Can Monkey King Beat Buddha?
The Monkey King is one of the most interesting creatures in Chinese Mythology, not only by his name and visuals (yes, he is a monkey more towards humanoid, but still with his monkey mischief), but his characteristics as well. Monkey is very strong, very smart, practically immortal but can he beat Buddha? The short answer is “not very likely”, because Buddha in Chinese Mythology is represented always like a Devine presence that even the Jade Emperor respects and asks advice from; Buddha is the Enlightened One, he is the wisdom incarnate and everything is “on the palm of Buddha”.
The Monkey King and Buddha
One day the Buddha summoned the Monkey to ask him why and how he would rule heaven, and the Monkey in turn replied that he was smart, strong, and agile enough to do so. With one jump you can cover thousands of kilometers. The Buddha replied to try and prove that if he could get out of his hand, he would rule the sky. The monkey jumped with all his might. After a long flight, he finally landed on a mountain, wrote his name at the base, and returned to the Buddha.
The Buddha laughed and replied that he had reached the base of one of his big toes. The monkey did not believe him and the Buddha challenged him to jump there again to make sure. He stepped up again and jumped high, but the teacher carefully closed his hand and captured the cunning Monkey in it. The Buddha turned the villain over to the goddess of mercy, Guan Yin, to devise an appropriate punishment.
Guang Yin created a magic mountain and locked the Monkey in it on the condition that he would be released only when he reconsidered his actions and repented of his sins. So after many centuries, Buddha and Guan Ying decided to check the villain where he had taken him. The Buddha posed a great challenge to him – to accompany the sage Tan Sun, who took a long pilgrimage to India to bring Buddhist tablets from there.
It was very difficult for the Monkey all the time, he refrained from doing mischief and helped with his magical powers to Tan Sun only when he was in difficulty during the long and dangerous journey.
They returned from India. The Buddha and the Jade Emperor were impressed by the Monkey’s resilience from his previous habits and apparently received true enlightenment during his imprisonment in the mountains. That is why he was promoted to a high position in the palace – he became the god of victorious competition and his fame was passed down from generation to generation.