The New Year Dawns

008The year 2016 has entered into time. The Chinese proclaim it the Year of the Monkey.

Beloved Monkey!

Spirited and clever, the animated creature bounds into minds and hearts with fiery energy. Revered since the Ming Dynasty, Monkey claims a prominent place in Chinese culture. One of Monkey’s most vivid stories is the Journey to the West, one of the four great classics of Chinese literature.

In this much-loved story, Monkey is born from a stone richly nurtured by the truth and beauty of Heaven and Earth. Bathed by the light of the Sun and the grandeur of the Moon, he springs to life and claims his place as the Handsome Monkey King. He spends his days building stone pagodas and chasing dragonflies in the shelter of the pines. He and his curious followers track alpine streams to a cascading waterfall. Ever the leader, Monkey plunges through the falls to the Water Curtain Cave. Beyond these waters he discovers a place of splendor, home to bamboos, plum blossoms, and the sacred pines—the three ancient Chinese symbols of loyalty, resilience and perseverance.

For a time Monkey reigns content, far from the tyranny of human kings and other creatures of power. But Monkey, looking inside and finding only formless emptiness, sets off on a great journey. Seeking enlightenment, Monkey abandons the safety of his beautiful cavern, searching the Great Way for Sages and Immortals who know the secrets of eternity.

His pride and reckless temper land him in the disfavor of the heavenly courts. Monkey is trapped under the mountains for a full five hundred years, despite his powers of amazing strength and wit. When finally free, he joins a holy monk on a fantastic journey to India to reclaim sacred scriptures.

These are the Days of the Monkey—vibrant and real, and always extraordinary.

–Kate Calina

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