Sunday, November 7, 2010

Monkey God & Pilgrimage to the West (Pt 2)

I'll continue my blog on the Monkey God story.
1. One of the things learned from the white rabbit story, is that one should not harbour any secret, subtle wish, especially those "wrongful" ones such as the White Rabbit Angel's secret thought to eat the Tripitaka Monk's flesh while she was still an angel in heaven. Due to that one thought, the subsequent problems arose and she had had the opportunity to eat the monk's flesh. She only realised her problems was due to that when pointed out to her by Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. So, for those of us, with those one second thoughts to have one night stands, do be careful! It may just come true and bring consequential problems! However, as pointed by Kuan Yin again, it was due to the problems that the reincarnation of her enemy (i.e. the real princess) was able to resolve her problems with her parents, the King and Queen of Sravasti kingdom. So, in this case, problems do bring some good and because of the problems, she had accrued some merits and enabled her to be an angel once more on heaven.

2. In order to obtain the dharma we have to sacrifice something in return. Normally we need to make an offering. When the Buddha instructed the Ven. Ananda and Ven. Mogallana to retrieve the Sutras for the Tripitaka monk and his disciples, the latter monks were surprised when the two elderly disciples of the Buddha requested for some offerings. Zhu Ba Jie (the pigsy) was angry and thought negatively on Ven. Ananda and Ven. Mogallana. However, the Tripitaka monk understood and told the two that he and his three students had already sacrificed their lives for the sake fo the dharma and they was what they had to offer for the sutras and had no money to offer. It seems fortunate to Tripitaka monks and his students that the two of them accepted this offering of theirs and took out the sutras for them. However, on the way back, the sutras were "hijacked" by a giant bird, i.e. the garuda. Monkey tried to gave chase but to no avail. Actually the two chief disciples reported back to the Buddha that they were given the "wordless" Sutras and the Buddha perceived that sentient beings would not be able to understand them. And he instructed the disciples to take the sutras back. When this happened, Tripitaka's students were angry with the Buddha for taking back the scriptures. But Tripitaka monk was sad and understood the meaning of this incident. He understood he had to go back to get the written sutras from the Buddha for sentient beings. This part of the story has deep significance and I leave my readers to ponder what these "wordless" and "written" sutras mean. In exchange for the written sutras, Tripitaka monk offered the golden bowl he had obtained from the Chinese Emperor to Ven. Anada and Ven. Mogallana. He said in order to obtain something that has no price, he had earlier offered something with no price also, i.e. their lives. And in order to obtain something that has a price tag albeit a high price, he also offered something that has a high value, i.e. the golden bowl.

On the journey back, Kuan Yin realised that the Tripitaka monk was one obstacle short. Therefore he and his students had to be tested one more obstacle. This is an indirect confirmation that all the obstacles faced by the group along the journey to the Buddha were all spiritual tests. That's what we should regard all our obstacles along our way to Enlightenment. The sutras dropped into the huge river and became wet. The four of them had to dry them beside the river bank. As Zhu Ba Jie was collecting the sutras back after drying them, he accidentally tore one of the scriptures and the part that stuck to the rock emitted holy lights. It seems that the rock still stands today, but I am not sure where.

3. When Sun Wu Kong achieved his enlightenment at the incident after the sutras dropped into the river and became wet and they were drying them, he just laughed and exclaimed that finally he had understood.Ba Jie and Wu Jing did not know what he had understood but his master, the Tripitaka monk knew. He said, "If you had understood, that's good". What did he understand? Well, back in the early days when he studied under his first Master, Master Bodhi, he was asked 2 questions. One question was : Where is Master Bodhi?'  The second question was : Where is Mount Wu Ling (the place where they were going to, to get the scriptures from the Buddha)? He did not know the answer then but now after having completed the journey, he finally understood. I did not really understand the spoken chinese from the Chinese drama but I understand the answer is the Master is where the peaceful heart/mind is. And Mount Wu Ling lies inside us and not some external place outside. In other words, the journey to enlightenment is an inner journey, or an inner transformation. I think these are very profound words and it makes sense for us to digest these words properly. And it is also significant that at the end of the journey, Sun Wu Kong went back to Master Bodhi's retreat home but he found his master is no longer there. The whole place is now empty. He sat there for a while and bowed to where his master was and reflected deeply his master's kindness. Then he smiled and laughed. Sun Wu Kong finally realised his aim. He was now at peace. He was no longer the agitated monkey that he once was. Then after some silent reflection, he left the place. There is a dharma saying that when the student is unenlightened, there will always appear a master for the student when the time is ripe. But when the student had gone beyond and achieved enlightenment, the student saves himself and no longer need the master. Please reflect deeply on the many points here on the last part of the story. It is also interesting that he thought of his first master after achieving enlightenment and went to thank him, even though the master was no longer there.  This underscores the importance of being grateful to our gurus. And also demonstrated the fact that it is due to our gurus that we are able to achieve every blessings and spiritual achievement in our lives. Both masters was instrumental and important in Monkey's achievement. When he was having problems with Tripitaka Master, he went back to his first master and sought advice from him. So, we must never forget our previous gurus, i.e. those gurus that we have learned dharma from before our present gurus. I feel this is an important point to note even though our previous gurus may be of other lineages or traditions. And it is said in the dharma teachings that even our kindergarten teachers are our gurus.

I think that's all my blog on the story of Monkey God or Monkey King and his journey with the Tripitaka monk and his fellow students to the Buddha's Pure Land to obtain the scriptures. I feel it is more of a journey to enlightenment and self-discovery than an external journey. There are many more points that we could learn than I could possibly write in any blog. What we learn, actually depends on our own karma and dharma affinity too. When the dharma affinity is not there, you can give a direct dharma teaching right in front of the person, but the person will still not get it. He will not understand what is being said. He will miss the whole dharma point or misunderstands it (which could be worse than not understanding it).

Today I just read that the film industry in Hong Kong is going to make a movie of Monkey King and it will be in 3D. It will star Donnie Yen in the title role and there will be other HK famous actors and actresses including Chow Yun Fatt as a mythical Emperor and Aaron Kwok as the Bull King (Yama Raja). Aaron Kwok as Bull King? Interesting? I am somewhat sceptical that this 3D "hollywood style" movie which inclues mega movie stars will ever have any element that stays true to the original storyline where there are many dharma points. I think this China series that I have reviewed here in my blog is a good one for it has tried to stay true to the original story by Wu Chen En as much as possible and I feel the director has ensured important dharma lessons are conveyed clearly through the way it is presented in the movie set throughout the story. Good job. I just fear the 3D movie version will be more of a film to show the special effects ability of the movie makers than conveying any dharma lessons. I hope they prove me wrong.

P/s: I am having internet problems due to my already aged PC. So, if I don't post for a while. please be patient. I guess I need to buy a new PC, and this needs $$$.  Hahaha... hope google can help a bit. :)

1 comment:

s said...

wonderful commentary... grateful... thanks!