(mostly) daily photoblog

WordPress Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

There is a myth here in South Asia, the myth of the Monkey King.  He was incredibly fast, amazingly powerful, and willing to learn.  One of my favorite versions of the Monkey King myth is in the graphic novel American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang.  In his version, the Monkey King grows from an enlightened monkey into an arrogant and destructive practitioner of god-like powers to an eventually humble devotee of the Buddha.  He learns from his time trapped under a mountain that he need only accept himself for who and what he is in order to free himself from his terrible burden.  He realizes that in order to be free, he must freely give his allegiance and subject himself to someone else’s will.  To be a free spirit, he must freely choose to help others.

The photo, above, is of the Monkey King, or one of his many incarnations.  This is the Indonesian version, who appeared in the Ramayana.  He is one of many wayang that I saw at the Wayang Museum in Old Jakarta.


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