Journey to the West                       Chapter 42                      Author: Wu Cheng'en

 

The Great Sage Reverently Visits the Southern Sea
Guanyin in Her Mercy Binds the Red Boy



The story tells how the six warriors left the cave and headed Southwest. Monkey thought, "They are going to invite the Old King to eat our master. I'm sure he must be the Bull Demon King. In the old days we got on very well and were the best of friends, but now I've gone straight and he's still an evil monster. Although it's a long time since I last saw him, I remember what he looks like. I think I'll turn myself into a Bull Demon King, try to fool them, and see how it goes." Splendid Monkey gave the six little demons the slip, spread his wings, flew about a dozen miles ahead of them, shook himself, and turned into a Bull Demon King. He pulled out some hairs, shouted, "Change," and turned them into little devils with dogs, falcons, bows and crossbows as if they were a hunting party in the mountain valley. He then waited for the six warriors.

As the six warriors were making their way sloppily along they suddenly noticed that the Bull Demon King was sitting in their midst. Heater and Cooker fell to their knees in a panic and said, "Your Majesty, you're here already."

Mist in the Clouds, Clouds in the Mist, Fire-fast and Wind-speedy were also all common mortals with fleshly eyes, unable to tell the true from the false, and they too fell to their knees, kowtowed and said, "Your Majesty, we've been sent by the Sage Boy King of the Fire-cloud Cave to invite Your Senior Majesty to a meal of Tang Priest meat that will lengthen your life by a thousand ages."

"Get up, children," said Monkey, "and come back to my cave with me while I change."

"There will be no need for all that trouble, Your Majesty," said the little devils, still kowtowing. "You needn't go back. It's a long way, and I'm sure that our king would be angry with us if you did. Please come with us."

"What good children," said Monkey. "Very well then, lead the way. I'm coming with you." The six little devils pulled themselves together and shouted to clear the way for the Great Sage, who was following them.

They were soon back at the cave. Wind-fast and Fire-speedy rushed in to report, "Your Majesty, His Senior Majesty is here."

"You're capable lads to be back so soon," said the demon king with delight. He then ordered all his commanders to parade his forces with their banners and drums to greet the Old King. All the demon in the cave obediently went out on parade. Monkey threw out his chest and acted very haughtily, braced himself, took back all the hairs he had turned into falconers and huntsmen, then strode straight in through the gates and took the central seat facing South as a monarch.

The Red Boy knelt and kowtowed to him, saying, "Your Majesty, your son pays obeisance."

"No need for that," said Monkey. After making four sets of kowtows the demon king stood below his father.

"What have you asked me here for, boy?" Monkey asked.

"Your stupid son," said the demon with a bow, "caught someone yesterday—a priest from the Great Tang in the East. I've often heard tell that he is someone who has cultivated his conduct for ten lives, and that if you eat a piece of his flesh you'll live as long as an immortal from Penglai or Yingzhou. I did not dare to eat him by myself, which is why I asked Your Majesty to share the Tang Priest's flesh and extend your life by a thousand ages."

At this Monkey looked shocked and asked, "Which Tang Priest, my boy?"

"The one going to fetch scriptures in the Western Heaven," the demon king replied.

"But isn't he the master of Sun the Novice?" Monkey asked.

"Yes," said the demon king.

Monkey waved his hand, shook his head and said, "Don't start trouble with him. Pick a fight with anyone else you like, but not with him. My dear boy, don't you know what sort of person he is? That ape has vast magic powers and can do all sorts of transformations. When he made havoc in Heaven the Jade Emperor sent a hundred thousand Heavenly soldiers to spread out Heaven-and-earth nets, but they could not catch him. How could you have the nerve to eat his master? Send the priest out his moment, and don't start trouble with that monkey. If he heard that you'd eaten his master he wouldn't even need to fight you. He'd just have to poke a hole in the mountainside with that gold-banded cudgel of his to bring the whole mountain tumbling down. Then where would you be able to live, my boy, and who would there be to support me in my old age?"

"What things to say, Your Majesty," said the demon king. "You're bolstering him and making me look small. That Monkey and a couple of his fellow disciples were crossing my mountains when I did a transformation and carried his master off. He and Pig traced me to the gates here and talked some nonsense about kinship. I got into such a raging fury that we fought a few rounds. That was all there was to it. He wasn't anything very special. Then Pig came charging in so I breathed out my True Samadhi Fire and routed him. Monkey was so desperate that he went to ask the dragon kings of the four seas for rain, but they couldn't put out my True Samadhi Fire. I burnt him so badly that he passed out, then sent Pig off in a great hurry to ask the Bodhisattva Guanyin of the Southern Seas to come. I turned myself into a Guanyin and tricked Pig into coming here: he's now hanging up in the As-You-Will bag, and I'm going to steam him as a treat for all the underlings. That Monkey was back shouting at our gates again this morning. I ordered his arrest, and it threw him into such a panic that he dropped his bundle and fled. It was only then that I invited Your Majesty over to see what the Tang Priest looked like in life before we have him steamed for you to eat and become immortal."

"My dear boy," laughed Monkey, "you're only aware of how you beat him with your True Samadhi Fire. What you forget is that he can do seventy-two transformations."

"No matter what he turns himself into I can always spot him," said the demon king, "and I'm sure he won't dare try another attack here."

"My son," said Monkey, "you may be able to recognize him sometimes, but he won't turn into something big like a wolf, an orangutan or an elephant. If he did he wouldn't be able to get inside the cave. You'd find it hard to recognize him if he turned into something small."

"No matter how small he made himself we have four or five little devils on every door. He'll never be able to get in."

"You don't realize that he can turn himself into a fly, or a mosquito, or a flea, or a bee, or a butterfly, or the tiniest of insects. He could even make himself look just like me. You wouldn't possibly be able to tell."

"Don't worry," said the demon king. "Even if he had guts of iron and a bronze heart he'd never dare come anywhere near here."

"In that case, dear son," said Monkey, "what powers do you have that make you more than a match for him, so that you could invite me here today to eat the flesh of the Tang Priest? All the same, I don't think I'll have any today."

"Why not?" the demon king said.

"I'm getting old," said Monkey, "and your mother keeps nagging at me to do some good works. The only good deed I'm interested in is eating vegetarian food."

"Your Majesty," said the demon king, "is this permanent or just for a month?"

"Neither," said Monkey. "It's called 'thunder vegetarianism'. You do it for four days each month."

"Which four?" the demon asked.

"The three days each month with Xin in their names, and the sixth day too. Today is the day Xin You, so that means I ought to be on vegetarian food. Besides, You days are not good for having visitors. But tomorrow I could be back to scrub, wash and steam him myself, and enjoy him with you, my boy."

This all made the demon king think, "My father usually lives on human flesh, and he's already lived to be over a thousand. How come he's now thinking about a vegetarian diet? When you consider all the evil things he's done, three or four days of vegetarian food a month could never make up for them. There's something wrong here. It's very suspicious." He withdrew and went out through the inner gates, sent for the six warriors, and asked them, "Where was His Senior Majesty when you gave him that invitation?"

"Halfway here," the little devils replied.

"I thought you were quick," said the demon king. "Didn't you go to his place?"

"No," said the little devils, "we didn't."

"This is bad," said the demon king. "I've been fooled. It's not His Senior Majesty."

The little devils all knelt before him and asked, "Your Majesty, can't you recognize your own father?"

"He looks and moves just like my father," said the demon king, "but what he says doesn't fit. I'm afraid I've been taken in and beaten by one of his transformations. I want you all to be very careful. The swordsmen among you must draw your swords, the spearmen sharpen your spears, and those of you who can use staves and ropes get ready to do so. I'm going to question him again and watch what he says. If he really is His Senior Majesty then it doesn't matter whether we have the feast today, tomorrow or in a month's time. But if what he says is wrong, then the moment I give a hum you're all to attack at once."

When the little devils had all been given their orders the demon king turned on his heels, went back inside and bowed to Monkey, who said, "No need for all that formality within the family, my boy. Don't bow. Just say whatever it is you have to say."

The demon king prostrated himself before Monkey and replied, "Your foolish son actually invited you for two reasons. One was to present you with Tang Priest meat, and the other was to ask you something. When I was out for a spin on my auspicious light the other day I went right up to the ninth level of clouds and bumped into the Taoist Master Zhang Daoling."

"Do you mean Zhang Daoling the Taoist pope?" Monkey asked.

"Yes," the demon king replied. "What did he say to you?" Monkey asked.

"Seeing that your son is complete in all his organs and that the spacing between my forehead, nose and chin is auspiciously even," the demon king replied, "he asked me the hour, day, month and year of my birth. Your child is too young to remember all that properly. Master Zhang is a brilliant astrologer, and he offered to cast my horoscope. That is what I wanted to inquire about, Your Majesty, so that I can ask him to cast my horoscope next time I meet him."

This made Monkey chuckle to himself: "What a magnificent demon. I've captured quite a few since I became a Buddhist and started escorting the Tang Priest on this journey, but none of them was as sharp as this one. He's asking me all trivial family details, and I'll just have to fake up my answers. How could I possibly know when he was born?" The splendid Monkey King was extremely crafty.

He continued to sit in majesty in the central position, showing not a trace of fear as he replied with his face wreathed in smiles, "Please get up, dear boy. I'm getting so old now that nothing goes the way I want it to any more. I can't remember just now exactly when you were born. I'll ask your mother when I go home tomorrow."

"But Your Majesty is always reeling off the details of my birth-time," the demon king said, "and telling me I'll live as long as Heaven. You can't have forgotten now. It's outrageous. You're a fake." He then hummed the signal and all the demons rushed on Monkey and stabbed at him with their swords and spears.

The Great Sage parried their thrusts with his cudgel, went back to looking like himself again, and said to the evil spirit, "You're the outrageous one, dear boy. It can't possibly be right for a son to attack his own father." The demon king was so overwhelmed with shame that he dared not return Monkey's look. Brother Monkey then turned into a golden glow and left the cave.

"Your Majesty, Sun the Novice has gone," the little devils reported.

"Oh well, that's that," said the demon king. "Good riddance. He beat me this time. Shut the gates and say nothing to him. Let's clean, cook and eat the Tang Priest."

Laughing aloud as he brandished his cudgel, Monkey went back across the ravine. Hearing this, Friar Sand hurried out of the woods to say to him, "Brother, you've been ages. Why are you laughing? I hope it's because you've rescued the master."

"No, brother," Monkey replied. "But although I haven't rescued him yet, I won this time."

"How?" Friar Sand asked.

"The fiend disguised himself as Guanyin to lure Pig back here and hang him up in a leather bag. I was just trying to work out how to rescue Pig when the demon sent his six so-called warriors to invite the Old King to a meal of the master's flesh. I reckoned that the Old King was bound to be the Bull Demon King, so I turned myself into his double, went inside, and took the place of honour. He called me 'Your Majesty' and 'father,' and I replied; and when he kowtowed I sat up straight. It was lovely. I really did win."

"But while you've been scoring easy points the master's life is in terrible danger," said Friar Sand.

"Don't worry about it," said Monkey. "I'm off to ask the Bodhisattva here."

"But your back's still aching," said Friar Sand.

"Now it isn't," said Monkey. "As the old saying goes, when things go well they raise the spirits. Look after the horse and the luggage. I'm off."

"You've made such an enemy of him," said Friar Sand, "that I'm scared he'll murder the master. Be as quick as you can."

"I'll be quick," said Monkey. "I'll be back in the time it takes to eat a meal."

Even as he was still speaking, the splendid Great Sage left Friar Sand and set off on the somersault cloud that took him straight towards the Southern Ocean. He had been flying for less than an hour when Potaraka Island came into view. He landed his cloud in an instant and went straight to Raka Crag, where the twenty-four devas asked him as he walked solemnly towards them, "Great Sage, where are you going?"

After Monkey had exchanged courtesies with them he replied, "I would like to see the Bodhisattva."

"Please wait for a moment while we report to her," the devas said. Hariti and the other devas went to the entrance of the Tide Cave to report, "Bodhisattva, Sun Wukong has come for an audience." The Bodhisattva asked for him to be brought in.

The Great Sage tidied his clothes and obediently walked inside at a respectful pace. When he saw the Bodhisattva he prostrated himself before her. "Wukong," she said, "why are you here instead of taking Master Golden Cicada to the West to fetch the scriptures?"

"Bodhisattva," Monkey replied, "your disciple humbly reports that while escorting the Tang Priest on his journey he has reached the Fire-cloud Cave in the Withered Pine Ravine on Mount Hao. An evil spirit called the Red Boy whose title is Sage Boy King has snatched my master. I and Pig found our way to his gates and fought him, but he started a True Samadhi Fire. This makes it impossible for us to beat him and rescue the master. I hurried to the Eastern Sea and asked the dragon kings of the four seas to make rain, but it couldn't control the flames, and I was badly hurt by the smoke, which all but killed me."

"Why did you send for the dragon kings and not for me," the Bodhisattva asked, "if he has True Samadhi Fire and such great powers?"

"I wanted to come," Monkey replied, "but I'd been so badly affected by the smoke that I couldn't ride a cloud. I sent Pig to come and ask you for help instead."

"But he has not been here," the Bodhisattva replied.

"That's just it," said Monkey. "Before Pig reached this island the evil spirit turned himself into your double, Bodhisattva, lured him into the cave, and has now hung him up in a leather bag ready to be steamed and eaten."

When the Bodhisattva heard this she said in a furious rage, "How dare that vicious demon turn himself into my double!" With a roar of anger she flung her precious pure vase into the sea. Monkey was so horrified that his hair stood on end. He rose to his feet, stood below the Bodhisattva's throne, and said, "If the Bodhisattva does not control her temper I'll be blamed for talking out of turn and ruining her conduct. This is terrible. You've thrown your vase away. Had I known you could have done me a big favour and given it to me."

Before the words were all out of his mouth the waves of the sea started to dance and the vase emerged from them. It was being carried on the back of a monster. When Brother Monkey took a good look at the monster he saw what it was like:

Where he comes from he is known as Mud-carrier,
Shining in splendor alone beneath the sea,
Knowing Heaven and earth from his ancient obscurity,
And the ways of ghosts and gods from his peaceful hiding-place.
When concealed he withdraws his head and his tail,
But his legs can make him swim as fast as flying.
On him King Wen drew trigram and Zeng Yuan cast omens;
He always was offered at the court of Fu Xi.
All beauty is revealed by this primal dragon,
Calling up the breakers and making the waves.
Threads of gold sew his carapace together,
And brindling gives the color to the tortoise-shell.
Its back carries the Eight Trigram Ninefold Palace;
Scattered splendor flecks his coat of green.
The dragon king admires him for his courage when alive;
He carries the tablet of Lord Buddha after death.
If you want to know what this creature is called,
He is the wicked tortoise who causes wind and waves.

Carrying the vase on his back, the tortoise crawled ashore, and made twenty-four nods to the Bodhisattva that counted as twenty-four kowtows. Seeing this Monkey laughed to himself as he said, "He must be the vase-keeper. I suppose they ask him for the vase whenever it's lost."

"What is that you are saying, Wukong?"

"Nothing," Monkey replied.

"Fetch the vase," the Bodhisattva ordered. Monkey went over to pick it up, but he had no more chance of moving it than a dragonfly has of shifting a stone pillar by even a fraction of an inch. Monkey went back to the Bodhisattva, knelt before her, and said, "Bodhisattva, your disciple cannot move it."

"All you can do, you ape, is talk," said the Bodhisattva. "If you can't even move a vase how can you hope to subdue demons?"

"To be honest, Bodhisattva, I would normally be able to move it, but today I just can't. I think that being beaten by the evil spirit must have weakened me."

"It is usually an empty vase," said the Bodhisattva, "but when I threw it into the sea it went round the Three Rivers, the Five Lakes, the Eight Seas, the Four Streams, and all the brooks, springs, pools and caves to borrow a whole seaful of water. You are nowhere near strong enough to lift a sea up. That is why you can't move it."

"Indeed," said Brother Monkey, his hands clasped before him, "your disciple didn't know that."

The Bodhisattva then stepped forward, gently lifted the vase with her right hand, and placed it on the palm of her left hand. The tortoise nodded to the Bodhisattva again and slipped back into the sea. "So you keep a domestic cretin to look after your vase," observed Monkey.

"Wukong," said the Bodhisattva, seating herself, "the sweet dew in this flask of mine, unlike the dragon kings' private rain, can extinguish Samadhi Fire. I was going to let you take it, but you cannot move it. Then I thought of asking the Naga Maiden to go with you, but you have not got a kind heart and you are an inveterate deceiver. My Naga Maiden is very lovely, and the vase is precious; if you were to steal either of them I would be much too busy to go looking for you. So you will have to leave something as security."

"How sad," said Monkey, "that you should be so suspicious, Bodhisattva. I've never done anything like that since I was converted to the faith. What would you like me to leave as security? You yourself presented me with the brocade tunic I'm wearing. My tiger-skin kilt isn't worth tuppence, and I need this iron cudgel for self-defense. All that's left is the band round my head. It's gold, but you used magic to make it grow into my skull so that is can't be taken off. If you want security I'd like you to take that. Say a band-loosening spell and take it off. If that won't do, what else is there?"

"You are a cool customer," said the Bodhisattva. "I do not want your clothes, your cudgel or your band. Just pluck out one of the life-saving hairs from the back of your head and give me that as your security."

"But you gave it to me, Your Reverence," protested Monkey. "Besides, If I pulled one out it would break up the set, and they'd not be able to save my life any more."

"Ape," said the Bodhisattva angrily, "you refuse to pull out one little hair. I do not feel at all like parting with my Maiden."

"Bodhisattva," pleaded Monkey, "you are being too suspicious. As they say, 'if you won't do it for the monk's sake do it for the Buddha's sake. Whatever you do, please, please save my master." The Bodhisattva

Stepped down with joy from her lotus seat,
Went amid incense to the crag by cloud.
Because the holy monk faced mortal peril
She would deliver him and catch the fiend.

Monkey was absolutely delighted. He invited the Bodhisattva to leave the Tide Cave where the devas were drawn up in line on Pota Cliff. "Let us cross the sea, Wukong," the Bodhisattva said.

"After you, Bodhisattva," said Monkey with a bow. "No, after you," replied the Bodhisattva.

"I would not dare to show off in front of the Bodhisattva," said Monkey, kowtowing. "Were I to ride my somersault cloud, Bodhisattva, I fear I might be somewhat exposed, and you'd accuse me of disrespect." At this the Bodhisattva sent the Naga Maiden to cut a lotus petal from the lotus pool and take it to the water beneath the cliff. "Stand on that petal," the Bodhisattva said to Brother Monkey, "and I will take you across the sea."

"But that petal is much too light and thin to take my weight," said Monkey. "If I fall into the sea my tigerskin kilt will get soaked, and the saltpeter that keeps it soft will be washed out. Then I won't be able to wear it in cold weather."

"Get on and see," shouted the Bodhisattva. Not daring to make any more excuses, Monkey obediently jumped on it. Although it looked so flimsy it was considerably bigger than a sea-going boat once he was aboard.

"It can carry me, Bodhisattva," he exclaimed with delight.

"Then over the sea with you," replied the Bodhisattva.

"But there's no pole, oars, mast or sail," said Monkey, "so how can I get over?"

"You will not need them," said the Bodhisattva, and with a single breath she blew the boat right across to the opposite shore of the Southern Sea of Suffering.

Once his feet were on dry land Monkey smiled and said, "That Bodhisattva really showed off her magic powers by blowing me right across the sea with no trouble at all."

Instructing all the devas to guard her immortal realm, the Bodhisattva told the Naga Maiden to close the gates of the cave, left the Pota Cliff by auspicious cloud and went over to call, "Where are you, Huian?" Huian was Moksa, the second son of Heavenly King Li, the Pagoda-carrier; he was the disciple whom the Bodhisattva personally taught, and he never left her side. His full title was Huian the Novice, Protector of the Dharma.

Huian placed his hands together and stood awaiting the Bodhisattva's orders. "Go straight up to Heaven," she said, "call on His Majesty your father, and ask him to lend me his Pole Star swords."

"How many will you need, Mistress?" Huian asked.

"The whole set," she replied.

Huian then went obediently straight up on his cloud, in through the Southern Gate of Heaven, and into the Cloud-tower Palace, where he kowtowed to his father.

"Where have you come from?" Heavenly King Li asked after greeting him.

"My mistress has been asked by Sun Wukong to subdue a demon," Huian—or Moksa—replied. "She has sent me to visit you and ask for the loan of your set of Pole Star swords."

The Heavenly King then sent Nezha to fetch the thirty-six swords, which he gave to Moksa. "Brother," said Moksa to Nezha, "would you please pay my respects to our mother. I'm on a very urgent job, and I'll come to kowtow to her when I bring the swords back." Taking his leave in a great hurry he brought his auspicious light straight down to the Southern Sea, where he presented the swords to the Bodhisattva.

The Bodhisattva took the swords, threw them into the air, said a spell, and turned them into a thousand-petal lotus throne, on which she took her seat. Monkey grinned to himself and said, "That Bodhisattva is a real skinflint. She has a lotus throne of many colours in her lotus pool already, but she's too mean to sit on that. She would have to send him off to borrow someone else's instead."

"Wukong," said the Bodhisattva, "be quiet and come with me." They then both left the coast by cloud. The white parrot flew ahead, while the Great Sage and Huian stood behind her.

Within moments they saw a mountain-top. "That's Mount Hao," said Monkey. "It's about a hundred and fifty miles from here to the demon's place." The Bodhisattva then ordered him to lower the auspicious cloud. She said the magic word "Om" above the summit, whereupon many a god and ghost—all the local spirits of the mountain—emerged from all around the mountain and gathered to kowtow to the Bodhisattva's lotus throne.

"Do not be afraid," she said. "I am here to capture this demon king. I want this whole area swept completely clean, with not a living creature left behind within a hundred miles of here. All the baby animals in their dens and fledglings in holes in the trees must be put on the top of this high crag for safety." Obediently the demons withdrew, and soon they were all back. "Now that the place is clean, you may all return to your shrines," said the Bodhisattva. She then turned her vase of purity upside-down, letting the water roar out with a noise like thunder. Indeed, it

Flowed down from the peak,
Smashed through the rocks.
Flowed down from the peak with the force of the sea,
Smashed through the rocks like a mighty ocean.
Black spray rose to the watery heavens,
Great waves coldly reflected the sun.
Jade waves smashed through crags,
While the sea was covered with golden lotuses.
Guanyin displayed her demon-quelling magic,
Producing a fixing dhyana from her sleeve.
She made the mountain a Potaraka Island,
Just like the one in the Southern Sea
Tall grew the rushes, and the epiphyllum tender,
Flowers were everywhere, and the pattra looked fresh.
Parrots perched in the purple bamboos,
And quails were calling amid the verdant pines.
Endless lines of waves as far as the eye could see,
And all that could be heard was the wind on the waters.

The Great Sage Monkey was full of silent admiration: "What great mercy and compassion. If I had that magic power I'd just have tipped the vase over, and to hell with the birds, beasts, reptiles and insects."

"Stretch your hand out, Wukong," said the Bodhisattva. Monkey at once neatened his clothes and put out his left hand. The Bodhisattva drew out her sprig of willow, moistened it in the sweet dew, and wrote "Confusion" on his palm. "Make a fist," she old him, "and go to challenge the demon to battle. Let him beat you, then draw him back here. I have a Dharma power with which to subdue him."

Monkey obediently took his cloud straight back to the cave entrance. Brandishing his cudgel with one hand and clenching the other into a fist, he shouted, "Open up, evil spirits." The little devils scampered back inside to report, "Sun the Novice is here again."

"Shut the doors tight and ignore him," said the demon king.

"What a fine son you are," shouted Monkey, "driving your own father out of doors and refusing to open the doors to him."

"Sun the Novice is being very abusive," the little devils came back in to report.

"Ignore him," said the demon king. When the doors were still shut after he had called twice, Monkey grew very angry. He raised his iron cudgel and smashed a hole in them.

This threw the little devils into such a panic that they ran tumbling and stumbling in to say, "Sun the Novice has broken the doors down."

Hearing that the outer doors had been broken down after all the earlier reports the demon king now leapt up and sprang outside brandishing his spear and flinging insults back at Monkey: "You ape, you have no sense at all. I let you off lightly, but you don't know when enough is enough. You're trying to bully me again. I'll make you pay for the crime of smashing down my doors."

"What about your crime in driving your own father away?" retorted Monkey.

In his humiliation and anger the demon king thrust his spear at Brother Monkey's chest. Monkey parried this with his cudgel and hit back. Once they started they fought four or five rounds in which Monkey, one hand holding the cudgel and the other clenched in a fist, gave ground. "I'm going back to get the Tang Priest scrubbed and cleaned," said the demon.

"You be careful, my boy," said Monkey. "Heaven can see what you're doing. You come here." This stung the demon king into an even greater fury. Running after Monkey he caught him up and took another thrust at him with his spear. Monkey swung back with his cudgel, and after a few more rounds ran away in defeat again. The demon king started to taunt him once more: "Last time you were good for twenty or thirty rounds. But now you're running away each time we fight. What's wrong with you?"

"My dear boy," grinned Monkey, "your father's afraid you'll start that fire again."

"I won't," said the demon, "now, come here."

"If you're not going to start a fire," said Monkey, "let's move away from here. A tough guy doesn't attack people in front of his own door." Not realizing that this was a trick, the evil spirit raised his spear and ran after him. Monkey trailed his cudgel and opened his other hand. The demon king then fell into confusion and chased Monkey for all he was worth. The quarry moved like a shooting star, and the pursuer like a bolt that had just been shot from a crossbow.

Before long Monkey saw the Bodhisattva. "Evil spirit," he said to the demon, "I'm scared of you. Please spare me. I'm going to where the Bodhisattva Guanyin of the Southern Sea lives. You go home now." The demon king was not going to believe this, so he gritted his teeth and continued the pursuit. With a shake of his body Monkey hid himself in the Bodhisattva's divine radiance.

Seeing that Monkey had disappeared, the evil spirit went up to the Bodhisattva, glared at her, and asked, "Are you reinforcements sent for by Monkey?" The Bodhisattva did not answer.

The demon king then twirled his spear and roared, "Hey! Are you reinforcements sent for by Monkey?" The Bodhisattva again did not answer.

The demon king then thrust his spear straight at the Bodhisattva's heart, at which she turned into a beam of golden light and rose straight up to the highest heavens. Monkey went up with her and complained, "Bodhisattva, you've tricked me again. Why did you act deaf and dumb and say nothing when that demon kept asking you? One thrust from his spear and you ran away. You've even ditched your lotus throne."

"Keep quiet," the Bodhisattva said, "and see what he does next."

Monkey and Moksa stood next to each other up there watching while the demon said with a derisive jeer, "Insolent ape, you didn't know who you were up against. You didn't realize what sort of person I am. You fought me and lost several times, and then you sent for that putrid Bodhisattva. One thrust from my spear and she's disappeared. She's even left her lotus throne behind. Well, I'm going to sit on it now." The evil spirit then sat cross-legged in the middle of the throne, imitating the Bodhisattva.

"That's just marvellous," said Monkey. "Now you've given your lotus throne away."

"What are you saying now, Wukong?" the Bodhisattva asked.

"What am I saying?" Monkey replied. "I'm saying you've given your lotus throne away. That fiend has just sat himself down on it. Would you care to get it back?"

"But I want him to sit on it," the Bodhisattva said. "He's so small he'll sit on it much more safely than you did," Monkey replied.

"Stop talking," said the Bodhisattva, "and watch the power of the Dharma."

She pointed downwards with her sprig of willow and called. "Turn back." The colours and auspicious glow of the lotus sea all disappeared, leaving the demon king sitting on the points of swords. "Drive the swords in by hitting their handles with the demon-quelling pestle," she ordered Moksa.

Moksa then took his cloud straight down and struck over a thousand times with the demon-quelling pestle as if he were ramming down earth to build a wall. The demon was now pouring with blood from his open wounds as the points of two swords both came out through his thighs. Watch the demon as he grits his teeth against the agony. Throwing his spear down he pulled furiously at the swords.

"Bodhisattva," exclaimed Monkey, "that monster's not afraid of pain. He's trying to pull the swords out."

Seeing this she called to Moksa, "Don't kill him." She then pointed her sprig of willow down once more, said the magic word "Om," and turned all Pole Star swords into halberds with inverted barbs like wolf's teeth that could not be pulled out. This finally made the demon desperate.

Trying to bend the sword-points he pleaded in his agony, "Bodhisattva, your disciple was blind. I failed to recognize your great Dharma powers. I beg you in your mercy to spare my life. I shall never do evil again, and I vow to become a Buddhist and observe the rules of conduct."

On hearing this the Bodhisattva went down on her golden light with Moksa, Monkey and the white parrot till she was in front of the evil spirit. "Will you really accept my rules of conduct?"

The demon king nodded and said amid tears, "I will accept the rules if you spare my life."

"Will you join my faith?" the Bodhisattva asked.

"If you spare my life I swear I will," said the demon king.

"In that case," said the Bodhisattva, "I shall lay my hands on your head and administer the vows." From her sleeve she produced a golden razor, with a few strokes of which she shaved the demon's head into a Mount Tai tonsure, leaving him with a topknot and with three little tufts.

"Poor evil spirit," laughed Monkey. "Now you can't tell whether he's a boy or a girl. Goodness knows what he's meant to be."

"As you have accepted my rules of conduct," said the Bodhisattva to the demon, "I will not mistreat you. I shall call you Page Sudhana. Do you accept?" The demon bowed in assent, wanting only to have his life spared. The Bodhisattva then pointed at him and called, "Withdraw!" With a crashing sound the Pole Star swords all fell into the dust. The boy was now unharmed.

"Huian," said the Bodhisattva, "will you take the swords back to the Heavenly Palace and return them to His Majesty your father? You need not come back to meet me: wait with all the devas on the Pota Crag." As instructed, Moksa took the swords back to Heaven then returned to the Southern Sea.

Now the boy's savage nature had not yet been tamed. When he realized that the pain in his legs had gone, that his backside was no longer wounded, and that he had three little tufts of hair on his head he ran over to grab his spear and said to the Bodhisattva, "You don't have any real Dharma powers that can put me down. It was all just an illusion. I refuse to accept your rules. Take this!"

He jabbed at her face with his spear, making Monkey so angry that he struck at the boy with his cudgel. "Don't hit him," the Bodhisattva called out.

"I have a way of punishing him." From her sleeve she produced a gold band and continued, "This treasure is one of the three bands—a golden one, tightening one, and a prohibition one—that the Tathagata Buddha gave me when I went to the East to find the pilgrim who would fetch the scriptures. You are wearing the tightening band. The prohibition band was used to subdue the great god guarding the mountain. I have not been able to bring myself to give the golden one away before, but as this demon is being so outrageous he shall have it."

The splendid Bodhisattva then waved the band in the wind, shouted "Change!" and turned it into five band that she threw at the boy with the command "Fix!" One went over his head, two on his hands, and two on his feet. "Stand clear, Wukong," the Bodhisattva ordered, "while I say the Gold-band Spell."

"Bodhisattva," pleaded Monkey in panic, "I asked you here to subdue the demon, so why ever are you putting a curse on me?"

"But this will not be the Band-tightening Spell that affects you," the Bodhisattva explained. "It will be the Gold-band Spell that works on the boy." Monkey felt easier in his mind as he stood beside the Bodhisattva and listened to her saying the spell. She made magic with her hands and recited the words silently several times over. The evil spirit twisted and tugged at his ears and cheeks, stamped his feet and rolled around. Indeed,

One phrase unites all the words without number;
Boundless and deep is the strength of the Dharma.


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If you don't know how the boy was finally converted, listen to the explanation in the next installment.