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The Journey to the West, Revised Edition, Volume 2


Anthony C. Yu’s translation of The Journey to the West,initially published in 1983, introduced English-speaking audiences to the classic Chinese novel in its entirety for the first time. Written in the sixteenth century, The Journey to the West tells the story of the fourteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Xuanzang, one of China’s most famous religious heroes, and his three supernatural disciples, in search of Buddhist scriptures. Throughout his journey, Xuanzang fights demons who wish to eat him, communes with spirits, and traverses a land riddled with a multitude of obstacles, both real and fantastical. An adventure rich with danger and excitement, this seminal work of the Chinese literary canonis by turns allegory, satire, and fantasy.

With over a hundred chapters written in both prose and poetry, The Journey to the West has always been a complicated and difficult text to render in English while preserving the lyricism of its language and the content of its plot. But Yu has successfully taken on the task, and in this new edition he has made his translations even more accurate and accessible. The explanatory notes are updated and augmented, and Yu has added new material to his introduction, based on his original research as well as on the newest literary criticism and scholarship on Chinese religious traditions. He has also modernized the transliterations included in each volume, using the now-standard Hanyu Pinyin romanization system. Perhaps most important, Yu has made changes to the translation itself in order to make it as precise as possible.

One of the great works of Chinese literature, The Journey to the West is not only invaluable to scholars of Eastern religion and literature, but, in Yu’s elegant rendering, also a delight for any reader.

432 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1983, 2012

Asian Studies: East Asia

Literature and Literary Criticism: Asian Languages

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments, First Edition
Acknowledgments, Revised Edition


26 Amid the Three Islands Sun Wukong seeks a cure;
With sweet dew Guanshiyin revives a tree.

27 The cadaver demon three times mocks Tripitaka Tang;
The holy monk in spite banishes Handsome Monkey King.

28 At Flower-Fruit Mountain a pack of fiends hold assembly;
At Black Pine Forest Tripitaka meets demons.

29 Free of his peril, River Float arrives at the kingdom;
Receiving favor, Eight Rules invades the forest.

30 A deviant demon attacks the true Dharma;
The Horse of the Will recalls Mind Monkey.

31 Zhu Eight Rules provokes Monkey King to chivalry;
Pilgrim Sun with wisdom defeats the monster.

32 On Level-Top Mountain the sentinel brings a message;
At Lotus-Flower Cave Wood Mother meets disaster.

33 Heresy deludes the True Nature;
Primal Spirit helps the Native Mind.

34 The demon king’s plotting entraps Mind Monkey;
The Great Sage, ever adroit, wangles the treasures.

35 Heresy uses power to oppress the proper Nature;
Mind Monkey, bagging treasures, conquers deviate demons.

36 When Mind Monkey is rectified, the nidānas cease;
Smash through the side door to view the bright moon.

37 The ghost king visits Tripitaka Tang at night;
Wukong, through wondrous transformation, leads the child.

38 The child queries his mother to learn of deviancy and truth;
Metal and Wood, reaching the deep, see the false and the real.

39 One pellet of cinnabar elixir found in Heaven;
A king, dead three years, lives again on Earth.

40 The child’s playful transformations confuse the Chan Mind;
Ape, Horse, Spatula gone, Wood Mother, too, is lost.

41 Mind Monkey is defeated by fire;
Wood Mother is captured by demons.

42 The Great Sage diligently calls at South Sea;
Guanyin with compassion binds the Red Boy.

43 An evil demon at Black River captures the monk;
The Western Ocean’s dragon prince catches the iguana.

44 The dharma-body in primal cycle meets the force of the cart;
The mind, righting monstrous deviates, crosses the spine-ridge pass.

45 At the Three Pure Ones Abbey the Great Sage leaves his name;
At the Cart Slow Kingdom the Monkey King shows his power.

46 Heresy flaunts its strength to mock orthodoxy;
Mind Monkey in epiphany slays the deviates.

47 The holy monk’s blocked at night at Heaven-Reaching River;
Metal and Wood, in compassion, rescue little children.

48 The demon, raising a cold wind, sends a great snow fall;
The monk, intent on seeing Buddha, walks on layered ice.

49 Tripitaka meets disaster and sinks to a water home;
To bring salvation, Guanyin reveals a fish basket.

50 Nature follows confused feelings through lust and desire;
Spirit faints, mind moves—he meets a demon chief.


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