The Four Seas and Thousand Mountains All Submit,
In the Ninth Hell the Tenth Category Is Struck Off the Register
Monkey is worried about attacks by some human monarch or king of birds or beasts, so he procures weapons for the monkeys. Monkey decides he needs a weapon himself and visits Ao Guang, the Old Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and ask him for a weapon. Not wishing to refuse this request, the Dragon King shows him several weapons, but Monkey doesn`t like them saying, “They`re too light, far too light; and they don’t suit me. I beg you to give me another.” The Dragon King gives him another weapon which weighs three thousand six hundred pounds, but it is still not good enought for Monkey. The Dragon King, now really terrified, says, “Exalted Immortal, I really have nothing else.” As he was speaking, his dragon wife and dragon daughters come in from the back of the palace and say, “Your Majesty, by the look of him this sage must be really somebody. The piece of miraculous iron that anchors the Milkey Way in place has been shining with a lovely rosy glow for the last few days, and creating a most auspicious atmosphere. Perhaps it has started to shine to greet this sage.”
The Dragon King takes Monkey into the middle of the sea treasury, where all of a sudden they could see ten thousand rays of golden light. Pointing at it, the Dragon King says, “That’s it, where all the light is coming from.” Sun Wukong hitches up his clothes and goes to give it a feel. He finds that it is an iron pillar about as thick as a measure for a peck of grain and some twenty feet long. Seizing it with both hands he says, “It’s too thick and too long. If it were a bit shorter and thinner it would do.” As soon as these words are out of his mouth this precious piece of iron becomes several feet shorter and a few inches thinner. Sun Wukong tosses it in his hands, remarking that it would be even better if it were thinner still. The precious iron thereupon becomes even thinner. Sun Wukong is taking it out of the sea treasury to have a look at it when he sees that it had two gold bands round it, while the middle part is made of black iron.
There is a line of inlaid writing near the bands which says that it is the AS-YOU-WILL COLD-BANDED CUDGEL: WEIGHT 13,500 POUNDS. Monkey takes the weapon and shows it to the other monkeys. He clasps his `As You Will Cudgel` and uses heaven and earth magic to become as tall as a mountain.
One day the Handsome Monkey King has a dream. In the dream, Monkey`s soul is taken to the Underworld the Underworld by two fetchers of the dead because his life in the world above is due to end. The Monkey King loses his temper and smashes the two fetchers of the dead to pulp. Since he has cultivated the Way of Immortality and will live as long as Heaven he is no longer under their control, so he tells the Ten Kings of Hell to show him the Register of Life and crosses out his name from the Register of Life and Death.
Some time later Ao Guang, the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea visits the Supreme Heavenly Sage the Jade Emperor in Heaven and complains that recently one Sun Wukong, bullied him and occupied his watery house by force. The Jade Emperor also receives a memo from one of the ministers of the Underworld that the Heaven-born Monkey of the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit killed the devil messengers of the Ninth Hell with his magic, and terrified the Ten Benevolent Kings of the Underworld with his power.
Check back next week for Journey to the West Abridged: Chapter 4!
Journey to the West is one of the most famous novels in Chinese history. It was produced in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty. It has influenced countless other stories, works of art even in to the modern day, such as the anime Dragonball and the film The Forbidden Kingdom drawing inspiration from this classic.
The story follows the Tang Monk on his journey to India to obtain sacred Buddhist scriptures. Along the way he is joined by the magical Monkey King, a foolish Pig man, and the mighty Sand Monk. This article is part of a series by Walther Sell, summarizing the Chinese epic.
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