Sun said, "To be gentle and polite, anywhere under heaven can one go; to be blunt and rude, hardly a Chinese inch1 can one step forward."

1A Chinese inch may be equivalent to about 3.3-3.7 cm (Cf. Wikipedia, etc.), whereas an inch is 2.54 cm.

Chapter 82: Sun the Stone Monkey to Zhu the Pig


行者道:「溫柔天下去得,剛強寸步難移。」

第八十二回:悟空語八戒


Monk Tripitaka said, "In the world only fame and wealth are most important. Like these people who are looking for profits do not care for their lives.2 We Buddhists who obey the imperial decree and fulfil our loyalty in this mission are also just for our good names. How much are we different from these people?"

2Monk Tripitaka (7th century, Tang dynasty) saw people, braving the snow and risking their lives walking on the frozen river, busily heading to the women's kingdom across the river to do business.

Chapter 48: Monk Tripitaka to Chen the Elderly


三藏道:「世間事惟名利最重,似他為利的,捨死忘生。我弟子奉旨盡忠,也只是為名,與他能差幾何?」 

第四十八回:三藏語陳老


Sun said, smiling, "Not because of that, not because of that. It is because heaven and earth are incomplete. This Sutra originally was perfectly complete. Now it is torn through soaking.3 This just corresponds to the wonder of incompleteness. How can human capabilities have anything to do with it?"

3The sutras obtained from the Buddha by Monk Tripitaka and his three disciples dropped in a river and got wet. They laid the sutras out on a high cliff to dry on that sunny day. In the process the end part of one of the sutras stuck on the rock and was torn. The sutras were most probably paper scrolls with handwritten texts. As the accomplishment of the Western Journey, thirty-five sets of Buddhist sutras were brought to China.

Chapter 99: Sun the Stone Monkey to Monk Tripitaka


行者笑道:「不在此,不在此,蓋天地不全。這經原是全全的,今沾破了,乃是應不全之奧妙也,豈人力所能與耶?」  

第九十九回:悟空語三藏


The monkeys said, "Speaking of those hunters, they are really bad. They ... took away those of us who are alive, and made them leap through rings and play tricks. Striking gongs and beating drums on the street, they made those monkeys play everything to entertain people."

Chapter 28: Sun's follower monkeys to Sun


群猴道:「說起這獵户,十分可惡。他把我們···活的拿去,教他跳圈做戲,當街上篩鑼擂鼓,無所不為的頑耍。」  

第二十八回:群猴語悟空


[Sun and his follower monkeys] dissembled and washed the multi-colour banners of the hunters and assembled them together as one colourful flag. On it, in fourteen Chinese characters, was written: "Renovated Flowers Fruits Mountain, Refurbished Water Curtain Cavern, Heavenly-high Grand Saint". Raising up the flagstaff ....

Chapter 28


將那雜色旗號拆洗,總鬥做一面彩旗,上寫著「重修花果山,復整水簾洞,齊天大聖」十四字,豎起旗竿···。  

第二十八回

These Chinese quotations are taken from the 3-volume 100-chapter edition of Xi you ji (Western Journey Story) published by Chung Hwa Book Company in Hong Kong in 2012. This edition is based on a 17th-century version entitled Xi you zheng dao shu (西遊證道書) which itself was a revised version of the Shi de tang (世德堂) printed edition of Xi you ji of the 16th century.

The English translation is by the Gardener.


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From the Gardener, February 2016. Enriched April 2016.