Monkey Narrator Quotes

This page contains lots of narrator quotes I transcribed from all 39 English-dubbed episodes of "Monkey". I transcribed them for Fabulous Films to use on the video boxes (they only wanted a few for each box, but I transcribed lots, to let them choose their favourites) for the Monkey videos released in the UK.

Note: For all the episodes, the narrator quotes, or excerpts shown in italics are those that appear for these episodes on the Monkey video boxes.

I didn't transcribe all the narrator quotes, some of the ones I transcribed are just snippets of the whole quote, and also I tended to omit all narrator quotes which were telling the story or which mentioned the characters. I concentrated instead on getting all the wise sayings.

If you would like to read my synopses for all 39 English-dubbed Monkey episodes, check out the Monkey Synopses page.

For more details about the Monkey UK video release, see the Monkey Videos page.

Season 1

1. Monkey Goes Wild about Heaven
"How long must a fool who misses the way wander through his many lives?"
"Even a starving camel is still bigger than a horse."
"Even in Heaven, they say desire ends in tears."

2. Monkey Turns Nursemaid
"The traveller who drags his feet only raises dust."
"It's better to travel alone than with a fool. But what may two fools do?"
"Dwelling on your brother's thoughts only multiplies your own, and you are far from the end of the way."
"The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
"The trouble with the illusion of magic is that mere belief in it creates more demons."
"Whatever you do, you do to yourself."
"We want so much when we need so little. But the illumined man wants for nothing."

3. The Great Journey Begins
"The Buddha in each of us knows that no scriptures can save a single soul unless that soul makes the effort to achieve enlightenment."
"You may run from tigers, but where can you hide from your own fear? Desire is unquenchable - you can only free yourself from it."
"The monstrous is only a question of opinion. To some of us, opinions are so precious that we will die for them, again and again."

4. Monkey Swallows the Universe
"The five have come together and their journey begun. They think they want the scriptures, but they seek the end of the way. Like us, the master has travelled life after life the treacherous muddy road of illusion."
"Joyfully follow the way, the quiet way to the other country."
"When what is indestructible meets what is irresistible, the female all too often wins."
"Love is no excuse."
"Like a mountain, a good man is visible from afar."
"If goodness is like a mountain, sometimes it is equally hard to achieve and someone must first find a way."
"The master goes beyond the boundless land, and nothing, neither men nor demons nor Gods, nothing in all creation can hold him. Monkey is magic, a God, an immortal, but he is less than the Buddha in you."

5. The Power of Youth
"Do spirits watch most private moments? Sweet innocence stirs some fish-cold heart."
"Does love mean labour even for the carp-hearted?"
"Youth and love saved a fool. Whatever one says about them may be right. The world is a product of mind, and love and youth make their own reality."

6. Even Monsters Can be People
"Evil must have good to feed upon."
"Each life has its way, each way is a journey. And to leap to its end is like jumping from birth to death."
"A good man may suffer until his goodness flows. The cause of all suffering is desire, and even to desire not to desire is still to be caught on the wheel."
"Our own demons are often to hardest to recognise."
"There will be other demons on the way. No one is without them. The greatest sage is not without his evil. He has mastered it."
"To straighten out the crooked, you first do a more difficult thing - you must straighten yourself."

7. The Beginning of Wisdom
"Words which are beautiful are seldom true." (2nd)
"Truth is sometimes as hard to find as buried water in a drought."
"It is the beginning of wisdom to say 'I don't know.'" (1st)
"In so desolate a town, you can even count the ribs of the buildings."
"No one was behaving from very Buddhist motives. Then, thought Pigsy, he was hardly a Buddha, nor was he a monkey. Presently, he was a pig spirit changed into a little girl pretending to be a little boy to be offered to a water monster. It was all very simple to a pig spirit."
"Perhaps all creatures are very much more than what they seem. The tree has its roots; the iceberg only shows its tip. Perhaps we are all much more even than we know. So, while the meanest peasant lives in misery here, he may be elsewhere in triumph, making the very stars."

8. Pigsy Woos a Widow
"What is identity? It is the difference between us. Difference is experienced in the mind, yet the Buddha said this mind creates the world, that this world only exists in the mind and nowhere else."
"Desire is a trap. Lustful desire makes pig of people, and slaves of pigs. One single word makes possible all civilisation. It's a small word, a magic word, yet it transforms, frees everyone. You must whisper it to yourself. The word is 'no'."
"They stuck Monkey in a cage. He entertained them willy-nilly, and free entertainment is not to be despised."
"Not everyone can say they are gods. But Buddha himself said everyone was Buddha if we can but realise it."

9. What Monkey Calls the Dog-Woman
"A leather bag is nothing, nor is a bucket, nor a brain. They only become useful when something is put into them."
"Better than a hundred years of worship is the one moment of reverence for the sage who conquered himself."
"The strange fact is that the world goes on against all reasonable odd. A hundred years, and even unimaginable evil is just called history."
"Change is the only certainty."
"Your work is to discover your work. Then, with all your heart, to give yourself to it. No one purifies another."

10. Pigsy's in the Well
"The way is never easy. Life hurts. To cure this pain is easy; just wait. It will go away soon enough. Yet there are things to be done. Do them now, or they must be done next time, or the next, or the next. They will be done. Only when they are done is the pain ended."
"Even in an empty forest a master finds joy, because he wants nothing."
"Nothing ends, but it becomes something else."
"The King of Truth is the King of Kings."
"Life hurts. What must be done will be done. Why do we choose good over bad, or bad over good?"
"The winner sows hatred because the loser must suffer. Give up winning and losing, then find joy."

11. The Difference Between Night and Day
"There are mysteries. There are differences. In this world, these must be reconciled in time. Some differences are as wide as those between night and day."
"Strange things stir in perpetual night."
"What is it that must avoid the light? What walks cold streets when all are lost in troubled dreams? What feeds on youth, and what drinks innocence? The vampire."
"It is change which frees. Perpetual day or night both enslave."
"Sometimes it is easier to say 'love' than to admit to being scared."
"As there are questions which have no answers, so there are answers to questions that were never asked. What was its balance? Both are essential. Everything that ever was is essential to make what is."

12. Pearls Before Swine
"Sometimes, to make the stupid grow, discipline is essential. The wrong in stealing something so useless as jewels is less that they belong to someone else, and more that you offend against yourself by coveting them at all."

13. The Minx and the Slug
"We think we earn what he have, but it is a gift. What did we do to earn the gift of life?"
"The affairs of mortals are often incomprehensible to elementals."
"There are no chains like hate, nor flames like passion. Desire is a raging torrent, and illusion is the net."
"If life is a gift, can it ever be right to refuse part of it? A few rare souls may transcend individual love and love everyone. No one is diminished by that."

14. Catfish, Saint and the Shape-Changer
"Before the powers of evil, even volcanoes and earthquakes seem mere toys. Is the world then foredoomed to an evil end?"
"When trust has gone, friends must scatter."
"When trust has gone, each of us is alone. Trust is a very fragile thing."
"If a monster took you over, would you know?"
"Microcosm, macrocosm, there are worlds within worlds, some better, some worse. Not the least extraordinary of worlds is to be found in the internal plumbing of a demon in cosmic manifestation."
"Evil destroys. It opposes even other evil. Evil must have good to feed upon. Goodness nourishes itself. When evil has captured the good, evil dies. Then the good will grow again. In these truths is there hope for the world."

15. Monkey Meets the Demon Digger
"There is no silence like the silence of great mountains."
"Live purely, be quiet."
"Yet even silence cannot make a wise man out of a fool, wherever he travels."
"Grey hairs do not make a wise man. A man may waste a lifetime digging up a mountain in search of mythical crows' eggs. A man may waste a lifetime growing rich or chasing power. What is a life that's not wasted? Perhaps one in which we learn a little."

16. The Most Monstrous Monster
"On their way to India to bring back the Buddhist scriptures to save China, Monkey, Tripitaka, Pigsy and Sandy meet a lot of demons. A holy mission brings out the best in people."
"Is it so extraordinary, the marriage of a person to a monster? We are all human. We are all monster. The sage knows this. The Buddha has reconciled the two within himself and transcended both."

17. Truth and the Grey Gloves Devil
"Gods and devils are not the point of Buddhism. An enlightened man is greater than any god or demon. There is no reward or punishment except what we call forth ourselves. All suffering is caused by selfish desires. Enlightened, one becomes a Buddha. The Buddha himself said so, and the Buddha fills all the universe."
"What is truth when we lie to ourselves about so much, and know so little? What is the universe made of? How big is it? Is it eternal? Which politics are best for society? Even Pigsy understands that certainty is only another delusion."
"The Buddha said such questions do not matter. If you were to put off the search for enlightenment to answer such questions, you would never find the path."

18. Land for the Locusts
"The locust, a harmless desert grasshopper. But, from time to time, locusts swarm in their tens of millions and become creatures of terror. They leave behind them desert and desolation. Why they swarm is yet a mystery. Perhaps, like all of us, they dream of grass and sparkling water, of a safe and perfect land."
"Whatever dreams we dream become stories."
"Just suppose that the rain of compassion falls on the dominion of Hell, and the light of wisdom shines on it. Faith takes root, and blossoms of joy begin to spread their fragrance. Then, the dominion of Hell will turn into Buddha's pure land. If a man's mind becomes pure, so all his surroundings become pure also."

19. Vampire Master
"The harp does not play music if its strings are too tight or too loose. The music comes only when the strings are stretched just right."
"All journeys have a single purpose - to get to another place. There are places everywhere, and the differences between them are less than you might think. Some places are no more than a state of mind."
"Like a thirsty man drinking salt water, desires can never be satisfied. They can be mastered through awakening."
"Vampires who have learned the secrets of shape-changing and living in sunlight have vast new powers of evil."
"It is very hard to call anything wrong or evil except that which is clear in yourself."
"Cunning and simplicity may belong together in an ape. A monkey who could recognise both would be on the long road towards humanity."

20. Outrageous Coincidences
"The world often seems unfair to people who believe in fate, yet the fact is the universe works, and against all odds. Sometimes to make it all work, the Buddha has to resort to outrageous coincidences, for example, a white horse is most easily lost in a snowstorm."
"Buddha uses outrageous coincidences sometimes to awaken piety."
"We feel what we feel on the flimsiest of evidence."
"Can a soul be in two places at once? There are those who believe that since there is a Buddha nature in each of us, we are all everywhere."
"It is a well-known fact that doctors practise until they are perfect."
"If the world often seems unfair to people who believe in fate, this is because fatalists can come to believe they cannot change or improve. But if there is fate, it is fated that we make our own lives."

21. Pigsy, King and God
"On a long journey to fetch the scriptures back to China, the pilgrims pass through so many lands, all so different, that the most unlikely things become possible."
"Many strange gods are worshipped, and the goldfish swims round and round in its bowl. No journey is ever safe while there is any end in view. Only the pure cease to travel, because the pure are not reborn, then, without fear, go."

22. Village of the Undead
"Who shall conquer the world, and the world of death, with its many Gods? Who shall discover the shining way? 'You shall,' said the Buddha."
"Do you think enlightenment should be easy? It is not. Everyone alive has already spent all the time that ever was upon the way, some with more energy than others."
"Buddha taught that we are what we believe, and all that we are springs from our thoughts. If deluded thought can call forth ghosts or even death then greed can certainly make a magic wine to corrupt the mind which created it. The world is a trap for fools. Only he who sees goes free."
"Where do we come from? Where do we go? Only the sage knows. And the sage knows such questions are profitless. Daily, the clever man learns something. Daily, the wise man gives up some certainty. Perhaps."

23. Two Little Blessings
"The future is unknowable, since to know the future is to change it."
"Once, they asked the wise man, 'Is he who gives you a wild tiger in a jade box being truly generous?' The Great Sage replied, 'How should I know?'"
"Truly it is said that dragon's feathers are as rare as sympathy for an expectant father. Never has a father been expectant in quite this way."
"Gods have their own lives to lead too, and cannot be forever answering prayers."
"On the turning wheel, each new birth is a chance for illumination, so motherhood is noble. But some mothers are less suitable than others."

24. The Fires of Jealousy
"The way is not in the sky, the way is in the heart."
"Fire raised man above the other animals."
"Love is a force almost as powerful as fire. Without love, we should be cold. Without fire, we should be alone in the dark. Yet for each there is a proper season and a golden mean. Love which fears ebb and flow is jealousy, and becomes a curse. The way is neither in the earth nor in the sky. The way is in the middle, the jewel at the heart of the lotus."

25. The Country of Nightmares
"Sometimes, to fight evil is to strengthen it."
"To compromise with evil clouds the clarity with which we should strive for the good."
"Ignorance breeds fear, and fear breeds superstition. Ignorance, fear and superstition were always the beginning of nightmare."

26. The End of the Way
"There is one, it is infinite. Yet what is called Buddha fills it. The one takes myriad forms, since everything is a form of the whole. Forms change, the one does not change. Its total is always the same. If the pilgrims come at last to Buddha's Western Paradise, what will be changed?"
"There is one, it is eternal. Yet what is called Buddha outlasts us. The one is like a wheel, and the wheel we are on turns endlessly. Life, death, the wheel is one-way. Even Buddhas are born again. If the one, the way and the wheel are Buddha, how can there be an end of the way?"

Season 2

27. Pigsy's Ten Thousand Ladies
"As the works of men speak to other men so life is the message the universe sends to itself."
"Too much of anything becomes boring."
"Is there no tranquillity in domesticity? And is time to think a rare privilege indeed?"
"The blows of life transform us. Life will give us many forms. After Heaven and Earth exist, individuals develop to fill a space in-between. The birth is always difficult. We all need help to change and grow, and what if there is no help? No failure is forever. There is always change, and a new beginning."

28. The Dogs of Death
"All the world shares the same sun. The higher the sun rises, the brighter it grows. The sun needs the earth also, to shine upon. Yet there are those who love the dark. Should the sun stop shining? Everything happens at its own time. What is strong must also be right, for only then will it last. If clouds obscure it, does the sun hurry past them? Clouds will pass. Every day the sun rises again."
"Time moves, not like a river from here to there - we do that. Time moves in waves, it ebbs and flows. There is a time for everything. Has the time come for someone to die in order to save Tripitaka?"
"Nothing is destroyed for ever. After ruin comes return. The cruellest mountain has a peak, then the way is downhill; down into a valley which may be in shadow."
"Of those who seek the light, the wisest knows that each night is followed by a day, and day by night forever."
"It's easy to be stupid. Everybody sometimes is. It's hard to be clever if you are not. Is it always better to do difficult things? Does the sun find it hard to shine, the wind to blow, or the river to run? Sun, wind, water, earth - they do what they must simply by being themselves."

29. The Foolish Philosopher
"All paths, they say, lead to the same end, as all lives will lead to the same understanding. But only a Buddha can know that here and there are different, and without seeing the whole, who can say where new roads lead?"
"Because great acts are all made up of small deeds, the wise man attempts nothing very big."
"A fool who knows he is a fool is farther along the road to wisdom than a wise man. What is there to know? After every summer comes an autumn, and there are times when even Heaven and Earth do not belong together. Love is not a crutch for cripples to lean upon."

30. Who Am I?
"The way is simple, but simplicity is not stupidity. It needs awareness. A youth who leans carelessly over an abyss, even if he's looking for water, is a fool. A mountain standing above the precipice stays calm; it is in its proper place."
"What is newly-born is innocent, and it needs to become aware."
"Who are you? What is identity? You like cheese, and sun on water. You know your age and what happens when your eyes grow tired. Filtered through some predisposition, you are the product of everything that ever happened to you, but if you lost your memory, who could you be?"
"Well has it been said by the ancient sages that of all the ways to clarity, the shortest is the way you choose for yourself."
"You must make the effort to reach clarity, or live life in a dream. Waking from the dream is hard, so be strict with yourself, but never stern. Sometimes, to put right a mistake only causes more errors, then it is better to pass on, and remembering to forgive yourself. Punishment is not an end in itself, and the middle way is golden."

31. What is Wisdom?
"A good king is rarer than fine weather, because spring is inevitable each year. Seize of the spring, there will be autumn. A good king who insists that all wise men visit him is more rare than dragon's milk. The pilgrims are seeing such a king."
"Each moment is only possible because of every moment since the beginning of time. Now it is here, each moment is thus inevitable, and to no-one's credit or fault."
"What is wisdom? It has little to do with beliefs. These change year by year from person to person. Only one who does not dare give up beliefs because he has no wisdom will insist that others believe as he does. Cleverness learns something, but wisdom gives up some certainty every day."

32. The Fountain of Youth
"Is Heaven supreme? There are forces which challenge Heaven. Even Heaven cannot change the past, and the gods of the past use very potent weapons."
"There is Earth, and there is Heaven. In the space between these two there is room for man, for woman, and for babies."
"There are times when youth is a curse, not a blessing."
"Regret little. Regret belongs with the past. The future is a dream never realised, the past is a phantom - ghosts and dreams. Now is the only reality, and you will need all of yourself to live it."

33. A Shadow So Huge
"If change is the only certainty in the universe, it is inevitable that things will sometimes grow, and sometimes decay. Some men will grow more gifted, more powerful or richer than others. But if a man grows too rich without sharing his wealth, then like an overripe fruit, he will fall."
"Gold must come from somewhere, so the spirits of greed enslave men to dig it from the ground. Gold is a truly magic thing. It is of small use to anyone until men believe in it, that it is valuable; then magically it becomes very precious indeed."
"A little gold casts a shadow so huge the very stars come out at noon. By the light of the stars, here and there small truths appear. Is Tripitaka wiser because he wants enlightenment quite as badly as another wanted gold? Even in shadow, one may meet another, find a friend, and learn from him."

34. Keep on Dancing
"It is given to very few to be solitary, because people belong together. Many reasons draw people to each other, and the strongest of these is love. People love country or friends, husbands love wives, mothers their children, and a goblin father his goblin son, even when they are spirits and the son is sick."
"The truth about magic is that it is unreal. Only the enlightened man sees clearly, then life itself is unreal, a dream, an illusion created by our own minds. And, if only the enlightened man sees truly, then we must take his word for it."
"Heaven must love fools, since it made so many of us."
"If it is love which holds so many different people together, there are surely many kinds of love. Which is right, and which is wrong? Is a rose better than a daffodil? Of all the loves, the first love is self. Until you learn to love yourself, you cannot love one another. We are all much more than we think, but are we perfect? It is necessary to change and grow. There is a right time for this, neither too early nor too late. That time is now."

35. Give and Take
"There are those who give, and those who take. Both extremes are wrong."
"The martyr has gone too far and will not find peace except in death, and the chance to try again. The ruthlessly selfish though are the stuff of monsters. Of those who only take, some want blood, and we call them vampires."
"It is not enough to do things just because you can. Power without rightness, right action at the right time, is mere force, and that cannot last against nature."
"A seed only grows if you plant it in the spring - right time, right action. You cannot force a seed to grow. Mere force will not last against nature, because nature is always stronger. Love is natural, give and take. Pigsy glimpsed that sometimes we love because of the other person's need for it. It is not the same as love which is mutual. No one should hog all the giving nor all the taking. The good is the golden middle way."

36. Such a Nice Monster
"We are all much more than we know. We are all Buddha. But we live by illusions and only see through our senses. So we cannot know how much we are. No one can know himself; therefore people will live behind many masks, and call themselves by many names. When all that matters is the effect we have on others. Thus, even a monster may want to be kind, friendly and gentle. And what is more friendly than a puppy dog."
"The truly calm man can always avoid violence."
"Take care what you think. Only the illumined can know reality. Wanting nothing from the world, they are still here with everyone and less certain than we. Take care what you do. All the harm people do in the world is done by people who are certain of something. It is sometimes better to follow the signposts than to lose yourself making new paths. There is a path, give up certainty but try to do good, and good will be done."

37. Pretty as a Picture
"Only the sage can know certainty. If we dream alive and dead, because our senses are liars, what is the difference between image and reality?"
"Feelings are important, and it is wrong to neglect them. But, feelings are only a part of us. They can be mastered, or the tail wags the dog. Sometimes people are as different as ice and fire come together. Why not? A fire will burn on ice if one is strong, and the other is firm enough."
"When a little fox comes to cross a frozen lake, he is very careful. He tests the ice, walks quickly and lightly all the way across. When the pilgrims are close to India, will the little fox stop just before the end, and fall through the ice?"

38. Mothers
"Happiness is nothing you can take or own. Few know this, thus people cannot live together without laws, and laws can sometimes be harsh. But, however gentle the judge, he must be harsh when the law demands, or the laws will not work. This is so even for the Buddha, even for the Buddha in us all."
"Sometimes, fighting evil only strengthens it, while gentleness can transform it into good. The further Buddha does not judge, we judge ourselves. And this is difficult and dangerous to do. It is difficult because we will stand on our heads to feel we are right. It is dangerous because we know we must be wrong, and we are angry with ourselves. The difficult and dangerous are no different from everything else in the universe. They must be faced with strength and gentleness together. There are no extremes which are right. There is only one way, and it is in the middle."

39. At the Top of the Mountain
"Nothing lasts forever. In all the universe there are only two constants, and these are one. There will be change, and something that changes. The eternal things are natural, like the seasons, and the life and death of stars. And that consciousness in all myriad life forms will evolve towards knowing that everything is Buddha, and one. Nothing is lost; the total always stays the same. Though there are times which sometimes seem better or worse than others."
"If there is any plan in the universe, it can only be evolving consciousness. This is the difference between human and animal. People feel love and grief for others."
"The pilgrims still have as far to go as they have travelled. What end can there be to a journey as long as life? What end can there be to life? It is very hard to want nothing and to move on endlessly, and it is very easy. There is no end. There is one life, one pattern, and this is the pattern which is being followed."

Related web sites:

  • Monkey / Words - Miscellaneous quotes from Monkey.
  • Monkey Synopses - Synopses for all 39 English-dubbed Monkey episodes!
  • Monkey Videos - Full details about the Monkey UK video release!

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