Episode 91: Journey to the west 2– becoming Aware of Vacuity

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Today we will keep talking about stories from Journey to the West 西游记.

The next day, the monkeys gathered fruits, flowers, drinks. They had a great feast. The monkey king ordered them to make gather some pine wood to make a raft and a tall bamboo for pole. He also packed some fruits and left his kingdom on the raft to the sea.

Fate indeed had favored him, ever since he started the journey, a strong southeast wind blew and carried him to the north western bank after days , which is the frontier of the Southern World.

He left the raft and climbed to the shore. On the beach, there were people fishing, hunting, draining salt. He jumped in front to them for fun and the people were so frightened and ran away. He caught one of the people, ripped off his clothes and figured out how to wear them. So he could dress up like a human. In the city, he tried to learn how to behave and talk like a human. For eight or nine years, he wondered around and couldn’t find any immortals but men of the world all engrossed in the quest of profit or fame.

One day he walked to the Western Ocean. He floated on a raft over the ocean till he reached the Western continent. After walking a little while, he saw a high and beautiful mountain. He had no fear and climbed to the top. He had great view when he suddenly heard someone’s singing,

“I hatch no plot, I scheme no scheme,

fame and shame are one to me

a simple life prolongs my days

those I meet upon my way

are immortals, one and all

who from their quiet seats expound

the scriptures of the Yellow court”

The monkey king listened the lyrics and pleased, “there must be the immortal.” He jumped into the woods and found out the singer was a woodman, who was cutting wood. “Reverend Immortal”, said the monkey, “”your disciple raises his hands”

The woodman dropped his axe and said, “you must be wrong. I am a shabby hungry man. Why do you think I am an immortal?” “From the song you were singing.” “That song was taught to me by an immortal who lives not far from my hut. ” The monkey asked, “why don’t you learn from the immortal if you live next to him.” “I have a hard life. I lost my father when I was eight or nine and have no siblings. I need to take care of my old mom by working hard early and late. ”

“I can tell that you are a devoted son”.The monkey king said, “all I ask of you is that you ill show me where the immortal lives and I will never forget your help.” The woodman refused said, “I need to finish word first to make money. Go ahead yourself” he showed the monkey the way.

The monkey left the wood, following the path he saw a cave-dwelling. But the door was closed. He turned around and saw a stone slab around 30 feet high and eight feet wide saying, “Cave of the Slanting Moon and Three Stars on the Mountain of the Holy Terrace.” He didn’t venture to knock the door but jumped up to a pine tree and began eating pine seeds and playing among the branches.

After a white, a fairy boy came out shouted, “who is there making a disturbance?” The monkey king jumped from the tree with a bow, “fairy boy, I am a pupil who come to study immortality.” The boy laughed, “It it you that my master was asking me open the door said there is someone asking for instructions. Come with me.”

The monkey tidied himself and followed up into the cave. Huge chambers opened out before him till they came to a platform where seated the Patriarch Subodhi, when thirty lesser immortals assembled before him.


The monkey prostrated himself and bumped his head non-stop, “master! Master! ” “Where are you from?” asked the Patriarch. “I am from the Water Curtain Cave on the Mountain Flowers and Fruits.” “Go away! You are not telling the truth. There are two oceans and the whole Southern continent between here and there. How can you get here?” The monkey said, “I floated over the oceans and wandered over the lands for more than ten years till I am here. ”


“What’s your name then?” “I have no parents.” “Perhaps you grew on a tree.””I was born from a rock. ” “We shall give you a name. Sun孙 is your last name. The character is part of the character 狲 meaning monkey. Also the character is made of the two parts meaning male and new born. Your first name is Wu Kong 悟空 meaning aware of vacuity. ” The monkey laughed, “splendid! From today on, my name is Sun WuKong.”


西游记 Journey to the West

菩提祖师 Patriarch Subodhi

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