Who Is Sun Wukong And The Monkey King In Chinese Mythology?
The monkey king Sun Wukong was a trickster god known for his abilities and deceptive nature. He had supernatural powers such as flying on a cloud and the power to transform into many figures
Who is the monkey king?
As mentioned above, the monkey king was born with the name Sun Wukong. His traits and earlier life among monkeys saw him labeled as The monkey king.
When was Sun Wukong born?
It is not clear when The monkey king was born but he came to be documented first in the 16th century in a book called ‘Journey To The West’.
How was Sun Wukong born?
Sun Wukong was born of a magical stone that sat on top of the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits. This stone burst out one day and gave an immortal egg the size of a ball. This egg was blown by wind which sculpted it into a monkey figure. By supernatural powers, this stone started to crawl and walk and was named Sun Wukong
What does Sun Wukong look like?
Sun Wukong looked like a monkey with pointed ears and a tail, he also wore traditional wear that is a skin kilt, golden chain amour, leather boots, and a phoenix feather cap.
What did Sun Wukong do?
After his birth, Sun Wukong befriended many animals and joined a group of monkeys. The group of monkeys decided to explore a river source and came across a waterfall. All monkeys agreed that whoever made it across the waterfall would be their king. Sun Wukong went in first and found a bridge behind the water and a good residence cave. He invited other monkeys to explore the cave and they decided to live there. This would become known as the cave of the water curtains and Sun Wukong was named The Monkey king. He reigned many years as the monkey king till he realized he was immortal.
He started his journey in search of immortality and found himself in the land of humans. He walks far studying humans and into the deep of a forest where he had heard rumors about the existence of an immortal master. He found the master who declined to take him as a student at first. For many months The Monkey king sat outside and waited and this master was impressed by his resilience and agreed to teach him. The Immortal master was a Taoist and taught him many magic spells, advanced Taoist practices, and the way of immortality.
When he got back to the cave of the water curtains, he found the king of confusion demon kidnapping monkeys to use as a slave. He fought and defeated the demon and its counterparts. He took all the demons’ weapons and offered them to the monkeys. He however didn’t have a weapon on his own. He heard that the dragons of the great seas possessed great weapons and he took a journey to find a weapon for himself. He met the Dragon king and that is when he chose his weapon Ruyi Jingu Bang– a golden staff. He also convinces the Dragon king to gift him an attire and he is given a golden chain vest, a phoenix feather cap, and the cloud walking boots.
Monkey king returned to the mountains wielding power and attracts several demons to form an ally. They are attacked by the Demon of hell who tried to take his soul but he defeated the demon and removed his name and that of other monkeys from the book of death. The book contained names of all mortals and could control any mortal’s life span. The Demon of hell reported Monkey king to the Jade Emperor. The dragon king also reported him claiming extortion.
Monkey king is invited to Heaven by the Jade Emperor and thinks he Is going to get a good position as per his prowess. In heaven, he is made “the protector of horses” which is a very low rank. This angered him and one night he set the horses free and returned to his kingdom. He then named himself The Great Sage, Heavens equal.
The Jade Emperor is advised by the Gold Star to face the monkey king with a job to keep him in control in heaven. Gold star noted that Monkey king had total disregard for heaven protocol but they had to give him a job in heaven to keep him in check. Monkey king is made the Guardian of the heavenly peach garden. One day all-important gods and goddesses were invited to a banquet in heaven apart from Monkey king. Queen-mother sent her maiden to collect some peaches for the banquet and they met Monkey king in the garden. The maidens mocked the monkey king telling him that he was mere and not a god and this angered him. He started wandering around the palace and sampled the guests’ food and the royal wine. He wandered more and found himself in the highest places of the palace. Here he stole longevity elixir and peaches of immortality and consumed more royal wine. He ran away from the palace and returned to his kingdom.
Jade Emperor was angered by his actions and sent heaven’s army to capture Monkey king. Monkey king single-handedly defeated the heavenly army and a further twenty-eight constellations. Then the emperor sent the four heavenly kings and Monkey king was captured. After many attempts to execute the Monkey king fails, he is put in an eight-way trigram crucible for 49 days. He was to be refined into longevity pills that he had stolen. After the 49 days, Monkey king survived by using his powers inside the crucible and jumping out startling everyone. The fire used only made him stronger and added power to him. He could see evil entities, no matter what shape they took, by just looking at them.
Jade Emperor prayed and begged Buddha to help him deal with Monkey king. Buddha appeared from the west gate of the palace and listened to both of them. Buddha then tricked Monkey king by challenging him to escape from his palms and that’s when Buddha cast a stone over Monkey king and threw him down to the mountains. He put him between the rocks and sealed the gaps entrapping the Monkey king.
Monkey king stayed trapped in the rocks for the next 500 years to learn humility and patience.
What does Sun Wukong represent?
Sun Wukong represents transformation. It’s a story that shows the movement from arrogance to enlightenment. Sun Wukong represents hope and resilience. It shows the spirit of fighting for what we believe in and bringing change.
How strong is Sun Wukong?
Sun Wukong possessed many abilities that showcased his strength. He would move so fast and leap a very huge distance in a single stride. He studies the art of 72 transformations and his weapon was so great that nobody else would wield it.
What are Sun Wukong 72 transformations?
The Sun Wukong 72 transformation is an advanced Taoist practice that gives the power to transform into 72 different animals and objects. This also gave the monkey king the power to transform his thousands of hairs into another form. He would also cut hairs into two to multiply them.
Is Sun Wukong real?
No, Sun Wukong is not real. He can be described as a mythical figure or a fairy god found in books. The monkey king legend came from the Chinese early literature in a very successful novel called journey to the west.
What does Sun Wukong wear on his head?
Sun Wukong wore a phoenix feather hat that was given to him by the Dragon king after the fight at the four seas. It is not clear if this hat added any special powers to him but it’s known it was a valued treasure to the Dragon king.
After his 500-year imprisonment, Monkey king was tricked by Tang Sanzang of the Tang dynasty to wear a golden circlet around his head. Tang Sanzang had noticed that the monkey king could not be controlled and sought help from Guaying. Guaying gave Tang sanzang the Golden circlet which was a gift from Buddha. Once the circlet was worn, it could not be removed and it gave the wearer bad headaches when he defied orders. Sun Wukong lived the rest of his life with the golden circlet.
What weapon does Sun Wukong use?
He used a golden staff that he got from the Dragon king. It is said that his staff weighed at least 8tons. The staff was magical and he could control it with his mind without touching it. When not in use he would shrink it to the size of a needle.
Why is Sun Wukong so popular?
He is popular due to his demeanor, arrogance, and the amount of power he possessed. His gradual transformation will have made him one of the most sought-after characters.
Who is Sun Wukong’s teacher?
Puti Zhushi was Wukong’s teacher and master. They met in the forests when Sun Wukong embarked on a journey to find immortality. He taught him advanced Taoism and made him promise not to reveal who his teacher was. Sun Wukong woke up to later find that he learned through compressed time.
Who can beat Sun Wukong?
Sun Wukong was defeated once by the demigod Erlang Shen when he was captured to be refined for elixir. Erlang Shen was the greatest fighter in heaven and was a nephew to The Jade Emperor.
Sun Wukong was a master’s idea of the novel writer and many people related to his story. Some argue that he is the best superhero of all time and we agree that the character had an immense amount of power and the heart to cause change.