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唐僧救悟空



Chapter 8: Tangseng Rescues Wukong

            Time passed like flowing water, as the days travelled by. Wukong had been under the mountain for five hundred years already.

            One day, the Buddha Rulai in the West said to his people: “In the East there is a Tang country. Lately there have been many wars. Here I have the real scriptures that could dissolve the mean into kindness. Who would like to go and find a person to seek these scriptures? Tell him to go through thousands of dangers to get here.”

            Guanyin stood up and said: “I would go.” Rulai was very happy. He took out a cassock and a cane, handed it to Guanyin, and said: “This cassock and cane will help in dissolving dangers, so it will be used by the seeker. Then find him a few powerful disciples that will protect him along the way.’

            Guanyin left, going to the East on a cloud. Very quickly, he arrived at the capitol of the Tang, Changan.

            Changan had a very accomplished senior called Xuanzang. One day, Xuanzang was talking to the Emperor about Buddha powers. Suddenly an old monk walked in from the door with a cassock and cane in hand. The old monk interrupted the conversation, saying: “I hear that you are talking about the beginner level of the Buddha. But do you know the higher level?”

            Xuanzang said: “I don’t know the higher level. Please teach us.”

            The old monk said: “In the West, Rulai has three stores of the true scriptures that could transform the evil into the kind.”

            The Emperor, hearing this, asked: “May I ask how the scriptures could be reached?”

            Just as he finished, the old monk transformed into Guanyin and said: “From the Tang to the West lie a hundred and eight thousand miles to go with dangers within. Only the ones who aren’t stunned by fear or hardships could reach the west to get the scriptures. This cassock and cane are for the use of the seeker.” As he finished, he left behind the cassock and cane, and then rode away on a cloud.

            After Xuanzang watched Guanyin go away, he turned around and said to the emperor: “Your majesty, I have the will to go to the West and retrieve the true scriptures.”

            The Emperor became very happy, saying: “Elder, if you really aren’t frightened by dangers and truly want to go to the West, I would be willing to be sworn brothers with you.”

            Xuanzang said: “Please be easy; after I go, if I don’t get to the scriptures in the west, I will never come back.”

            The Emperor said: “Very good. I will give you a purple-golden bowl so that you could get food along the way from others. Going to the West to get the scriptures is for the Tang. Therefore, I will present you with a name… you could be Sanzang Tang.”

            The second day, Xuanzang left the capitol of Changan on his horse. Because he was sent by the Tang to reach the scriptures in the West, everyone called him Tangseng.

            One day, as Tangseng was walking, he suddenly heard a voice at the foot of a mountain yelling: “My master has come! Master! Master! Come rescue me!” Tangseng looked forward, and saw that a monkey was stuck under a mountain, only his head and arms showing. The monkey yelled: “Master, how did you take so long to come? You have come at the right time; quickly rescue me out of this prison. I will protect you to the West.”

            Tangseng came closer, and saw that even though there was grass around his head and dirt on his face, his eyes were very bright. The monkey asked Tangseng: “Are you the one that the Tang Emperor sent to the West for the scriptures?” Tangseng said: “Yes. Who are you? Why are you under there?” The monkey said: “I am the Command Sky Saint who messed up the Sky Palace five hundred years ago, and was crushed under here by the Buddha Rulai. A few days ago Guanyin told me that a scripture seeker will pass by soon to rescue me out. I waited for days before you came. Now you have come!” Tangseng grew happy at hearing this, saying: “But I have nothing with me; how could I get you out?” The Saint said: “On top of this mountain is a paper written by Rulai. You just peel off the strip of paper and I could get out.’

            Tangseng climbed to the top of the mountain, and as expected saw a piece of paper with golden words on it stuck to a rectangular rock. As Tangseng reached to pull it off, there suddenly blew a light wind, and the paper slowly lifted off, all the way into the sky. Tangseng came down and said to the Saint: “The paper is already gone; you could come out.” The Saint happily said: “Master, could you go a little further away? It might scare you when I come out.”

            Therefore Tangseng walked three or four miles away when he heard the Saint yell: “Please a little further!” Tangseng then walked even further away when he suddenly heard a giant sound, and in the blink of an eye the Saint was standing right in front of him, saying: “Master, I have come out!” As he finished he saluted four times to Tangseng. Tangseng asked: “Disciple, what is your name?” The Saint answered: “My family name is Sun; my given name is Wukong Sun.” Tangseng was very happy, and said: “I will give you another name, you could also be Xingzhe Sun.” Wukong nodded and said: “Okay, good.”

            Tangseng got on his horse, and Wukong carried the luggage as they proceeded forward. As they walked, a tiger suddenly bounced out from nearby, standing in the path with its mouth open, seemingly threatening to eat Tangseng. Tangseng grew very scared, but Wukong was very excited, saying: “This tiger has come to deliver me clothing!” Wukong took out his As Will Golden Hooped Staff, waved it to the thickness of a bowl, and held it in his hand, smiling: “My precious, I haven’t used you for five hundred years! Today I will take you out for new clothing!” He walked up to the tiger and yelled: “Where would you go?” Fright caught the tiger as it prostrated on the ground, not daring to move. Wukong killed the tiger, and took its skin to create a dress made of tiger skin, surrounding it on himself.

            As the two walked forward, Tangseng asked Wukong: “Wukong, back then when the tiger saw you, how come it didn’t dare move?” Wukong said: “Don’t say a mere tiger; even a dragon wouldn’t dare mess with me. Back then in the old days, even the gods have to let me!” Tagnseng then asked: “Then where is the metal staff that you used to kill the tiger?” Wukong said: “Master, then you don’t know. This weapon was originally the most valued property of the East Sea Dragon King, called the As Will Golden Hooped Staff. It could turn into any shape and size by will. Before I had it in the form of a needle in my ear.”

            When Tangseng heard that Wukong had all these abilities, he became more confident and happy.

            Tangseng was riding on his horse when he suddenly felt hungry. He stopped his horse, took out his bowl, and said: “Wukong, I am a little hungry. Could you get some food?” Wukong took the bowl, put down the luggage, and said: “Master, please rest here. I will be back soon.” As he finished, he jumped into the air, and pretty much instantly he was unseen. Tangseng sat by the path and was waiting for Wukong when he saw an old woman slowly walking toward him with a hat in hand.

            The old woman came to Tangseng and said: “Where are you from, elder, to come sitting here by yourself?” Tangseng answered: “I am sent by the Tang emperor to get scriptures in the West. I also have a disciple who has gone to get food.” The old woman said: “Elder, I have a Golden Threaded Hat that I would like to give to your disciple. I also have a Tighten Hoop Incantation to tell you. If your disciple doesn’t follow your instructions, just secretly recite this, and pain will make him follow you.” The old woman gave Tangseng the hat, turned into his real self, Guanyin, and left.

            Not long later, Wukong came back with food. Tangseng said to Wukong: “Disciple, you must be tired. I have a hat for you. You could wear it.” Wukong saw the hat, and happily put it on. The hat wasn’t too big or too small; it was just the right size, as if it was made for him.

            Tangseng started reciting the incantation as soon as Wukong put on the hat. Wukong yelled: “My head hurts! Headache!” Tangseng kept reciting it a few more times, and as a result Wukong rolled on the ground in pain. Wukong thought: this hat is bad; as soon as I put it on, my head will hurt. He reached to take off the hat.

            Tangseng was afraid that Wukong would break the hat, so he stopped reciting. As soon as he stopped, Wukong didn’t hurt anymore. Wukong reached up, and felt that inside the hat there was a golden thread. The thread tightly looped around his head, and no matter how he tried, it wouldn’t break, as if it had grown into his head. Wukong took out his staff in needle form, and tried to prick at the hoop. Tangseng was afraid that Wukong would break the thread, so he started reciting again. Wukong’s head therefore started hurting again. Only when Tangseng saw Wukong like this did he stop reciting.

            Wukong realized and said: “So my head hurting is all because of you, master!” Tangseng said: “I am reciting the Tighten Hoop Incantation. In the future, if you don’t do what I tell you to do, I will recite this.” Wukong quickly said: “Okay, okay. I will listen. Don’t recite it anymore. But who taught you this?” Tangseng said: “This incantation was taught to me by an old woman while you were gone. She told me to tell you to put this hat on. The incantation was by the woman too.”

Wukong got immediately angry at hearing this, saying: “Master, that woman must be Guanyin. I will go to the South Sea for revenge!” Tangseng said: “Are you really a fool? If he taught me this incantation, then he must be able to recite it too. If you go to find him, then wouldn’t you be pained to death?”

Wukong thought about it and said: “I understand. Guanyin doing this is to control me so that I could protect you to the West. You are correct; finding him is pointless. Master, don’t recite it anymore. I will do my best to protect you.hen Tangseng saw Wukong like this did he stop reciting. he tried, it wouldn'the ground in pain.on himself.ing.

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