When the Dhyana Reaches Yuhua a Display of Magic Is Given
The Mind-Ape and the Mother of Wood Take Their Own Disciples
The story tells how after happily taking their leave of the marquis the Tang Priest turned to Monkey as he rode and said, “Worthy disciple, this good result was even better than rescuing the babies in Bhiksuland, and it was all your achievement.”
“In Bhiksuland you only saved 1,111 little boys,” said Friar Sand. “That's no comparison with this heavy, soaking rain that's saved tens of thousands of lives. I've been quietly admiring my big brother's magical powers that extend right up to the heavens, as well as his mercy that covers the whole earth.”
“Merciful and good our big brother may be,” said Pig with a laugh, “but it's just a show of being kind. Inside he's a troublemaker. When he's with me he treats me like dirt.”
“When have I ever treated you like dirt?” Monkey protested. “Often enough,” replied Pig. “You're always seeing to it that I get tied up, hung up, boiled and steamed. After being so kind to all those tens of thousands of people in Fengxian you should have stayed there for half a year and let me have a few more good filling meals. Why did you have to be sending us on our way?”
When the venerable elder heard this he shouted, “You idiot! Can you think of nothing but your greed? Stop quarrelling and be on your way.” Daring say no more, Pig thrust out his snout, shouldered the luggage, and followed the master and his fellow disciples along the road, laughing loudly.
Time moved as fast as a shuttle, and soon it was late autumn. What could be seen was,
The end of ripples on the waters,
The mountains' bones looking lean.
Red leaves fly around,
In the time of yellowing flowers.
Under the clear and frosty sky the nights seem longer;
The moon shines white through the windows.
Many the household fires in the evening light;
The water gleams cold all over the lake.
The clover fern is now white,
While knotweed blooms red.
Mandarins are green and oranges yellow;
Willows are withering and the millet is ripe.
Beside the desolate village wild geese land among the reeds;
Cocks call by the country inn while the beans are harvested.
When the four of them had been travelling for a long time they saw the towering shape of a city wall. “Wukong,” said Sanzang, waving his riding-crop, “you can see there's another city there. I wonder where it is.”
“Neither of us have ever been here before,” Monkey replied, “so how could I know? Let's go ahead and ask.”
Before the words were out of his mouth an old man appeared from among some trees. He was leaning on a stick, lightly dressed with coconut sandals on his feet and had a sash round his waist. The Tang Priest hastily dismounted and went over to greet the old man.
Returning his greeting as he leaned on his stick, the old man asked, “Where are you from, reverend sir?”
“I am a poor monk sent by the Tang court in the East to worship the Buddha in the Thunder Monastery and fetch the scriptures,” the Tang Priest replied, putting his hands together in front of his chest. “Now that I have come to this distinguished place I wonder which city it is that I can see in the distance, and I would ask you, venerable benefactor, to inform me.”
When the old man heard this he replied, “Enlightened master of the dhyana, this humble place of ours is Yuhua County in one of the prefectures of India. The lord of our city is a member of the king of India 's royal family who has been made prince of Yuhua. He is a very worthy prince who respects both Buddhist and Taoist clergy and cares deeply for the common people. If you go to see him he will certainly treat you with great respect.” Sanzang thanked the old man, who went off through the woods.
Sanzang then turned back to tell his disciples what had happened. The three of them were happily going to help the master back on his horse when Sanzang said, “It's not far. There is no need to ride.” The four of them then walked to a street beside the city wall to take a look. This was an area where traders lived; it was crowded with people and business was good. The people looked and sounded no different from those of China. “Be careful, disciples,” said Sanzang. “On no account must you act wild.”
At that Pig bowed his head and Friar Sand covered his face, leaving only Monkey to support the master. On both sides of the road people were crowding in to look at them, shouting, “We only have eminent monks who subdue dragons and tigers here. We've never seen monks who subdue pigs and monkeys before.” This was more than Pig could stand.
Thrusting his snout at them he said, “Have you ever seen a monk in all your life who subdued the king of the pigs?” This gave all the people in the street so bad a fright that they fell back on both sides of them stumbling and tripping over, trying to get away.
“Put that snout away at once, you idiot,” said Monkey with a grin, “and don't try to make yourself look pretty. Just pay attention while you're crossing the bridge.” The idiot lowered his head and kept grinning. Once over the drawbridge they entered the city, where the main roads were bustling and prosperous with bars and houses of entertainment. It was indeed a city in a divine region, and there is a poem to prove it that goes,
An eternally iron-strong city like splendid brocade,
Full of fresh color, lying next to a river near mountains,
Connected by boat with lakes for the movement of goods.
A thousand wine-shops await behind curtains.
Everywhere smoke rises from towering buildings;
Each morning the lanes are filled with the hubbub of traders.
The look of the city was much like Chang'an:
Cock-crows and the barking of dogs were all just the same.
“I have heard tell of the foreigners in the West,” Sanzang thought with secret delight, “but I have never come here before. On close examination it is no different from our Great Tang. This must be what is meant by paradise.” When he learned that a bushel of hulled rice cost only four tenths of an ounce of silver and a pound of sesame oil only eight thousandths of an ounce of silver he realized that this truly was a place where crops grew in abundance.
After walking for quite a long time they reached the prince of Yuhua's palace. On either side of the palace gates were the office of the remembrancer, the law courts, the prince's kitchens and the government hostel.
“Disciples,” said Sanzang, “here is the palace. Wait while I go inside for the prince to inspect our passport and let us on our way.”
“We can't very well stand at the gates while you go in, Master,” said Pig.
“Can you not see 'Government Hostel' written over that gateway?” Sanzang asked. “Go and sit there and see if you can buy some fodder for the horse. If the prince offers me a meal when I have my audience with him I will send for you to share it.”
“Go on in, Master, and don't worry,” said Brother Monkey. “I can cope.” Friar Sand carried the luggage into the hostel, where the staff were so alarmed by their hideous faces that they did not dare ask them any questions or send them away but could only invite them to sit down.
Meanwhile the master changed his habit and hat and went straight into the prince's palace with the passport in his hands. Soon he was met by a protocol officer who asked, “Where are you from, reverend sir?”
“I am a monk sent by the Great Tang in the East to worship the Lord Buddha and fetch the scriptures in the Great Thunder Monastery,” Sanzang replied. “Now that I have reached this distinguished place I would like to have my passport inspected and returned, which is why I have come to seek an audience with His Royal Highness.” The protocol officer passed this on, and as the prince was indeed an enlightened one he sent for Sanzang at once.
Sanzang bowed in greeting before the prince's hall, and the prince invited him into the hall to sit down. When the prince read the passport that Sanzang handed him and saw the seals and signatures from so many countries on it he signed it himself, folded it up and put it on his table. “Venerable Teacher of the Nation,” he said, “you have passed through many countries on your way here from Great Tang. How long has your journey taken?”
“I have kept no record of the distance,” Sanzang said, “but some years ago the Boddhisattva Guanyin appeared to me and left an address in verse in which it was said that the road would be sixty thousand miles long. I have already seen fourteen winters and summers on my journey.”
“That means fourteen years,” the prince replied. “I should imagine that there were many delays along the way.”
“It would be hard to tell of them all,” said Sanzang. “There were thousands of monsters and I don't know how much suffering to be endured before I could reach here.” The prince was so pleased with his visitor that he ordered his kitchens to prepare a vegetarian meal for him.
“I wish to inform Your Royal Highness that I have three disciples,” Sanzang said. “As they are waiting outside I will not be able to delay our journey by accepting the meal.” The prince then ordered his aides to go straight out to invite the venerable elder's three disciples into the palace to share the meal.
When the aides went out with this invitation they said, “We can't see them, we can't see them.”
“There are three hideous monks sitting in the hostel,” one of their staff said. “Must be them.”
The aides and their staff then went to the hostel, where they asked the people in charge, “Which are the disciples of the monk from Great Tang who's going to fetch the scriptures? His Royal Highness has invited them to a meal.”
As soon as Pig, who was sitting there snoozing, heard the word “meal" he could not help jumping up and saying, “We are, we are,” at the sight of which the palace aides' souls flew from their bodies as they shivered and said, “A pig demon! A pig demon!”
When Monkey heard this he seized hold of Pig and said, “Act a bit more civilized, brother, and don't be so wild.” When the officials saw Monkey they all said, “A monkey spirit! A monkey spirit!”
“There's no need to be frightened,” said Friar Sand, raising his hands together in polite greeting. “We're all disciples of the Tang Priest.”
“A stove god, a stove god,” was the officials' reaction to the sight of him. Monkey then told Pig to lead the horse and Friar Sand to shoulder the carrying-pole as they followed the officials' staff into the prince of Yuhua's palace. The aides went ahead to announce them.
When the prince looked up and saw how ugly they were he too was frightened. “Do not be alarmed, Your Royal Highness,” said Sanzang, putting his hands together in front of his chest. “Although my rough disciples are ugly they have good hearts.”
Pig intoned a noise of respect and said, “How do you do?” This made the prince feel even more alarmed.
“All my rough disciples are from the wilds and the mountains and they do not know how to behave,” Sanzang explained, “so please forgive them.” Overcoming his fear, the prince told the superintendent of his kitchens to take the monks to eat in the Gauze Pavilion.
Sanzang thanked the prince, came down from the hall to proceed to the pavilion with his disciples, then grumbled at Pig, “You idiot,” he said, “you've not a shred of manners. If you had kept your mouth shut that would have been fine, but why did you have to be so coarse? That one remark from you was enough to knock a mountain over.”
“I did better by not making a respectful chant,” said Monkey, “and I saved a bit of my breath too.”
“You didn't even intone the chant properly,” said Friar Sand to Pig. “First of all, you stuck your snout out and roared.”
“It makes me hopping mad,” said Pig. “The other day the master told me that the polite thing when I met someone was to say, 'How do you do?' I do it today and you tell me it's wrong. How do you want me to behave?”
“I told you to say, 'How do you do?' when you meet people,” Sanzang replied, “but not to make such a fool of yourself when you meet a prince. As the saying goes, things, like people, come in grades. Why can't you see the differences of social rank?” While he was still making these remarks the superintendent of the kitchens led servants in to set out tables and chairs and serve the vegetarian feast. Then the monks stopped talking and started eating their meal.
When the prince withdrew from the palace hall to his living quarters his three sons noticed his pallor and asked, “What has given you such a fright today, Father?”
“A most remarkable monk has arrived,” the prince replied. “He has been sent by the Great Tang in the East to worship the Buddha and fetch the scriptures, and he came to present his passport. When I invited him to take a meal he told me that he had some disciples outside the palace, so I asked them in. When they came in a moment later they didn't kowtow to me but just said, 'How do you do?' That was upsetting enough. Then when I looked at them I saw that they were all as ugly as demons, which gave me quite a shock. That's why I'm looking pale.”
Now the three young princes were no ordinary boys. They were all fond of the martial arts, so they stretched out their hands, rolled up their sleeves and said, “They must be evil spirits from the mountains disguised as humans. Wait while we fetch our weapons and take a look at them.”
Splendid young princes! The eldest wielded a brow-high rod, the second a nine-toothed rake and the third a black-painted cudgel, and the three of them strode with great valour and spirit out of the palace, shouting, “What's this about monks fetching scriptures? Where are they?”
“Young prince,” replied the superintendent of the kitchens and the others on their knees, “they're eating in the Gauze Pavilion.”
The young princes then charged straight in without stopping to think as they shouted, “Are you men or monsters? Tell us at once and we'll spare your lives.”
This gave Sanzang such a fright that he turned pale, dropped his bowl, bowed to them and replied, “I have come from Great Tang to fetch the scriptures. I am a man, not a monster.”
“You look human enough,” the princes said, “but the three ugly ones are definitely monsters.”
Pig kept eating and ignored them, while Friar Sand and Monkey bowed and said, “We're all human. Our faces may be ugly but our hearts are good, and despite our clumsy bodies we have good natures. Where are you three from, and why are you shooting your mouths off so wildly?”
“These three gentlemen are His Royal Highness's sons,” explained the superintendent of the kitchens and the others who were standing at the side of the pavilion.
“Well, Your Highnesses,” said Pig, throwing down his bowl, “what are you carrying those weapons for? Do you want a fight with us?”
The second prince strode forward wielding his rake in both hands to strike at Pig, which made him say with a chuckle, “That rake of yours is only fit to be the grandson of my one.” With that he stripped down, pulled his own rake out from his belt and swung it, making ten thousand beams of golden light, then went through some movements, leaving a thousand strands of auspicious vapor. The second prince was so terrified that his hands went weak and his muscles turned numb and he lost the nerve for any more showing off.
When Monkey saw that the oldest of the young princes was leaping about with a brow-high rod he brought his own gold-banded cudgel out from his ear and shook it to make it as thick as a bowl and twelve or thirteen feet long. Ramming it into the ground, he made a hole about three feet deep in which it stood upright, then said with a smile, “I'm giving you this cudgel.”
As soon as the prince heard this he threw his own rod down and went to take the cudgel, but though he pulled at it with all his strength he couldn't move it by as much as a hair's breath. Then he straightened himself up and shook it, but it was as if it had taken root. At this the third prince started acting wild, moving into the attack with his black-painted cudgel. Friar Sand dodged the blow, then brought out his own demon-quelling staff, and as he fingered it brilliant light and glowing, coloured clouds came from it, leaving the superintendent of the kitchens and the rest of them wide-eyed and speechless. The three young princes then kowtowed, saying, “Divine teachers, divine teachers, we mere mortals failed to recognize you. We beg you to give us a display of your powers.”
Monkey went up to them, effortlessly picked up his cudgel and said, “It's too cramped here for me to do my stuff. I'm jumping up into the auto play around and give you something to see.”
The splendid Great Sage went whistling up by somersault and stood on an auspicious cloud of many colours up in mid-air about three hundred feet above the ground. Then he moved up and down and spun to left and right as he performed a Canopy from Which Flowers Are Scattered and a Twisting Dragon with his gold-banded club. At first both he and the cudgel moved like flowers being added to brocade, but later he could no longer be seen as the whole sky was filled with the whirling cudgel.
As he roared his approval from down below Pig could not keep still, and with a great shout of “I'm going to have a bit of fun too!” the splendid idiot rode a breeze up into the air and started swinging his rake. He went three times up, four times down, five times to the left, six times to the right, seven times forwards and eight times backwards as he ran through all the movements he knew, filling the air with a noise like a howling gale.
Just when he had warmed up Friar Sand said to Sanzang, “Master, let me go up and give a show too.” Springing up into the air with both feet, the splendid monk whirled his club through the air, which glittered with golden light. Wielding his demon-subduing cudgel he performed a Red Phoenix Facing the Sun and a Hungry Tiger Seizing Its Prey, attacking hard and defending with time to spare as he turned for a sudden forward thrust. The three brother disciples all gave a most imposing display of their magical powers. This was indeed
An image of the dhyana, no common sight;
The causation of the Great Way filling all of space.
Metal and wood fill the dharma-world with their might;
A pinch of elixir produces perfect unity.
The quality of these magic warriors is often displayed;
The splendor of their weapons is widely revered.
Lofty though India is,
The princes of Yuhua now return to the central truth.
This all so terrified the three young princes that they fell to their knees in the dust; and all the staff in the Gauze Pavilion, high and low, together with the senior prince in his palace, all the soldiers, civilians, men and women, Buddhist monks and nuns, Taoist clergy, lay people-everyone in fact-all invoked the Buddha, kowtowed, held sticks of incense and worshipped. Indeed:
All the monks were converted at the sight of the true images,
Bringing blessings to mankind and the joys of peace.
From here the achievement was won on the road to enlightenment;
All joined in meditation and worshipped the Buddha.
When the three of them had given a display of their heroic powers they brought their auspicious clouds down to land, put their weapons away, joined their hands together in homage to the Tang Priest, thanked him and took their seats again.
The three young princes hurried back into the palace to report to their father, “A most wonderful thing has happened, Father. Today has been a tremendous success. Did you see the performance in the sky just now?”
“When I saw the coloured clouds glowing in the sky a little while back I, your mother and everyone else in the inner palace burned incense and worshipped,” the prince, their father, replied. “I don't know where the gods or immortals who had gathered there were from.”
“They weren't gods and immortals from somewhere else,” the young princes said. “They were the three hideous disciples of the monk who's going to fetch the scriptures. One of them uses a gold-banded iron cudgel, one a nine-toothed take, and one a demon-quelling staff, all exactly the same as our three weapons. When we asked them to give us a display they said it was too cramped down here to be able to manage, so they'd go up into the sky to give us a show. Then they all went up on clouds, filling the sky with auspicious clouds and vapors. They only came down a moment ago, and they're now sitting in the Gauze Pavilion. We are all very taken with them and we'd like to make them our teachers and learn their skills to protect the country with. This really will be an enormous achievement. I wonder what Your Majesty thinks.” When the prince, their father, heard this he was convinced and agreed.
Father and sons then went straight to the Gauze Pavilion, going on foot instead of by carriage, and without any parasols. The four travelers had by now packed up their luggage and were just about to go to the palace to thank the prince for the meal and start out on their journey again when they saw the prince of Yuhua and his sons come into the pavilion and prostrate themselves before them. The venerable elder hurriedly rose and prostrated himself to return the courtesy, while Monkey and the rest of them moved aside with a hint of a mocking grin. When the kowtowing was over the four travelers were happy to go into the palace on being invited to do so and take seats of honour.
Then the senior prince got up and said, “Tang Master, there is one thing I would like to ask of you, but I do not know whether your three illustrious disciples will grant it.”
“My disciples will obey any instruction that Your Royal Highness gives them,” Sanzang replied.
“When I first saw you gentlemen,” said the prince, “I took you for pilgrim monks from distant Tang, and because I am a mere mortal with fleshly eyes I treated you in a most offhand way. It was only when I saw Teacher Sun, Teacher Zhu and Teacher Sand whirling around in the sky that I realized you are immortals and Buddhas. My three wretched sons have been fond of the martial arts all their lives and they now wish most sincerely to be accepted as your disciples and learn some of your skills. I beg that in the greatness of your hearts you will agree to be the salvation of my boys. I will certainly reward you with all the wealth of the city.”
When Brother Monkey heard this he could not restrain himself from replying with a chuckle, “You really don't understand, Your Royal Highness. As monks we'd love to have disciples, and your fine sons have their hearts set on goodness. But you mustn't talk about material benefits. As long as they can get on with us we'll look after them.” This delighted the prince, who ordered a great banquet in the main hall of the palace. It was amazing: no sooner had he issued his order than everything was there. This is what could be seen:
Fluttering silken decorations,
Darkly fragrant incense smoke.
Gold-inlaid tables hung with knotted silks,
Dazzling the eyes;
Lacquered chairs with cushions of brocade,
Making them even more splendid.
Three or four courses of pure confectioneries,
One or two servings of rich and pure breadrolls.
The crisp steamed honeycakes were even finer;
The deep-fried sweets were truly delicious.
There were jugs of mild rice-wine,
Better than nectar when poured;
Servings of Yangxian tea that is fit for immortals,
More fragrant than cassia when held in the hands.
Every possible dish is provided;
All that is offered is outstanding.
Meanwhile there was singing, dancing, instrumental music, acrobatics and opera to entertain them. Master, disciples, the prince and his sons all had a day of delight, and after night fell unnoticed they dispersed. The princes then had beds and curtains set up in the pavilion and invited their teachers to turn in for the night; early the next morning they would piously burn incense and call on them again to ask them to teach their martial skills. These orders were obeyed, and hot, scented water was brought in for the travelers to bath in, after which everyone went to bed. At that time
The birds perched high in the trees and all was silent;
The poet came down from his couch to end his chanting.
The light of the Milky Way now filled the sky,
And the grass grew thicker along the overgrown path.
The bang of a washing stick came from another courtyard;
The distant mountains and passes made one long for home.
The chirp of crickets expressed people's feelings,
Chirruping at the bedside interrupted one's dreams.
That describes the night. Early the next morning the prince and his three sons came to call on the venerable elder again. The previous day they had greeted each other with the etiquette appropriate to a prince, but today's greetings were those appropriate to teachers.
The three young princes kowtowed to Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand, then asked with bows, “Will you let your disciples have a look at your weapons, honoured teachers?” As soon as Pig heard this request he happily brought out his iron rake and threw it on the ground, while Friar Sand tossed his staff against the wall. The second and third young princes sprang to their feet to pick them up, but they might just as well have been dragonflies trying to shake a stone pillar: they both strained themselves till they were red in the face without moving the weapons in the slightest. When their elder brother saw this he said, “Don't waste your efforts, brothers. Our teachers' weapons are all magical ones. Goodness only knows how heavy they are.”
“My rake's not all that heavy,” said Pig with a smile. “It only weighs a couple of tons-5,048 pounds including the handle.”
The third prince then asked Friar Sand how heavy his staff was. “It's 5,048 pounds too,” replied Friar Sand with a smile.
The oldest of the young princes then asked Brother Monkey to let him see the gold-banded cudgel. Monkey produced the needle from his ear, shook it in the wind to make it as thick as a rice bowl, and stood it upright in the ground in front of him, to the consternation and alarm of all the princes and officials. The three young princes then kowtowed again and said, “Teacher Zhu and Teacher Sand carry their weapons under their clothes where they can get them out. Why do you take yours out of your ear, Teacher Sun? How do you make it grow in the wind?”
“You wouldn't realize that this isn't some mere mortal object,” Monkey replied.
“When chaos was first parted the iron was cast:
Yu the Great had the work done himself.
When he unified the depths of rivers, lakes and seas
This cudgel served as a measuring rod.
In the prosperity after mountains and seas had been ordered
It floated to the gates of the Eastern Ocean.
Over the years it gave off a coloured glow,
Learned to shrink and to grow and shine with pure light.
It was my destiny to recover this rod
Which endlessly changes when I say the spell.
When I tell it to grow it fills the universe,
But it can be as tiny as a needle's eye.
It's known as As-You-Will and called gold-banded;
In Heaven and on Earth it is quite unique.
Its weight is thirteen thousand and five hundred pounds;
Whether thick or fine it can bring life or death.
Once it helped me make havoc in Heaven,
And took part when I attacked the Underworld.
It always succeeds in subduing dragons and tigers,
Everywhere wipes out monsters and ogres.
If it points up the sun goes dark;
Heaven, earth, gods, devils, all are afraid.
Passed on by magic since the birth of time,
This is no ordinary piece of iron.”
When the young princes had heard this they all started kowtowing endlessly, bowing over and over again as they earnestly begged for instruction.
“Which fighting skills do the three of you want to learn?” Monkey asked.
“The one of us who uses a rod wants to learn that,” the young princes replied, “the one who fights with a rake wants to learn the rake, and the staff man wants to learn the staff.”
“Teaching would be easy enough,” replied Monkey with a smile, “except that you're all too weak to be able to use our weapons, so you won't be able to master them. 'A badly-drawn tiger only looks like a dog.' As they used to say in the old days, 'If the teaching isn't strict it shows the teacher is idle; if the student doesn't learn it's his own fault.' If you're really sincere you'd better burn incense and bow to Heaven and Earth. I'll give you some magic strength before teaching you how to fight.”
The three young princes were very pleased to hear him say this, and they at once carried in an incense table themselves, washed their hands, lit incense sticks and bowed to Heaven. This done, they asked their teachers to instruct them.
Monkey stepped down and said to the Tang Priest with a bow, “Please forgive your disciple, honoured Master. Ever since in your goodness you rescued me at the Double Boundary Mountain and I became a Buddhist all those years ago we've been travelling West. Although I've never done very much to repay your kindness I have crossed plenty of rivers and mountains and done everything I possibly could. Now that we've come to this land of the Buddha and had the good fortune of meeting these three young princes, they've taken us as their teachers of martial arts. As our pupils they'd be your pupils' pupils, so I ask you respectfully, Master, to allow us to instruct them.”
Sanzang was delighted, and when Pig and Friar Sand saw Monkey bowing to him they kowtowed too and said, “Master, we're stupid and too awkward with words to be able to explain things properly. Please take your dharma seat and let each of us take a pupil. It'll be fun, and something to remind us of our journey West.” Sanzang was happy to agree.
Monkey then took the three young princes into a quiet room behind the pavilion where he drew a star-chart of the Dipper and told them to prostrate themselves inside it while they shut their eyes and settled their spirits. Meanwhile he silently said the words of the spell, recited a mantra, and blew magic breath into the hearts of the three of them. He put their primal spirits back into their original home, taught them magical spells, gave each of them immense strength, applied the right heat, and performed a magic that replaced their old bodies and bones with new ones. After the heat circulated in a roundabout way through their bodies the three young princes came to, stood up, rubbed their faces, summoned up their spirits, and all found that they were much stronger. The eldest of them could pick up the gold-banded cudgel, the second could swing the nine-toothed rake, and the third could raise the demon-quelling staff.
When the king saw this he was beside himself with delight, and arranged another vegetarian feast for the Tang Priest and his three disciples. In front of the banquet each of the princes was taught his own skill: the one who was learning the rod practised with the rod, the one who was learning the rake practised with the rake, and the one who was learning the staff practised with the staff. Though the young princes did manage a few turns and movements it took a lot of effort, and going through a series of movements left them gasping for breath, so that they could not go on. Besides this, the weapons they were using had the power of transformation, so that as the princes advanced, retreated, attacked and lifted the weapons shrunk, grew and went through amazing changes by themselves. But the princes were, after all, only mortals, and were unable to keep up with the speed of their weapons. Later that day the banquet came to an end.
The next day the three princes came back once more to express their thanks and say, “We are very grateful to you, divine teachers, for giving us this strength, but when we try to spin your divine weapons around we can only move them with great difficulty. We would like to get smiths to make lighter copies of them, but we don't know whether you would agree to that, Teachers.”
“Great, great,” said Pig. “That's the way to talk. You ought to have your own made because you can't use our weapons, and anyhow we need them to protect the Dharma and beat monsters.” The princes then sent for smiths who bought ten thousand pounds of iron and steel, set up a workshop with a furnace in the front courtyard of the prince's palace, and began to cast the weapons. On the first day the steel was made, and on the second Monkey and the other two were asked to bring out their gold-banded cudgel, nine-toothed rake and demon-quelling staff and put them under the matting shelter to be copied. The work went on by night and day without stopping.
These weapons were the treasures they always carried with them that they could not be parted from for a moment. Normally they hid them about their persons. Now the weapons were protected by coloured light, so that when they were put in the yard of the workshop for several days many beams of radiance reached up to the heavens, while every kind of auspicious vapor blanketed the earth. That night an evil spirit, who was sitting out on a night watch in a cave called Tigermouth Cave on a mountain called Mount Leopard Head that was only some twenty-five miles from the city, noticed the glow and the auspicious vapors.
Going up on his cloud to investigate he saw that the light came from the city, whereupon he brought his cloud down and went closer for a better look. Discovering that the light was coming from the weapons, he thought with delight and desire, “What wonderful weapons, what splendid treasures. I wonder whose they are and why they've been left here. This must be my lucky chance. I'll take them, I'll take them.” His covetousness now moved, he created a mighty wind, scooped up all three weapons and took them back to his cave. Indeed:
Not for one moment must the Way be left;
What can be left is not the true Way.
Cultivation and trance will both be in vain
When divine arms have been taken away.
If you do not know how these weapons were found, listen to the explanation in the next installment.