Art, Books, Trickster

Conscience…

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Once giants lived in the earth… Once, but long ago… Could we have predicted that… The mountain under which Monkey… Was imprisoned… Was a mountain that straddled Two Frontiers… Of course we could not!… Handy for the narrative though… Don’t you think?… Tripitaka wastes no time… In releasing Monkey from his ignominious internment… And the two of them… Set off in quest of the Sacred Scrolls… Before too long they are set upon by bandits… Five of them… The bandits refer to themselves as High-Way Men… And the text goes to great lengths to furnish us with their names.

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Which are as follows… Eyes-of-Sight-and-Delight… Ears-that-Hear-and-Fear… Nose-that-Smells-and-Quells… Tongue-of-Tastes-and-Wastes… Mouth-that-Speaks-and-Freaks… And Body-that-Obtains-and-Sustains… A curious motley… Which could easily lead us to believe that there is more to this story than initially meets the eye… Anyway, Monkey wastes no time… In pummeling them to a pulp… But is then reprimanded by Tripitaka… Clearly, this sort of behaviour… Is not becoming for one on a quest for the Buddhist Scrolls of Enlightenment… Monkey takes the huff and disappears into thin air!

***

As is his wont… He drops in on a Dragon King for tea… And is eventually persuaded to return… To Tripitaka… And the quest… In the meantime The Lady Guanyin… Has furnished the monk with a magic head band… In order to control Monkey… And on his return… The Salty Simian… Is tricked into trying it on… The key to Monkey is now held by a Monk… With their differences… Thus resolved… The two of them go on their way… If only it were this easy… To bring the senses… And all they furnish us with… To heel!… But it is a useful way… To regard such matters… Maybe, Tripitaka acts as Monkey’s conscience?

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