Appearance vs Reality

1 January 2017

In life, you may have experienced a situation where it in the beginning, it looked to be very being very negative but when the dust settled in the end you realized that it is quite the opposite. The situation or event had actually been a blessing in disguise and the events that took place were actually very positive and things happened for a reason and for the greater good in the end.

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Throughout the Wu Ch’eng-en’s novel‘Journey to the West’ there are many examples of how the first appearance of negativity does not equal the reality of the positive outcome. There are two examples that I will use from the Cock-crow episode to illustrate this, the first example is when Monkey sees the Crown Prince for the very first time. “Don’t tell me! Said the Monkey in the air, “that is the Prince” I will play a trick on him” (page 48) at first; you may think that Monkey is up to no good and just out to fulfill his own desire for adventure and excitement.

In reality, he is attempting to get the Crown Prince in front of Tripitaka so that they can carefully get his attention and get him away from his guards and begin the process of discerning the truth about what the dead king was claiming. In the next example, Tripitaka and his disciples continue their journey to get to the truth and to bring justice for the dead king. They are able to convince the Prince and his mother the Queen that indeed the evil wizard had been among them in the form of the King and had tricked them all.

It appeared that the evil wizard was posing as the dead King and that there had been a terrible injustice. But in reality, the old king had mistreated Manjuri who had been send by Buddha himself and “not knowing that I was anyone in particular he had me bound and cast me into the river, where I remained under water for three nights and three days, till at last a guardian spirit rescued me and brought me back to paradise” (Page 70) and Buddha sent Manjuris’s lion to put the King in his place. It may still seem that it was a negative thing for the king to be falsely impersonated but in reality, it turned out to be a good thing.

During the three years that he was on the throne, rain has fallen, the crops have been good, and the people at perfect peace” (71). The reality was that no one had been harmed or mistreated by the false King and in fact it was for the greater good in the end for all. In many situations throughout the story of Monkey, there is a constant theme of things appearing one way and in reality they turn out to be the opposite. I see the lesson as a positive one and that in the end when everything is said and done, the best thing has happened for the greater good.

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