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Monkeys and Asian Myth: Journey to the West by Wu Chen'en

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(@cyndeewillow)
Posts: 478
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Good afternoon! I've been thinking a bit about the monkey in FWWM and series 3. Found this reference to Journey to the West, a 16th century work by the Chinese writer Wu Chen'en. 

Here's a bit from the Wikipedia article, which is really interesting:

"The novel has 100 chapters that can be divided into four unequal parts. The first part, which includes chapters 1–7, is a self-contained introduction to the main story. It deals entirely with the earlier exploits of Sun Wukong, a monkey born from a stone nourished by the Five Elements, who learns the art of the Tao, 72 polymorphic transformations, combat, and secrets of immortality, and through guile and force makes a name for himself, Qitian Dasheng (simplified Chinese齐天大圣traditional Chinese齊天大聖), or "Great Sage Equal to Heaven". His powers grow to match the forces of all of the Eastern (Taoist) deities, and the prologue culminates in Sun's rebellion against Heaven, during a time when he garnered a post in the celestial bureaucracyHubris proves his downfall when the Buddhamanages to trap him under a mountain, sealing it with a talisman for five hundred years."

Monkey born from a stone--that rang some bell in my head. The story of the book focuses mainly on the journey of a monk named Xuanzang to Buddhahood during which he faces many (81 to be exactly) trials. In a past life, he was the disciple of the Buddha called Golden Cicada. 

Get this:
" The geography described in the book is, however, almost entirely fantasy; once Xuanzang departs Chang'an, the Tang capital, and crosses the frontier (somewhere in Gansu province), he finds himself in a wilderness of deep gorges and tall mountains, inhabited by demons and animal spirits, who regard him as a potential meal (since his flesh was believed to give immortality to whomever ate it), with the occasional hidden monastery or royal city-state amidst the harsh setting. "

Sounds a bit like Dale C. maybe? We know that Black Lodge was a test that he seems to have failed (because of his personal emotional attachment to Annie) in season 2. Hence the travails of season 3.

Andy, though, is probably already a Buddha. Damn, Andy!

Xangzang has four disciples. 

"The first is Sun Wukong, or Monkey, whose given name loosely means "awakened to emptiness", trapped by the Buddha for defying Heaven. He appears right away in chapter 13. The most intelligent and violent of the disciples, he is constantly reproved for his violence by Xuanzang. Ultimately, he can only be controlled by a magic gold ring that Guanyin has placed around his head, which causes him unbearable headaches when Xuanzang chants the Ring Tightening Mantra."

Magic rings appear everywhere in mythologies of all kind so there's nothing special about the connection, but there's also a mention of a fourth disciple in conjunction with fire, a pearl, and a horse:

"The fourth is Yulong, the third son of the Dragon King of the West Sea, who was sentenced to death for setting fire to his father's great pearl. He was saved by Guanyin from execution to stay and wait for his call of duty. He appears first in chapter 15, but has almost no speaking role, as throughout the story he mainly appears as a horse that Xuanzang rides on."

More than direct connections, I'm seeing lots of echoes in Twin Peaks of these themes: conjured beings, journey of the disciple to a higher plane, monkey, horse, special stones and rings that are related to conjured beings and their control, etc. 

I welcome your brilliant thoughts.

(Also David is working on the monkey film

 

 
Posted : 19/08/2017 12:45 pm
(@devaneyfan)
Posts: 356
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Posted by: cyndeewillow

 

(Also David is working on the monkey film

 

Lynch must have liked the actor/monkey who plays Phillip Jeffries over the final episodes of the return.

I'm not sure about the text you mentioned, but I do think there are similarities between Andy and Winnie the Pooh.  The Tao of Pooh, a fun little read, has a great discussion of Pu - the uncarved block.   Andy seems to represent the notion of "the uncarved block" very well. 

 
Posted : 19/08/2017 1:57 pm
(@devaneyfan)
Posts: 356
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When frustration over pacing, timelines, continutity, etc. begin to creep in, simply realize that The Return is an 18-hour koan. 

 
Posted : 19/08/2017 2:14 pm
cyndeewillow reacted
(@cyndeewillow)
Posts: 478
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Posted by: JeffreyGWillett

When frustration over pacing, timelines, continutity, etc. begin to creep in, simply realize that The Return is an 18-hour koan. 

Are you in the right forum? 🙂

Actually TPTR is the least frustrating part of my week.

 
Posted : 19/08/2017 11:47 pm
(@cyndeewillow)
Posts: 478
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Topic starter
 

I should have looked up koan. That's very helpful! It is!

 
Posted : 27/08/2017 2:04 pm
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