, the demon ran into the cave and slammed the door shut. Monkey smashed the door to bits with his magic wand and confronted the coward. The monster-demon was angry and said, “Breaking and entering without a permit is a capital offense.” Monkey bellowed back, “Don’t waste your time reciting man-made laws to an immortal.”

44. After they argued for some time and insulted each other, the monster was surprised to learn that Monkey was traveling with the scripture pilgrim. The demon, whose religious name was Pigsy, explained that Kuan-yin instructed him to wait for the pilgrim. He also explained that the merciful lady put him on a vegetarian diet so he could atone for his acts of eating travelers.

45. Monkey took Pigsy to Tripitaka and convinced the pilgrim that Kuan-yin had converted him. Pigsy kowtowed (bowed low) to Tripitaka and made a solemn vow to follow both pilgrims to the West in search of the scriptures. Now there were three scripture-seeking pilgrims traveling together.

46. Summer was now slowly changing into fall and the three travelers came to a very broad river which looked difficult to cross. Monkey told them that with his keen vision he calculated the river was 800 miles across.

47. Tripitaka spotted a stone slab beside the river with an inscription, “River of Flowing Sands.” The inscription also said that the river was 800 wide and 3,000 deep.

48. As they were reading this, a red-haired monster with a yellow cape rose from the water. The monster had a string of nine skulls hanging from his neck. Pigsy fought the monster with his muckrake while Monkey protected Tripitaka and the horse. When Monkey saw that Pigsy couldn’t defeat the monster, he rushed in with his iron wand and clubbed the monster’s head. The monster retreated back into the water.

49. Tripitaka was thinking that maybe they should have talked to the monster instead of fighting him. This way they might have convinced the water-demon to carry them across the river. Pigsy and Monkey devised a plan to lure the water-demon to the surface. Pigsy would dive down and talk to the demon; Monkey would wait beside the river.

50. When Pigsy dove down to where the monster was and talked to him, he was surprised to hear that the monster was formerly an alchemist at the Jade Emperor’s palace. However, he was banished because he broke a precious crystal cup of jade. So now he lives in the River of Flowing Sands and feeds on fishermen and other creatures. When the monster suggests making a meal of the ugly Pigsy, another battle begins. Once again Monkey tries to charge into the battle and help, and once again the monster escapes.

51. Monkey now suggested going to the Southern Ocean to ask for Kuan-yin’s help. When Pigsy suggests that Monkey should just somersault all of them across the river using his magical powers, Monkey replied, “An old proverb says, ‘Lift Mount T’ai, it’s as light as a mustard seed, but don’t try to raise a mortal above the earthly dust.’” Since Monkey and Pigsy are only guardians of Tripitaka’s mortal life, they can’t protect him from his troubles, nor can they obtain the scriptures by themselves.

52. So Monkey somersaulted to the Southern Ocean where he found Kuan-yin at the Purple Bamboo Grove beside Mount Potalaka. Monkey told her about their problem with the river-monster. She told him the monster was placed there to help the scripture pilgrim. And from now on Monkey should always mention the purpose of their mission, which is to seek scriptures.

53. Kuan-yin helped Monkey by sending her disciple Hui-an with him. Hui-an was able to convince Sandy, which was the monster’s religious name, to come out of the water and join the pilgrims in the quest for the scriptures.

CHAPTER 16 -- Flaming Mountain and the Iron Fan

54. The seasons and the years passed. New adventures provided new learning experiences. They were being tested in the hard realities of life to see if they were worthy servants of the Way (TAO). The pilgrims each had to master a task and overcome a weakness. Tripitaka had to gain the respect of his disciples; Monkey was responsible for the Master’s safety; Pigsy was in charge of the luggage; and Sandy had to take care of the white horse.

55. Sometimes the traveling companions fought with one another, and that’s when they revealed their weaknesses. Monkey was always impatient; Pigsy was jealous of Monkey’s easy job; Sandy preferred to take it easy and not work hard; and the Master had many mortal limitations.

56. One day they came to the summit of a peak and saw an unexpected red glow on the distant horizon. Tripitaka wondered why it felt so hot; it was already autumn. Pigsy told him that there is a kingdom in the west where the sun sets into the ocean and makes a sizzling sound of fire cooking water. Monkey laughed at Pigsy’s explanation.

57. Tripitaka noticed some buildings nearby and asked Monkey to inquire about the frightful heat. Monkey asked an old man about the heat and the land, and the old man said it was always hot in the region known as the Flaming Mountain, which blocks the way to the West.

58. When Monkey asked how the people got flour for their bread, the old man told him they were dependent on Immortal Iron Fan, who has a palm leaf fan. One swish of the fan puts out fire, a second swish makes wind, and a third swish brings rain. Monkey wanted to know where this immortal lived so he could get the fan and put out the fire.

59. The old man told Monkey that the immortal lived on Mount Emerald Cloud in a cave called Palm Leaf Cave. It was southwest with a round trip distance of 1,460 miles. The old man said they always bring him presents of animals and fruits so he would help them plant their crops in season. Monkey had heard enough, and he took off on his cloud trapeze without any further delay.

CHAPTER 17 - - Fanning the Fire

60. When Monkey arrived at Mount Emerald Cloud, he met a woodcutter chopping in the forest. Monkey asked the way to Palm Leaf Cave. The woodcutter told him that a Rakshasi (demon) named Princess Iron Fan, wife of the mighty Bull Demon King, lived there. When Monkey found out that she was in possession of the palm leaf fan, he immediately took off.

61. At the cave entrance a young maiden with a flower basket in her hand met Monkey and asked for his name. “I am Handsome Monkey King,” he boasted. The Rakshasi had heard about Monkey, slayer of monsters and demons, and she faced him with two swords of steel. She said, “If you can stand the pain of a few whacks with my sword, the fan is yours.” Monkey willingly submitted to the sword-beating, but he was not harmed.

62. When Rakshasi saw she was tricked, she tried to run away, but Monkey grabbed her. She struggled free and fought with her swords against his magic weapon. When she saw she couldn’t beat Monkey’s powerful weapon, she took out her fan and, with a single swish, blew Monkey out of sight.

63. Monkey landed the next morning on little Sumeru Mountain, where the sage Ling-chi lived. Ling-chi told Monkey that the Rakshasi’s fan was a treasure from the beginning of time which represented the negative yin principle (opposite the positive yang). Fortunately, Ling-chi had a Wind-Arresting Pill that would counter-act the fan and make it ineffective. He gave it to Monkey.

64. Back at Jade Cloud Mountain, Monkey impatiently banged on the cave entrance. When Rakshasi tried to blow away Monkey with her fan again, he swallowed the Wind-Arresting Pill and stood his ground. The terrified Rakshasi ran back into the cave, but this time Monkey changed into a gnat and followed her into the cave through a tiny crack in the door.

65. Monkey jumped into the cup of tea that Rakshasi was drinking, and she gulped him unknowingly down into her stomach. Monkey pounded her insides until she surrendered and gave him the fan. He jumped out of her mouth, grabbed the fan, and rode his cloud-trapeze back to his companions.

66. However, when Monkey started using the fan on the flames of Flaming Mountain, the flames did not diminish. Instead they kept on growing and getting hotter until Monkey’s hairs on his legs got burnt. That’s when he cried, “Retreat!”

CHAPTER 18 - - The Bull Demon’s Wife

67. After retreating 20 miles toward the east, Tripitaka asked, “What happened, Monkey?” Monkey replied, “I was tricked by that demon woman.” The companions started arguing about what to do next. Suddenly they heard a voice saying, “Don’t worry, great sage.”

68. The old man who seemed to appear out of nowhere introduced himself as the local god of Flaming Mountain. He told Monkey that the real fan was with the Bull Demon King, the husband of Rakshasi. The local deity also told them the story of how 500 years ago a Monkey caused havoc in Heaven and kicked over some burning bricks which landed on earth and became Flaming Mountain.

69. Monkey received the directions to the Bull Demon King’s home in the Mountain of Gathering Thunder. He flew 3,000 miles due south and landed on a pointy summit. He saw a young maiden with green eyes holding an orchid. He knew this was the Princess Jade Face who had lured Bull Demon King away from Rakshasi with her vast fortune. The local spirit of Flaming Mountain had informed him about her.

70. When Monkey threatened her with his weapon because she scolded him, she ran into her cave and told Bull Demon about the hairy-faced monk. Bull Demon went out of the cave and scolded Monkey for causing trouble. Monkey explained that he only came to borrow the magical fan to extinguish the fires.

71. Bull Demon got mad at Monkey and challenged him to three rounds of combat. They fought for one hundred rounds, and neither one was able to win. Suddenly, Bull Demon was called away to an important banquet, and he had to postpone the battle for another time.

72. Monkey followed Bull Demon to the banquet which was held in the Emerald Lagoon at Craggy Rock Mountain. Monkey changed into a 36-pound crab and sank to the bottom of the lagoon where he found a waterless region with a hoard of dragon spirits. The ancient dragon of the palace spotted the crab and ordered it removed.

73. Monkey now thought of another strategy. He would transform himself into the image of the Bull Demon King and deceive Rakshasi. Rakshasi didn’t know that Monkey was pretending to be the Demon King, so she told him the entire story of what happened with Monkey. Soon they were drinking wine together, and Monkey saw his chance to ask her about the real fan.

74. Monkey was surprised when Rakshasi pulled a fan the size of an apricot leaf out of her mouth. When Monkey pretended to forget how to use the fan, she told him to place the left thumb on the 7th red thread on the fan’s handle and say the magic words: “Hui-hsu-ho-hsi-hsi-ch’ui-hu.”

75. Monkey transformed himself back to his real self, and Rakshasi realized she had been tricked. Monkey now wanted to try out the magic words on the fan. When he said the words, the fan grew to twelve feet. He was sure this huge fan would work, but he didn’t know how to shrink the fan back to its normal size.

CHAPTER 19 - - Bull Demon Wins the Day

76. Meanwhile, back at the Emerald Lagoon, the Bull Demon had discovered that his steed was missing. He realized at once that the crab at the banquet was really Monkey, who had stolen his steed and probably gone to Rakshasi to get the real fan. He immediately took off on a cloud straight to the Palm Leaf Cave, where he found his wife upset because she had been tricked by Monkey.

77. Bull Demon took the swords and flew in pursuit of Monkey. He was really mad! However, when he saw that Monkey learned the magic to make the fan work, he decided on a devious tactic. He would transform into Pigsy and fool Monkey. When Monkey saw “Pigsy” he thought nothing of granting his request to carry the fan.

78. When “Pigsy” had the fan in his hands, he used the magic spell to make it shrink. He also changed back to his true Bull Demon form. Soon Monkey and Bull Demon were fighting again, thundering and crashing, and making a cloud-dust storm of flying stones and debris in mid-air, between Earth and the Heavens.

79. All this time Tripitaka and his companions were wondering what was taking Monkey so long. Tripitaka thought that perhaps Monkey needed help to fight the Bull Demon. The local deity said he knew the way to Thunder Mountain, and Pigsy volunteered to go help Monkey. When they arrived at the scene of the windy battle, Pigsy at once began hitting the Bull Demon with his nine-pronged muckrake. Bull Demon tried to flee, but the two adversaries and the local spirit with his army of ghost friends blocked him.

80. The battle lasted all night, and Bull Demon kept retreating little by little. By morning Bull Demon had reached his cave, and Princess Jade Face came to his rescue with her troops. Pigsy turned tail and fled, and Monkey also decided to jump free of the encircling soldiers. Bull Demon had won the battle.

CHAPTER 20 - - Putting Out the Fire

81. Monkey was beginning to think they had met their match and should look for a detour around the Flaming Mountain. The local deity advised them to stick to the true path through the mountains and not look for shortcuts. He reminded them that Tripitaka was depending on them. Monkey was encouraged after the pep-talk and stormed the cave entrance once again. This time the local deity’s army was able to defeat Bull Demon’s legions.

82. Bull Demon did not give up easily. He turned into a swan and flew away. Monkey turned into a vulture and flew after him. Bull Demon transformed into an eagle and attacked Monkey, who transformed into a phoenix, the ruler of all birds. On and on they kept matching transformations with each other: Bull Demon as a deer vs. Monkey as a tiger, leopard vs. lion, bear vs. elephant, and finally a giant bull vs. a giant monkey.

83. It wasn’t long before the deities of the surrounding regions came to Monkey’s assistance and surrounded Bull Demon. The Golden-Headed Guardian, the six Gods of Darkness and the six Gods of Light, tried to pin down the gigantic bull, but he slipped out of their grasp and fled back to his cave. When the cave door was smashed to smithereens, the Bull Demon soared out and fought 50 more rounds before he was forced to retreat once again.

84. Bull Demon fled to the North, where he was blocked by the Diamond Guardian on Mount Wu-t’ai. He tried fleeing south, east, and west, but each time he was blocked by the guardian of that direction. Each guardian was intent on capturing the Old Bull. When Bull Demon attempted to escape skyward, Prince Natha appeared with orders from the Jade Emperor to arrest the Demon Bull.

85. Bull Demon, however, even fought with the Emperor’s minister, Prince Natha. Natha cut off Bull Demon’s head, but another head took its place. Natha hung a fire wheel on the bull’s horns, and his assistant Devariga Li used a magical imp-reflecting mirror to finally subdue the bull.

86. Finally the Demon Bull told his wife Rakshasi to bring out the fan and save his life. She brought out the twelve-foot fan with both hands and presented it to the Great Sage, Monkey. Monkey took the fan and returned to the West, where Tripitaka was awaiting his return.

87. Monkey at once waved the fan and the flames went out; he waved the fan a second time and a cool breeze started to stir; and when he fanned a third time a gentle rain began to fall. Monkey returned the fan to Rakshasi after she granted the local deity his wish to put out the fires permanently. The following morning the companions prepared to journey over the mountain westward.

CHAPTER 21 - - The Path Behind the Temple and the Bottomless Boat

88. After having attained the Fan of Pure Yin, Tripitaka and his disciples now had balanced water and fire, and their own natures had become pure and cool. It was the time between late autumn and early winter, and yin was changing into yang. The change of seasons also brought a change of scenery in the surrounding landscape. Everything appeared magically evergreen and flowery.

89. Then one day they say a skyward-towering pagoda. A young Taoist emerged to greet them. Monkey whispered, “Master, this is the Golden-Crested Immortal of Spirit Mountain.” The immortal smiled as Tripitaka kowtowed. He led the pilgrims inside for tea and a vegetarian meal.

90. The next morning the immortal showed them the path behind the temple. He pointed to a peak in the distance and told them to go in that direction. “That is Spirit Vulture Peak, the holy region of a Buddhist patriarch,” he said.

91. They had gone about five or six miles when they came to a turbulent body of water that was at least 8 miles across. The pilgrims weren’t sure how to get across. Monkey spotted a narrow log and told them it was the way across. He even showed them how to walk across the slippery bridge, but the companions weren’t willing to follow.

92. Just then Tripitaka caught sight of a boatman coming their way. He yelled, “Over here, boatman.” However, when the boat pulled up to shore, Tripitaka was shocked to see a boat with no bottom. Monkey, who knew the boatman’s real identity, reassured Tripitaka that the boat would carry them safely across. So they got into the boat and shoved off.

93. All at once they saw a body floating downstream. Tripitaka stared in terrified disbelief at the body. “Don’t worry,” said Monkey, “it’s only you.” All the others cheered and celebrated Tripitaka’s achievement of discarding his earthly body. When they reached the other shore, the boat and ferryman disappeared. And the pilgrims stepped lightheartedly in the direction of the Spirit Mountain.

CHAPTER 22 - - The Last Calamity

94. When the pilgrims passed through the monastery gates of Spirit Mountain, they were received by two rows of monks and guardians. When they reached the Great Hero Treasure Hall, Tripitaka prostrated himself and said, “By order of the Emperor of T’ang, your disciple Hsuan-tsang has come to this monastery to get the true scriptures.”

95. The Buddha of the monastery commanded some scrolls of the 35 divisions of the three canons to be given to Tripitaka. He also instructed him: “Treasure these scriptures, for in them are the secret mysteries for achieving immortality and understanding the way of TAO, as well as the formulas for 10,000 transformations.”

96. Kuan-yin appeared to make her final report: “Fourteen years ago I was assigned a task to find someone to bring the scriptures to China. That pilgrim has achieved it in 5,040 days or 14 years. He has received 5,048 scrolls, so it would be appropriate for him to achieve his circular mission in 8 more days; in that way the two figures would match.”

97. Eight guardians were commanded to transport the pilgrims back to the East, to China. However, midway through the final leg of their journey, when the record of their journey was read to Kuan-yin, it was noticed that Tripitaka had only gone through 80 ordeals in trying to reach immortality. And the prescribed number was 81, or 9 times 9. So the Guardians had to arrange for one final calamity.

98. Suddenly, without warning, the four travelers were dropped out of the clouds back to solid ground. They surveyed the surrounding region and found they were on the western shore of the Heaven-Flowing River. A white turtle came to carry them across the river; however, when Tripitaka admitted he had forgotten to ask the Buddha when the turtle would achieve human form, the turtle dove into the water, leaving the pilgrims to flounder in the river. Monkey used his magical powers to get them back to shore, but the scriptures had gotten thoroughly soaked.

99. Some local fishermen helped the pilgrims. They invited the pilgrims to their homes and fed them. Soon the villagers heard about the scripture-bearing priests, and they came to honor them. The elders of the village established a shrine called Life-Perpetuating Temple to show gratitude to the pilgrims, who shared the story of their pilgrimage.

100. That night Tripitaka kept guard over the scriptures. He feared that the villagers might try to get the secrets of the Way from him. He woke his companions and told them they needed to leave while it was still dark. They sneaked out the main gate and were soon traveling once again toward the Land of the East.

CHAPTER 23 - - The Western Paradise

101. When the pilgrims returned to China, the Emperor ordered the scriptures to be brought into the Audience Hall. Tripitaka told the emperor about their pilgrimage to India. When the Emperor asked to have the scriptures read, Tripitaka said they needed to be read in a holy temple. So they all went to the Wild Goose Pagoda to hear the true scriptures being read for the first time in China.

102. As for our pilgrims, they each received their rewards. Each received a new title, according to what they merited. Tripitaka won great merit for fetching the scriptures. Monkey earned the title “Victorious in Strife” for defeating monsters and demons. Pigsy got a promotion to Cleanser of Altars. Sandy earned merit for leading the horse. And the dragon horse was promoted to be one of the eight Heavenly Dragons because he had carried the scripture-seeking pilgrim.


ILLUSTRATED VERSION of Monkey: Journey to the West

MONKEY: A JOURNEY TO THE WEST (a Chinese folk novel)

Test on Part II – Chapters 10 – 23

TRUE or FALSE? Write T or F in front of each statement.

Ch. 10 –

_____1. Kuan-yin’s mission was to find a pilgrim to obtain scriptures from India and bring them to China.

_____2. The Sandy Priest would get his old job of Marshal of Heavenly Reeds back if he helped the pilgrim in his quest.

_____ 3. Pigsy got banished to the Lower Regions because he became too cozy with the Goddess of the Moon.

_____ 4. The dragon was supposed to turn into an elephant and give the pilgrim a ride to India.

_____ 5. The Great Sage was imprisoned under the Mountain of Five Elements for 500 years when Kuan-yin came to rescue him.

Ch. 11 –

_____ 6. The priest Hsuan-tsang did not have any knowledge of Kuan-yin’s advanced teachings.

_____ 7. Kuan-yin’s teachings (Great Vehicle) were also called Tripitaka or Three Bundles.

_____ 8. The priest Hsuan-tsang received the new name Tripitaka because those were the scriptures that he would bring to China from India.

_____ 9. The ancient old man who rescued Tripitaka from cannibalistic ogres was really the messenger Mercury.

Ch. 12 –

_____ 10. The Mountain of Five Elements had been thrown down from heaven during the Qin dynasty.

_____ 11. Tripitaka removed the golden letters of “OM” by using a magical spell.

_____ 12. Monkey’s religious name is “Empty-of-Mind.”

_____ 13. The six bandits who wanted to rob Tripitaka and Monkey represent parts of the body of a human being.

_____ 14. Monkey felt he did the right thing when he defended Tripitaka and beat the bandits to a pulp.

Ch. 13 –

_____ 15. The old woman who taught Tripitaka a spell for Controlling the Mind was really Kuan-yin in disguise.

_____ 16. Monkey was scolded by Kuan-yin for talking to the Dragon King.

_____ 17. The magic cap allowed Monkey to recite scriptures without learning them.

_____ 18. The Headband Spell caused Monkey intense pain.

Ch. 14 –

_____ 19. Monkey didn’t know that Kuan-yin had saved the Dragon so he could carry the scripture pilgrim to India.

_____ 20. The dragon and Monkey agreed not to fight anymore.

Ch. 15 –

_____ 21. Pigsy had been put on a vegetarian diet because he had eaten travelers before and he had to atone for his acts.

_____ 22. The River of Flowing Sands was 800 miles across.

_____ 23. The monster (Sandy) at the River of Flowing Sands was formerly an alchemist at the Yellow Emperor’s palace.

_____ 24. Sandy was placed in the river by Kuan-yin so that he would help the scripture pilgrim when he arrived.

Ch. 16 –

_____ 25. Monkey believed Pigsy’s story that the sun makes a sizzling sound of fire cooking water when it sets in the ocean.

_____ 26. The Flaming Mountain blocks the pilgrim’s way to the West.

_____ 27. The only way to put out the fire was by getting a fan from Immortal Iron Fan.

Ch. 17 –

_____ 28. The Rakshasi’s fan represented the negative yin principle in life.

_____ 29. Monkey is able to put out the fire with the fan he gets from the Rakshasi.

Ch. 18 –

_____ 30. Flaming Mountain was caused by Monkey’s havoc in heaven 500 years ago by the burning bricks he kicked over.

_____ 31. Monkey fools the Bull Demon’s wife by transforming himself into a crab.

_____ 32. Monkey learned how to use the real fan, but he didn’t know how to make it shrink back to its normal size.

Ch. 19 –

_____ 33. Bull Demon stole the fan back from Monkey by changing into a monkey.

_____ 34. Pigsy helped Monkey defeat Bull Demon.

Ch. 20 –

_____ 35. When Monkey waved the real fan at the flames, the fire finally went out.

_____ 36. Monkey kept the fan to himself and didn’t return it to the Rakshasi.

Ch. 21 –

_____ 37. The time between late autumn and early winter is when the yin in nature changes into yang.

_____ 38. Monkey was able to make it across an 8 mile river on a slippery narrow log.

_____ 39. The pilgrims saw Tripitaka’s body floating downstream.

Ch. 22 –

_____ 40. The pilgrim achieved his quest in 5,040 days or 14 years.

_____ 41. Tripitaka feared that the villagers might steal his horse from him.

Ch. 23 –

_____ 42. Tripitaka read the scriptures for the first time in China at the Wild Dragon Pagoda.

Return to MAIN PAGE