Have you read the famous Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West?’ If you have, then you must be familiar with Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King in Mandarin Chinese. He is a legendary figure and one of the main characters in the novel mentioned above and many later adaptations and stories.
The origins of the Monkey King can be traced back to the monkey-God, Hanuman, the Ramayan, the Hindu epic and from the song dynasty. According to the novel ‘Journey to the West’, Sun Wukong is a monkey born from a stone that later acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices.
Does this story sound interesting? Then get comfortable and learn more in this article below.
Monkey King Origin
It is believed that during the ancient times, there was a magical rock on top of Mount Huagou. One day, a strong breeze brew upon the rock which caused a fully formed monkey to emerge from the rock’s stone face. Much as it had just been born, the baby monkey was able to speak and walk.
When this monkey opened his eyes, out of his pupils came beams of light that pierced the clouds and startled the Jade Emperor. He was forced to look for the origin of the strange light, and all he could see was a young monkey. Since the Emperor couldn’t fathom how such an intense beam of light could come from such a source, he dismissed the incident.
In the Forest
When Sun Wukong began traveling the forest, he discovered other monkeys, and he chose to live there with them. As the group of monkeys was relaxing near a waterfall, they began playing a game. The game required the bravest of them to jump through the falls and get the source of the stream. Whoever would do it was going to be named the Monkey King.
Sun Wukong immediately took on the challenge, jumped through the waterfalls and found the source. When he completed his mission, he declared himself the king of the monkeys. He later became a powerful forest demon, with the full support of the forest monkeys.
He would go to battle the Dragon king and other sea demons. Give his success on all the battles he partook; he earned himself powerful weapons like gold chainmail shirt, cloud-walking boots, phoenix cap and magical eight-ton staff.
His Trickery Begins
The time came for the Kings of Hell and Yan Wang to collect Wukong’s soul, and they found him ready. He first fooled Yan Wang into letting him return to earth without being reincarnated. Before leaving hell, Wukong ensured his name and that of every forest monkey was deleted from the Book of Life and Death. This upset Yan Wang that the balance of life was being disorganized by a mere monkey which prompted him to appeal to the Jade Emperor for help.
The Jade Emperor and Sun Wukong
When the Jade Emperor heard of the irascible Mount Huaguo demon, he felt the best way to calm Wukong was to have him stay in heaven with other deities so he can feel equally important. Jade Emperor, therefore, invited Wukong, and he eagerly accepted, bid farewell to his friends and headed for the Jade Palace.
To his disappointment, when he goes there, Wukong discovered he had been given the lowest task in the entire heaven-guarding Jade’s horses. He realized that other gods would undermine him because he is a monkey and had to get ways to prove himself. He, therefore, became obsessed with immortality idea and devoted himself to the pursuit of everlasting life.
One day Jade had a party and invited everyone but Wukong. When he came to the party without an invitation, all his peers laughed at him, which angered him and declared himself ‘the Great Sage Equal to Heaven’.
Battle with Jade Emperor
When the Jade Emperor heard of what Wukong had done, he sent a battalion of soldiers to arrest Wukong. However, Wukong outmatched them, and when he had defeated the last soldier, he shouted victoriously that people should remember his name.
Wukong’s victory forced Jade to acknowledge his power and later asked Buddha to intervene. Buddha then expelled Wukong from heaven and pinned him under a mountain to have him repent.
Journey to the West
It is said Wukong lay immobilized under Buddha’s mountain for 500 years until a travelling monk called Tang Sanzang offered to release him. The monk would release Wukong on condition that he repents and becomes his disciple, to which he first refused but later accepted. Therefore, Wukong was set free and joined Tang’s other demonic travelling companions.
Sun Wukong is the Monkey King who is believed to have originated from a stone. He is a trickster Chinese god that plays a significant role in the 16th-century novel named ‘Journey to the west’. After Wukong had emerged from a stone, he joined other forest monkeys and his bravery to jump through a waterfall and get to its source earned him the title of the Monkey King.