Author Wu Chengen
Press Anhui Arts Publishing House
Page material gelatine plate paper
Journey to the West (simplified Chinese: 西游记; traditional Chinese: 西遊記; pinyin: Xī Yóu Jì; Wade-Giles: Hsi-yu chi) is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Originally published anonymously in the 1590s during the Ming Dynasty, its authorship has been ascribed to the scholar Wu Cheng'en since the 20th century.
Arthur Waley. The Waley translation has also been published as Adventures of the Monkey God; and Monkey: [A] Folk Novel of China; and The Adventures of Monkey.
In western countries, the tale is also often known simply as Monkey. This was one title used for a popular, abridged translation by
The novel is a fictionalised account of the mythologized legends around the Buddhist monk Xuánzàng's pilgrimage to India (known as the Western Regions) during the Táng dynasty in order to obtain Buddhist religious texts called sūtras. The Bodhisattva Guānyīn, on instruction from the Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism, gives this task to the monk and his three protectors in the form of disciples — namely Sūn Wùkōng, Zhū Bājiè and Shā Wùjìng — together with a dragon prince who acts as Xuánzàng's mount, a white horse. These four characters have agreed to help Xuánzàng as an atonement for past sins.
Journey to the West has a strong background in Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology and value systems; the pantheon of Taoist immortals and Buddhist bodhisattvas is still reflective of some Chinese folk religious beliefs today.
Part of the novel's enduring popularity comes from the fact that it works on multiple levels: it is an adventure story, a dispenser of spiritual insight, and an extended allegory in which the group of pilgrims journeying toward India stands for the individual journeying toward enlightenment.
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