The story of Monkey King and Journey to the west

Journey to the West is a Chinese novel published in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty and attributed to Wu Cheng'en. It is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

The novel is an extended account of the legendary pilgrimage of the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang who traveled to the "Western Regions", that is, Central Asia and India, to obtain Buddhist sacred texts (sūtras) and returned after many trials and much suffering. It retains the broad outline of Xuanzang's own account, Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, but the Ming dynasty novel adds elements from folk tales and the author's invention, that is, that Gautama Buddha gave this task to the monk (referred to as Tang Sanzang in the novel) and provided him with three protectors who agree to help him as an atonement for their sins. These disciples are Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing, together with a dragon prince who acts as Tang Sanzang's steed, a white horse.

Journey to the West has strong roots in Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology, Confucianist, Taoist and Buddhist philosophy, and the pantheon of Taoist immortals and Buddhist bodhisattvas are still reflective of some Chinese religious attitudes today. Enduringly popular, the tale is at once a comic adventure story, a humorous satire of Chinese bureaucracy, a spring of spiritual insight, and an extended allegory in which the group of pilgrims journeys towards enlightenment by the power and virtue of cooperation.

And of course, the character that we loved the most has got to be Sun Wukong, aka the Monkey King. He is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he later accompanies the monk Tang Sanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from "the West".

Sun Wukong possesses immense strength; he is able to lift his 13,500 jīn (7,960 kilograms (17,550 lb)) staff with ease. He is also extremely fast, able to travel 108,000 li (21,675 kilometres (13,468 mi)) in one somersault. Sun knows 72 transformations, which allow him to transform into various animals and objects; however, he has trouble transforming into other forms, due to the accompanying incomplete transformation of his tail. Sun Wukong is a skilled fighter, capable of defeating the best warriors of heaven. Each of his hairs possesses magical properties, capable of being transformed into clones of the Monkey King himself, and/or into various weapons, animals, and other objects. He knows spells to command wind, part water, conjure protective circles against demons, and freeze humans, demons, and gods alike.

Soy is inspired by this story, and together with the extremely talented illustrator/artist Dom Tsoi, we have created the Soy Journey Tee. Dom's beautiful work is featured on the back of the Tee. Check out His Website \ His Instagram

 


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