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Backstory

        ‘Avalokiteshvara while practicing deeply with the Insight that brings us to the other shore…’ Tang Sanzang read a sutra to the villagers, whose hometown had just been attacked by monsters. The raid had destroyed many villagers’ homes and took away thousands of lives. The villagers listened to Tang Sanzang quietly as tears gushed from their eyes. Tang Sanzang’s sutra gradually soothed the villagers' sorrow. After Tang Sanzang finished the sutra, the villagers smiled with relief and became energized, ready to rebuild the village. Seeing as the villagers had regained vitality, Tang Sanzang prepared to continue his journey. At that moment, the village chief stepped up and said, ‘Monk Tang, are you leaving already?’ ‘Yes, I want to achieve Celestial Way as soon as possible and bring peace to people’s souls.’ Tang Sanzang bowed to the chief and the villagers and left.

        Years ago, Tang Sanzang followed a celestial being to understand the laws of the world. However, seeing as the world getting drowned in chaos, the emerging monsters, and the people’s suffering, he decided to leave the celestial being to search for Celestial Way that could save the realm. On his journey, he had seen countless victims killed by monsters. That made him even more determined to achieve Celestial Way.

        Later, Tang Sanzang went past the five Sacred Pillars, where he found a monkey pressed under the pillars. He wanted to help it, but he knew he was not a great Taoist ascetic capable of doing so. Instead, he stayed with the monkey, listened to its grumbles, and shared what he had met on his journey. He figured this monkey had a name, Wukong. It was subdued for breaking a taboo and trying to murder the Dragon King. It did not repent after all, so it had been imprisoned under five Sacred Pillars, where he awaited his freedom at the hands of a great Taoist ascetic.

        ’Are you still dwelling on those events from five centuries ago?’ ‘Well, I cannot accept what happened!’

        ’But do you truly understand what you want?’ ‘I am me!’

        ’Then why are you still stuck here?’ ‘That…’

        Tang Sanzang smiled. He believed that Wukong was not just an unruly monkey. Its mistakes in the past had arisen from being lost between rights and wrongs. ‘Does the one who seeks the universal Tao shares your thinking?’ ‘You already know the answer…’ Wukong said nothing, neither did Tang Sangzang. Tang Sanzang departed silently. He left the thinking for Wukong to do…

        Tang Sanzang continued his journey. He had passed through countless paths and cities. He had not understood Tao’s universal principle, but his great deeds began spreading in the realm and reached the numerous elves and demons’ ears. These evil beings were afraid their prime would vanish upon Tang Sanzang’s epiphany. They gathered and planned to root him out.

        One day, Tang Sanzang was passing through a remote village, where corpses lay everywhere. The sorrowful scene made his heart ache. When he began reading sutra to the corpses, a wail came from somewhere near. He sprinted to the voice and found two girls surrounded by several monsters. The girls were begging for their lives, but the monsters only sneered at the girls with their lewd eyes.
        ’Hehe, Brother. I didn’t know this remnant village could be hiding two little babes! It’s a lucky day!’ ‘What are we waiting for? Bring them back, and I’m gonna enjoy tonight!’ As the monsters approached the girls, Tang Sanzang stood before the girls and said calmly, ‘Form is no different from formlessness; formlessness is no different from form. Is it necessary to capture these poor girls?’ ‘Humph! It’s none of your business! I do what I desire! No one can change that!’ The monster leader stepped up, but Tang Sanzang did not reveal any emotions. He asked, ‘Are you doing what you want?’ The monster leader froze and began thinking about what Tang Sanzang said. “Brother, look what he’s wearing. It resembles that ‘Tang Sanzang”, don’t you think?” The monster leader came back from deep thoughts and eyed Tang Sanzang up. The monster leader sneered and said, ‘My brother and I haven’t had a decent meal for a long time. If you sacrifice yourself for the girls, I’ll let them go!’ ‘If my sacrifice would bring safety to two lives and satiate your hunger, why shouldn’t I?’ Tang Sanzang sat down, hand clasped and eyes closed. He did not show any signs of fear before death. He was always ready to sacrifice himself for others.

        Tang Sanzang quietly waited until he heard the monsters screaming all of a sudden. A familiar voice yelled at him, ‘Hey! Are you alright?’ Tang San Zang opened his eyes and found Wukung leaning over, and those monsters lay down, severely injured. ‘It seems you have acquired true wisdom and cleared your mind.’ ‘Thanks to your words of wisdom, I finally freed myself from the pillars. What you told me before was fascinating! Can I follow you on your path to realize the Tao universal principle?’ Tang Sanzang stood up and helped Wukong up. He told Wukong, ‘To seek the universal principle and to look for the truth are the ultimate goal of every living being. I haven’t acquired the great mind that qualifies me as a great Taoist ascetic, but we can study together.’

        Wukong accepted Tan Sanzang as its master and began their journey of seeking the universal principle. Seasons had passed, and they had traveled all over the realm, but their faith remained...

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