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Tang Sanzang, based on the historical Buddhist monk Xuanzang, is a central character in the novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en. The title Sanzang refers to his mission to seek the Sanzangjing, or the "Three Collections of (Buddhist) Scriptures". In some English translations of Journey to the West, the title is rendered as Tripitaka which is the original Sanskrit term for the Sanzangjing. He is also widely known as Tang Seng, which is a courtesy name that, like the former name, Tang Sanzang, reflects his status as an oath brother of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty. Character description[edit] In the novel, Tang Sanzang is a Chinese Buddhist monk who had renounced his family to join the Sangha from childhood. He is actually a reincarnation of Golden Cicada (simplified Chinese: 金蝉子; traditional Chinese: 金蟬子; pinyin: Jīn Chánzǐ), a disciple of the Buddha. He is sent on a mission to Tianzhu (an ancient Chinese name for India) to fetch a set of Buddhist scriptures back to China for the purpose of spreading Buddhism in his native land. He becomes sworn brothers with Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty, and the emperor sees him off from the capital Chang'an and orders two escorts to accompany him. Tang Sanzang is helpless in defending himself and his two escorts are killed during his first encounter with demons after his departure from Chang'an. The bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin) helps Tang Sanzang find three powerful supernatural beings – Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing – to aid and protect him on his journey. The three become Tang Sanzang's disciples and receive enlightenment and redemption for their past sins once the pilgrimage is complete. Along the journey, Tang Sanzang is constantly terrorised by monsters and demons because of a legend which says that one can attain immortality by consuming his flesh because he is a reincarnation of a holy being. At the end of the novel, Tang Sanzang is appointed as the Buddha of Sandalwood Merit (Chinese: 旃檀功德佛; pinyin: Zhāntán Gōngdé Fuó). Historical background[edit] Tang Sanzang is modeled after the historical Tang Dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang, whose life was the book's inspiration; the real Xuanzang made a perilous journey on foot from China to India (and back) to obtain Buddhist sutras. In contrast to the historical Xuanzang, a wise and learned scholar (he was in his late 20s when he left for India), the fictional Tang Sanzang is presented as a young monk who is extremely naive, showing idealistic compassion without wisdom. Tang Sanzang is usually quick to fall for the facades of demons who have disguised themselves as innocent humans, whereas Sun Wukong can see through them with his magic powers (specifically fire eyes that can see through the said disguises). This frequently leads to tension when Sun Wukong attacks and kills apparently innocent humans when the demon has in fact simply abandoned the corpse and run away. One such popular instance was when the White Bone Demon (白骨夫人, Chinese: Bai Gu Fu Ren) disguised three times as family members — first, a young woman. After Wukong "killed" the woman, the demon escaped, but Wukong was punished by Tang Sanzang for it. The second was the young woman's elderly mother, looking for her daughter. The third was the young woman's elderly father, searching for his wife and child. Upon the "death" of the father by Wukong's hands, Wukong finally killed the demon before she got away. Tang Sanzang, convinced that Wukong had actually killed three innocent people, sent him away, despite protests. Tang Sanzang usually punishes him by chanting the words of the headache spell (緊箍咒) given to Tang Sanzang by the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin) to control Wukong, which causes the latter's headband to contract and give him acute headaches. As Sun Wukong is often worshiped as a protector god, so is Tang Sanzang. Ksitigarbha, a highly revered bodhisattva in East Asian Buddhism, is occasionally mistaken for Tang Sanzang because the former is often portrayed like Tang Sanzang - dressed in a similarly-patterned kasaya, wearing a Buddhist crown, and wielding a khakkhara. References[edit]

Bhat, R. B., & Wu, C. (2014). Xuan Zhang's mission to the West with Monkey King. New Delhi : Aditya Prakashan, 2014.

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Wu Cheng'en's Journey to the West

Characters

Sun Wukong Tang Sanzang Zhu Bajie Sha Wujing Red Boy Baigujing Princess Iron Fan Others

Films

The Cave of the Silken Web (1927) Princess Iron Fan (1941) Alakazam the Great (1960) Havoc in Heaven (1961) Princess Iron Fan (1966) The Cave of the Silken Web (1967) Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West (1988) A Chinese Odyssey (1995) A Chinese Tall Story (2005) Saiyūki (2007) Monkey King vs. Er Lang Shen (2007) The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (2013) The Monkey King (2014) Monkey King: Hero Is Back (2015) The Monkey King 2 (2016) A Chinese Odyssey Part Three (2016) Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017) Wu Kong (2017) The Monkey King 3 (2018)

Sequels

A Supplement to the Journey to the West (c. 1640)

TV

Gokū no Daibōken (1967) Monkey (1978) Science Fiction Saiyuki Starzinger (1978) Journey to the West (1986 and 1999) Journey to the West (1996) Journey to the West II (1996) Monkey Magic (1998) Journey to the West – Legends of the Monkey King (1999) Shinzo (2000) Sunny Piggy (2000) The Monkey King (2001) The Monkey King: Quest for the Sutra (2002) Saiyūki (2006) Wu Cheng'en and Journey to the West (2010) Journey to the West (2010) Journey to the West (2011) A Korean Odyssey (2017) The New Legends of Monkey (2018)

Stage

Monkey: Journey to the West (play)

Manga and Comics

Dragon Ball Saiyūki Patalliro Saiyuki Monkey Typhoon Saint The Monkey King Xin American Born Chinese

Games

Ether Saga Online Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Fantasy Westward Journey Ganso Saiyūki: Super Monkey Daibōken Legend of Wukong Monkey Hero Monkey Magic Saiyuki: Journey West SonSon Westward Journey Online II Whomp 'Em Yūyūki

Literature

Monkey (1942 novel) Griever: An American Monkey King in China (1986 novel) Tripmaster Monkey (1989 novel) Four Great Classical Novels

Places

Gao Village Gao Village Arc Mount Huaguo Shuilian Cave Tepe Narenj

Other

List of media adaptations of Journey to the West Monkey King Festival Ruyi Jingu Bang Journey to the

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