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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "The Ape Sun Wu Kung"

The Ape Sun Wu Kung

In the course of time he learned to write, to burn incense and read the sutras. And in this way some six or seven years went by.

One day the master ascended the seat from which he taught, and began to speak regarding the great truth. Sun Wu Kung understood the hidden meaning of his words, and commenced to jerk about and dance in his joy. The master reproved him: “Sun Wu Kung, you have still not laid aside your wild nature! What do you mean by carrying on in such an unfitting manner?” Sun Wu Kung bowed and answered: “I was listening attentively to you when the meaning of your words was disclosed to my heart, and without thinking I began to dance for joy. I was not giving way to my wild nature.” Said the master: “If your spirit has really awakened, then I will announce the great truth to you. But there are three hundred and sixty ways by means of which one may reach this truth. Which way shall I teach you?” Said Sun Wu Kung: “Whichever you will, O Master!” Then the Master asked: “Shall I teach you the way of magic?” Said Sun Wu Kung: “What does magic teach one?” The Master replied: “It teaches one to raise up spirits, to question oracles, and to foretell fortune and misfortune.” “Can one secure eternal life by means of it?” inquired Sun Wu Kung. “No,” was the answer. “Then I will not learn it.” “Shall I teach you the sciences?” “What are the sciences?” “They are the nine schools of the three faiths. You learn how to read the holy books, pronounce incantations, commune with the gods, and call the saints to you.” “Can one gain eternal life by means of them?” “No.” “Then I will not learn them.” “The way of repose is a very good way.” “What is the way of repose?” “It teaches how to live without nourishment, how to remain quiescent in silent purity, and sit lost in meditation.” “Can one gain eternal life in this way?” “No.” “Then I will not learn it.” “The way of deeds is also a good way.” “What does that teach?” “It teaches one to equalize the vital powers, to practise bodily exercise, to prepare the elixir of life and to hold one’s breath.

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