Exploring the Journey to the West (4) *

Chuan Jiang

PureInsight | October 3, 2007

(4)  Guanyin Looked for People to Bring Buddha Scriptures to China

[PureInsight.org] Why was the
Buddha Fa to be spread in China? Tathagata put it this way: "Jambudvipa
(One of the four islands according to Buddhism, referring to China) is
filled with people with greed, delight in others' disasters, killing,
and contentiousness. It was known as quarrelsome and ferocious place
and the sea of sin. I have Sanskrit sutras now and that will encourage
people to do good deeds." Therefore, the orthodox religions in society
should have that function. They are to sustain human moral standards
and to persuade people to do good. It is also the fundamental criterion
in the society in judging whether a belief is righteous or not. What
Tathagata said is real.    

The main characters in the Journey to the West
that Guanyin encountered, Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie, Sha Wujing,  and
White Dragon Horse, were not common people. They had committed crimes
in heaven and were sent to the human world for punishment. That implies
gods' design.

Take the story of the Eight Immortals for example. When the physical
body of Tieguai Li, one of the Eight Immortals who limped about with an
iron walking stick, was burned off, his main spirit went into the body
of a dead monk. That is why human forms and gods' bodies are two
entirely different things. Whether they are humans or gods over many
generations of samsara, their bodies were only forms. When Sakyamuni
died, he discarded his mortal flesh and took his main spirit with him.

The real person is one's main spirit. Then where do humans' spirits
come from? They came from heaven. When people say human beings are
sinful it means that they have committed crimes and are thus being
demoted into this world to be born as human beings. Orthodox religions
tell people to return to one's true self and to go back to heaven,
their real homes.

* "Journey to the West" is a
classic novel of Chinese mythology. The Buddhist monk Tang Xuanzang and
his three disciples went to India to obtain the Buddhist Scriptures. On
the surface, it is a novel about the adventures of the monkey with
unsurpassed supernormal capabilities battling demons of all sorts.
Underneath, it is a story about cultivation and tells the attachments
that cultivators have to overcome one by one.

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