The Legend Of the Monkey King: Important supplemental information for American Born Chinese The Birth of Sun Wukong He is born on Flower Fruit Mountain from a stone egg that forms from an ancient rock created by the coupling of heaven and earth. Sun Wukong Becomes Monkey King He first distinguishes himself by bravely entering the Cave of Water Curtains on the mountain; for this feat, his monkey tribe gives him the title of "Handsome Monkey-King.” The Gods Take Notice After angering several gods and coming to the attention of the Jade Emperor, he is given a minor position in heaven as the Protector of Horses so they can keep an eye on him. The Jade Emperor The Jade Emperor in Chinese folk culture is the Taoist ruler of Heaven and all realms of existence below including that of Man and Hell, according to a version of Taoist mythology. What Is Taoism? The philosophy founded by Lao-Tzu. It is a combination of mysticism, philosophical reflection, and poetry. Taoism stresses the unity of humanity and the universe. It is the loss of that unity that is responsible for desire, competition, and the unsuccessful attempts to regulate the behavior by moral law. Monkey King Grows Angry When he realizes that he is not considered a full-fledged god, he becomes very angry. Monkey King Is Undefeated Upon returning to his mountain, he puts up a flag and declares himself the "Great Sage Equaling Heaven." Then the Jade Emperor dispatches celestial soldiers to arrest Sun Wukong, but no one succeeds. Monkey King Becomes More Powerful The Jade Emperor has no choice but to appoint him to be the patrolman of the heavenly peach garden. The peaches in the garden bear fruit every 3,000-years; eating its flesh will bestow immortality, so Wukong eats one and becomes more powerful and matchless. Monkey King Trapped! Later, he starts making trouble in Heaven. Eventually, the Jade Emperor appeals to Buddha, who detains Sun Wukong under a mountain called Five Elements. Who Is Buddha? Gautama Siddartha (c. 563–479 BC), the prince from present day Nepal who became the Buddha, ‘the Enlightened One.’ Required his followers to isolate themselves from worldly life. Monkey King Freed He is later set free five centuries later when Xuanzang comes upon him during his pilgrimage and accepts him as a disciple. If the Monkey King helps Xuanzang, his sins will be forgiven. Who is Xuanzang? Xuanzang (c. 602 – 664) was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang period. He became famous for his seventeen year overland journey to India, which provided the inspiration for the epic novel Journey to the West. Controlling the Monkey King Understanding that that the monkey would be hard to control, Xuanzang used a magical headband. Sun Wukong was tricked into putting it on, and then it could never be removed. With a special chant, the band would tighten and cause unbearable pain to the monkey's head. The Monkey King Is Faithful Throughout the epic Journey to the West, Sun Wukong faithfully helped Xuanzang on his journey to India. Xuanzang's safety was constantly under threat from demons and other supernatural beings. Sun Wukong often acted as his bodyguard. The Monkey King’s Buddhahood Sun Wukong was eventually granted Buddhahood, or perfect enlightenment, for his service and strength. Monkey King’s Powers and Weapons Sun Wukong possesses an immense amount of strength; he is able to lift his 7,881 pound staff with ease. Monkey King’s Powers and Weapons He is also superbly fast, able to travel 33,554 miles in one somersault. Monkey King’s Powers and Weapons Sun Wukong knows 72 transformations, which allows him to transform into various animals and objects. He has trouble, however, transforming into other people because he is unable to complete the transformation of his tail. Monkey King’s Powers and Weapons He is a skilled fighter, capable of holding his own against the best generals of heaven. Monkey King’s Powers and Weapons Each of his hairs possesses magical properties, and is capable of transforming either into a clone of the Monkey King himself, or various weapons, animals, and other objects. Monkey King’s Powers and Weapons He also knows spells that can command wind, part water, conjure protective circles against demons, and freeze humans, demons, and gods alike.