Chapter Fifty

Feelings Run Wild and Nature Gets Loose Because of Desire
In Confusion of Spirit the Heart Is Disturbed and the Demon Encountered

The poem goes:
The heart must be frequently swept,
The dust of emotions removed,
Lest the Buddha be trapped in the pit.
Only when the essence is pure
Can the origin then be discussed.
Trim the candle of nature,
Breathe in the way that Master Caoxi taught,
Control the ape and horse of the mind.
Only when breath is calm by day and night
Can one achieve the true adept’s skill.

This poem is set to the tune Nan Ke Zi and it tells how the Tang Priest escaped disaster under the ice of the River of Heaven and crossed to the other bank on the shell of the white turtle. As the four pilgrims headed West it was now the depths of winter, but the mists in the forests were still light, and the bony shapes of the mountains could be seen rising in their purity above the waters. As master and disciples carried on along their way, they were obstructed by a big mountain. The road was rocky, and they and the horse found the going rough. Sanzang reined the horse in and called for his disciples.

Monkey led Pig and Friar Sand forward to stand in attendance and asked, “Master, what are your instructions?”

“You can see how high the mountain in front of us is,” said Sanzang. “I am worried that there may be tigers, wolves, monsters and demon beasts who will kill us. You must be very careful.”

“Don’t worry, Master,” said Monkey. “We three brothers have got on very well together since we were converted to the pursuit of the truth. With our magic powers to put down demons and monsters we’ve got nothing to fear from tigers, wolves or demons.” This greatly reassured Sanzang, who pressed ahead. When he reached the mouth of a gully and urged the horse up the slope he raised his head and saw that it was a splendid mountain:

Towering crags,
A steep and lofty range.
Towering crags pierced the heavens,
The steep and lofty range blocked out the azure shy.
Grotesque rocks were piled like sitting tigers,
Twisted, slanting pines seemed to fly like dragons,
Beautifully sang the birds on the ridge,
Heavy hung the scent of plum blossom by the scar.
Cold was the sluggish flow of the stream,
And menacing hung the dark clouds over the peak.
They saw whirling snow,
And an icy wind
Howling with the roar of hungry mountain tigers.
Cold rooks could find no perches in the trees
And wild deer did not know the way back home.
Hard it was indeed for the traveler to make progress
As he frowned with worry and covered up his head.

The four of them were trembling in the cold and the snow as they crossed that high ridge and saw in a distant hollow high towers and elegant houses. “Disciples,” said a relieved Sanzang from the back of his horse, “we have gone cold and hungry today, but there are many buildings in that hollow that I an sure must be a farm or a Buddhist or Taoist monastery. Let us go there and beg some food before we continue on our way.”

Monkey’s immediate response was to take a good look. He saw that evil-looking clouds and vapors hung over the place, so he turned back to the Tang Priest and said, “Master, that’s a bad place.”

“How could it possibly be a bad place with all those towers, pavilions and fine buildings?” Sanzang asked.

“You wouldn’t know, Master,” Monkey replied. “There are any number of evil spirits and monsters along this road to the West who are good at making buildings by magic. They can make anything from towers and houses to halls and pavilions, and all just as bait. As you know, one of the nine kinds of dragon is called the clam-dragon. Its breath comes out looking like fine buildings and pools. Clam-dragon buildings appear when there is a heavy mist over a great river. Birds flying by will perch on them for a rest. The clam-dragon eats everyone up, even if there are thousands of them. It’s a really lethal trick. The atmosphere over there looks thoroughly vicious: whatever you do don’t go there.”

“Even if I may not I am still very hungry indeed,” said Sanzang.

“Yes, Master, you really must be,” replied Monkey. “Would you like to dismount and sit on this level ground here while I go somewhere else to beg food for you?” Sanzang followed this suggestion.

While Pig held the halter Friar Sand put the luggage down, opened up one of the bundles, and took out a begging bowl that he handed to Monkey, who gave him these parting instructions as he took it: “Don’t go any further. Guard the master and make sure he stays sitting here until I come back with some food. Then we can carry on West.”

Friar Sand promised to do so. Monkey then spoke to Sanzang again: “Master, this is a very dangerous place. Whatever you do you mustn’t move away from here. I’m off now to beg for food.”

“No need to say any more,” replied Sanzang. “Be back as soon as you can. I shall wait for you here.”

Monkey turned and was about to go when he turned back to add, “Master, I know that you haven’t the patience to sit still, but I’ll make a spell to keep you safe here.” With that he took out his gold-banded cudgel and in a flash he drew a circle on the ground with it. He asked the Tang priest to sit in the circle with Pig and Friar Sand standing on either side and the horse and luggage nearby.

Then he put his palms together and said to the Tang Priest, “The circle I’ve drawn is stronger than a wall of bronze or iron. No tiger, leopard, wolf, demon, fiend or monster will dare come anywhere near it. But you must not step outside it. I guarantee that you’ll come to no harm as long as you sit inside the circle; but once you leave it very nasty things will happen to you. Please, please, please stay inside it whatever happens.” Sanzang did as he was told and they all sat down. Only then did Monkey set off due South on his cloud to beg for some food. When he saw the ancient trees of another farmhouse reaching up to the sky he brought his cloud down for a closer look. This is what he saw:

Willows bent down by cruel snow,
A square pool frozen hard.
A few sparse bamboos waving green,
The turquoise of a lofty and elegant pine.
Thatched cottages that looked covered with silver,
A slanting bridge that seemed paved with flour.
Daffodils by the fence were beginning to open,
While icicles hung low beneath the eaves.
The icy wind carried many a strange fragrance;
The plum blossom was lost amid the driving snow.

As Monkey walked towards the farm to take a look at it he heard the creak of a wicker gate opening as an old man came out. He was leaning on a wooden stick and wearing a sheepskin hat, a tattered tunic, and rush sandals. He looked up to the sky and said. “The Northwest wind in blowing, so the sky will be clear tomorrow.” Before the words were out of his mouth a Pekinese dog came bounding out from behind him and started barking wildly at Monkey. Only then did the man turn to see Monkey carrying his begging bowl.

“Venerable benefactor,” said Monkey, “I’m with the monk sent to the Western Heaven by the emperor of Great Tang in the East to worship the Buddha and fetch the scriptures. As we were passing this way and my master is very hungry I have come to your honorable residence to beg for a vegetarian meal.”

The old man nodded, hit the ground with his stick and said, “Reverend sir, don’t beg here. You’ve lost your way.”

“No, I haven’t,” said Monkey.

“The main trail West is over three hundred miles North of here,” said the old man, “so why aren’t you on that?”

“That’s where I’ve come from,” Monkey replied. “My master is now sitting by the main trail waiting for me to bring him some food.”

“You’re talking nonsense, monk,” the old man replied. “How could your master be waiting by the main trail for you to bring him some food? Even if you could walk this far it would take you six or seven days to cover over three hundred miles and as long again to get back. By then he would have starved to death.”

“Honestly, benefactor,” replied Brother Monkey with a smile. “I have only just left my master, and it took me less time to get here than it would to drink a cup of tea. When I’ve been given the food I’ll take it back for his lunch.”

This alarmed the old man, who drew back at once, saying, “That monk’s a demon, a demon.”

He was just about to go back inside when Monkey took hold of him and asked, “Where are you going, benefactor? Give me some food at once.”

“It’s very difficult,” the old man said, “very difficult. Try somewhere else.”

“You really don’t understand, benefactor,” Monkey replied. “Just think, I’ve had to come over three hundred miles to get here, so it would probably be another three hundred miles to another house. You’re trying to make my master starve to death.”

“I tell you frankly,” the old man said, “that we can only put three pints of rice in the pot for the six or seven members of the family, and it’s still cooking. Try somewhere else first.”

“There is an old saying,” Monkey replied, “that it’s better to stay in one house than to call on three. I’m staying put.” The old man lost his temper with Monkey for being so persistent and raised his stick to hit him. This did not worry Monkey at all, who allowed the old man to hit him on his shaven pate seven or eight times: it felt like having the itches on his head scratched.

“You’re a monk who likes being hit on the head,” said the old man.

“Hit me as much as you like, oldy,” said Monkey. “I’m keeping the score and you’ll have to give me a pint of rice for every blow.”

When the old man heard this he dropped his stick, rushed inside, shut the gate and shouted: “A demon, a demon.” This made the whole household shake with fear as they shut the front and back gates in a great hurry. Watching the gates being shut Monkey thought, “I wonder if the old villain was telling the truth about the amount of rice they cook. As the saying goes, the good are converted by Taoism and the stupid by Buddhism. I’m going in to take a look round.” With that the splendid Great Sage made a spell with his hands to make himself invisible and went straight to the kitchen to look. He saw that the pot was steaming and half filled with grain, so he thrust his begging bowl into it, filled it to the brim, and went back on his cloud.

The Tang priest meanwhile, who had been sitting in the circle for a long time waiting for Monkey to come back, stretched, looked around and said, “Where has that ape gone to beg for food?”

“Goodness only knows where he is—probably fooling around,” said Pig with a laugh beside him. “Begging for food, indeed! He’s left us here in a pen.”

“What do you mean, in a pen?” Sanzang asked.

“That’s something else you wouldn’t know, Master,” Pig replied. “In the old days people used to draw circles on the ground to make pens. He draws a circle with his cudgel and says it’s stronger than a wall of bronze or iron. But how could it possibly keep out any tigers, wolves or evil monsters that came here? We’d be a meal served up to them on a plate.”

“What should we do about it, Wuneng?” Sanzang asked him.

“We’re not sheltered from the wind or the cold here,” Pig said. “If you ask me we should carry on West along the trail. Monkey went off begging on his cloud, so he’s bound to be back soon. He’ll catch up with us. If he’s got any food we can eat it before going on. All we’ve got from sitting here so long is cold feet.”

These words were to be Sanzang’s undoing: he followed the idiot’s advice and they all left the circle. The Tang Priest walked along the trail with Pig leading the horse and Friar Sand carrying the luggage. They soon reached the house with high towers, which was a South-facing compound. Outside the gates was a whitewashed wall, above which rose a multicolored gatetower shaped like lotuses leaning together. The gates stood half open. While Pig tethered the horse to a stone drum by the threshold Friar Sand put the luggage down and Sanzang sat on the doorsill out of the wind.

“Master,” said pig, “this looks like a nobleman or a minister’s house. There’s nobody at the gates, so I suppose they’re all inside warming themselves up by the fire. Sit down and let me take a look.”

“Do be careful,” said the Tang Priest. “Don’t go charging into their house.”

“I know,” said the idiot. “I’m a lot better mannered now I’m a Buddhist. I’m not a village yokel any more.”

The idiot tucked his rake in his belt, straightened his black brocade tunic, and went in through the gate in a very affected way. He saw a large hall with high, curtained windows that was completely quiet and deserted. There were no tables, chairs or other furniture. When he went round the screen and further into the house he found himself in a passageway at the end of which stood a multi-storied building with upstairs windows half open through which yellow damask bed-curtains could be glimpsed. “I suppose they’re still in bed because it’s so cold,” thought Pig, whereupon he marched up the stairs without worrying about the propriety of invading the private quarters of the house. When the idiot lifted the curtain and looked inside he almost collapsed with shock: on the ivory bed inside the curtains was a pile of gleaming white bones, with a skull the size of a bushel measure and thighbones some four or five feet long.

When the idiot calmed himself the tears poured down his cheeks as he nodded to the skeletons and said with a sigh, “I wonder:

For what great dynasty you once were a marshal
In what country’s service did you hold high command?
Then you were a hero fighting for mastery,
But now you are only a pile of old bones.
Where are the widow and child making offerings?
Do no soldiers burn incense to honour your memory?
The sight is enough to make one sigh deeply:
Alas for the man who once was a conqueror.”

As pig was sighing with grief there was a flicker of fire behind the curtain, “I suppose there must be attendants at the back to offer him incense,” the idiot thought. When he rushed round the bed-curtain to look he saw that it was the daylight shining through the windows, beside which stood a coloured lacquer table. On it were thrown some padded clothes in brocade and embroidery. When the idiot picked them up to look at them he saw that they were three quilted brocade waistcoats. Not worrying about whether it was right to do so the idiot took them downstairs and went out through the main hall and the gates.

“Master,” he shouted, “there’s no sign of life here—it’s a house of the dead. I went inside and went upstairs, where I found a pile of bones behind a yellow bed-curtain. On one side of the upper floor were three quilted brocade waistcoats, look—I’ve brought them back with me. We’re really in luck as they’re just what we need now that the weather has turned cold. Take your habit off, Master, and put one of these on underneath. You’ll be a lot more comfortable: it’ll keep the cold out.”

“No,” said Sanzang, “it’s forbidden. The law says, ‘Taking, whether openly or in secret, is always theft.’ If anyone found out, came after us and handed us over to the authorities we would definitely be found guilty of theft. You had better take them back in and put them where you found them. We shall just sit here for a while to shelter from the wind and carry on along our way as soon as Wukong is back. Monks should not be looking out for easy pickings like that.”

“But there’s nobody around who could know,” said Pig, “not even a chicken or a dog. The only people who know are ourselves. Who’s going to sue us? There’s no evidence. It’s just the same as if we’d picked it up. Taking or stealing just doesn’t come into it.”

“Nonsense,” said the Tang Priest. “Even if nobody else knew about it Heaven cannot be fooled. As the Lord of Origin teaches us, ‘Do no evil in a dark house: the eyes of the gods are like lightning.’ Take it back at once and stop hankering after what you have no right to.”

The idiot was having none of this. “Master,” he said to the Tang Priest with a grin, “I’ve worn several waistcoats in my life, but never have I seen quilted brocade ones like this before. Even if you don’t want to wear one, please let me just try one on to warm my back up. When Monkey comes back I’ll take it off and we can be on our way again.”

“In that cast,” said Friar Sand, “I’d like to try one too.” The two of them took off their outer tunics and put the waistcoats on instead. As soon as they had tightened the belts they collapsed, unable to stay on their feet. The waistcoats were even worse than bonds. In an instant both of them had their hands tied together behind their backs. Sanzang stamped his foot in despair and indignation and rushed forward to untie them, but to no avail. The three of them set up endless yells that soon disturbed a demon king.

Now these buildings had indeed been created by the magic of an evil spirit who spent all his life lying in wait there to catch people. Hearing the howls of anger as he sat in his cave he rushed out to find that he had several victims tied up. The monster called for his little demons to go there with him as he made all the enchanted buildings vanish. They returned to the cave holding the Tang Priest, leading the horse, and dragging Pig and Friar Sand. The old demon took his seat on his throne while the little devils pushed Sanzang to the foot of the steps and forced him to kneel on the floor.

“Where are you from, monk,” the demon asked, “and how can you have the effrontery to steal my clothes in broad daylight?”

“I have been sent to fetch the scriptures from the Western Heaven by the emperor of Great Tang in the East,” replied Sanzang. “As I was hungry I sent my senior disciple to beg for food. He has not come back yet, and it was because I ignored his good advice that I blundered into your immortal hall to shelter from the wind, never imagining that my disciples would be so grasping as to steal your clothes. As I have no such wicked thoughts I told them to take the clothes straight back, but they paid no attention and insisted on putting them on to warm their backs. Never did I imagine that we would fall into Your Majesty’s trap and be captured. I beg you in your mercy to spare our lives so that we can fetch the scriptures. We will be eternally indebted to Your Majesty and your praises will be sung for ever after we return to the East.”

“But I’m always hearing people say that if you eat the flesh of the Tang Priest, white hair can be turned black, and teeth that have fallen out will grow again,” said the demon with a grin. “You’ve come along today without even having been asked, and now you expect me to spare you! What’s your senior disciple called, and where has he gone begging?”

This question started Pig bragging: “My elder brother is Sun Wukong, the Great Sage Equaling Heaven who made havoc in Heaven five hundred years ago.”

This news shocked the demon speechless. “I’ve long heard of that damned ape’s enormous powers,” he thought, “and now I’m meeting him when I least expected to. Little ones,” he ordered, “tie the Tang Priest up, take my precious coats off the other two, and fetch a couple of ropes to bind them. Take them to the back, and when I’ve caught the senior disciple we can scrub them all clean, put them in the steamer and cook them.” The little demons acknowledged his orders then bound the three of them together and carried them to the back. They tethered the white horse by the trough, took the luggage indoors, and sharpened their weapons ready to capture Monkey.

Monkey, meanwhile, who had filled his begging bowl with rice in the farmhouse to the South, rode his cloud back and landed it on a stretch of level ground on the mountainside to find the Tang Priest gone he knew not where. The circle he had drawn with his cudgel was still there, but travelers and horse had disappeared. When he looked towards where the buildings had been they had vanished too: all that could be seen were mountains and grotesquely shaped rocks.

“Don’t tell me!” he thought with horror. “They’ve been caught.” He rushed after them, following the horse’s prints Westwards.

About two miles later, when he was feeling thoroughly gloomy, he heard voices on the other side of the slope to the North of him. When he looked he saw an old man in felt clothes, a warm hat and a pair of worn oiled cloth boots holding a dragon-headed stick and followed by a slave boy. The old man had broken off a sprig of plum blossom and was singing a song as he came down the slope. Monkey put down his begging bowl and looked the old man in the face as he put his hands together and said, “Greetings, grandfather.”

“Where are you from, reverend sir?” replied the old man, returning his bow.

“We are monks from the East going to the Western Heaven to worship the Buddha and fetch the scriptures,” said Monkey. “There are four of us altogether, a master and three disciples. I went off to beg for some food as my master was hungry, so I told the other three to wait for me at a stretch of level ground on that mountainside. When I came back they had gone, and I don’t know which way they went. May I ask you if you

have seen them, grandfather?”

The question made the old man chortle. “Did one of the three have a long snout and big ears?” he asked.

“Yes, yes, yes,” Monkey replied.

“And was there another with an evil-looking mug leading a white horse, and a fat monk with a white face?”

“That’s right, that’s right,” said Monkey.

“Then you’ve all lost your way,” said the old man. “Don’t bother looking for them: It’s every man for himself.”

“The white-faced one is my master and the funny-looking ones are my brother disciples,” Monkey replied. “We’re all set on going to the Western Heaven to fetch the scriptures. Of course I’ve got to look for them.”

“When I came this way just now I saw that they had lost their way and were heading straight into the demon’s mouth,” the old man said.

“I would be very grateful, grandfather,” replied Monkey, “if you could tell me which demon it is and where he lives. I want to call on him and ask for them back so that we can go on with our journey to the Western Heaven.”

“This mountain is called Mount Jindou and there is a Jindou Cave in front of it,” the old man replied. “In the cave lives the Great King Rhinoceros. His magic abilities are enormous and he is very powerful. All three of your people must be dead by now. If you go looking for them you might not even be able to keep yourself alive. The best thing would be not to go there. I won’t try to stop you or to keep you here—I simply leave you to think it over.”

Monkey bowed again to thank the old man and said, “Thank you, venerable sir, for your advice. But I have to search for them.” Tipping the rice out and giving it to the old man he put his begging bowl away, at which the old man put down his stick to accept the bowl, which he handed to his slave.

Then they both resumed their normal form, fell to their knees, and kowtowed saying, “Great Sage, we dare not try to deceive you. We two are the mountain deity and local god of this place, and we’ve been waiting here to receive you, Great Sage. We’ll look after the rice and your begging bowl to make it easier for you to use your magic powers. When you’ve rescued the Tang Priest you can do your duty to him by giving him the food.”

“Hairy devils,” shouted Monkey, “you deserve a flogging. If you knew I was here why didn’t you meet me earlier, instead of skulking around in disguise? It’s a disgrace!”

“Because you have such a quick temper, Great Sage, we did not want to rush in and offend you,” the local god replied. “That was why we disguised ourselves to tell you all that.”

“Very well,” said Monkey, “we’ll postpone that beating. Look after my bowl while I capture that evil spirit.”

The Great Sage then tightened his belt of tiger sinew, hitched up his tigerskin kilt, took his gold-banded cudgel in his hands, and headed straight for the mountain in search of the cave. As he rounded a sheer wall he saw a pair of stone doors set among rocks beside the blue-green rock-face. Outside the doors a crowd of little devils were practicing with sword and spear. Indeed, there were,

Auspicious clouds,
Green lichens,
Rows of strange and craggy rocks,
Steep paths winding around.
Apes howled and birds sang in the beauty of nature;
Phoenixes flew and danced in this land of immortals.
The first blooms were open on plum trees facing South;
A thousand bamboos were green in the sun’s warmth.
Under the cliff,
Deep in the gorge:
Under the cliff the snow was piled up white;
Deep in the gorge the stream had turned to ice.
Stands of cypress and pine preserved ancient beauty;
Camellia bushes all bloomed with the same red.

Without waiting to have a thorough look the Great Sage made straight for the doors and shouted at the top of his voice, “Little devils, go straight in and tell your master that I’m Sun Wukong, the Great Sage Equaling Heaven and the disciple of the holy Tang Priest, Tell him to send my master out at once if you lot don’t all want to be killed.”

The little devils all hurried in to report, “Your Majesty, there’s a monk at the gate with a hairy face and a crooked mouth. He’s called the Great Sage Equaling Heaven Sun Wukong and he’s asking for his master back.”

The demon was delighted to hear this. “Just the person I wanted to come,” he said. “Ever since leaving my palace and coming down to the mortal world I’ve had no chance to try out my martial skills. Now that he’s here I’ll have a worthy foe. Bring me my weapons, little ones,” he ordered. All the big and little devils in the cave braced themselves and carried out as quickly as they could a twelve-foot-long steel spear that they handed to the old demon, who gave them their instructions: “Little ones, you must keep in neat formation. Those who advance will be rewarded, and anyone who retreats will be executed.”

Having been given their orders the little devils charged out through the doors behind the old demon, who shouted, “Who is Sun Wukong?” Monkey stepped across from beside the entrance to see how ugly and murderous the demon king looked:

A single jagged horn,
A pair of bright eyes.
The thick skin protruded above his head,
Black flesh shone by his ears.
When he stretched his tongue he could lick his snout;
His mouth when opened wide showed yellow teeth.
His hair was indigo-blue,
His muscles hard as steel.
He was like a rhinoceros, but could not see through water,
Resembled a buffalo but could not plough.
Not useful like the ox who lows at the moon,
He could easily scare the sky and shake the earth.
His purple hands were knotted with muscle,
As he stood erect with his spear of steel.
One only had to consider his hideous looks
To see why he deserved to be called Rhinoceros King.

“Your grandpa Monkey is here,” said the Great Sage Monkey, stepping forward. “Give me back my master and neither of us will be hurt. But if there’s so much as half a ‘no’ from you I’ll kill you, and there’ll be nowhere to bury your remains.”

“I’ll get you, you impudent devil of an ape,” the demon roared back. “What powers do you have that give you the nerve to talk like that?”

“Evidently you’ve not seen them yet,” Monkey replied.

“Your master stole my clothes,” said the demon, “and now I’ve caught him and am going to cook and eat him. What sort of tough guy do you think you are, daring to come here to ask for him back?”

“My master is a loyal, upright and good monk: he couldn’t possibly have stolen any of your devilish goods,” Monkey replied.

“I made a magic villa by the mountain path,” the demon said, “and your master crept inside. He was so carried away by his greed that he stole three quilted brocade waistcoats. I caught him red-handed. If you really have any powers I’ll give you a fight. Hold out against me for three rounds and I’ll spare your master’s life; fail and you go to the underworld with him.”

“Shut up, damned beast,” Monkey replied. “A fight would suit me fine. Come here and try a taste of my cudgel.” The monster was not at all afraid to fight, and he thrust his spear at Monkey’s head, It was a superb battle. Just watch:

The gold-banded cudgel was raised,
The long-handled spear parried.
The gold-banded cudgel was raised,
Flashing like a golden snake of lightning.
The long-handled spear parried,
Glistening like a dragon emerging from the sea.
Outside the doors the little devils beat their drums,
Drawn up in battle order to add to his might,
While the Great Sage showed his skill,
Displaying his abilities freely all around.
On one side a spear and spirits braced,
Against it a cudgel and martial prowess.
Indeed it was hero set against hero,
A pair of well-matched foes.
The demon king breathed out coiling purple mists
While the gleam of the Great Sage’s eyes formed coloured clouds
Only because the Tang Priest was in trouble
Did both of them fight so bitterly without quarter.

After thirty inconclusive rounds the demon king could see that Sun Wukong was a complete master of the cudgel who could advance or retreat without leaving any openings. “What a splendid ape,” he kept saying with admiration, “what a splendid ape. This was the skill that made havoc in Heaven.”

Monkey too was impressed by the demon king’s neat spearwork as he parried to left and right with great skill. “What a splendid spirit,” he said, “what a splendid spirit. He really is a demon who would know how to steal elixir pills.” The two of them then fought another ten or twenty rounds.

The demon king touched the ground with the tip of his spear and ordered his little devils forward. All those wretched fiends surrounded the Great Sage with their cutlasses, staves, swords and spears. Monkey was completely unafraid.

“I’m glad you’ve come along,” he shouted, “glad you’ve come along. Just what I wanted.” With his gold-banded cudgel he blocked and parried them in front and behind and to both sides, but the devils would not give ground. Losing his patience, Monkey threw his cudgel into the air, shouted, “Change!” and turned it into over a thousand cudgels that came raining down from the sky like flying snakes, terrifying the devils out of their wits and sending them scurrying back to their cave for their lives with their hands over their heads.

“Behave yourself, ape,” said the demon with a mocking laugh, “and watch this trick.” He immediately pulled out from his sleeve a gleaming white ring that he threw up into the air with a shout of “Get them!” It came whirling down, catching all the gold-banded cudgels inside it, and forcing Monkey to somersault away for his life as he was now disarmed. While the demon king returned to his cave in triumph Brother Monkey was at his wit’s end. Indeed:

The Way grew by one foot but the demon grew by ten.
Blind and confused, they failed to see that the house was fake.
Alas there was no place to be found for the dharma body:
In action and in thoughts they had made a great mistake.

If you don’t know how all this ended, listen to the explanation in the next installment.

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