Journey to the WestCourse taught by: Xijuan Zhou
Journey to the West, also translated as The Monkey, is one of the masterpieces of Chinese literature. It is a story based on the journey of a famous Chinese monk named Xuanzang who traveled to India to seek Buddhist scriptures in the 7th century C.E. The novel combines elements of Chinese folk religion with Taoist and Buddhist philosophies and Confucian social values. It not only portrays adventurous fantasies but also reveals spiritual insight and serves as an allegory of the religious journey. In this colloquium, we will examine Chinese religions and folk beliefs through close reading and discussion of this classic text. Some of the questions we will discuss include: How does one interpret a text? What are the key factors in cultural integrations? What challenges does one face in one's spiritual journey? Class activities will also include writing exercises, short research reports, and class presentations, involving materials such as religious scriptures, films, and historical documents.