Sun Wu Kung: Buddha

It seems that no one can stop Sun Wu Kung, so now the Jade Emperor (The Lord of the Heavens) will turn to the Buddha for assistance! You can read about the Buddha and his disciples Ananda and Kashyapa at Wikipedia.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the The Monkey King unit. Story source: "The Ape Sun Wu Kung" in The Chinese Fairy Book, ed. by R. Wilhelm and translated by Frederick H. Martens (1921).


In the meantime, Guan Yin was sitting with Laotzse, the Lord of the Heavens, and the Queen-Mother in the great hall of Heaven, waiting for news. When none came she said: “I will go with Laotzse to the Southern Gate of Heaven and see how matters stand.” And when they saw that the struggle had still not come to an end she said to Laotzse: “How would it be if we helped Yang Oerlang a little? I will shut up Sun Wu Kung in my vase.”

But Laotzse said: “Your vase is made of porcelain. Sun Wu Kung could smash it with his iron rod. But I have a circlet of diamonds which can enclose all living creatures. That we can use!”

So he flung his circlet through the air from the heavenly gate and struck Sun Wu Kung on the head with it. Since he had his hands full fighting, the latter could not guard himself against it, and the blow on the forehead caused him to slip. Yet he rose again and tried to escape. But the heavenly hound of Yang Oerlang bit his leg until he fell to the ground.

Then Yang Oerlang and his followers came up and tied him with thongs, and thrust a hook through his collar-bone so that he could no longer transform himself. And Laotzse took possession of his diamond circlet again, and returned with Guan Yin to the hall of Heaven.

Sun Wu Kung was now brought in in triumph and was condemned to be beheaded. He was then taken to the place of execution and bound to a post. But all efforts to kill him by means of ax and sword, thunder and lightning were vain. Nothing so much as hurt a hair on his head.

Said Laotzse: “It is not surprising. This ape has eaten the peaches, has drunk the nectar, and also swallowed the pills of life. Nothing can harm him. The best thing would be for me to take him along and thrust him into my stove in order to melt the elixir of life out of him again. Then he will fall into dust and ashes.”

So Sun Wu Kung’s fetters were loosed, and Laotzse took him with him, thrust him into his oven, and ordered the boy to keep up a hot fire.

But along the edge of the oven were graven the signs of the eight elemental forces. And when the ape was thrust into the oven he took refuge beneath the sign of the wind, so that the fire could not injure him, and the smoke only made his eyes smart. He remained in the oven seven times seven days. Then Laotzse had it opened to take a look. As soon as Sun Wu Kung saw the light shine in, he could no longer bear to be shut up, but leaped out and upset the magic oven. The guards and attendants he threw to the ground and Laotzse himself, who tried to seize him, received such a push that he stuck his legs up in the air like an onion turned upside down.

Then Sun Wu Kung took his rod out of his ear and, without looking where he struck, hewed everything to bits, so that the star-gods closed their doors and the guardians of the Heavens ran away. He came to the castle of the Lord of the Heavens, and the guardian of the gate with his steel whip was only just in time to hold him back. Then the thirty-six thunder gods were set at him and surrounded him, though they could not seize him.

The Lord of the Heavens said: “Buddha will know what is to be done. Send for him quickly!”

So Buddha came up out of the West with Ananada and Kashiapa, his disciples. When he saw the turmoil he said: “First of all, let weapons be laid aside and lead out the Saint. I wish to speak with him!” The gods withdrew.

Sun Wu Kung snorted and said: “Who are you, who dare to speak to me?”

Buddha smiled and replied: “I have come out of the blessed West, Shakiamuni Amitofu. I have heard of the revolt you have raised and am come to tame you!”

(700 words)

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