Thursday, July 9, 2009

Monkey King

The Chinese classic novel, Journey to the West (Xi You Ji), was written in the 1590's, based in part on legends of a Buddhist monk who traveled to India to retrieve certain religious texts. In addition to being an adventurous quest, the novel can be read as an extended allegory of the journey towards enlightenment. In the novel, the monk is accompanied by Sun Wukong, the monkey king, who acts as his bodyguard in penance for past crimes. In the end, for his service and loyalty, Sun Wukong achieves Buddhahood.

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