Episode 6G – Return of the Buddha

Episode 6G Show Notes

Source: Chinese Mythology

This week on MYTH, we’ll at last reach the end of our 14 year journey to Vulture Peak in mythical India, which bears only a passing resemblance to the real India..  This is the seventh and final episode on the epic tale of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King.  If you haven’t heard the first six parts, I’d recommend going back and listening.  The first episode provides a lot of back story on the Monkey King and on the Chinese cosmology, the second tells how this whole quest thing got started, the third tells Sanzang got tricked into banishing Monkey from the party, the fourth tells how Sanzang ended up hanging from a tree surrounded by bandits and Monkey decided to join back up, and the fifth tells about Sanzang being totally cool with being kidnapped as long as no beautiful women try to fuck him.  To summarize, Monkey was trapped by Buddha and could only be released if he served the monk Sanzang on his journey to the west to retrieve the magic sutras from India.  Along the way, getting into a stupid amount of trouble and getting out mostly through literal deus ex machina, they acquire two more disciples: Ogre and Piggy.  Monkey managed to become even more immortal, but it didn’t help him against a scheming demon that convinced the kind of dumb monk that Monkey had killed a few people for shits and giggles.  Given how many demons have shown up already, you’d think he’d be more open to the idea.  After some sitcom antics, Sanzang figures out he’s been tricked and they all become one big happy party again just long enough for Sanzang to nearly get his dick sucked by a scorpion demon.  Monkey gets the gods of the stars to burn her to dust (which seems harsh sense it looks like the poor demon lady really did just want to give the priest mind-blowing sex, but that’s mythology for you).  Not long after, Monkey forgets how much trouble Sanzang gets into on his own and goes scouting.  The monk s promptly kidnapped by bandits and strung up in a tree.  Monkey murders all of the bandits, and Sanzang gets all pissy about it.  They find an imposter Buddha who manages to trap a significant fraction of the Chinese gods in a bag, but Monkey eventually finds the right god for the job.  Sanzang again gets super pissed that somebody want a piece of the holy D, and they find a castle with a sick king.  Monkey plays doctor, and gets sent after a wife kidnapping demon to fix the king.  He fucks up the rescue mission and runs away.  He saves the monk, only to lose him again, this time to a harem of slutty girl demons.  They naturally turn out to be hideous spider monsters, and Monkey defeats them and their eye-torsoed leader.  They come to a continent where every person but one has been eaten by demons, and get advice from the sole survivor.  Monkey wreaks his usual havoc and stops the demons.  They meet and stop a king bent on child murder to keep his erection longer, and yet another female demon who’s main sin is wanting to fuck an old priest.  Continuing, they meet an eviler king who wants to murder 10,000 monks because reasons.  They escape that horror by being critical of the special effects.   In this episode, you’ll learn that magical quests from your god aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, that if you slap a god, you might have to swim in your own shit, and that slutty demon whores are not the worst examples of women to be found in this myth.  Then, in Gods and Monsters, it’s the Old Lady of Forgetfulness, who’s probably related to the Greek god Hades.  This is the Myths Your Teacher Hated podcast, where I tell the stories of cultures around the world in all of their original, bloody, uncensored glory.  Modern tellings of these stories have become dry and dusty, but I’ll be trying to breathe new life into them. This is Episode 6G, “Return of the Buddha“.  As always, this episode is not safe for work.

  • Sanzang and the group finally reach Fengxian, one of the frontier prefectures of India.  The areas has suffered from drought for years, so Monkey offers to make it rain.  Just like that.  The local marquis hears this, and comes to meet them to accept the offer.  They are taken to a monastery and fed, and then Monkey starts up.  A dark cloud appears in the hall and slowly reveals Ao Kuang, the dragon of the Eastern Sea (remember him from Episode 6A?).  “Thanks for coming, dragon buddy.  It’s been dry here for a long time, and I was hoping you could make it rain.  Whaddya say?”   “Wish I could, Monkey, but I need orders from heaven for that.  Can’t do shit on my own or the emperor with get pissed.”
  • “Fair enough”, says Monkey, and he sails off in a cloud to go get permission.  “Yo, emperor dude, can we get some rain over in India?”  The Emperor replies “Nope.  Three years ago, I was inspecting the heavens and traveling through the three worlds and I saw that the marquis was a dick, so I decided to punish literally everyone who might be affected by his being a dick.  He gave the offerings to heaven to dogs just because they were starving, he said naughty words, and he said I might not be the most awesome god ever.  Tell you what, though.  I’m feeling magnanimous and not at all wondering if I went a littler overboard here, so I’ve set up three tasks in the Hall of Fragrance.  Do them all, and I’ll let you have your rain.”
  • Four heavenly teachers take Monkey to the Hall.  Inside, he sees a 100 ft tall mountain of rice and a 200 ft tall mountain of flour.  A chicken the size of a fist is eating the rice and a pekinese is licking the flour.  Beside all of that insanity is a golden padlock 16” long with a cross bar as thick as a finger sitting above a lamp, which is heating the bar.  The teachers say “India will only get rain once the chicken has eaten all of the rice, the dog has eaten all of the flour, and the lamp has melted through the lock.”  “Shit”, says Monkey.  “I’ve got nothing.”  “Oh, it’s easy, Monkey.  The marquis just has to suck up to the Emperor, and this will all finish up in a flash.”
  • Monkey decides he can’t really do anything else in heaven, so he goes back to Sanzang.  The marquis is waiting there, surrounded by his people.  “Right, so the heavenly teachers told me that you just have to impress the Emperor with how good you are.  He’s punishing everyone because of you, Marquis.”  The marquis starts to sweat.
  • “Okay, but in practical terms, what do I need to do, Monkey?”  “If it were me, I’d hold a big religious festival and do a whole lot of praying and scripture reading.  Really do it up.”  The marquis therefore orders a 3-day religious festival, in which they all pray, burn incense, thank the Jade Emperor for not actively smiting them yet, and repent of their many sins (which seem to mostly be taking a laid back attitude to worshiping the emperor).  At the end, Monkey sets off in his could once more for heaven.  He arrives about the same time that letters from the clergy do (I don’t really know how you get a letter to heaven, but the postage must be a real bitch).  Monkey’s testimony and the letters are sufficient to make the emperor happy. When Monkey walks into the Hall of Fragrance, the two hills are gone and the lock has fallen to the ground.  That day, three feet and 42 drops of rain fall (which, given they’ve been in drought for years, probably meant that people died in flash floods and mud slides).
  • They are allowed to pass on and continue into India.  They eventually come to the wall of Yuhua County.  The prince invites them to the palace to inspect their passports before going on.  While they’re waiting on the ancient version of the border agency to do its bureaucratic thing, the princes three sons come visit.  They are impressed by the weapons of Monkey, Ogre, and Piggy, and listen to their stories of their trip.  Amazed, they ask the group to teach them to fight.  Monkey laughs.  “It would be easy if you weren’t all huge wimps.  There’s no way you can even pick up our weapons, let alone fight with them.  I’ll give you magic strength first so that the lesson won’t be a waste of my time.”
  • They pick up the weapons, but can only move them with great difficulty.  Hey, divine weapons are fucking heavy man.  I’d like to see you try it.  Abashed, the princes have their smiths create lighter versions of the weapons, and they work day and night.  They are finally finished, and left out overnight to cool.  That night, an evil spirit in the Tigermouth Cave on Mount Leopard Head sees a magical glow coming from the city.  He investigates, and finds the splendid magical weapons.  “Finders keepers, losers weepers”, he cackles, and he takes the three weapons back to his cave.
  • The missing weapons are discovered the next morning, and Monkey goes out on patrol to find the thief.  He sees two wolf headed ogres, and figuring that they’re committing the crime of walking while demon, he turns into a butterfly and follows them.  Because the gods have basically decreed that Monkey’s hunches are almost always right, the two demons immediately start discussing a rake banquet being organized by a more powerful demon.  He is celebrating the three new magic weapons he has, and these two ogres are off to buy (yes, buy because I ever said they were evil) pigs and sheep to bring.  They seem like decent sorts, but Monkey kills them anyway, because you can never trust ogres (Monkey might be a little bit demon racist, in spite of being a demon himself).
  • Monkey grabs Piggy, and the two transform into the dead ogres.  With some pigs and sheep from the city, they go to the cave the two mentioned in their conversation (which provided unusually specific directions for a conversation between two monsters who already knew where they were going).  The junior demon at the cave pays them for the animals, then invites them around back for lunch with the demon king.  On the table inside the hall, Monkey sees the magical weapons laid out on display.  Monkey and Piggy grab the replicas of their own weapons from the table, and proceed to beat the shit out of very surprised demon king.  He quickly realizes he’s losing, and escapes, headed for his grandfather, the Primal Sage of Ninefold Numinosity.
  • The guard at the Nine-bend Twisty Cave in Bamboo Mountain is surprised to see the demon king.  “Hey, guy.  Your granddad already said he was coming to your banquet tomorrow.  Why come by today?  Did you not get his answer?”  “Actually, the banquet is kind of off.  See these two guys came in, pretending to be my guys, and they took the magic weapons and fought everyone off.”  He starts to cry a little, snot dripping down his face, as he tells the whole story.  “What do I do gramps?”  The old demon shakes his head.  “You done fucked up, grandson.  You pissed off Piggy, Ogre, and the Monkey King, if what you’ve told me is right.  Why the hell did you provoke them?  Eh, fuck it.  I’ll help you capture them this time, but be more careful next time.
  • The two demons appear with several of their lieutenants (eight demons total) at the city and rush at Piggy, Ogre, and Monkey, who have returned with the stolen weapons.  The two groups fight for two and half straight days with no victor.  Piggy is starting to get tired, and tries to feint, but trips and is captured.  With one side of the triangle down, Ogre and Monkey have to retreat.  The demons press the fight, so Monkey yanks out some hairs and creates a hundred shadow clones to fight.  By evening, Monkey and Ogre have caught or driven off three of the enemy demons.  The next morning, Five of the demons reengage, but the old demon king, a nine headed lion, sneaks into the city and captures Sanzang, the prince, his three sons.  He carries each one in the mouth of a separate head, then grabs Piggy from where he’s been kept and hold him in a sixth mouth, and takes them to his cave.
  • Monkey and Ogre are able to beat off the assault of the remaining demons, and realize that everyone important has been taken.  They follow the assault team back to Bamboo Mountain, and up to the gates of the Nine-bend Twisty Cave.  The two demon monks start to beat on the gates, so the old demon king goes out, throws open the gates, and grabs Ogre and Monkey in two different mouths while they are contending with the other seven heads.  Monkey waits until nightfall, then sneaks out of the cave and back to the city.  There, he finds a collection of local deities and spirits, including the god of the city.  “Are you fucking serious?  We’ve been fighting for your home for days, and only NOW do you show the fuck up?  You goddamned cowards.”  The city god looks sheepish.  “The old demon king is really scary.  If you want to finish him, you’ll need to go to the Wonderful Crag Palace in the uttermost east to find his master.  Nobody else can subdue him, not even you.
  • Monkey immediately heads out to the uttermost east, and finds the Heavenly Honored One, who summons his lion taming slave.  The slave is lazy and drunk because the story is a little classist, and the guards beat him awake and drag him to the Honored One.  “Where the fuck is my lion, also known as literally your only job?”  The slave drops to his knees, weeping.  “I’m sorry, my Lord.  I stole a jug of wine and I got shit faced on it.  While I was passed out, the lion must have slipped its chains and gotten away.”
  • The honored one, annoyed, goes with Monkey to get his lion, bringing the slave with them.  The demon charges out to battle, but drops to all fours, totally docile, when it sees the Heavenly Honored One.  The slave dashes over, puts a collar on him, then proceeds to punch him in the neck hundreds of times.  Not a few times, hundreds of times.  No wonder the fucking lion left.  The slave only stops once his arm gets tired, then he throws a saddle on the lion’s back and the Honored One mounts up, completely ignoring the fact that his slave just beat his mount savagely because he was embarrassed by his own mistake.  Monkey isn’t really sure what to make of what just happened, but the demons are gone now, so he frees Sanzang, Piggy, Ogre, the prince, and the prince’s three sons.
  • The party travels on until they reach another city.  They stay at the Clouds of Compassion Monastery to enjoy the Full Moon Festival, a celebration of the harvest.  During the festival, three ornate golden lamps with silver filagree are lit.  They are bright enough to outshine the full moon, and the smoke from the burning oil is pleasantly fragrant.
  • Sanzang is a little obsessed with the oil.  “What the hell is in that oil that smells so good?”  One of the monks explains that it isn’t normal oil: it’s perfumed refined butter oil.  Once the lamps have burned for one night, the Lord Buddha appears and all of the oil disappears.  “Does Buddha take the oil”? asks Piggy, because he has trouble with the obvious.  “Yeah, that was implied.  If Buddha takes the oil, the city will have a good harvest.  If not, we’ll have famine, drought, and terrible weather, so we all work really hard to have the best oil.”
  • Suddenly, a howling wind erupts from the atmosphere.  Everyone is driven inside, including Sanzang and his disciples.  “What the fuck is that?” asks Ogre?  “Oh, don’t worry.  That’s just Buddha.  It happens every year.  The wind rises up at the end of the night, and everyone goes inside while Buddha takes the oil.”  “Sweet!” interrupts Sanzang.  “The Buddha’s coming?  I totally want to meet that guy.  I’ve been walking this way for over a decade to see him.”  The monk gets nervous.  “Yeah, no.  No one goes outside while Buddha is here.”  Sanzang thinks about it for maybe a quarter of a second, then decides “Nope.  I alway know better and never walk into obvious traps, so this is obviously a good idea.”
  • He runs outside in time to see a trio of Buddhas ride the wind above the city, headed for the lamp.  “Awesome sauce!”  He makes to dash headlong towards the clearly demonic presences, but Monkey grabs him.  “Oh my fucking god, are you serious?  Those are clearly evil demons impersonating Buddha.  I mean fuck, do you really think he’s got two identical brothers?”  Even as Monkey speaks, though, the lamps go out with a whoosh, and Sanzang is gone.  “Fuck me.  Not this shit again.”
  • Monkey whistles up the local gods and finds out that the demons live in Dark Essence Cave in Green Dragon Mountain.  The eldest is King Cold-Avoider, the second is King Heat-Avoider, and the third is called King Dust-Avoider.  And yes, the demon names are definitely getting weirder; a lot of the names are obviously based on some obvious animal feature.  I don’t know what these mean.
  • Monkey goes straight to the cave and demands they come out and fight.  Instead, they decide to taunt him a little.  “Hey aren’t you that Monkey King that made so much trouble in heaven?  Are you sure, because to me, you just look like a cute little macaque.”  “Don’t fuck with me, asshole.  I’ve ripped the balls off better demons than you.  Give me back the priest!”  He beats down the door to the cave, and charges the three demons.  They fight until the next evening, when Dust-Avoider summons a herd of cattle demons to overwhelm Monkey.  He realizes he’s facing recockulous odds, so he beats a hasty retreat.  “What happened?” asks Piggy.  “What happened is that none of you fuckers had my back, so I was facing unbeatable odds.”  Monkey yawned.  “I’m pooped.  Let me grab some zzz’s and I’ll try again tomorrow.”  Ogre shook his head.  “Naw, I think we need to go tonight.  You’re gonna feel like a total buttonhole if you go there in the morning, and they already murdered the priest to death. Monkey sighs, longing for his bed, but they’re right.  “Alright, let’s do this shit.  I don’t want to be up all night again tonight.” 
  • They go back to the cave and fight again, and Monkey is not the least bit surprised when Piggy and Ogre are immediately captured.  “I knew it, I fucking knew it.”  Monkey retreats again, and goes to heaven for reinforcements.  “Honestly, I don’t know why I ever trust Ogre and Piggy to do anything.  They’re nearly as danger prone as the priest.”  He meets the Metal Planet, Heavenly King Virudhaka, and the spirit officers Yin, Zhu, Tao, and Xu.  He tells them the story.  “Ah, you met the three rhino spirits.  They are really self-conscious about their bodies and are pretty germaphobic, so they bathe like, a lot.  All you have to do is get the four beast stars belonging to the element wood.”  “That sounds like word soup, so I’m going to need more detail.”  The Metal Planet sighs.  Look between the Dipper and the Bull Palace.  It might be easier if you send a written request to the Jade Emperor for detailed instructions.  I know time is of the essence, and vital quests hang in the balance, but bureaucracy stands aside for no man.”  Monkey shakes his head and fills out the forms.
  • Permission finally obtained, Monkey goes back with the Wooden Lesser Dragon of the Horn Constellation, the Wooden Unicorn of the Dipper Constellation, the Wooden Wolf of the Strider Constellation, and the Wooden Hyena of the Well Constellation.  Monkey goes back to the cave and proceeds to shout insults at the fat, ugly, stupid ogres.  “What the fuck?” asks Dust-avoider.  “We kicked his ass yesterday and took his friends.  Is he that desperate for another beating?”  Shrugging, the three come out.  They like three against one.
  • The four constellations step out from the shadows behind the demons.  “Boo.”  “Holy shit balls!  He found the only beings that can fuck our shit up!  Run away!”  The demons turn into their true rhino forms and rush off.  Monkey and the constellations give chase, following them into the sea.  The Dragon King Ao Shun sees this, and orders his heir Prince Mo’ang to gather troops and help out.  The rhinos are therefore suddenly confronted with an army of armed tortoises, soft shelled turtles, alligators, fish, crab, and shrimp, and they give up.
  • They travel uneventfully for over a month, before coming to the Spread Gold Dyana Monastery.  An otherworldly looking monk offers to let them stay.  Since they’re close to the end now, they’re not worried about trouble, so they agree.  That night, Sanzang and Monkey walk in the moonlight with the ancient monk, and hear a woman weeping because her parents don’t know of her suffering.  Which seems odd, because wouldn’t you be more upset about, I don’t know, the actual suffering?  “Who’s that weeping?” asks Sanzang.  “A year ago, I was thinking about the moon when I heard a gust of wind and the sound of crying.  I went into the garden, and saw a beautiful girl there.  ‘Who’s daughter are you?’ I asked, because her own identity isn’t important to me as an old sexist man.  ‘I am a princess, daughter of the king of India’ she replied.  The wind blew me here when I was looking at flowers by midnight (there seems to be a lot of that going around).’  I decided that she was an evil spirit, and had her locked away in an empty room that I bricked up as a prison cell.  There’s a little window to pass food through, so I give her just enough food to live. She sleeps in her own piss and shit and pretends to be insane so that the other monks don’t break in and rape her (and not because I locked her in a tiny room with no other options).  I asked around, but no one is missing a princess.  Sanzang, can you use your powers to find out the truth?”
  • If you’ve been paying attention so far, you can probably guess what happened.  Monkey and Sanzang go into the city the next morning, which happens to be the 20th birthday of the Royal Princess.  The king has built a tower for the princess to throw an embroidered ball down so that heaven could decide who she should marry, which sounds more than a little insane.  Of course, what’s actually happened is that the king was admiring nature, which inexplicably pissed off a demon, and it sent the daughter away on the wind.  The demon had convinced the king to build the tower so that she could use her ball trick to get Sanzang to marry her.  Because this particular episode is sexist as shit, the demon wants to, and I quote, “steal his male primal essence to maker herself the strongest demon ever.”  Seriously, these character has a real hang up with girls not being terrified of cum. 
  • While Sanzang is investigating in the city, the demon throws the ball from the tower, and hits him in the head, knocking off his hat.  Startled, Sanzang reaches for his hat, but catches the ball instead.  Everyone freezes, and whispering starts up.  “Oh shit, she hit a monk.  Can she do that?  Does heaven want her to marry a monk?”   Sanzang looks at Monkey, bewildered.  “Alright, priest, just go to the palace and see the king.  If they decide that marrying a priest is fucking stupid, then you can get the passport signed and go (because apparently the king has to do that personally for some reason, in defiance of all logic).  If they decide fuck it, let’s get married, ask for them to send a messenger.  I’ll go get Piggy and Ogre, then I’ll come back.  If one of them is a demon, I’ll be able to tell.”
  • Sanzang does as told, and naturally, the demon insists on being married.  Sanzang, in turn, insists that his disciples be present.  The princess objects, but the king thinks this is completely reasonable, so they are summoned.  A banquet is laid out, so Piggy, Monkey and Ogre leave the monk to stew while they eat until their bellies nearly burst.  Sanzang finally finds them stuffing their faces and is furious.  “Are you assholes serious?  I’m in real trouble here, and it’s all your fault Monkey!  I just wanted to get the passport signed and leave, but you insisted that we take a look at the tower.  SO fix it.”
  • Monkey can’t stop himself from laughing.  “I thought you’d like it.  You told me that your late mother married by throwing an embroidered ball to decide her husband.  I thought that was crazy, but you seemed nostalgic, so I figured you’d have a little fun.  Besides, we DID kind of agree to figure out which princess is real.  Or did you want to risk leaving an innocent girl starving in a pile of her own shit?”
  • Meanwhile, the princess has been complaining to her dad.  “Ugh, my future husband’s disciples are supposed to be fantastically ugly.  Since I’m just a delicate woman with no real personal strength, I’m pretty sure being them would terrify me to a literal death.  I guess that means you need to banish them, huh dad?”  The king, who like I said is super sexist, buys this bullshit argument. “Yeah, I guess they are pretty ugly.  I’ll just get their passport signed and tell them to be on their way.  Everybody wins.”
  • The three are summoned before the king.  “Alright, I’m gonna sign your passport now, and you all skeddadle.  I’ll provide an escort to Vulture Peak, and Sanzang can stay here safe and sound.  That work for everyone?”  Monkey shrugs, and lets himself and the other two disciple be ushered through the palace.  Piggy whispers “Uh, are we actually gonna just leave him here?”  Monkey gives gives him a fuck off look.  “What do you think?  Go back to the hostel we’ve been staying at and hide.  Don’t let anyone know you’re still there.  I’m gonna sneak back in and fix everything, like I always do.”
  • Monkey turns into a fly and sneaks back into the palace, and finds Sanzang sitting next to the king, obviously worried about being left to the horrible fate of marrying a beautiful princess (which is the best possible outcome of a fairy tale, but whatever).  He buzzes in the priest’s ear “Did ya miss me?”
  • Sanzang endures his second wedding feast of this journey, which a tiny fly-shaped Monkey clinging to his hat.  The princess finally comes down for the feast, letting Monkey get a look at her.  “Huh,” whispers Monkey.  “There’s a little bit of demon energy around her, but not much.  Probably a fake though.  Weird, I thought she’d be stronger.  Oh well, I’ll go catch her.”  Sanzang hisses at Monkey.  “That would scare the king and queen.  Wait until everyone leaves, and then make her turn into her real form.” 
  • “Fuck that,” says Monkey, “I’m bored now.”  He jumps off the hat and turns into his normal size, grabbing the princess.  “Alright you dick obsessed bitch.  You tried to trick Sanzang into marrying you so you could steal his masculine essence with your evil pussy.  Admit it!”  the king is terrified, naturally, but being a coward, he runs off and leaves what he thinks is his daughter to Monkey.  Shit’s gone sideways, so the demon rips her clothes off and runs to the shrine of a local god in the palace garden.  She grabs a giant pestle she stashed there and swings wildly at the pursuing Monkey, showing no battle training whatsoever.  She summons a cloud, and they battle in the sky. 
  • Monkey gets the upper hand, and draws back to deliver the finishing blow.  “Monkey, no!”  The monk barely checks his blow.  “Who said that?”  The Star Lord of the Moon comes down from the heavens.  “Thanks for not murdering her, Monkey.  That’s the Jade Hare, who pounds the immortal elixir of mysterious dew in my palace.  She got out of her cage last year and ran away, and I finally got around to going to look for her.”
  • “Well, she is fighting with a giant pestle, so I guess that tracks.  But we’ve got a problem.  Your Jade Hare kidnapped the Indian princess, took her place, and is trying to marry Sanzang.  It’s a cluster fuck, and she should be punished.”  “But what you don’t know, Monkey, is that the king’s daughter is not a mere mortal, but the Beauty from the Moon Palace.  18 years ago, she bitch slapped the Jade Hare, and decided to hide out in the mortal world for a while to let things cool down.  She used her magic to slip into the queen’s pussy and get born.  The Jade Hare was really just getting revenge for that slap.  But she really shouldn’t have tried to marry the priest, and she shouldn’t get away with it.  Still I ask you to forgive her.”
  • Monkey scratches his head.  “Okay, that’s some weird shit even for me.  Take your jade hare, and we can get the sort of real princess back from the cell of shit she’s been in for a year (which seems excessive for one slap, really).  Maybe if we throw a party, she’ll feel better about her ordeal.  Honestly, I really don’t care that much.”  So they send a messenger to the monastery where the princess is being held, explain things to an increasingly confused king, who isn’t sure how to respond, so he just sort of lets everyone go on about their merry.
  • Another month of travel goes by before they come to another city.  Sanzang tells everyone “Stand there, keep your mouths shut, and don’t move.  I’m gonna go ask where we are.”  He walked up to the nearby pavilion and asked the old men there where he was and where he might beg a meal.”  “Welcome to Brazentown.  If you want vegetarian food, you don’t have to beg.  Just go through the gate tower shaped like a sitting tiger to Squire Kou’s house.”  They do so, and soon meet Kou Hong. 
  • “I’m 64 now, and when I was 40, I vowed to feed 10,000 monks.  I got bored the other day, so I counted the names I wrote down of all the monks I’ve fed, and it 9,996.  You four will make 10,000.”  For those keeping score at home, this is the second time this exact thing has happened only this time it’s feeding instead of murdering.  “If you guys give me your names, you can stay for a month.  Vulture Peak is only 800 miles away, so it’s pretty close.  I’ll send there in carrying chairs.”  They’ve been walking for most of 14 years now, so that offer sounds amazing.  They immediately agree.
  • Kou insists on having a huge party to celebrate completing his vow. The party tries to turn him down, but he insists.  After a week of celebration, Sanzang insists that they need to go, and that this is way, way too much.  Kou thinks he offended them, and insists on throwing another, even more lavish banquet before they go.  Sighing, Sanzang agrees and Piggy proceeds to try and eat him out of what little money he has.  They spend the night at a hostel so they won’t get talked into staying longer.
  • They leave early the next morning not realizing that Kou has been murdered in the night by some drunken frat boys who squandered their trust funds on booze and whores.  They thought Kou was rich because of the lavish celebration, so they robbed him, and killed him when he resisted.  His wife blames Sanzang for leaving too soon (so they weren’t there to protect him) and also for not leaving sooner so that Kou didn’t throw the ridiculous party that cost him his life.  She decides on completely uneven vengeance, and blames the murder on the four monks (and specifically names Monkey as the actual killer).  She knows it’s not true, but wants to destroy the four that she, for some reason, blames more than the actual thieves and murderers for reasons that aren’t adequately explained.
  • The city guard, 150 strong, charges off after the four monks leaving the real killers to spend whatever money they did get safely.  Fortunately, they’re idiots, and they decide to try to rob the magical demons after successfully robbing one unarmed old man.  Monkey subdues all of them with his magic and ties them up.  They recognize art from Kou’s house, and soon find out what they did.  Sanzang wants to return the stolen goods, so when the guards catch up, he’s in possession of the stolen goods.  This does, admittedly, look really suspicious.
  • The guards throw them in prison, but Monkey has escaped much, much more secure places, so he escapes that night.  He turns into a fly, and goes back to Kou’s house, where the coffin is lying in the main room.  The family is gathered around the body, so Monkey lands on the head of the corpse and coughs.  Loudly.  As a fly. Fly’s can’t really do that, but Monkey’s can’t really turn into flies, so fuck it.  Everyone is terrified, except the old battle axe Kou married, who slaps the coffin and says “Did you come back to life, old man?” 
  • Monkey sees an opportunity.  “Nope.”  “Then why are you talking?”  Personally, I think she’s taking her dead husband talking to her way to calmly.  “King Yama sent demons to bring me back to talk to you.  Apparently, Threadneedle Zhang has been lying to frame some innocent people.”  At hearing her childhood name, which no one but her husband still knew, she drops to her knees, but sticks to her lie.  “What innocent people have I framed?”  “Those poor monks who didn’t even want a fucking party, woman!  Who do you think?  The god of the jail was so upset at the miscarriage of justice that he told the Lord of the Dead about it.  If you don’t get those monks out of jail toot suite, I’m gonna wreak havoc on this place for the next month.  I’m talking full on poltergeist shit.”
  • The two sons promise to go to the jail in the morning and get the monks out.  Monkey could let it go now, but he wants to make goddamned sure they can get moving.  They’re so close!  So he goes to the county office.  “If they see a talking fly, they might figure this whole thing out somehow, so I’ll try something different.”  He turns himself into a giant, so large that one foot barely fits in the door.  “I’m the Roving God Rambler, and the Jade emperor is pissed!  Some Buddhist monks on a holy quest were beaten and imprisoned by you assholes.  Release them, or I’ll use the my other foot to kick everyone in this building to death, then trample the city to dust for good measure.  “Holy fuck, we were just doing our jobs, and they were captured with the stolen goods!”  “Did I stutter?”  Gulp.  “Nope, we’ll just nip out and get those released papers signed then.  No need to murder an entire city, giant god.”  Satisfied, Monkey turns back into a fly and goes back to his cell for a nap.
  • They are released the next morning, and Monkey makes a completely unnecessary trip to the underworld to see Mr. Kou, who has been made the chief recorder of good deeds for being such a good man.  Monkey talks Yuma into giving Kou 12 more years on earth, so he leaves with Monkey.  I bet his wife was just thrilled to see him.
  • They somehow travel most of the 800 miles in the next week, and come to a mass of high buildings.  “That looks cool” says Sanzang.  A young monk overhears him.  “You must be the monks from the east that have been coming here for what seems like forever.  He directs them to the Jade Temple, where they meet the Gold-crested Immortal.  He points at the light streaming off a nearby mountain.  “That’s Vulture Peak, home of Buddha.”  And that’s all he does in this story. 
  • The group goes up the mountain the way they were directed, and come to a mighty, rushing river flowing down the rock.  Since it’s a fucking mountain, there are no boats to be seen.  “I bet that asshole sent us the wrong way!”  Monkey snorts.  “No, he didn’t.  There’s a fucking bridge right over there.”  They approach and see a sign that says Cloudtouching Crossing.  They didn’t notice the bridge initially because it’s just a single fucking log.  Sanzang looks at it and decides to stay fucking put.  “That’s not a bridge, Monkey, it’s a death trap.  Besides, I see a ferry coming down the river.  I’ll wait for that.”
  • They wave for the ferryman, who pulls up to the bank.  “Thanks for stopping, man.  Could you take us to the other side?”  “Sure” says the ferryman.  “Hop in!”  Sanzang steps forward, then reels back, arms pinwheeling desperately.  “Holy shit, there’s no bottom to the boat!  How does that even work?”  Monkey, impatient, shoves Sanzang into the boat, where he promptly splashes into the water.  With a resigned sigh, the ferryman grabs Sanzang’s shoulder and hauls him out of the water and onto the nonexistent boat bottom.  The three demons step aboard with the luggage with no problems.  The boat pulls away from the shore, and something smacks into the side.  Sanzang looks over, and is horrified to see his own corpse floating down the river. 
  • “Hey look!” shouts Monkey. “It’s you, Sanzang!  Your body is fucking dead!  You’re a ghost now, and this whole river thing is basically just a metaphor.  I can see with my magic eyes that the boat captain is the Buddha’s servant, who pulled your soul from your body.  Congratulations.  You made it.  Well, mostly.”  They cross to the other bank, and head up to the Thunder Monastery.
  • Inside, they find the full host of the Buddha’s temple, thousands of holy souls and mini gods, arrayed in two lines leading from the door to the throne.  They are led to the Buddha, who congratulates them on making this long, dangerous journey.  They are to be fed, then taken to the library where they can get what they came for.  Then, they can bring the scriptures back to spread throughout China.
  • Two of Buddha’s servants, Ananda and Kasyapa, lead them to the library and hand them the holy texts.  Impatient, Sanzang insists on heading back out at once.  After they leave, Buddha hears the two giggling.  “Those dumb asses didn’t even check the fucking books!  I can’t believe they fell for the old blank book joke!  They came all this way, and the priest fucking died, and for nothing.”  Buddha summons another servant and sends him after the priest to come back for the actual holy text.
  • The arhat sails off on the wind, but Sanzang can’t see him.  He picks up the bundles of books, thinking that he can lead them back, but all the party sees is someone stealing the magic maguffin they came here for and take off in pursuit.  The arhat, terrified that Monkey will straight up murder him for trying to help, rips the books to shreds and throws them into the wind.  Understandably, Sanzang drops to his knees wailing.  He’s given everything for this quest, and at the last minute, an evil demon has thwarted him.
  • Ogre starts to gather up some of the pieces with some vague thought of trying to piece it all back together, but he notices that every piece is blank.  He grabs more shreds, and they’re all blank.  “What the fuck was the point of blank scriptures?”  Monkey thinks for a second and realizes that someone is playing a really mean joke.  “Let’s head back.  We’ve been had.”
  • Buddha explains when they get back.  The wordless scriptures really are holy, but you’re not enlightened enough to understand them.  You were supposed to get the Buddhism for Dummies version.”  They turn around to leave again, when one of the servants whispers in Buddha’s ear.  “Hey, holy man, it took them 14 years to get here, and it’ll probably take them that long to get back.  A lot can happen in that time, and they have the holy scriptures now.  What say you use your god powers to speed things along, huh?”  Buddha thinks this is a fine idea, and sends an escort, who can bring the party back in only 8 days.
  • After they leave, the holy scribes begin to go through the account of Sanzang’s suffering on his holy quest.  “Hold up, hold up.  To achieve the truth, you need to suffer nine nines ordeals, but this says he only had 80 disasters.  He’s one short.  This won’t do.  Contact the escort and tell them to put Sanzang through one more ordeal.  He needs to suffer a little more to be worthy.”  So you know that philosophical questions about why bad things happen to good people?  It’s because Buddha decided that you needed to suffer.  It’s like when your dad tells you that he’s punishing you for a minor infraction because it builds character, only with a lot more death and mayhem.
  • As soon as the escorts receive the word, they drop everyone off in the middle of nowhere.  Sanzang is confused.  “I thought they were taking us home.”  “They’re probably just taking a break” suggests Piggy, who’s still an idiot if an apparently enlightened one.  Monkey pipes up.  “Wait, I recognize this.  It’s the River of Heaven, where that magic turtle carried us across for no reason whatsoever after we save the Chen family kids from that carp demon.“  Sanzang remembers this.  He was kidnapped here, one of many, many times.  “Well how do we get across?  Everyone lives on the other side, and it’s a huge river.”
  • Suddenly, a voice sounds out.  “This way, Mr. priest!”  Sanzang looks around, but there’s no boat and no people.  It takes him a second to check the river for the very turtle that they were literally just discussing.  “Took you long enough.  I’ve been waiting here since you left to take you back.  When you went across, I asked you to check with Buddha on when I would be converted and how long I would live.  What did he say?”
  • Sanzang is ashamed to realize that, in the excitement of dying and everything, he had completely forgotten his promise to the magic turtle.  “Sorry, man.  I kind of forgot.  I had a lot going on.”  The turtle is crestfallen.  “Are you serious?  Man, I believed in you.  Fuck this.”  And the turtle splashed back into the river.  “Well, shit.”
  • The set up camp to try and figure out what to do next, when howling wind springs up, with lightning and thunder crackling out of a clear sky.  “Shit, demons have come to steal the holy texts!”  Sanzang clung to the books, Piggy held on to the bridles of the horses, and Ogre tries to secure all the luggage, leaving Monkey to spend the entire night alone fending off the demons.  In the morning, the demons give up, leaving an exhausted but successful party.
  • Soon, a small fishing boat comes in sight of the far bank, and they see Sanzang and the monks.  Recognizing them from several years ago, they invite them on board and take them back to the village to sleep in a real bed.  That night, Sanzang, who refuses to leave the texts alone, gets to thinking.  Everyone knows what they set out to do, and now they’re coming back.  He worries that everyone will want to see them, and they’ll never get home.  He talks it over with the group, and they decide to slip away in the middle of the night, which seems more rude than noble, but whatever.  As they are slipping out of the gates, they see their magical escort waiting for them.  “Glad to see you again.  Ready to go home?” 
  • While they were gone, the Emperor Taizong had a special tower built to watch for the return of the holy man.   It’s fully staffed, but once a year he goes to watch for the group personally.  Because powerful people have all the unbelievable luck, it is on the one day that the emperor is there that the flying group comes near.  “Alright, Sanzang, this is as far as we go.  The city is waiting for you, and no one is allowed to see us without making the deadly journey that you just made, so we’re gonna let you off here.”  They are lowered to earth in a cloud, appearing next to the tower.  Sanzang sees the fucking emperor walk out of the door, so he drops into a bow, and is surprised to have the emperor help him back to his feet.
  • “Dude, you just went all the way to the Buddha.  You can stand.  Who are your three, uh, friends?”  “Oh, that’s right, the people that were with me when I left all died over a decade ago.  These are the new disciples I picked up along the way.  They’re demons, but they’re cool.”  The emperor invites everyone back to the palace for a celebration.  After eating and partying for a while, Emperor Taizong asks “Hey, I sent you to get those holy books.  How about you read some of them for us?  That would be fun, since we don’t have television or the internet yet.”  Sanzang bows.  “Sorry, emperor.  These should be recited for the first time at the temple, not in the throne room.  How about we go there instead?”
  • The emperor is not used to being told no, but the logic is sound (plus those demons look scary), so he agrees.   They all journey to the temple.  Sanzang stands, with Piggy, Ogre and Monkey beside him, and opens his mouth to recite.  Instead, in a blaze of light and holy wind, the four are taken up into heaven.  They have completed their quest, achieved enlightenment, and been granted Nirvana, all without ever getting laid.
  • They are taken back to Vulture Peak.  “Good to see you again, Monk.” says Buddha.  “You were my second in command, the Golden Cicada, but you were kind of an asshole about it, so I had you reborn to gain enlightenment.  Now, you’re back, and you’re not a dick anymore.  You will be granted a with the high office of Candana punya.  Monkey, you were a selfish, dangerous bastard.  Now, you’re a righteous, dangerous bastard.  You will be the general of my army.  Piggy, you were once a water god, until you got drunk and flirty, and tried to rape a god.  Honestly, you’re kind of an idiot.  You get credit for carrying the luggage, but you still did a lot of stupid shit and tried to fuck a lot of women, so you’re heart is clearly still impure.  You will be rewarded with the job of altar janitor. 
  • “The fuck?  Those two both got to be practically gods!  Why the fuck am I a janitor?”  “Because you’re fat, stupid, and a little rapey.  And because you were honestly more hinderance than help.  Besides, going around the world cleaning altars is easy and gives you plenty of opportunity to eat offerings.  What are you complaining about?”  Piggy was pissed, but there wasn’t much he could do.  “Ogre, you were the curtain lifting general until you broke that crystal bowl.  You were cast into the river, where you sinned by murdering and eating people, which is super not vegetarian.  Still, you dedicated yourself to the cause sincerely, so you will be rewarded to the high post of Golden Arhat.”  Buddha turned to the horse.  “You were originally the son of Ao Run, the Dragon King of the Western Ocean.  You disobeyed your father, and were punished by being turned into a horse and made a beast of burden.  You will be rewarded by being transformed into a Heavenly Dragon.”  No one listened to Piggy muttering “Seriously?  Even the fucking horse gets a better promotion?  This is bullshit.”
  • And that, finally, is the end of the epic myth of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King.  Everyone is safe and happy (well, except Piggy, but who gives a fuck about that asshole?”, which means it’s time for Gods and Monsters.  This is a segment where I get into a little more detail about the personalities and history of one of the gods or monsters from this week’s pantheon that was not discussed in the main story.  This week’s god is Meng Po, the Lady of Forgetfulness.
  • When you die, you get taken to afterlife by Ox Head and Horse Face (Episode 6B), and make your way through Diyu.  Your soul is purified along the journey, and finally you are ready to be reborn.  Now, it’s time for you to meet Lady Meng.  She greets you with a smile and a cup of tea.  It’s a little awkward, and you don’t want to be rude, so you drink it down.  Wait, where the fuck are you again?  And for that matter, who are you?
  • You might be Johnny, the tackling alzheimer’s patient (and if you don’t get that reference, you should really watch Scrubs), but more likely, you’ve succumbed to the Five Flavored Tea of Forgetfulness.  See, in Buddhist tradition, no one is allowed to bring anything from their past lives into their next one except for their kharma, not even their memories.  This tea is why Sanzang didn’t remember being the Golden Cicada. 
  • Meng Po is the goddess of reincarnation.  She spends her time gathering the ingredients of her tea, also known as the waters of oblivion, from earthly ponds and streams.  The exact combination is a secret, known only to her.  Every so often, someone manages to avoid drinking the whole cup, which is why some people can remember their past lives when most people can’t.
  • Old Lady Meng’s forgetfulness tea is eerily reminiscent of the waters of the River Lethe, which joins the River Styx as the border of Hades in Greek mythology.  Like Meng’s tea, the waters of the Lethe cause immediate and permanent forgetfulness.  It’s common, since it allows souls to go into the afterlife unburdened by past sins and memories.  Particularly in a system with reincarnaton, like Buddhism, oblivion is important.  In fact, only one soul has ever completely shaken off the effects of the tea: Buddha himself.  While meditating, Siddhartha, the man who would be Buddha, unlocked his memories of his past lives and achieved enlightenment.  So the next time you can’t remember what you had for dinner last night, blame Old Lady Meng and her pond water tea.

That’s it for this episode of Myth Your Teacher Hated.  Keep up with new episodes on our Facebook page, on iTunes, on Stitcher or on TuneIn, or you can follow us on Twitter as @HardcoreMyth.  You can also find news and episodes on our website at myths your teacher hated dot com.  If you like what you’ve heard, I’d appreciate a review on iTunes, since it helps increase the show’s standing and let more people know it exists.  If you have any questions, any gods or monsters you’d want to learn about, or any ideas for future stories that you’d like to hear, feel free to drop me a line.  I’m trying to pull as much material from as many different cultures as possible, but there are all sorts of stories I’ve never heard, so suggestions are appreciated.  The theme music is by Tiny Cheese Puff, whom you can find on fiverr.com.

Next time, we’ll be trading the Chinese countryside for the deserts of ancient Egypt.  It’s a story of one of the most iconic figures in Egypt, the Sphinx.  You’ll learn just how old the sphinx really is, that Elvis was not the first king of Memphis, and that sibling rivalry is way, way worse when there’s a throne in the mix.  Then, in Gods and Monsters, it’s the gigantic lion, hippo, crocodile hybrid that could doom you to wandering eternity as a lost soul.  That’s all for now.  Thanks for listening.