At the end of the "Monkey goes Wild About Heaven" Monkey was imprisoned under a Buddha-created mountain as a punishment for his attempt to take over heaven by force. He bet with The Buddha that he could fly out of The Buddha's hand, and thought that he had flown to the end of the universe when he graffittied and urinated on Buddha's hand, which he mistook for the "five pillars at the end of the universe". He was supposed to remain there until he learned patience.
Despite being under the mountain for 500 years, Monkey has shown no evidence of mellowing (or learning patience), nor has his voice seen to have gone hoarse at all.
A very dishevelled and ragged looking earth spirit turns up to feed Monkey, saying "Stop complaining. I've come to feed the monkey," after Monkey asks "You're back to torment me." The diet consists of balls of iron and liquid copper. This is at Buddha's request and for the good of his health, because he's "... getting rusty". Monkey spits the ball into his head, so the spirit has to force-feed him and hold his mouth down. Then he digs molten copper by digging his shovel into the ground. Monkey points to, and asks the spirit to remove the seal of Buddha (but the spirit isn't silly enough to do it).The spirit leaves, telling Monkey he'll see him again in 10 years or so, to Monkey's insults about his body odour.
Monkey is feeling lonely, repeatedly shouting "I don't like it" and "Let me out, Tathagata. 500 years and I can't scratch an itch. If I get out of here, Buddha, I'll make you sorry."
The Buddha sits upon a lotus throne preaching in His library in the Temple of the Great Thunder Clap while he waits for the time to fulfil itself. There are hundreds of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the audience. Monkey will have to wait for sometime longer under the mountain. "Monkey nature has turned mankind from the Buddha within, but the words of the scriptures can show a way to illumination" and deliver humanity from suffering. So The Buddha says that The Greater Vehicle Scriptures must be given to mankind. However they cannot be given too easily in case mankind doesn't value the gift. The Buddha asks for somebody to go and find a holy man to undertake the mission.
Kuan Yin "The Lady Compassion" (and Chief Fairy of Heaven) volunteers to find a Holy Man to come to Buddha for the Scriptures, although conceding that "It may not be easy". Choosing a male manifestation, Kuan Yin starts off for earth to search for a truly Holy Man with an assistant.
Narrator: "If The Buddha could stay in female aspect thought The Goddess Kuan Yin, why should she not manifest herself as male for this dangerous task?"
"I'm going to eat you!"
Kuan Yin has arrived on Earth and is sailing along a river when her boat, being rowed by the attendant Hui-Yen, encounters difficulty when the oar is stuck. Kuan Yin wonders what the matter is, so Hui-Yen pokes at the water with his staff. Sandy jumps out of the water and attacks Hui-Yen. The former Commander of the Heavenly Hosts has sunk to being a cannibal. Hui-Yen manages to knock Sandy back into the water. Kuan Yin recites a sutra that speeds their boat away from Sandy, but he soon catches up and attacks again, as Kuan Yin disembarks onto dry land near a bunch of reeds.
Sandy: "Hey dinner. You look absolutely delicious."
During the fight, Sandy wonders how a scrawny little priest could possibly hold him off for so long. Kuan Yin's escort Hui-Yen reveals The Lady Compassion's identity. Sandy explains how he was thrown out of heaven to Earth by the Jade Emperor as a fish monster and was forced to become a cannibal because he had never received any education and only knew how to be an angel. He begs Kuan Yin to speak to The Buddha about getting the Jade Emperor to let him back into Heaven. Kuan Yin tells Sandy that all his troubles are over and that he is to be made a Holy disciple. Sandy is surprised when he is told that Monkey will explain everything.
Kuan Yin and Hui Yen are walking across fertile farmland when a smouldering black ball rolls down the cliff, narrowly missing their heads.
Narrator: "Having named one monster Sandy, The Bodhisattva next found another degenerate spirit. This was Pigsy."
Unaware of their identity, Pigsy also attacks Hui-Yen and Kuan Yin, using his muckrake as a javelin twice. He swings at Hui-Yen and tosses him into the air and somersaults after him. Pigsy swings again, missing and splitting a rock in half. While they clench weapons, Kuan Yin prays and materializes a shower of lotus blossoms in the middle of the battle. Pigsy is undeterred and taunts Hui-Yen. Hui-Yen reveals that they were made by the Lady Compassion who can save you, "... from all the 8 kinds of disaster". Pigsy is unimpressed because he sees a man, but throws himself to his knees, addressing Kuan Yin as "my lord or lady" and begs to be told what to do to return to Heaven.
Pigsy: "I did nothing much, only kissed the Star Spirit Vega. Now in this incarnation, I am forced to lust after women."
Hui-Yen: "No one can force you to do that. Perhaps it is rather fortunate the goddess is in her female aspect."
After arguing about the dignity of pigs, Kuan Yin tells him that a Holy Youth shall find him and save him. He must obey all his instructions and join him on a holy journey. Pigsy is taken aback when he too is told that Monkey will explain everything.
Narrator: "Not condemning the passions of Pigsy, Kuan Yin then levitated to an obscure part of heaven, where she saw a captive dragon."
There is a steel silver dragon who sitting atop a cloud, chained up, and crying incessantly like a hose. Here, the Old Dragon King of the Western Ocean has chained up one of his male children. The Dragon child is crying and its tears are drowning mortals on Earth. It tells Kuan Yin "You'd cry if your father was going to execute you." The Old Dragon King has sentenced the child to death after it accidentally set fire to his Palace under the sea. Kuan Yin tells the dragon to stop drowning people on earth and releases the Dragon from its chains and it falls to earth, in a river between two steep mountain cliffs on either side. Kuan Yin tells the Dragon that it will help a young priest called Tripitaka and that Monkey will explain everything.
Hui-Yen sees a bright light shining from earth through to Heaven and asks Kuan Yin what it is. Kuan Yin reveals that it is the bright reflection of the Buddha Seal, and she uses it to guide them to Monkey's mountain. Monkey is very excited and beckons the pair towards him. He begs Kuan Yin to release him, but she won't, but assures that he will be released "any day now".
Monkey: "Your great statues have more feelings, and they call her Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. You know what you are? You're nothing but a two-faced two-sexed turtle."
Hui-Yen angrily strikes Monkey but falls over on hitting his stone head. Kuan Yin says that the "only certainty is change" and that Monkey will be "free in the end." Monkey retorts that mountains decay in the end and that he is invincible form eating the heavenly peaches. Kuan Yin says that The Lord Buddha has work for Monkey and it is predestined that a Holy Youth will come and free him. Only Buddha knows the predestined Holy Youth's real name and location. Kuan Yin has yet to find him, as Monkey volunteers to roam free and find the youth himself.
We see a grand 3 storey villa overlooking a cliff (This same building is using to depict the Lotus Caves inhabited by Golden and Silver Horn in "Monkey Swallows the Universe"). It is a temple, where a young priest, is telling his abbot that he must leave the monastery to find out his origins. The abbot regrets that he won't be the next abbot and thanks him for being his student before he journeys off. Many years ago a baby was found abandoned and hidden by a river next to a Monastery. The old Abbott adopted him, never mentioning a letter found with him until now. The adopted baby was Tripitaka and the contents of the letter cause him to leave the Monastery and seek answers about his origins.
The priest turns up at a nobleman's house. The servant has told the lady of the house, that the person has asked for her by name, and perhaps wants charity. The lady asks the priest how he knew her name and he tells about how her abbot found her. She takes the priest into the house and looks at the letter. The lady turns out to be the author of the letter and is the priest's mother. He discovers that his real name is Hsuan Tsang and that his mother was forced to abandon him as a baby because she feared for his life. An evil man call Lu has killed his father and took over his governorship, claiming to be the authentic Lord Lu. She feared that he would kill her if she ran to the imperial court to expose him. Tripitaka's mother gives him two pieces of her jewellery as proof of identity and tells him to contact his maternal grandfather and the Emperor immediately to tell them about Lord Lu. At the moment that the priest leaves, the false Lord Lu comes in and deduces that Lady Lu has been talking to someone, and punches her twice in the face.
Narrator: "It wasn't easy, but at last the youth reached his grandfather. And his grandfather appeared to the emperor of China."
The grandfather has an audience in front of the Emperor, with Hsuan Tsang by his side. He presents the jewellery to prove that Hsuan Tsang is his grandson, and that the Lord Lu is an impostor. Tripitaka's story shocks the Emperor so much ("we have seen nothing more terrible") that he sends the Imperial 17th Army to exterminate the evil Lu and his men. The Imperial 17th army confronts Lord Lu's army on their turf with all their battle finery. Lord Lu attempts to repel the superior and more numerous Imperial cavalry with fiery arrows, but it is to no avail. At the end of the battle Lu and his army are captured. They are strung up on wooden crosses in the Imperial courtyard, before the Emperor and an execution squad armed with lances. The Emperor motions for the executions to begin and Tripitaka runs from his mother's side to beg the Emperor to stop Lu's execution, but to no avail.
Hsuan Tsang: "The false Lord Lu is not good. But he's someone's son."
Emperor: "You will not soften our hearts towards people such as these. The followers will be caught. The leaders executed."
The drum roll starts and the execution squad lunges at the prisoners, stabbing them to death in the chest. As the bodies are taken from the scene, and people are looting the clothes and jewellery of the dead men, Hsuan Tsang stands over them and laments, "Too many lives to save my mother. It's not right. Buddha, save Lu," and then closes his eyes and begins to pray. Kuan Yin and Hui-Yen walk up the aisle and notice Hsuan Tsang. Kuan Yin calls him a "Holy Fool" and after Hui-Yen agrees that they have found the correct priest, Kuan Yin appears to him as an apparition. Tripitaka falls to his feet and bows to the Bodhisattva.
Kuan Yin tells Hsuan Tsang that he is now to be known as Tripitaka, and that he is trying to save the souls of the dead with the wrong scriptures, as the Lesser Vehicle scriptures are not enough. The Greater Vehicle scriptures are needed to save the dead and Buddha has chosen him to go on a holy journey to fetch them. Kuan Yin gives him gifts from Buddha that will help him on his journey. Tripitaka appears in front of the Emperor, again to ask permission to undertake the pilgrimage. After some initial reluctance due to the dangers of the perilous journey, Tripitaka sets off on his 105,000 League journey with the Emperor's blessing.
Narrator: "Do what you have to do, said the Buddha, with all your heart. The traveller who drags his feet only raises dust."
We see a montage of a map of China showing the route of the pilgrimage and Tripitaka and two lay assistants making their way across China. Only weeks into his journey both Tripitaka's mortal assistants succumb to the many dangers. In the montage we see that one of them is killed by a tiger and another appears to have drowned. "Undaunted, the holy fool continued alone." After plodding solo on a brown horse for a while, Tripitaka encounters a strange man under a mountain, Monkey.
Monkey gains the attention of Tripitaka with a call of "Oi, over here." Monkey realizes that it is Tripitaka and tells him that he has the power to free him. Tripitaka asks Monkey if he is an immortal and he replies, "Well, you know, a bit." Tripitaka is apprehensive because he doesn't have a hammer or crowbar, but Monkey directs him to the seal of The Buddha. Tripitaka is uncertain about removing it, so he just touches it and prays; the magic seal ascends to the heavens. Monkey tells Tripitaka to stay far away and he causes a few massive explosions to free himself from the mountain. Monkey knows that this is Tripitaka and immediately sets off with him, telling him not to bother introducing himself, "We're only going to India - pow!"
They have only gone a short while when there is a whistle, and a group of robbers confront Monkey and Tripitaka. Referring to them as monkey face and priest, the leader declares that they will die. When Tripitaka refers to them as "sir" and tells them that they are on holy pilgrimage from the Emperor of China, Monkey says that Tripitaka shouldn't "waste sirs on this lot, they're robbers." Monkey enlarges his wishing staff out of his ear and brags that he has been waiting 500 years for a good fight and chases them into the bush, to Tripitaka's anxiety. He makes multiple copies of himself quickly kills all of them, proudly returning to Tripitaka with a few accessories from the spoils of the fight. Tripitaka enquires about the fight and is horrified when Monkey declares that he "killed the lot" and that it "felt good to fight again". Tripitaka reprimands Monkey for his unauthorized killings and insists that he must obey his commands; and that he is on a holy mission from The Buddha and cannot kill anything. Monkey isn't willing to be lectured by a mortal, saying that Buddha is not his friend and is a spoilsport and calls his cloud to escape, saying "I'm certainly not going to get caught again, so you run along. I'm not your nurse. See you around!" Tripitaka remembers that Kuan Yin specifically told him that he would need to catch Monkey so The Holy Fool is forced to frisbee the headband onto Monkey's head, and reads the Headache sutra so that Monkey falls off his cloud and comes back to Tripitaka. Tripitaka reveals that The Buddha gave it to him via Kuan Yin and explains how it works. Monkey protests about Tripitaka's commands a few times and is given a headache every time until he starts to follow along.
Narrator: " It's better to travel alone than with a fool. But what may two fools do. Dwelling on your brother's faults, said The Buddha, only multiplies your own and you are far from The Way."
We see Sandy standing chest high in the river, staring at a recently caught fish, musing "Where are they, by now they should be here." We see Pigsy eating a roast chicken, and then he smells women's underwear hanging on the clothes line. He vows that this is not enough.
Narrator: "They were coming though, slowly, through danger and obstacle."
The pilgrims are navigating through a river valley with sheer cliffs on either side of the river. Monkey looks down into the river and says that he can't find a way across and complains that Tripitaka won't cloud fly. Tripitaka is unworried and says that they will go around, when the skies blacken and thunder and lightning suddenly strike. A giant fountain rises out of the river Yu-Lung the dragon emerges from it and snatches Tripitaka's horse. Tripitaka is distraught about walking to India, but Monkey says he'll have to swim in to get it, but Tripitaka is worried that he will be hurt for nothing if the horse has already been eaten. Monkey chases Yu-Lung underwater and is slapped in the back twice with the dragon's tail before the dragon emerges. Monkey evades a third slap and the tail ends up hitting the dragon's head when Monkey points his staff at Yu-Lung and threatens him with losing his eyes. Yu-Lung says that he's already eaten the horse and Monkey becomes angry, telling him that Tripitaka can't get to India without the horse. Yu-Lung tells Monkey that Kuan Yin told him to carry Tripitaka, and he blows Monkey back up to the cliff ledge with the fountain and transforms himself into Tripitaka's new horse, coloured white. Monkey and Tripitaka are wondering what happened when the horse pipes up.
Yu-Lung (horse form): "Good day Tripitaka sir. Kuan Yin asked me to carry you. If you'd like to mount up, Sir."
Tripitaka: "It can talk."
Yu-Lung: "I can but I'm shy. I don't do it very often."
Monkey: "I should hope not hay bag. Beats walking, huh?"
Narrator: "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity - so the dragon had no more cause for self-congratulation, replacing a horse it had eaten."
The pilgrims continue their trek across the forest. Tripitaka spots a temple with a large stupa in the valley. As night falls the small group reaches the out-of-the-way temple. Tripitaka decides that they will spend the night there and thanks the oddly jocular abbot for receiving him, who is glad to have the honour to do so. While they acquaint themselves over a cup of tea, the abbot has seen the boxes that they carry. He asks if they are necessary treasures from the Emperor, Jade or even Holy Relics. Tripitaka knows that the best of men can be tempted by beauty sometimes, so he claims to be carrying nothing of importance, as it is the inner spirit which is important. Monkey is more forthcoming, and says "He's guessed it. Where's the harm, he's one of your lot. Let him have a look." He shows the abbot the brilliant shining purple robe from Buddha and says "feast your eyes". The abbot becomes abnormally excited and uncontrollably blinks his eyes, brushing off Tripitaka's alarm by saying that his old eyes are having trouble seeing the robe in the candlelight. The abbot asks if he can borrow it for the night and Tripitaka agrees.
As they finish eating and bed down for the night, Tripitaka is still worried about the robe, while Monkey is munching nonchalantly on a bun. Neighing from Yu-Lung makes Monkey suspicious and he tries to open all the doors and windows to investigate but they have been locked in! He transforms into a white rat (an improvement according to Tripitaka) and ventures outside and sees the Lord Abbott directing his men to light and stoke fires on the bushes around Tripitaka's sleeping quarters. He wants to burn Monkey and Tripitaka alive so he can keep the robe for himself, saying that it is so beautiful, while the rat can't see what's so important about it.
Monkey immediately returns to Tripitaka (who is starting to panic and choke as the flames and smoke creeps through the screen) and transforms to his normal form. Tripitaka keeps on grabbing Monkey ("We'll burn alive") while he tells him to sit down ("Not before we get the scriptures. What's the point of having a magic assistant if I can't get you out alive?"). Monkey gathers the luggage and takes his hand ("You've got nice hands", says Monkey jokingly), he knocks a hole in the roof and they both fly out of the burning building and land safely away from the flames.
The Buddha robe must be retrieved. Tripitaka wants to go and ask the abbot for it, but Monkey tells him that he should go back to the temple to get it.
Narrator: "The trouble with the illusion of magic is that mere belief in it only causes more demons."
The abbot is celebrating his new clothing and thinks that a holy garment will bring longevity and perhaps immortality. A black cloud begins to materialize and a big, burly, all-black demon, called the Night Demon appears. He wants the robe. The abbot stands terrified, unable to move as the Night Demon strikes him on the back and he slumps on the table. The Night Demon looks at the robe admiringly. Monkey comes in and shouts "Light fingers. It doesn't belong to you. I'm coming to get you." Calling a cloud, Monkey chases the demon back to his cave (the demon is flying on his black cloud). Monkey gets burnt on the way by a shower of fireballs projected at him by the Night Demon. Monkey demands that the Night Demon gives him back the robe. "Fight me for it!" says the demon. Monkey replies "You bet I will" and attacks, but the Night Demon just stands there and contemptuously grabs him and throws him away each time he attempts to hit him. Monkey loses his balance from swinging too hard a few times, splitting a few trees and a boulder in the process. The Night Demon runs and closes the entrance to his cave (to shouts of coward, sissy and poofter from Monkey!).
Monkey punches and hurts himself against the wall but can find no way in, until he falls at the feet of a small boy who arrives carrying a pill for the demon from the Wizard Chang. He introduces himself as " I'm nobody sir," and says that this pill makes the demon 1000 times stronger and treats indigestion (explaining why he was able to fend off Monkey). Monkey says "Ah, he wants to fight Monkey does he?" and swallows the pill and transforms himself into a copy of the pill which the boy then delivers to the Night Demon, who first checks that no monkey is hanging around. The Night Demon takes the pill-form Monkey and gets a very nasty case of indigestion. A tiny Monkey is attacking the demon from within with his wishing staff as the Night Demon rolls back into his cave in front of the flabbergasted boy. The Night Demon can take the pain no more and coughs up Monkey. He tells Monkey that he has had enough; he returns the robe to Monkey.
Monkey, Tripitaka and Yu-Lung continue on their journey.
Narrator: "Monkey was trapped by desire and released by a boy priest. An abbot died for greed. The Buddha taught, "Whatever you do, you do to yourself. We want so much when we need so little. But the illumined man wants for nothing."