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Thread: Supplemant to the Journey to the West

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    Supplemant to the Journey to the West

    I'm sure there are several people on here that have read or at least heard of the 16th century Chinese masterpiece Journey to the West. Some may have just heard of the "Monkey King" Sun Wukong or, as he is known in Japan, Son Goku. (Yes he is the basis for the Son Goku of the DB series if you were wondering.) For those of you who haven't read it, the story initially tells of how a monkey is born from a stone egg and later learns Taoist magic to become the most powerful demon in the cosmos. It takes the intervention of the Buddha to stop his rampage in heaven and the monkey is finally crushed under a mountain. 500 years later, the Buddha dispatches the Bodhisattva Guanyin to find a person to travel to India in order to get scriptures needed to release countless souls from the torments of Hell. Guanyin settles on a young Buddhist Priest and goes about procuring disciples to protect him from all manner of monsters, spirits, and devils along the perilous route to India. She releases the monkey from his imprisonment to be the Priest's first disciple and the two are later joined by a pig and water demon, both of whom used to be generals in heaven. Together, the group faces untold evils and they all, for the most part, become Buddhas in the end.

    I recently purchased a short novel called Xiyoubu ("Supplement to the Journey to the West," 1640 CE) in which Yue Fei's ghost makes an appearance. The novel acts as a "story outside of a story," meaning the events take place between chapters 61 and 62 of the original Journey to the West storyline. After defeating the Rakshasa Lady Iron Fan, wife of the Bull-Demon King, Monkey faces an adversary called the Ching Fish, Ching being a pun for desire. The fish ends up trapping Monkey inside of a Tower of mirrors, each with its own power. By stepping through these mirrors, Monkey becomes a woman, travels back in time to the Qin Dynasty, and also to the future Song Dynasty. It is in the future where he meets the ghost of Yue Fei.

    Monkey travels from the Tang Dynasty, when Journey to the West is set, to presumably the Song Dynasty. There, some junior devils appear and tell him that the ruler of the underworld King Yama has recently died of an illness and so Monkey must take his place until a suitable replacement can be found. Monkey ends up judging the fate of the recently deceased Prime Minster Qin Hui. He tortures Qin into confessing his sins. These tortures include having millions of embroidery needles shoved into his flesh, being ground into paste, thrown onto a mountain of swords and spears, hacked into bits, forced to drink human puss, and his rib cage ripped apart to give him the appearance of a dragon fly. A demon is charged with using his magic breath to "blow" Qin back into his proper form. Monkey finally sends a demon to heaven to retrieve a powerful magic gourd that sucks anyone who speaks before it inside and melts them down into a bloody stew. He uses this gourd for Qin's final punishment. Meanwhile, Monkey invites the ghost of Yue Fei to the underworld and takes him as his third master. (He claims this completes his lessons on the three religions since: 1) the immortal Subhodhi taught him Taoist magic 2) the Tang Monk taught him Buddhist restraint and 3) Yue Fei taught him Confucian ideals.) He entertains Yue Fei until Qin has been reduced to liquid and offers the general a cup of Qin's "blood wine." Yue, however, refuses on the grounds that drinking it would sully his soul. Monkey then does an experiment where he makes a junior devil drink of the wine. Sometime later, the devil, apparently under the evil influence of the blood wine, murders his personal religious teacher and escapes into the "gate of ghosts," presumably being reborn into another existence. Yue Fei then takes his leave to return to his heavenly abode. Monkey sends him off with a huge display of respect by making all of the millions of denizens of the underworld kowtow before him. This particular episode takes up 3 of the novel's 16 chapters, so it is obviously very important.

    The novel was published some 44 years before the publishing of Yue's famous folklore biography Shuo Yue Quan Zhuan (The Story of Yue Fei, 1684 CE). Yue's bio features a scene where Qin is tortured in hell, so this story may have influenced it.

    I won't tell you the ending because it is rather strange. I will say, however, that the novel claims that the Monkey King has five illegitimate sons born to Lady Iron Fan. She apparently got pregnant while Sun Wukong was in her stomach in chapters 59 - 61 of the main storyline. Monkey actually faces one of his sons on the battlefield. This son is a great demon named King Paramita and is powerful enough to fight his father to a stalemate. He is leading a demon army bent on facing the army of the Tang Priest, who has forsaken the Buddhist life and become an iron-fisted general at this point in the story. Monkey never meets his other four sons.

    The overall story reads very disjointedly, but there is a reason for this. The English translation is entitled The Tower of Myriad Mirrors.
    Last edited by ghostexorcist; 02-28-2010 at 11:46 AM.

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