The Journey to the West, Revised Edition, Volume 1 by The Journey to the West Volume 1

The Journey to the West, Revised Edition, Volume 1 by The Journey to the West Volume 1

Author:The Journey to the West Volume 1
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Published: 2013-04-04T18:30:00+00:00

THIRTEEN

In the den of tigers, the Gold Star brings deliverance;

At Double-Fork Ridge, Boqin detains the monk.

The rich Tang ruler issued a decree,

Deputing Xuanzang to seek the source of Chan.

He bent his mind to find the Dragon Den,

With firm resolve to climb the Vulture Peak.1

Through how many states did he roam beyond his own?

Through clouds and hills he passed ten thousand times.

He now leaves the throne to go to the West;

He’ll keep law and faith to reach the Great Void.

We shall now tell you about Tripitaka, who, on the third day before the fifteenth of the ninth month in the thirteenth year of the period Zhenguan, was sent off by the Tang emperor and many officials from outside the gate of Chang’an. For a couple of days his horse trotted without ceasing, and soon they reached the Temple of the Law Gate. The abbot of that temple led some five hundred monks on both sides to receive him and took him inside. As they met, tea was served, after which a vegetarian meal was presented. Soon after the meal, dusk fell, and thus

Shadows moved to the Star River’s nearing pulse;

The moon was bright without a speck of dust.

The wild geese called from the distant sky,

And washing flails beat from nearby homes.

As birds returned to perch on withered trees,

The Chan monks conversed in their Sanskrit tones.

On rush mats placed upon a single bunk,

They sat until halfway through the night.

Beneath the lamps the various monks discussed Buddhist doctrines and the purpose of seeking scriptures in the Western Heaven. Some pointed out that the waters were wide and the mountains very high; others mentioned that the roads were crowded with tigers and leopards; still others maintained that the precipitous peaks were difficult to scale; and another group insisted that the vicious monsters were hard to subdue. Tripitaka, however, kept his mouth shut tightly, but he pointed with his finger to his own heart and nodded his head several times. Not perceiving what he meant, the various monks folded their hands and asked, “Why did the Master of the Law point to his heart and nod his head?”

“When the mind is active,” Tripitaka replied, “all kinds of māra come into existence; when the mind is extinguished, all kinds of māra will be extinguished. This disciple has already made an important vow before Buddha in the Temple of Transformation, and he has no alternative but to fulfill it with his whole heart. If I go, I shall not turn aside until I have reached the Western Heaven, seen Buddha, and acquired the scriptures so that the Wheel of the Law will be turned to us2 and the kingdom of our lord will be secured forever.” When the various monks heard this statement, everyone congratulated and commended him, saying, “A loyal and valiant master!” They praised him unceasingly as they escorted him to bed.

Soon

The bamboos struck down the setting moon3

And the cocks crowed to gather the clouds of dawn.

The various monks arose and prepared some tea and the morning meal.



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