Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zhu Bajie

Zhu Bajie is half man and half pig, whom is also well known as Pigsy or simply Pig in the English translations of Journey to the West. It is Bajie himself who is lazy, gluttonous and a lusty fellow whom over the course of Journey to the West has caused himself, his fellow disciples and master trouble.

Before becoming a disciple to the monk Sanzang, Bajie was much like the way he was as he is seen in Journey to the West except for being completely human rather then part human and part pig. Due to his greed, laziness and lust Bajie was warned by an immortal to change his way of life so he wouldn’t have to suffer after death. Asking to train him the immortal agreed and Bajie eventually ascended to Heaven.

In Heaven, the Jade Emperor gave Bajie a nine toothed rake which many gods had a part of creating it and is quite the powerful weapon.

Bajie was known as Marshal Tian Peng, the Marshal of the Heavenly Canopy and Marshal of the Heavenly Tumbleweed, and because of this is referred as Marshal Tian Peng or Heavenly Tumbleweed by heavenly beings many years after actually being banished from Heaven later on.
Bajie’s title as marshal was so as he was the commander of 80,000 heavenly warriors.

Bajie’s banishment from Heaven was from his own stupidity, as at a party in Heaven he got drunk and when he saw the moon goddess Chang E adored her beauty and tried making advances on Chang E to which she rejected. Chang E reported this to the Jade Emperor and was banished to Heaven. Bajie was to be reborn as a human,  yet was unlucky as there was a mishap and he was born as the part man, part pig creature Bajie became well known as.

The only thing Bajie had left after his banishment from Heaven was his nine toothed rake that was given by the Jade Emperor.

As a pig-man creature Bajie was a man-eater until the bodhisattva Guanyin came along and converted him to Buddhism, giving Bajie the Buddhist name of Zhu Wuneng which means ‘Pig Aware of Ability’. Guanyin told Bajie to wait for a monk which he faithfully did.

Bajie notably had the power of thirty-six transformations and the ability to ride clouds, using his ability to transform to become a handsome man and do hard work for a family in a place called Gao Village. While at the village Bajie helped much on a farm but eventually kidnapped the daughter of the village elder with a note being left behind demanding marriage.

The monk Sanzang and his first disciple Sun Wukong eventually got to Gao Village and learnt of this abduction by Bajie. Sun Wukong and Bajie eventually fight, with Bajie revealing that he is waiting for Sanzang. After this Bajie went to see the monk he had waited so long for and got given the name Bajie, roughly meaning “eight restraints” or “eight commandments”.

Bajie stayed loyal to Sanzang and helped the monk get the scriptures he was after. Although he did help, especially so when going underwater was needed (seeing as his fellow disciple Sun Wukong was more powerful but couldn’t fight underwater unlike Bajie), he was only awarded a job after fetching the scriptures. This job is however a suiting job for Bajie due to his greed, eating all the leftovers he could along with having the title of “Cleanser of the Alters”.

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