mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Hanuman & Buddha.

The story of the Monkey King meeting Buddha is one of my favorite fables, just in general, & this Shotaro Honda illustration of it is fantastic. The story has the Monkey King being an awesome braggart, & it has a Buddha with a sense of humor; really just a fun piece of mythology. The almost bowdlerized version in American Born Chinese-- where Buddha is replaced by "Tze-Yo-Tzuh," a monotheistic deity, in an attempt to Christianize the story-- is the biggest misstep in the whole comic, if you ask me. In a nutshell, the Monkey King meets Buddha & is tricked through a combination of flattery & goading into saying he can travel to the end of the universe. The Monkey King can travel a thousand miles in a leap, he can fly on clouds, & he does, zooming farther & farther until there is nothing left, except a small handful of pillars that mark the edge of Heaven. Ever the imp, the Monkey King writes some graffiti on the pillar in the center: "MONKEY KING WAS HERE, I AM BETTER THAN HEAVEN." He jumps & cloudsurfs back to Buddha to brag about it...only to be stopped before he can by Buddha holding up his hand. Looking closely at Buddha's middle finger, he sees in tiny writing "monkey king was here..."

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