Monkey King is one of the main characters in Chinese classic literature masterpiece "Journey To The West". He is the first disciple of Tang Monk.
Actually in Chinese, his most popular name is not "Monkey King" but "Sun Wukong", which was given by his first Master who taught him the 72 supernormal abilities. "Wu" means enlightening. "Kong" means emptiness, which is one of the most important understandings in Buddhism.
Monkey King's origin was a monkey created from stone naturally. After birth he firstly stayed with monkeys in the Flower and Fruits Mountain and became a king of them. Later Monkey King developed the will to obtain longevity and be free from aging and dying. He voyaged all across the continents to find a Master. He finally found one real high level Master, the Pu-Ti Original Master (Pu-Ti is pronounced as "Poo Tee"). Monkey King learned 72 types of supernormal abilities from the Master. He could cross 54,000 kilometers in one jump.
Then Monkey King left his Master. He became so capable after learning from the Master, he found that normal weapons were just too light for him. He went to the Dragon King's palace in the sea to seek a weapon. The Dragon King offered him all the heaviest weapons they had, but Monkey King still felt them too light. Finally someone beside the Dragon King realized that there was a huge iron club in the sea, which weighed over 6500 kilograms. There is a gold ring at each end. Several characters were inscribed on it: "Willful Gold-ring Club". It can scale according to his thought. When enlarged, it can reach as high as thirty-three levels of heaven and as low as the eighteenth level of hell. When shrunk, it can be as small as a needle and kept in one of his ears.
At the age of 324, Monkey King's predestined life time reached the end and was captured into the hell. However, his previous cultivation with Pu-ti Master had actually enabled him to be free from death and be not submitted to the governing of hell. In the hell, he marked off his own name in the Birth-death Book and beat all the way back to the human dimension and became alive again.
The governor of hell Yan-Luo King reported to the Great Emperor of Jade in heaven about Sun Wukong's rebelling. Originally the Jade Emperor intended to arrest Sun Wukong. Later the Extreme Platinum Star suggested to peacefully resolve the rebelling by honoring Sun Wukong a role in heaven. Then Monkey King was summoned to heaven and assigned a role called "Bi-Ma-Wen" (Pronounced as "bee-mar-wen").
After 15 days, when he realized that the role was only a horse tender, Monkey King turned angry. He fought all the way out of the South Gate of Heaven and returned to the Flower and Fruits Mountain in human world. During these 15 days in heaven, 15 years passed in human world. Sun Wukong honored himself a title the "Great Saint Equaling Heaven" ("Qi-Tian-Da-Sheng").
After the Jade Emperor learned that Sun Wukong rebelled off the heaven, he ordered the four Great Generals of Heaven leading 100,000 heavenly soldiers to go to arrest Sun Wukong. Sun Wukong defeated the four Great Generals of Heaven. He multiplied himself through supernormal abilities and defeated the 100,000 heavenly soldiers as well.
Then Guan-yin Bodhisattva ordered his first disciple, who is the second son of the Li General of Heaven, to go to help with the battle. The Second Son could not defeat Sun Wukong either. However, during the battle the Supreme Lord (Tai Shang Lao Jun) cast his gold ring and stroke Sun Wukong's head. Sun Wukong fell down and was arrested.
The Jade Emperor sentenced Sun Wukong to death. However, Sun Wukong has eaten the elixir refined by Supreme Lord and have formed an indestructible body. Neither hacking with sword nor burning with fire could really harm him. The Supreme Lord threw Sun Wukong into his Eight Diagram Stove and burned him for forty-nine days. After the forty-nine days, Sun Wukong not only survived but also got his eyes refined into a pair of Fire Golden Eyes that could see through deeper dimensions.
Finally the Tathagata Buddha came. Whatever supernormal ability Sun Wukong used was of no use to the Tathagata. Then Sun Wukong tried to jump away. He found himself still inside the palm of the Tathagata Buddha however he jumped. Tathagata suppressed Sun Wukong under the Wu-xing Mountain. Sun Wukong stayed under the mountain for 500 years before the Tang Monk passed there in his trip of fetching the scriptures. The Tang Monk rescued Sun Wukong out of the mountain. And Sun Wukong has followed Tang Monk in his journey to the West to fetch the Buddha's scriptures.
From then on, Sun Wukong joined a righteous cause. He was loyal and diligent in the course. He protected Tang Monk all the way and gave good performances of all his supernormal abilities in fighting the demons that were interfering with their trip to India. When encountering demons that he was not able to defeat, Sun Wukong would go to the Guan Yin Bodhisattva for help.
After completing the whole journey, Sun Wukong successfully reached Buddha status and became a Buddha.
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