Monkey: A Story of Transformation

1. Introduction

“Monkey” is a fictional myth and Buddhism-inspired story. It has been associated with Ming Dynasty scholar Wu Cheng'en. In the 16th century, the novel was published in an anononymous form. The protagonist of the story is a monkey who acquires supernatural power and fights against evil forces.

2. Buddhism and Monkey

Buddhism played a significant role in shaping the character of Monkey. After acquiring superpowers, he became a disciple of Xuanzang, a Chinese Buddhist monk who went on a journey to India to get Buddhist scriptures. Xuanzang was an incarnation of Bodhi, and Monkey helped him to achieve enlightenment.

3. The Journey to the West

The story of Monkey is set in China during the Tang dynasty. Xuanzang sets out on a dangerous journey to the west (India) to obtain Buddhist scriptures. He is accompanied by three disciples: Monkey, Pigsy, and Sandy. On their way, they face many challenges and overcome various obstacles.

4. The Water Curtain Cave

One of the most important episodes in the story takes place in the Water Curtain Cave. Monkey transforms into a powerful being and defeats all the demons who try to stop Xuanzang from achieving his goal. This event marks Xuanzang’s transformation from an ordinary man into a Buddha.

5. The Journey Continues

After leaving the Water Curtain Cave, Xuanzang and his disciples continue their journey to India. They face many more challenges, but eventually succeed in reaching their destination. Along the way, Xuanzang teaches Monkey the principles of Buddhism and Taoism.

6. Xuanzang’s Transformation

Xuanzang’s transformation is one of the most important themes in the story. After reaching India and receiving Buddhist scriptures, he becomes a Buddha himself. He returns to China and teaches Monkey the importance of humility and compassion.

7. The Return Journey

The return journey is marked by Xuanzang’s further transformation into a deity. He becomes Guan Yin, the goddess of mercy and compassion. With her help, Monkey and his disciples finally return to China after spending 500 years on their journey.

8. Conclusion

“Monkey” is a Chinese classic that has been popular for centuries. It is a story about friendship, loyalty, bravery, and self-sacrifice. But above all, it is a story about transformation—of both individuals and society as a whole


The monkey changes from being an ordinary monkey into a immortal Monkey King.

The monkey changes because he eats the magical fruit that gives him immortality.

The changes affect the monkey's relationships with others because he becomes more powerful than them and they are afraid of him.

The monkey does not regret changing because he enjoys his new powers and immortality.

The one constant about the monkey is his mischievous nature, despite all his changes.

Wu Ch'eng-en's story is an allegory for human life and society because it shows how humans can change for better or worse depending on their choices in life.