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Sun Wukong has a fantastic legend. He is a God who started as a rock. His name translates to “monkey awakened by the emptiness.” Sun Wukong is a trickster god, but he is not Loki’s same kind of trickster. However, he is an important and beloved God in that pantheon. Though he was already known to the Chinese, Wu Cheng’en’s novel Journey To The West made Sun Wukong famous. In Japan he is Son Goku.
Sun Wukong is quite powerful. He can change into seventy-two animals and objects, and so can each of his hairs and superhuman strength unmatched even by the Gods. Also, he has power over wind, fire, and water. His weapon is called Ruyi Jingu Bang and is super heavy but can shrink to the size of a needle. It was set aside because no one wanted to wield a staff that would tire them out. It doesn’t tire Sun Wukong, though.
Sun Wukong was formed on Flowers and Fruit Mountain. Prior to becoming enlightened, Wukong is depicted as a naked macaque monkey. When he awoke from being created, his eyes lit up the sky and gained the attention of the Jade Emperor. He dismissed Sun Wukong because he was simply a monkey. Sun Wukong found other monkeys and soon became their leader. Eventually, he was able to get his and all other monkeys’ names taken off the list of life and death. Yan Wang went to the Jade Emperor.
To entice Sun Wukong to behave, the Jade Emperor invited Sun Wukong to live in Heaven. He was to guard the horses. When he found out that that was the lowest job in Heaven, Sun Wukong was not happy and set out to prove himself. Then he was excluded from a party for the Jade Emperor’s wife. He declared himself equal to Heaven. The Emperor sent men to arrest Sun Wukong, and he defeated them all. Finally, the Emperor promoted him to guard the Peaches of Immortality, which Sun Wukong all of. For this, he was sentenced to be imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha.
Tang Sanzang was traveling from southern China to India. He found Sun Wukong and said if he repented and became his disciple, Tang would set him free. Initially, Sun Wukong refused but quickly rethought it. He faithfully served and protected Tang. On his journey with Tang Sanzang, Sun Wukong gained enlightenment and was made into a minor Buddha.
If you want to read Journey To The West, I hear it is a good book, and it isn’t very long. Though there are three volumes. One of my sources said the book wasn’t very long. The Monkey King has been made a character in numerous books, movies, and TV shows. The Forbidden Kingdom is one of them.
What do you think of Sun Wukong? Is he what you thought? He certainly fits in the game Smite. Let me know in the comments below. Until next week, have fun storming the castle!