Thoughts on Monkey

My first thought when I began reading Monkey (and about the Monkey King) was this :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYZmv8upiGY  I simply could not get this movie out of my head when I was reading. It’s over-the-top fly fu action is crazy, but it’s still a fun movie if you like that type of thing. Though it’s different than the story we read in class, it follows the story of the Monkey King. That being said, I really enjoyed the original story of the Monkey King.

Everything about the beginning screamed Taoist. Perhaps it is because I have always been so deeply intrigued by Asian culture, but I thought of the monks and nuns of the Wu Dang Shan. They follow the Taoist beliefs that by achieving perfection by a lifetime of work, one can become immortal. For more information, check out this documentary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cxl0Spm0hmI  They live extremely hard lives – lives that are unimaginable to most Americans (beaten because of an unmade bed?!) - but their ways are fascinating. They are so old-fashioned, it’s almost as if time has stood still at the temple. Also, did you recognize the temple? It was the temple used in The Karate Kid remake starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. Also, for a brief history on Buddhist monks (specifically the Shaolin, kung fu fighting monks) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6Z-ekyyK8o . Most people believe the monks of both sides have become corrupted due to media exposure, etc. To me, it depends on the perspective.

It’s no surprise Monkey remains popular to this day. There are so many variations of the story (for example, the comedic epic that is The Forbidden Kingdom), it’s hard not to relate it almost directly to something. Above all else though, I think in a weird sense, people are drawn to that ancient spirituality. Perhaps it is because it is so lacking in our own (Western) modern society, but I know that I personally love it when a book or movie has spiritual, symbolic content without stating it directly.

 


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