“The Journey Begins” is the sixth book in the “Journey to the West” series of stories by Jeff Pepper and Xiao Hui Wang. Other titles are “Rise of the Monkey King”, “Trouble in Heaven”, “The Immortal Peaches”, “The Young Monk”, and “The Emperor in Hell”.
This book is based on chapters 12, 13 and 14 of Journey To The West, an epic novel written in the 16th Century by Wu Chen'en. Each book in our Journey to the West series covers a short section of the original 2,000-page novel.
Journey To The West is loosely based on an actual journey by the Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who traveled from the Chinese city of Chang'an westward to India in 629 A.D. and returned 17 years later with priceless knowledge and texts of Buddhism. Over the course of the book the band of travelers face the 81 tribulations that Xuanzang had to endure to attain Buddhahood.
This story, the sixth in our series, marks the end of the first section of the novel, as we wrap up the preliminaries and begin the actual journey. Several threads and key characters from earlier books come together.
Taizong, the great emperor of the Tang Dynasty who spent most of Book Five trapped in the underworld, selects the young monk Xuanzang to undertake the journey, after being strongly influenced by the Buddhist teacher Guanyin. Xuanzang (now called Sanzang) sets out on his journey and receives help from Guanyin and from Bright Star of Venus, who previously appeared in Book Two. The Dragon King of the Eastern Ocean, who in Book One was Sun Wukong's adversary and was forced to give him his Jingu Bang (golden hoop rod weapon), is now Sun Wukong's old friend and gives him some life-changing advice. And near the end of the book Sanzang's path crosses that of Sun Wukong himself.
The story is written, as much as possible, using the 600 word vocabulary of HSK 3. It is presented in simplified Chinese characters and pinyin, and includes an English version and complete glossary. Additional study aids are on our website, www.imagin8press.com.