Legend – China


This is only a part of a bigger story, but the subject doesn’t know the whole story. It’s the story of The Monkey King and The Journey West. There is a monk who is traveling west for some reason, and who runs into the Monkey King at some point, but the subject does not know why or when in the story this happens. The story of the Monkey King was written in the Miung and the Qing Dynasties, but it is set in the Tang Dynasty. This monkey, before he was a king, was born from an egg-shaped rock. He is made of stone. He is very brave amongst his monkey brothers and he becomes Monkey King. His goal is to find eternal life because he figures that he has everything else already. So why not be Monkey King for all eternity? Apparently he was a daoist. During his search for eternal life, he finds and receives these supernatural powers, which allow him to grow very small and also to giant size. He also has supernatural strength as a result of his ability to become giant. He then thinks to himself that he needs to find a weapon to carry with him at all times that is equal to his own power. To do this, he goes to the Dragon King’s palace, which is underwater to get a weapon for him. The Dragon king is infamous amongst the animal kingdom for owning weapons that can defeat any army or anything, even with supernatural powers. The weapon he finally finds perfect for him is a long spear which was grow with him and shrink in size with him. Once he has this weapon, he travels to Heaven to get a job, so to speak. Heaven does not take him seriously, and the spirits there give him a low-level, mostly useless job. He becomes angry once he realizes how useless the job is, and he goes to an orchard, where he declares himself to be equal to all under Heaven (he declares himself “Sage King”). This infuriates the Jade Emperor (the Emperor who governs Heaven and all below it). The Jade Emperor then sends troops from Heaven to defeat the Monkey King. The Monkey King easily defeats all of them with his weapon and his supernatural powers. The Monkey King, in a fit of self-importance and hubris, decides that he will run to the edge of the Earth to show how powerful he is. (The subject is not sure why this is important in the story). When he reaches the edge of what he thinks is the Earth, he urinates on it to mark his territory. Then, he hears a booming voice, which is the Buddha, which says to him, “Why did you just pee on my hand?” The Monkey King realizes that he has been outsmarted by Heaven and by the Buddha, and that he is in fact only on the edge of the Buddha’s hand. Having thus been caught by Heaven, the Monkey King is imprisoned within a prison in Heaven.

The moral of the story is supposedly that one should not let hubris overtake them, and that no matter how important, strong, or powerful one thinks that one is, one may never outsmart or defeat Heaven. Heaven will always put on in one’s place, no matter what. The subject believes that this story could also be a metaphor for the relationship between defiant children and their parents.

It is interesting to not that this is a very popular story among Chinese people. I asked everyone I know of Chinese descent and they all acknowledged that they have heard of, often frequently heard of, the same story from a parent, grandparent, or similar close relative.