Sunday, July 05, 2009

Spotlight: Zhu Bajie

Zhu Bajie. A major poem from my upcoming collection BARROW features this classic figure from Asian literature.

Zhu Bajie originally held the title of Tiānpéng Yuánshuǎi ("Marshall of the Heavenly Canopy, or the Marshall of the Heavenly Tumbleweed"), commander-in-chief of 80,000 Heavenly Navy Soldiers. Tiānpéng Yuánshuǎi defeated a demon to earn his title. He was later banished, however, for misbehaviour.

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 get close to 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.

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