This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (July 2012)
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Zhu Bajie (Chinese: 猪 八戒; pinyin: Zhū Bājiè), also named Zhu Wuneng, is one of the three helpers of Tang Sanzang and a major character of the novel Journey to the West. Zhu means "swine", and Bajie means "eight precepts". Buddhist scholars consider that both expressions are related to "Śīla pāramitā". In many English versions of the story, Zhu Bajie is called "Pigsy" or "Pig".
Zhu Bajie is a complex and developed character in the novel. He looks like a terrible monster, part human and part pig, who often gets himself and his companions into trouble through his laziness, gluttony, and propensity for lusting after pretty women. He is jealous of Sun Wukong and always tries to bring him down.
His Buddhist name "Zhu Wuneng", given by Bodhisattva Guanyin, means "pig (reincarnated) who is aware of ability," or "pig who rises to power", a reference to the fact that he values himself so much as to forget his own grisly appearance. Tang Sanzang gave him the nickname Bājiè which means "eight restraints, or eight commandments" to remind him of his Buddhist diet.
In the original Chinese novel, he is often called dāizi (呆子), meaning "idiot". Sun Wukong, Tang Sanzang and even the author consistently refers to him as "the idiot" over the course of the story. Bodhisattvas and other heavenly beings usually refer to him as "Heavenly Tumbleweed", his former name when he was a heavenly marshal.
Zhu Bajie originally held the title of Tiānpéng Yuánshuài (天蓬元帅; lit. "Marshal Canopy"), commander-in-chief of 80,000 Heavenly Navy Soldiers. However, he was later banished for misbehavior. At a party organized for all the significant figures in Heaven, Bajie saw the Goddess of the Moon for the first time and was captivated by her beauty. Following a drunken attempt to seduce her, she reported this to the Jade Emperor and thus he was banished to Earth. In popular retellings, Zhu Bajie was sentenced to a thousand lives where each life would end in a love tragedy. In some retellings of the story, his banishment is linked to Sun Wukong's downfall. In any case, he was exiled from Heaven and sent to be reincarnated on Earth, where by mishap he fell into a pig well and was reborn as a man-eating pig-monster known as Zhū Gāngliè (猪刚鬛the "strong-maned pig").
In the earlier portions of Journey to the West, Wukong and Tang Sanzang come to Gao village and find that a daughter of the village elder had been kidnapped and the abductor left a note demanding marriage. In some versions of the story Bajie has convinced the elder to allow him to marry the daughter based on his ability to do large amounts of hard work due to his prodigious strength. The elder recants when he discovers that although Zhu Bajie manages to do quite a lot of work in the fields he manages to eat so much that the farm is losing money anyway. After some investigations, Wukong found out that Bajie was the "villain" behind this. He fought with Wukong, but ended the fight when he learned that Wukong was a disciple of Tang Sanzang, and that he had also been recruited by Guanyin to join their pilgrimage and make atonements for his past sins.
At the end of the novel, most of Bajie's fellow pilgrims achieve enlightenment and become Arhats, but he does not; although much improved, he is still too much a creature of his base desires. He is instead rewarded for his part in the pilgrimage's success with a job as "Cleanser of the Altars" (Traditional Chinese: 淨壇使者, Pinyin: Jingtan Shizhe) and all the leftovers he can eat. However, his actual rank in relation to the others is unclear.
As a weapon, he wields a jiǔchǐ-dīngpá, a nine-tooth (九齿 jiǔchǐ) iron muck-rake (钉耙 dīngpá) from Heaven that weighs roughly 5,048 kilos (or roughly 11,129 pounds), given to him, by Laozi, in compensation for the mishap of his reincarnation as a pig monster.
In traditional Chinese Taoism, there is a divine goddess names Doumu Yuanjun (斗姆元君) who was acclaimed as the mother of all the constellations, even the Emperor Zi-Wei is her son. She has four faces while one of them is akin to a pig's face. Tiānpéng Yuánshuài(天蓬元帅; lit. "Marshal Heavenly Mugwort") is one of her most significant understrappers, which is the head general of The North pole.
According to the depiction in the chapter 217 of 《道法会元》, a biography of Taoism and Chinese mythical stories compiled in Ming Dynasty; Tiānpéng Yuánshuài was a blazing powerful marshal in the North Pole. A phrase depicts his appearance as:
He was scarily imposing with three heads and six arms, red hair, red armor all over; Holding a magic seal, an axe, a firm rope in left hands and a convulsion bell, a symbolic artifact of constellations and a long sword in right. He leads 360,000 warriors; travels along with scary and dark gas, in which there is a five-colored cloud. Numerous deities with great respect always greet his arrivals.
Under his reign, there are a mass of strong myrmidons, with a piece of description withdrawn from ancient books and records of Taoism, three of the most outstanding ones are:
- “Mahatma of heaven”: with height of over a hundred feet, wearing a light-colored gown, disheveled long hair, could create incantatory power with his fingers, holding a sharp sword in his right hand.
- “The Great General of mixed pneuma”: Wearing a high crest and golden corselet the whole body, equipped by a bow, an arrow, and a halberd.
- “Four-eyed thunder marshal”: Aged, with four eyes and a walks with a crutch. Accompanied by two august emissaries.
Also, there are 36 generals and a group of Divine warriors under his dominion; anyhow, as is depicted in myth of Chinese Taoism, he is the commander of a huge deity system in the Northern Pole, in which a great number of valiant deity generals and warriors who all controlled by the Emperor Zi-Wei.
After he is punished and becomes Zhu Bajie, there is an obvious recession in both his confidence and power which makes him less militant and lazier as we can find in many parts in the original passage. However, with the remains of power he used to have in his preexistence, he is still capable of fighting against most of the devils appear in their way of journey and in this regard, Sun Wukong always prefers to bring him together when having battles with enemies although they have intermittent personal conflicts all the way.
The nine-toothed rake (Traditional Chinese: 九齒釘耙; Simplified Chinese: 九齿钉耙; pinyin: jiǔchǐdīngpá; literally Nine-Tooth Spike-Rake) is the primary weapon of Zhu Bajie. This phrase depicts the first point in which Bajie's legendary nine-toothed rake had been used:
The fierce and murderous ogre;
Huian, imposing and able.
The iron staff could pulverize the heart;
The rake struck at the face.
The dust thrown up darkened Heaven and Earth;
The flying sand and stones startled gods and ghouls.
The nine−toothed rake
Gleamed and flashed
As its pair of rings resounded;
The lone staff
Was ominously black
As it whirled in its owner's hands.
One was the heir of a Heavenly King,
One defended the Law on Potaraka Island.
The other was an evil fiend in a mountain cave.
In their battle for mastery,
None knew who the winner would be.
In another passage, Pig tells of his legendary rake while battling against Sun Wukong:
This was refined from divine ice−iron,
Polished till it gleamed dazzling white,
Hammered by Lord Lao Zi himself,
While Ying Huo fed the fire with coal−dust.
The Five Emperors of the Five Regions applied their minds to it,
The Six Dings and Six jias went to great efforts.
They made nine teeth of jade,
Cast a pair of golden rings to hang beneath them,
Decorated the body with the Six Bright Shiners and the Five planets,
Designed it in accordance with the Four Seasons and the Eight Divisions.
The length of top and bottom match Heaven and Earth.
Positive and Negative were to left and right, dividing the sun and moon.
The Six Divine Generals of the Oracular Lines are there, following the Heavenly Code;
The constellations of the Eight Trigrams are set out in order.
It was named the Supremely Precious Gold−imbued Rake,
And served to guard the gates of the Jade Emperor's palace.
As I had become a great Immortal,
I now enjoyed eternal life,
And was commissioned as Marshal Tian Peng,
With this rake to mark my imperial office.
When I raise it, fire and light stream forth;
When I lower it, a snowy blizzard blows.
It terrifies the Heavenly Generals,
And makes the King of Hell too quake with fear.
There is no other weapon matching it on Earth,
Nor iron to rival it throughout the world.
It changes into anything I like,
And leaps about whenever I say the spell.
For many a year I've carried it around,
Keeping it with me every single day.
I will not put it down even to eat,
Nor do I when I sleep at night.
I took it with me to the Peach Banquet,
And carried it into the celestial court.
When I sinned my sin in drunken pride,
I used it to force compliance with my evil will.
When Heaven sent me down to the mortal dust,
I committed all kinds of wickedness down here.
I used to devour people in this cave,
Until I fell in love and married in Gao Village.
This rake has plunged beneath the sea to stir up dragons,
And climbed high mountains to smash up tigers' dens.
No other blade is worth a mention
Besides my rake, the sharpest weapon ever.
To win a fight with it requires no effort;
Of course it always brings me glory.
Even if you have an iron brain in a brazen head and a body of steel,
This rake will scatter your souls and send your spirit flying.
During their journey, he atrociously kills many demons by his rake usually with nine blood-spurting holes on their head.
Despite his previous identity as a great marshal who is in charge of 80,000 celestial marines, he always claims Sun Wukong as “brother” with awe and respect while Sun has conflicts with him and often makes fun of him all the way. Of course, another reason for it is he already knows Sun’s reputation of being a great fighter in his preexistence.
During the journey, out of the intention of eating their master Tang Sanzang, many demons tend to use wizardry to change their appearances into children and beautiful women pretending to be troubled confusing their team. However, that of which Sun Wukong is capable of detecting in an effort to get capture or to kill these demons Zhu Bajie at these moments always manages to persuade his brother to release them although his kindness often causes troubles and even disasters.
Being uninterruptedly caught by numerous demons, he still behaves normally; even when he is about to be eaten, he does not seem to be anxious compared to his other two mates. This is also related to his background as a marshal in preexistence; rich experience in coping with various incidents makes his emotions fluctuate less. In some readings of this book, it is said that Zhu Bajie deliberately does not use his real power on the journey as he knows every time Monkey King would come and save them all. Even if not, other deities would come and help them.
As the proverb goes, eating is the most important thing in daily lives. Zhu Bajie in this regard is the best of the best. Take a plot in the book which is about eating watermelon for example; when he gets a watermelon, he splits the watermelon into four pieces to share with his colleagues equally. When he finds watermelon too delicious after finishing his own part, he finds excuses to eat each piece one by one until he finishes the whole watermelon. He has a big appetite, which is fairly visible in many parts of the story.
This pig has outstanding performances regarding laziness. He seemingly never cares about their troubles and works, and always finds excuses to procrastinate their expedition. Every time four of them arrive another country the local people always ardently welcome them with bumper food and accommodation because they come from the Great Tang Empire, which was both culturally and economically influential to all the surrounding areas at that time. Zhu Bajie hence tends to find excuses to persuade his master to stay several more days for better abodes and food due to his greediness.
When he was a marshal in heaven, he dallied with Chang'e, which was the reason for his banishment. After his reincarnation he drools everytime he meets beauties. Because of his lust the group often sinks into various troubles and even disasters.
All in all, he was given a name that means "eight resistances", which reminded him to resist temptations of the flesh, including women, laziness, edacity, and avarice.
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