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Buddha and the Buddhism based on the Journey to the West by Wu Chengen - Research Paper Example

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In the paper “Buddha and Buddhism based on the Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en” the author analyzes a classical novel of the Chinese literature. This classical novel has a firm foundation on the Chinese mythology, value system and folk religions which are reflected on religious way of life…
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Buddha and the Buddhism based on the Journey to the West by Wu Chengen
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Download file to see previous pages The reward is that they get admitted back to heaven. This description is in tandem with Christian principles of faith (Miller, 2006). Another depiction of Christianity is from the monkey king who eats the holy peaches. Like forbidden fruits portrayed in the bible, the monkey king eats these fruits reserved for special guest to heaven. He gets enlightened and for his acts, he is kicked out of the Heavenly Garden. A symbolic representation of what unfolded in the Garden of Eden (Miller, 2006).

In the novel, Taoist heaven, found in China, coexist with Buddhist western paradise, implied in the novel as a location in India. Taoist gods like the Jade Emperor and Buddhist venerable like Buddha even consult and help one another. When the Jade Emperor becomes overwhelmed by the monkey king’s antics, he presents his lamentations to Buddha who subdues the monkey (Wilkinson and Teague, 2003).
The Journey to the West relays a simplified and literalized ascetic Taoism in the Chinese popular origin. Taoist ascetics for instance consider that the final stage of discipline is to attain immortality (Fowler and Fowler, 2008). Since most Chinese were confused about elements of Taoism, this was simplified by popular legend as presented in the novel. As the monkey goes to see Taoist god, he steals pills from Taoist alchemy laboratory. The pills are to prolong life of a human being by a few thousand years (Kherdian and Wu, 1992). This becomes a simplified explanation of ascetics that is easily discernable by the Chinese.
The gods of the different religions presented in the novel differ in hierarchies and roles. For instance, Jade Emperor is depicted as the ruler of Earth and Heavens, though he is not as supreme as Confucius, Buddha and Lao Tzu administratively. These gods are also subject to much superior universal forces. The folk heaven which the novel mainly draws from Taoist mythology is a model of the government of Chinese emperors (Flanagan, 2011). The Chinese folk heaven is therefore conveyed as bloated bureaucracy with numerous officials holding grandiose titles. This scenario is underscored by the rewards Xuanzang disciples receive after delivering the sutras. It is also worthy to note that these heavenly administrators are mortals whose virtues in their earthly lives got them their current positions (Cuevas and Stone, 2007). The different religions in Journey to the West find a striking balance and try to accommodate one another (Buswell, 1990). They are not into direct competition with one another. Buddha helps Jade Emperor when he is besieged by the monkey king, whereas Bodhisattva Kwan Yin plays an important role in the novel by helping the pilgrims when on very difficult situations. Although the disciples are promoted to heaven, Xuanzang remains on earth to translate the sutras. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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