That night the Monkey King learned many spells to harness Spirit for protection and purity. When he departed to sleep, his heart was peaceful and filled with bliss. This was a pattern for 3 years, until Subhuti once again came to lecture to the disciples. The teachings were profound, concerning both the inner and outer world. With them, though, came a warning.
The powers Sun Wukong was learning brought dangers intended to defeat immortals. Demons and spirits angered by the great power would strike with three Disasters, all of which were lethal unless evaded. Although he was doubtful at first, after hearing the explanation the Monkey King was deeply disturbed and begged for knowledge to escape death.
The responding advice was imparted thusly:
“Your sight must be clear so that you can hide from them before they come. If you succeed in avoiding all of them you will live as long as eternity itself; if you don’t, you will be burned or torn to shreds.”
“There are several transformations that you could employ for this purpose. You can learn either ascendant transformations, of which there are only 36, or the 72 worldly ones.”
After some consideration, the Monkey King decided to learn the 72 worldly transformations to get as much as much as possible out of them.
Subhuti does not comment except to say, “If that is your will.” before whispering the miraculous secrets into Sun Wukong’s ear.
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