Journey to The West(Notes & Thoughts)
Sun Wukong is portrayed as invincible in almost every instance, yet Red Boy and The Scorpion Spirit beat him easily. Why such a radical shift in his fighting abilities? It is like he became weaker in book two.
Has he been hindered by becoming a Buddhist?
Why is Sanzang never trusting of Sun even though Sun has saved his life a hundred times over? Instead Sanzang listens to Pig who is just a troublemaker and takes advantage of Sanzang’s gullibility when it comes to Monkey. Pig’s pranks often spell disaster when Monkey is sent away or has the band tightening spell used in most cases unfairly. He wants nothing more than to protect his master and punishment is often forthcoming, even after heaps of praise is showered on Sun for saving Sanzang and the other two disciples. Sanzang seems rather cruel sometimes when it comes to The Great Sage.
It is good to see by about chapter 80 the three monks and their leader are melding better as a team. The insults are still flying between Pig and Monkey while Friar Sand and the dragon turned steed still tend to stay away from the fray. My conclusion is that yes they are on a holy mission protected by Dharma and they are completely dysfunctional to the task. I find it amazing that Pig is such an idiot. He knows he is an idiot and doesn’t do anything but eat and blow his trunk. He is a righteous idiot. Sanzang although born of the golden cicada several times over and considered a delicacy by all monsters everywhere doesn’t really seem to have a clue either. He’s humble and driven, but just about as clueless as Pig. It’s excusable I suppose because he is mortal. Sun Wukong is brilliant, decisive, and cunning. Oddly enough no matter how hard he tries to overcome his past mistakes by good deeds he’s always an anti-hero. I feel sorry for Monkey and although the officers in heaven don’t involve themselves much, at least they respect him. Unfortunately that respect was born out of fear. It is easy to feel sorry for The Great Sage and it makes me wonder if we can ever outdo and make up for the sins of our past. Whether it’s 500 years for Monkey under a mountain or nine lifetimes for Sanzang. Do we ever have a chance to outgrow ourselves? I think that is at the heart of this epic masterpiece. The Journey to the West is a journey we all undertake and the three fledgling monks and their Elder take it together as motley as they are, it’s together through mountains and monsters. They always continue to cultivate the good within however strange that cultivation may be, they never give up. And boy did they want to countless times except for the righteous but mortal Sanzang who will retrieve the scriptures because he has no choice. His is a pre-determined destiny but one in which all will revel and have hope among the living and the dead.
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