Friday, August 24, 2012

Journey to the West

…. is a great classic Chinese literature written around 16th Century. The said author was Wu Chen En and I give kudos to him as to how did he fabricated such an entertaining, magical and successful novel?
When people refer to the title, people cannot help but remember the Monkey God, SiWu Kong. The story circled around a Monk and his three disciples – the Monkey, Pig and Sandy. The white horse is actually a Prince of the Dragon family. 
This Classic has been made into movies, TV series and of course translated into simplified Chinese version as well as English books. It never fails to mesmerize the audiences and the readers with episodes of battles between good and evils. There are many characters in the story of animals spirits that after practicing of hundreds and thousand of years can turned into human and have magical powers. All these creatures craved to eat a piece of the Monk's flesh because it will give immortality.
It was said that the Monk, named XuanZhang did really existed. He was send by the Tang Emperor to India to bring back teachings of the Buddha so that it can benefit the people of China. During those days, travelling is by foot or horse and it takes months or years to move from one place to another.
My friend’s late father said that there are two possibilities and I believe many people think alike. The story was written by XuanZhang. Since he was on a spiritual journey and stopped at many places, he must have met many kind of people – the kind, the wise, the spiritual, the wicket, the cruel, the immortal etc. Instead of directly referring to them, he used different animals to represent these people and weaved a story around them. XuanZhang has a Royal Pass given by the Emperor so he was also the Diplomat of China at that time. He collected stories of various lands, culture and people and these will be stories that he will repeat to the Tang Emperor. To me this possibility is somewhat farfetched. To Buddhists practioners especially monks, they spent most of their time on spiritual learning and meditation so to write such stories is time wasting as it will not bring about Enlightenment. 

On the other hand, I felt that the possibility of Wu Chen En writing it was higher. The Author left his home town for Imperial Examination in the Capital. He was a filial son and his mother who lived her life in the village requested him to record what he saw on the way and tell her when he returned. Apparently the scholar passed the Imperial Examination and became an Imperial Officer. On his way home, he suddenly remembered his promised to his mother and fabricated these stories to entertain her.
Other than the literature, the Theme Song of Journey to the West is another Classic. No Journey to the West does not use this music score. Just by listening to the music/song you know the name to the movie immediately. Like the Classic Theme Song of Butterfly Lovers, this is another fantastic score. 

The title of the Theme Song is ‘May I asked where is the Path’. I love the music and the lyrics. I shall share this irreplaceable song next time when I decided to post music.
“Dare I asked where is the Path…the Path is beneath our feet…..”
The above picture is taken from the Internet and credit goes to the Artists/ Studio who created such beautiful animated character of the novel. Thank you.

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