Our Buddha Creates the Scriptures and Passes on Perfect Bliss,
Guanyin Obeys a Decree and Goes to Chang’an
The story continues with Buddha observing that in the Southern Jambu Continent the people are greedy and lecherous and delight in the sufferings of others; they go in for a great deal of killing and quarrelling. The continent can with truth be called a vicious field of tongues and mouths, an evil sea of disputation. Buddha has Three Stores of True Scriptures with which they can be persuaded to be good. Bodhisattva Guanyin volunteers to go to the East, choose a worthy believer and bid him to make the arduous crossing of a thousand mountain and ten thousand rivers to receive the Scriptures from Buddha. Buddha tells Guanyin:
“Give this cassock and staff to him who will come to fetch the scriptures: they are for him to use. If he is determined to come here, he can avoid the Wheel of Reincarnation by wearing this cassock,
and he will be free from evil if he carries this staff.”
If you try to ask about the dhyana
Or investigate the innumerable
You will waste your life and achieve nothing.
Polishing bricks to make mirrors,
Or piling up snow to turn it into grain— However many years have you wasted like that?
A hair can contain an ocean,
A mustard-seed can hold a mountain,
And the golden Kasyapa only smiles.
When you are awakened you will surpass the Ten Stages and the Three Vehicles,
And stop the four kinds of life and the six ways.
Buddha also tells Guanyin that if he meets any devils with great magic powers on his journey he should persuade them to reform and become the disciples of the pilgrim who will come to fetch the scriptures. Along the Journey to Chang`An Guan Yin encounters an ogre who is actually the Curtain Raising General, who was exiled to the lower world for accidentally smashed a crystal dish at a Peach Banquet. Guanyin converts him to truth, gives him the Buddhist name of Wujing (“Awakened to Purity”) and tells him to wait for a pilgrim and accompany him on a journey to fetch the scriptures.
Guan Yin encounters another monster who used to be Marshal Tian Peng in the Milky Way and was exiled in the mortal world because he took some wine to seduce the moon maiden. Guanyin also converts Marshal Tian Peng to truth, gives him the Buddhist name of Zhu Wuneng (“Pig Awakened to Power”) and tells him to wait for a pilgrim and accompany him on a journey to fetch the scriptures.
Next Guanyin converts a wicked Dragon who is to turn into a white horse when a pilgrim comes on a journey to fetch the scriptures. Guanyin then meets the Great Sage who has been crushed under the Five Elements Mountain for almost five hundred years. Monkey agrees to accompany the man who will fetch the Scriptures and will be freed from under the mountain by the monk when he comes.
Check back next week for Journey to the West Abridged: Chapter 9!
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.
All content in the article are not our original work and are the property of Walther Sell. Check him out at: