Huineng, Subhuiti, and Monkey's Religion in "Xiyou ji"
Posted on 22. Feb, 2009 by James Miller
|Title||Huineng, Subhuiti, and Monkey's Religion in "Xiyou ji"|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2006|
|Journal||The Journal of Asian Studies|
|Keywords||Buddhism in literature, Conversion (Theology) in literature, Monkeys in literature, ourney to the west, Taoism in literature, Wu, Cheng-en ca. 1500-ca. 1582|
Among the major Chinese novels, the consistently popular 16th-century Xiyou ji (The Journey to the West) is the one that most seriously engages with religion. Prototypes for Monkey, the novel's protagonist, can be found in such religious practitioners as Huineng, the sixth patriarch of Chan Buddhism, and Subhuiti, the only disciple commended by the Buddha for his ability to intuit emptiness. Subhuiti's Buddhist name and Taoist identity appear to have been forced together in a striking oxymoron, and Monkey's name serves as a reminder of Subhuiti's enigmatic identity. The author of the novel deals with religious allusions in a particularly Taoist manner that also suggests a connection with the Taoist philosophy of Zhang Boduan. In the religious scheme of the text, Monkey is a "Buddhist" because he is primarily a Taoist, his Taoist quest and Buddhist journey being bonded in a single religious experience.