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China's epic journey to its west

Cover of the novel, Monkey, by Arthur Waley (Source: Wikipedia)

西游记 (Hsi-yu chi) or Journey to the West is considered to be one of the four great classics of Chinese literature. Written in the sixteenth century, possibly by Wu Cheng'en, it is also known simply as Monkey, the title of a popular 1942 translation by Arthur Waley. The West in the novel's title refers to India and one of its primary characters is Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang).

Journey to the West is a fantastical story based on the journey to India by Hieun Tsang. In it, Buddha tasks Guanyin, a bodhisattva, to find someone to retrieve specific sutras from a temple in India and use them to enlighten the Chinese people about Buddhism. Guanyin chooses the monk Hieun Tsang and provides him with a number of companions including the Monkey King, Sun Wukong. The tale recounts all the adventures that the band of travellers encounter during their journey.

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