When we left our story last, the stone monkey was no longer just a “stone monkey”! He had now become the Monkey King, beloved by all! What a carefree life the Monkey King led, there on the Mountain of Flower and Fruit! When he wished to eat – he ate! When he wished to drink – he drank! And when he wished to sleep, he slept! And just like this, 300 years passed…Yet the Monkey King was not happy.
He frowned, brow furrowed, and his tail twitched from left to right. And at last, a great big tear rolled down his cheek and fell to the ground. Surprised, the other monkeys asked their King: “What is wrong, great King? Why do you cry? “
And the Monkey King sighed, and replied: “I may not age as quickly as you all, but alas， I shall not live forever. One day, I too will grow old. One day, I too will face death. We may live a carefree life right now, but what about after we leave this place? For in the land of the dead, the Yanwang rules.
And in that place, there is nothing…
Nothing the eat
Nothing to drink
Not even light!
To think that we will all have to go there one day! How dreadful a fate! ” And when the other monkeys heard this, they also began to cry: What to do, what to do?!!
An an aged female monkey stepped forward. She said: “If the Great King wishes to live forever, there is a way! In this world, there are three kinds of beings, who are not subject to the Yanwang’s rule.”
The Monkey King sat up. “Which three?” he asked
“The Buddhas, the Immortals, and the Holy Sages,” the old monkey replied. “They have learned the secrets of heaven and earth! Why don’t you find an immortal from whom you can learn the way of everlasting life?”
"Hao! I’ll do as you say!" Cried the Monkey King, leaping up from his throne. “Come, my young ones, let us prepare! I shall set out tonight!”
So the monkeys went to work: They made a small boat out of bamboo, and collected the largest of leaves and fashioned them into sails. And finally, when the full moon rose, the Monkey King was off! As soon as little boat slid into the sea, the wind began to blow. The little boat carrying the Monkey King floated further and further away. And soon the Monkey King was naught but a spot in the ocean！ The waves glinted silver under the light of the moon, and the wind whispered softly of stories yet to come…
Seeking an Immortal
The Monkey King left the Mountain of Flower and Fruit, and his little boat carried him across the great oceans and vast seas… and before he knew it, several years had passed! By this time, the Monkey King had visited the lands of the North and the lands of the South. He’d visited the nations in the East and, too, the nations of the West. And the Monkey King had met all kinds of people! From them he had learned human speech and human ways。
But still, the Monkey King had not yet found an immortal to teach him the secret to everlasting life…and so he continued to search. One day, the Monkey King came across a tall mountain, which was shrouded in mist, and covered by a dense forest. The mountain seemed to beckon, as if singing a song that only the Monkey King could hear.
AHA! THE MONKEY KING SAID TO HIMSELF, THE IMMORTALS MUST BE HIDING HERE!
And so the Monkey King entered the misty forest。As he walked, he began to hear the sound of someone singing – really singing! Quick as a flash, the Monkey King zipped up a tree, and hid amongst the leaves. He thought to himself：If the immortal cannot see me, then they will not hide from me! Before long, the singer walked into view. The girl sang as she walked, stopping here and there to gather herbs and mushrooms.
With a whooping cry, the Monkey King leapt down from the tree, kneeling right in front of her! The girl was so startled she almost dropped the mushroom she carried!
“RESPECTED IMMORTAL!” THE MONKEY KING SAID TO HER, “PLEASE ACCEPT ME AS YOUR STUDENT!”
The girl laughed: “please do get up!” she said, “for I am no immortal!” “Of course you are!” the Monkey King replied, still kneeling. “If you are not an immortal, why else would you be in this place, and singing that song?” Hearing this, the girl smiled. “Ah” she said, “truth be told, it was an immortal who taught me that song.” “His name is the Master, the Zushi, Puti. And he lives right here on Mount Lintai, in the Cave of the Slanting Moon！However, the Zushi Puti rarely accepts students. You will only find him if he wishes to be found!
And with this, the girl bid the Monkey King farewell and left.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
The Monkey King called to her vanishing figure… and then he too hurried along his way. He made his way quickly through the mists, still following that music that only he could hear. Finally, he reached a clearing. There In front of him, a cave door! The cave door was shut tight. The Monkey King walked up to the door and was about to knock… when he stopped. No, he said to himself. The Master Puti will only be found if he wishes to be found. If he is truly an immortal, then he already knows I am here！
“I WILL WAIT HERE!. ”
And so the Monkey King climbed up onto a pine tree… and began to wait.
When we left our story last, the Monkey King had arrived at the Cave of the Slanting Moon! Here lived an immortal, the Master Puti. However, the cave door was shut tight. How to get in? The Monkey King didn’t quite dare to knock, so he climbed up a pine tree and began to play. After a while, the door opened a crack. And from inside, out stepped an immortal youth.
“WHO IS OUT HERE, MESSING ABOUT?”
The Monkey King quickly leaped down from the tree, bowing to the immortal youth. “I’m not here to mess about! I hear that an immortal lives here – I am here to seek a master!” “Ah,” the immortal youth laughed, “My master did indeed say that there was someone seeking knowledge out here… I guess that someone is you?” “Yes, yes, yes that’s me!” The Monkey King jumped up and down excitedly. “Alright then, follow me”, and the immortal youth turned, walking into the cave. The Monkey King followed, long tail waving to and fro. Before long, they arrived at the inner hall.
And there on a raised dais sat the Master Puti. Around him sat thirty disciples. “Master! Your student has come!” the Monkey King called, loudly. “Oh? Who are you and where do you come from? State your given name!” the Master said. The Monkey King replied, “Master! I hail from Flower Fruit Mountain, Water Curtain Cave! I have no given name!”
THE MASTER’S EYES FLASHED, “CHASE HIM AWAY!” HE SHOUTED “LIARS HAVE NO PLACE HERE!”
The Monkey King knelt down with a thump. “Master, every word I say is true!” “Humph”, said the Master. “There are two whole oceans between Hua-Guo-Shan (Flower Fruit Mountain) and here – and it would take 10 years to journey here! What is more, who has no given name?” The Monkey King hurriedly explained: “I have sailed across oceans for more than 10 years to get here! I have no father and mother. As I burst out of a stone, no one has given me a name.”
Hearing this, the Master was secretly pleased, thinking: “He really is a magical monkey!” “Very well” the Master said, “Do rise. I accept you as a disciple”.
Yet, the Monkey King stayed kneeling before the immortal. “Master! Please give me a proper name!” The Master nodded his head. He shut his eyes and calculated… And the stars whispered to him and said:
ONE DAY, THIS MONKEY’S NAME WILL BE KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE LAND! AND THAT NAME, IS
And it was as if the Monkey King had heard the words of the stars! “Thank you Master, thank you! From today, I have a real and proper name! I am: SUN WUKONG!”
When we left our story last, the Master Puti had agreed to take the Monkey King on as a disciple, and had even given him a new name: Sun Wukong. From that day on, Wukong began his studies at the Cave of the Slanting Moon. Every morning, Wukong and the other disciples went to the inner hall to hear the Master teach. Every afternoon, they went out to the garden to tend to the flowers and vegetables. And when the weather cooled, they went into the mountain and chopped firewood for their wood burning stove.
Just like this, spring became summer, then autumn turned to winter…year after year passed. Yet, the master still did not teach Wukong the power of immortality! One day, the Master sat upon his dais, speaking to the group. As Wukong listened, he began to laugh! The Master paused, and spoke: “Wukong, why are you laughing, instead of paying attention?” “Master,” Wukong replied, laughing “It’s just that you spoke so wonderfully… I couldn’t help but laugh out loud!” The Master Puti thought to himself: this monkey has actually recognized the secret meanings behind my words! He is indeed made of the right stuff!” And so he said to Wukong:
“TODAY, I WILL TEACH YOU A NEW KIND OF MAGIC.”
Wukong was delighted! He thought: The master is finally going to teach me the power of immortality! “Yes, yes! What will the master teach his student today?” “How would you like for me to teach you how to turn stone into gold?” the Master asked Wukong. “Gold?” Wukong replied, “What use do I have for gold? Anyway, I came out of a stone myself. Stones are quite nice! Master, please teach me something else.” The Master stroked his beard, and spoke to Wukong again: “Alright, would you like me to teach you how to read the minds of men?” And Wukong replied: “Master, my own mind is enough for me to ponder, I don’t have the time to ponder the thoughts of others. This…I won’t learn either!” The other disciples were astonished! What on earth was this wild Monkey up to?
The Master thought for a long time. Finally, he said: “Alright… I shall give you the ability to see the future, what do you think of that?” Wukong responded again: “Master, if we knew all the secrets of what is to come, where is the fun in living? To live is to see and learn new things! This I won’t learn either! ” Hearing Wukong speak thus, the Master suddenly stood up. “You Monkey, you won’t learn this, and you won’t learn that, what on earth do you want to do?” And with this, the Master walked forth, and struck three blows to Wukong’s stone hard head!
BAM! BAM! BAM!
And without another word, the Master turned, clasped his hands behind his back, and walked out through the back doors. “Slam!” went the doors as they closed. The other disciples began to complain immediately. They pointed to Wukong and said: “You wild monkey, now look what you’ve done! The Master is angry, and who knows when he’ll be back?” But Wukong, why, he wasn’t worried at all! In fact, he was secretly laughing inside! Because he knew, he had guessed the answer to the Master’s final riddle!
In the previous episode, the Master Puti struck Wukong’s head three times, and walked out through the back doors. That night, all the other disciples went to sleep. Wukong shut his eyes, but stayed awake. The silver moon rose, and an owl hooted once…. twice…. three times… After the third call, Wukong rose quietly from his bed, and tiptoed toward the Master’s chambers. The Master’s door was open a crack.
“WHO IS THAT OUTSIDE MY DOOR?”
“Master, it’s me!”, Wukong replied “Just as you’ve instructed, I’ve come at the third call to study the magical arts!”
From that night on, the Master began teaching Wukong by the light of the moon, whispering secret spells and incantations. “Remember, Wukong – you must never use this magic to show off or boast. For if you do, you will suffer greatly.” “Yes, I know!” Wukong replied at once. After that, he practiced and he toiled until he knew the spells Master taught like the back of his hand. Before long, he had mastered the art of the seventy-two transfigurations: from the smallest of fishes to the tallest of mountains, he could turn into anything! Water could not drown him nor fire burn him…
One day, the Master asked: “Wukong, how well have you learned the magics I’ve taught you?” “I’ve mastered them all!” Wukong laughed “and have even taught myself how to soar amongst the clouds!” “Oh? Is that so?” The Master chuckled. “Alright, show me your flying then.” So Wukong leapt into the air! He flew higher and higher, until he shot straight past the clouds! After a few minutes, he slowly floated back to earth.
“HAHAHA” THE MASTER LAUGHED. “NOT BAD, NOT BAD! BUT THIS IS NOT CLOUD SOARING!”
And so the Master taught Wukong the cloud soaring spell. Wukong recited the spell and leapt into the air – turning a complete somersault! And this one somersault, why, it took him–
ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHT THOUSAND MILES!
Just like this, three more years passed. One day, the other disciples said to Wukong: “You must be very powerful by now! Why don’t you show us something marvelous?” Hearing them speak thus, Wukong was delighted! He completely forgot the Master’s warning. With a wiggle of his body, he turned himself into an enormous tree! The disciples clapped and shouted in glee, and Wukong shook his branches with pride. And then he heard:
It was the Master! When Wukong became himself again, the other disciples were gone. There was only the Master standing before him.
“GO” IS ALL HE SAID.
“Go where?” Wukong began to ask… But the Master was already fading from view.
“WHERE YOU CAME FROM IS WHERE YOU SHALL GO…”
The Master’s voice floated on the wind, yet he was no longer there. And no matter how Wukong searched, he could never again find the Cave of the Slanting Moon.
So Panda Cubs, this is our story for today. What is Wukong to do next? We will continue this story in Episode 11!
You’ve just finished listening to Journey to the West, as told by Panda Cub Stories, episodes 6 – 10. We will be on Christmas break for the rest of this month! In January, we will continue the story of the Monkey King Sun Wukong!
Happy Holidays! 节日快乐！
Lastly… how you can help!
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