The unsettling contrariness of Daoism noted at the end of the previous chapter is nicely illustrated by the great sixteenth-century Chinese novel Journey to the West (the Xiyou ji). It tells the story of a motley group of pilgrims, including a mischievous ‘Monkey King’ Sun Wukong, who undertake a long and arduous journey to India in search of Mahayana scriptures. The novel recounts many years of adventure and vicissitude, of ludicrous mishaps, and of wisdom and folly, but when finally the pilgrims reach their destination they discover that the scriptures that they have so painfully struggled to acquire are completely blank. The story, which is loosely based on the epic pilgrimage of the seventh-century Buddhist monk Xuan Zang, has usually been interpreted as a serious spiritual allegory of Buddhist enlightenment, the blank scriptures being a metaphor for Buddhist ‘emptiness’. On the other hand, it has sometimes been construed as a book of profound nonsense in which the Monkey King, a trickster figure, leads the pilgrims on a crazy journey only to find that the effort has been entirely wasted. On this view, the blank scriptures epitomise the absurdity of the quest and warn us to return home and, as Jung advises, ‘build on our own ground with our own methods’ (Waley 1977: 5; Jung 1995: 203).1