The Journey to the West, Revised Edition, Volume 2

The Journey to the West, Revised Edition, Volume 2

by Anthony C. Yu (Translator)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226971346
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 12/11/2012
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 67,731
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Anthony C. Yu is the Carl Darling Buck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Humanities and Professor, The Divinity School, Departments of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, English Language and Literature, Comparative Literature, and the Committee on Social Thought, The University of Chicago.

Anthony C. Yu is the Carl Darling Buck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Humanities and Professor, The Divinity School, Departments of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, English Language and Literature, Comparative Literature, and the Committee on Social Thought, The University of Chicago.

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The Journey to the West


The University of Chicago Press

Copyright © 2012 The University of Chicago
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-226-97134-6

Chapter One

Amid the Three Islands Sun Wukong seeks a cure; With sweet dew Guanshiyin revives a tree.

    Hold fast in life the "sword" above the "heart."
    Recall the "long" beside the "suffering."
    The proverb says the sword's the law of life,
    But think thrice to check both anger and pride.
    "The noblest" is peaceful—it's taught long ago;
    "The sage loves virtue"—a truth for all times.
    The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
    Come to naught at last he surely will!

We were telling you about the Zhenyuan Great Immortal, who grabbed Pilgrim and said, "I know your abilities, and I have heard of your reputation. But you have been most deceitful and unscrupulous this time. You may indulge in all sorts of wizardry, but you can't escape from my hands. I'll argue with you all the way to the Western Heaven to see that Buddhist Patriarch of yours, but you won't get away from having to restore to me the Ginseng Fruit Tree. So stop playing with your magic!" "Dear Sir!" said Pilgrim, laughing. "How petty you are! If you want the tree revived, there's no problem. If you had said so in the first place, we would have been spared this conflict." "No conflict!" said the Great Immortal. "You think I would let you get away with what you have done?" "Untie my master," said Pilgrim, "and I'll give you back a living tree. How's that?" "If you really possess the power," said the Great Immortal, "to make the tree alive again, I'll go through the proper ceremony of 'Eight Bows' with you and become your bond-brother." "Relax!" said Pilgrim. "Let them go, and you can be certain that old Monkey will give you back a living tree."

The Great Immortal reckoned that they could not escape; he therefore gave the order to free Tripitaka, Eight Rules, and Sha Monk. "Master," said Sha Monk, "I wonder what sort of tricks Elder Brother is up to this time."

"What sort of tricks?" asked Eight Rules. "This is called the trick of 'Pulling Wool Right over Your Eyes.' The tree is dead! You think it could be cured and revived? He's just putting out some empty formula for show. On the pretext of going to find medicine to cure the tree, he will flee and take to the road all by himself. You think he has any care for us?" "He won't dare leave us behind," said Tripitaka. "Let's ask him where he is going to find the cure."

He then called out, "Wukong, how did you manage to deceive the Immortal Master and have us freed?" "Old Monkey is speaking the truth, only the truth," said Pilgrim. "What do you mean by deceiving him?" Tripitaka asked. "Where will you go to find the cure?"

Pilgrim replied, "According to an old proverb, 'The cure comes from the seas.' I want to go now to the Great Eastern Ocean and make a complete tour of the Three Islands and the Ten Islets. I want to visit all the Immortals and Aged Sages to ask for a method of revivification that will revive the tree for him." "How long do you need to be away before returning?" said Tripitaka. "Only three days." "All right," said Tripitaka. "As you said, I'll give you three days. If you return by that time, everything will be fine. If you don't come back after three days, I'll begin reciting that 'Old-Time Sütra'!" "I hear you! I hear you!" said Pilgrim.

Look how he quickly straightened his tiger-skin kilt. As he walked out the door, he said to the Great Immortal, "You need not worry, sir. I leave now, but I'll be back very soon. But you must take good care of my master; see that he lacks none of the three meals and the six teas of the day. If my master's clothes become soiled or wrinkled, wash and starch them. Should he want anything, old Monkey will settle the account with you when he returns. I'll finish puncturing all the pans for you! If my master's face pales even a little, I won't take him back; and if he becomes a trifle thin, I'll not leave this place." "Go, go," said the Great Immortal. "I'll see to it that he doesn't starve!"

Dear Monkey King! He mounted his cloud somersault quickly and left the Abbey of Five Villages, heading straight for the Great Eastern Ocean. Moving through the air like lightning and meteor, he soon arrived at the immortal region of Penglai. He lowered his cloud and took a careful look below: it was a lovely place indeed, for which we have a testimonial poem. The poem says:

    A great land divine, the sages' domain,
    These Penglai islands calm the winds and waves.
    Jasper towers' cool the heavens with their shades;
    Tall arches' bright reflections float on the sea.
    Mists of five colors veil the jade-green sky;
    High on the gold turtle stars and moon shine.
    The Queen of the West would this place frequent
    For Three Immortals with peaches as present.

Before he had finished looking at this divine scenery, Pilgrim was already entering Penglai. As he walked, he saw three old men playing encirclement chess in the shade of some pine trees outside the White-Cloud Cave. The one watching the game was the Star of Longevity, while the two playing were the Star of Blessing and the Star of Wealth. Pilgrim approached them, crying, "Old brothers, receive my bow!" When the Three Stars saw him, they pushed away the chess board and returned his salutation. "Great Sage, why did you come here?" they asked. "I came especially to have some fun with all of you," said Pilgrim. "I heard that the Great Sage, who forsook Daoism to follow Buddhism," said the Star of Longevity, "had won back his freedom to protect the Tang Monk on his journey to seek scriptures in the Western Heaven. He must be traveling over rugged roads every day. Where would he find time to have fun with us?" Pilgrim said, "To tell all of you the truth, old Monkey has run into a little obstacle halfway on the journey to the West. That's why I came to request some assistance, but I don't know whether you are willing to help me or not." "At what place?" asked the Star of Blessing. "What sort of obstacle? Tell us plainly so that we may decide." "We were stopped while passing the Abbey of Five Villages at the Long Life Mountain." "The Abbey of Five Villages is the divine residence of the Zhenyuan Great Immortal," said one of the three old men, who were astonished. "Could it be that you stole and ate his ginseng fruits?" "So I stole and ate them," said Pilgrim with a laugh. "How much could they be worth?"

"You ape!" said one of the three old men. "You are dumb! A man who takes one whiff of that fruit will live to be three hundred and sixty years old; he eats one and he'll last forty-seven thousand years. That's why it bears the name of 'The Long-Life Grass of Reverted Cinnabar.' The level of cultivation in Dao of that Great Immortal far surpasses ours! With such a thing in his possession, he can easily have the same age as Heaven, whereas we still have to nourish our spermal essence, cultivate our breaths, fortify our spirits, harmonize the tiger and the dragon, catch the kan to fill up the li— in short, we have to spend a lot of time and effort just to attain immortality. How could you say, 'How much could they be worth?' Throughout the whole world, that's the only kind of spiritual root there is." "Spiritual root! Spiritual root!" said Pilgrim. "I have already uprooted it!"

"What do you mean by 'uprooted it'?" asked the three old men, greatly alarmed. Pilgrim said, "When we went to the Abbey the other day, the Great Immortal was not home, and only two lads received my master. They served him two ginseng fruits, but my master did not realize that they were fruits. Thinking that they were infants not yet three days old, he absolutely refused to eat them. The lads took them away and ate them without bothering even to share them with us. So, old Monkey went and stole three of the fruits for us three brothers to eat, but those two lads, without any sense of propriety, kept on calling us thieves. Old Monkey got mad and gave the tree a blow with his rod. When it fell to the ground, the fruits on it disappeared, the branches snapped, the leaves dropped, and it died with all its roots exposed. The lads tried to imprison us, but old Monkey broke their lock and left. Early next morning, their master came back and gave chase; we had a few rough exchanges with him which led eventually to a fight. In a flash, he flipped open that sleeve of his and bagged all of us. We were bound and shackled, interrogated and whipped for a whole day, but we managed to escape again that night. He caught up with us once more and took us captive. Mind you, there was not an inch of steel on him! He had only that yak's tail to parry our blows, but none of the three weapons of us brothers could even touch him. And so he gave us more of the same treatment, wrapping my master and my two younger brothers in cloth coated with varnish but putting me in a pan of boiling oil. I then showed him my special talent for escape, but not before I had punctured his pan. When he saw that he could not hold me captive, he became somewhat intimidated, and that was when I sweet-talked him into freeing my master and my brothers with the promise that I would revive his tree for him. That's how we came to a temporary truce. When I remembered the saying, 'The cure comes from the seas,' I decided to pay you three old Brothers a visit in this lovely place. If you have any formula to cure the tree, please pass it on to me at once so that I can rescue the Tang Monk from his ordeal."

When the Three Stars heard these words, they became distressed also. One of them said, "Monkey, you're completely ignorant of people! That Master Zhenyuan is the patriarch of earthbound immortals, while we belong to the lineage of divine immortals. You may have some sort of position in Heaven, but you are only an irregular number in the Great Monad clan, and you have yet to attain an authentic rank. How could you possibly expect to escape from him? If you had killed some beast or bird, some insect or scaly creature, all you would need is one grain of my millet-elixir and it would be revived. The ginseng fruit, however, is the very root of all divine trees. How could it be healed? There's no cure for it!" When Pilgrim heard that there was no cure available, his brow became completely furrowed.

"Great Sage," said the Star of Blessing, "though there is no cure here, there may be one in another place. Why are you so dejected?" Pilgrim said, "Of course, I don't mind going to another place to seek a cure. It would have been a small matter indeed, even if I had to journey to the edge of the seas or make a complete tour of the thirty-six Heavens. But that Elder Tang of mine, who is neither tolerant nor magnanimous, has given me a limit of three days. If I don't return with something after three days, he'll start reciting the Tight-Fillet Spell." "Good! Good! Good!" said the Three Stars, laughing. "Had it not been for this little means of control, you would be crawling all over Heaven again!" Then the Star of Longevity said, "Relax, Great Sage. Don't worry. Though that Great Immortal is our senior, he does know us. As we have not visited him for a long time, and as it is for the sake of the Great Sage, we three shall go and call on him right now. We'll express your concern to the Tang Monk and tell him not to recite the Tight-Fillet Spell. Three days, four days—what's the difference? We won't leave them until you come back with the cure." "Thank you! Thank you!" said Pilgrim. "Please get on with your journey, old Brothers. I'm off." So the Great Sage took leave of them, and we shall say no more of that.

We tell you now about the Stars, who mounted the auspicious luminosity and went straight to the Abbey of Five Villages. The crowd at the Abbey was milling about when suddenly the cries of cranes could be heard in the sky to announce the arrival of the three elders. You could see

    A sky lit up by sheens of auspicious light,
    As sweet, unending fragrance filled the air.
    Colored mist—a thousand strands—veiled the feathered gowns;
    Fleecy clouds in petals held up the Immortals' feet
    (As green phoenixes flew
    And red phoenixes soared).
    Their sleeves sent a scented breeze to sweep the earth;
    Their staffs, like hanging dragons, brought laughter gay;
    Their beards swayed before them like medals of jade.
    Their blithe, youthful features showed no grief or care;
    Their strong, healthy frames were those of the blessed.
    They held tallies of stars
    To fill up the sea-mansions;
    From their waists hung the gourds and precious scrolls.
    Ten thousand decades—so grand was their age.
    On the Three Islands and Ten Islets they freely lived.
    They came to this world often to grant their boons
    And increase man's blessings a hundredfold.
    The whole, wide world
    Bright with glory and wealth!
    To have now endless blessing and endless life!
    Three elders riding on halos saw the Immortal Great:
    What boundless peace and blessing filled the hall!

When an immortal lad saw this, he ran to make the report, "Master, the Three Stars from the sea have arrived." Master Zhenyuan was just chatting with the Tang Monk and his disciples. Hearing the announcement, he went down the steps into the courtyard to receive the visitors. When Eight Rules saw the Star of Longevity, he grabbed him and said with a laugh, "You blubbery old codger! I haven't seen you for a long time, and you still look so dashing! Why, you didn't even bring along a hat!" Taking off his own monk's cap, he plopped it on the head of the Star, clapped his hands, and roared with laughter. "Fine! Fine! Fine!" he cried. "As the saying goes, 'Put on the cap to increase riches!'" Throwing away the cap, the Star of Longevity snapped back, "You stupid coolie! You have absolutely no manners!" "I'm no coolie," said Eight Rules, "but you are all knaves." "You are indeed a stupid coolie," said the Star of Blessing, "and you even dare to call people knaves?" "If you are not the knaves of some household," said Eight Rules again, laughing, "how is it that you come bearing the names 'Increase Age,' 'Increase Blessing,' and 'Increase Wealth'?"

At that moment, Tripitaka ordered Eight Rules to step back while he straightened his clothes quickly to greet the Three Stars, who in turn saluted the Great Immortal as a senior colleague before they dared take a seat. After they were seated, the Star of Wealth said, "We apologize for not coming to pay our respects for such a long time. We came now especially to see you since we learned that the Great Sage Sun had caused some disturbance here." "Has Pilgrim Sun been to Penglai already?" asked the Great Immortal. "Yes," said the Star of Longevity. "As he had damaged the cinnabar tree of the Great Immortal, he came to our place to seek a cure. When he found out that we didn't have any, he went elsewhere in search of it. He was afraid, however, that he would exceed the time limit of three days set by the holy monk and provoke him to recite the Tight-Fillet Spell. That is the reason why we came to see you and to ask you for an extension of the limit." When Tripitaka heard this, he said repeatedly, "I won't recite it! I won't recite it!"

As they talked, Eight Rules came running in again to tug at the Star of Blessing. Demanding that he be given some fruits to eat, he began to give the Star a complete search, poking into his sleeves, frisking his waist, and even lifting up the hem of his robe. "What sort of bad manners is that, Eight Rules?" asked Tripitaka with a laugh. "I'm not ill-mannered," said Eight Rules. "This is called 'Every Turn's a Blessing.'" Tripitaka again ordered him to leave. As he slogged toward the door, Idiot turned and stared fiercely at the Star of Blessing. "Stupid coolie!" said the Star. "How have I offended you that you should be so mad at me?" "I'm not mad at you," said Eight Rules. "I'm just doing what they call 'Turning Your Head to Look for Blessing'!" When Idiot went out of the door, he ran into a little lad holding four teaspoons while searching in the hall for the cups with which he could present tea. Eight Rules grabbed the spoons and ran into the main hall; picking up a sonorous stone, he began to strike it wildly with the spoons as he pranced about. "This monk," said the Great Immortal, "is becoming more and more undignified!" "I'm not undignified," said Eight Rules, laughing. "This is called the 'Joyful Festivities of Four Seasons.'"

We shall now stop telling you about the pranks of Eight Rules and turn instead to Pilgrim, who mounted the auspicious clouds to leave Penglai and soon arrived at the Fangzhang Mountain. It was a lovely mountain indeed, for which we have the following testimonial poem.

    The soaring Fangzhang, a Heaven itself,
    The primal palace where immortals meet:
    Purple towers light up the three pure paths;
    Floral scent floats up with five-colored mists.
    Gold phoenixes oft pause on the pearly arch.
    Who floods with jade cream the agaric fields?
    Pink peaches and purple plums newly ripened
    Announce an aeon's change among the gods.


Excerpted from The Journey to the West Copyright © 2012 by The University of Chicago. Excerpted by permission of The University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments, Revised Edition....................ix
Acknowledgments, First Edition....................xi
26 Amid the Three islands Sun Wukong seeks a cure; With sweet dew Guanshiyin revives a tree....................1
27 The cadaver demon three times mocks Tripitaka Tang; The holy monk in spite banishes Handsome Monkey King....................15
28 At Flower-Fruit Mountain a pack of fiends hold assembly; At the Black Pine Forest Tripitaka meets demons....................29
29 Free of his peril, River Float arrives at the kingdom; Receiving favor, Eight Rules invades the forest....................43
30 A deviant demon attacks the true Dharma; The Horse of the Will recalls Mind Monkey....................57
31 Zhu Eight Rules provokes the Monkey King to chivalry; Pilgrim Sun with wisdom defeats the monster....................72
32 On Level-Top Mountain the sentinel brings a message; At Lotus-Flower Cave Wood Mother meets disaster....................88
33 Heresy deludes the True Nature; Primal Spirit helps the Native Mind....................104
34 The demon king's plotting entraps Mind Monkey; The Great Sage, ever adroit, wangles the treasures....................119
35 Heresy uses power to oppress the proper Nature; Mind Monkey, bagging treasures, conquers deviate demons....................133
36 When Mind Monkey is rectified, the nidãnas cease; Smash through the side door to view the bright moon....................147
37 The ghost king visits Tripitaka Tang at night; Wukong, through wondrous transformation, leads the child....................162
38 The child queries his mother to learn of deviancy and truth; Metal and Wood, reaching the deep, see the false and the real....................178
39 One pellet of cinnabar elixir found in Heaven; A king, dead three years, lives again on Earth....................192
40 The child's playful transformations confuse the Chan Mind; Ape, Horse, Spatula gone, Wood Mother, too, is lost....................207
41 Mind Monkey is defeated by fire; Wood Mother is captured by demons....................221
42 The Great Sage diligently calls at South Sea; Guanyin with compassion binds the Red Boy....................237
43 An evil demon at Black River captures the monk; The Western Ocean's dragon prince catches the iguana....................252
44 The dharma-body in primal cycle meets the force of the cart; The mind, righting monstrous deviates, crosses the spine-ridge pass....................268
45 At the Three Pure Ones Abbey the Great Sage leaves his name; At the Cart Slow Kingdom the Monkey King shows his power....................284
46 Heresy flaunts its strength to mock orthodoxy; Mind Monkey in epiphany slays the deviates....................300
47 The holy monk's blocked at night at Heaven-Reaching River; Metal and Wood, in compassion, rescue little children....................315
48 The demon, raising a cold wind, sends a great snow fall; The monk, intent on seeing Buddha, walks on layered ice....................330
49 Tripitaka meets disaster and sinks to a water home; To bring salvation, Guanyin reveals a fish basket....................345
50 Nature follows confused feelings through lust and desire; Faint spirit and moved mind meet a demon chief....................360

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