The Journey to the West: Chinese Views of History

The Journey to the West is probably the best-known Chinese novel to the people outside of the Confucian cultural sphere. With its fabulous magical battles starring the lovable short-tempered Wu Kong (Monkey King), The Journey to the West has an immediate appeal that transcends cultural differences. The Journey to the West has entertained many generations in different adaptations and formats, both inside and outside of China, including the anime series titled Dragon Ball Z, which has been popular on American TV.


The Journey to the West has its roots in the legends that had sprung up around the Tang Dynasty era Buddhist monk Xuan Zang (or Hsüan-tsang, 596–664) who traveled to India in search of Buddhist scriptures. Buddhism in China had a very active period during the Tang Dynasty era, where about hundred Chinese monks traveled to India to deepen their learning. The Journey to the West, which was anonymously written and first published in 1592, fuses all these monks into one legendary figure of Xuan Zang. The novel seems to have developed through Buddhist priests’ story telling to spread the teaching. Apart from the bare bone fact that Xuan Zang went to India to bring back the Buddhist scripts, the novel is pure fiction and uses the stories of fantasy daemon battles to propagandize Mahayana Buddhism.  


Even though the novel’s aim is to preach Mahayana Buddhism’s efficacy, the real star of the story is not Xuan Zang but his disciple Wu Kong. Wu Kong’s centrality in the story is apparent in that The Journey to the West devotes the first seven chapters (out of the total 100 chapters) to the early days of Wu Kong.


Wu Kong was a unique magical creature who was born from a rare stone egg that had soaked the power of celestial bodies for thousands of years. Born in the monkey-like shape, he quickly organized the local monkey population to become their king. After a few hundred years of kingship, Wu Kong became melancholy, thinking of his own mortality and impermanence of his kingdom and of the world. He decided to seek Daoist wisdom to become an immortal and traveled many years to find his ideal master. He finally reached the residence of Subodhi, became his student, and mastered a great deal of Daoist lore and magic. (The identity of this Subodhi is not clear, but he seems to be named after one of Lord Buddha’s ten best disciples, Xu Bodhi. The Journey to the West treats Buddhist and Daoist deities as pretty much the same, but, as a Buddhism propaganda edutainment novel, ascribes more power to Buddhist deities, with Lord Buddha being the mightiest.) Wu Kong, however, was not the one who could live the quiet and secluded life of a Daoist hermit. He caused rancor by showing off his newly acquired magical skills to fellow students, and Subodhi expelled Wu Kong and forbid him to call himself a Subodhi’s disciple.(Chapter 1-2)


Wu Kong returned to his kingdom to find that, in his absence, a demon had taken it over. Wu Kong effortlessly beat the demon, took back his kingdom, and decided to arm his monkey subjects in anticipation of more demon attacks. Wu Kong could fly on a cloud and change his fur hair into his doubles. By using these skills, Wu Kong stole enough weapons to arm his subjects. He could not, however, find a satisfactory weapon for himself. Following the recommendation of a wise old monkey, Wu Kong went to the underwater palace of Dragon King of the Eastern Sea to ask for a weapon. Knowing that Wu Kong had easily defeated the mighty demon, Dragon King did not dare say no to his demand and offered several weapons. Wu Kong complained they were all too light in weight. Dragon Queen, then, suggested that Dragon King let Wu Kong try the ancient metal weight which no one could lift. The metal pole turned out to be a magical weapon that changed size and weight according to Wu Kong’s command. Happy with his new weapon, Wu Kong further demanded Dragon King supply a suitable set of armor. Dragon King had no suitable set so had to summon his three brothers who each supplied a piece. Armed with the magical weapon and suited in fabulous armor, Wu Kong left happily. Dragon Kings, feeling robbed, filed a complained to the Celestial Court. (This novel envisions the world of gods run pretty much in the same way as the Chinese imperial system.)


One night, in his sleep, Wu Kong was arrested and escorted to Yama’s court in the underworld of the dead. When he realized what was happening (that he was dying), Wu Kong demanded to see his life dossier. The dossier said that his life span was 342 years. Wu Kong erased the entry, thus making himself immortal, and escaped the underworld. Yama also filed a complaint to the Celestial Court. (Chapter 2-3) 


Receiving the complaints, Emperor of Heaven wondered what to do with Wu Kong. His advisor recommended that he would offer Wu Kong a job at the Celestial Court to see if Wu Kong could be subordinated into their bureaucratic system. Emperor of Heaven summoned Wu Kong and put him in charge of celestial horses. Wu Kong worked hard until he learned that taking care of horses was a very low-ranking job. Feeling insulted, Wu Kong abandoned his post and returned to his kingdom.(Chapter 4)


Emperor of Heaven sent several generals to punish Wu Kong, but Wu Kong handily beat them. In the end, Emperor of Heaven summoned Wu Kong back and promoted him so as to keep him under control. After a while, there were complains about Wu Kong's having job titles while doing no real work—Daoist deities tend to be very meddling and controlling, as we will see in Creation of Lesser Gods—, Emperor of Heaven appointed Wu Kong as the caretaker of the orchard of longevity peaches. Longevity peaches ripened only once every three thousand years and were to be consumed only by select Daoist and Buddhist deities. Wu Kong was in no mood to respect such convention. When the peaches started to ripen and the Daoist deities started to prepare for the peach feast, Wu Kong  ate most of the peaches. He also sneaked in the feast hall and drank the specially brewed immortality wine. In addition, he found and ate precious immortality pills that had been prepared for the divine guests.(Chapter 4-5)


When the report of Wu Kong’s outrageous behavior reached Emperor of Heaven, he sent the mightiest of Daoist generals to defeat Wu Kong. With Buddhist deities also lending hands, they managed to capture drunken Wu Kong. But even the supreme leader of Daoists, Dashang Laojun (Laozi), could not destroy Wu Kong because he was fortified by all the longevity peaches, immortality wine, and immortality pills he had consumed. The deities had to beg Lord Buddha for help. Lord Buddha playfully challenged rebellious Wu Kong to fly out of his palm. Wu Kong hopped on his flying cloud and flew for a long time, and saw five pillar-like mountains. He signed his name on one of the pillars, peed at the bottom,  and flue back to Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha laughed at Wu Kong for not being able to fly out of his palm and showed Wu Kong’s signature on his finger. When shocked Wu Kong tried to fly away again, Lord Buddha changed his hand into a mountain and trapped Wu Kong under it. Thus relieved of pesky Wu Kong, grateful Daoist deities held a feast in honor of Lord Buddha. Wu Kong was to stay trapped under the mountain until his sins could be atoned.(Chapter 5-7)


Back in his home of the West (India), Lord Buddha pondered how to spread his teachings to China where people lacked the knowledge of Mahayana Buddhism. He decided a Chinese pilgrim should travel to India to receive the holy scriptures. Bodhisattva Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy, volunteered to travel to China to look for the pilgrim candidate. Crossing the Central Asian desert—which the Chinese traditionally regarded with suspicion, because it was their Wild West, the land of the people whose languages and social customs differed from the Han-Chinese ones—, Guanyin encountered a demon with a pig face. The demon used to be a general at the Celestial Court, but had been expelled for harassing a Moon Fairy, and became a man-eating demon. Mistaking Guanyin and her assistant Hui An for humans, the pig-headed demon attacked them. Guanyin persuaded him to become a Buddhist and wait for the pilgrim to India, so that he could atone his sins by accompanying the pilgrimage. Guanyin gave him the Buddhist name of Zhu Wuneng (He is better known by his nickname of Sha Wujing or Pig of Eight Prohibitions.)

Next, Guanyin met a water daemon who had also been a general of the Celestial Court but expelled for breaking a precious glass pot.  Upon learning her identity, the demon begged to be allowed to become a Buddhist to atone his sins. Guanyin accepted him into Buddhism and gave him the Buddhist name of Zhu Bajie. When she saw a dragon tied up and hang in the air to be executed, Guanyin went to the Celestial Court and asked the dragon be released to her, so that she could change the dragon into a horse suitable to carry the pilgrim to India. Her wish was duly granted. Guanyin also passed by Wu Kong’s prison, and told him that he could be released if he promised to become the pilgrim’s disciple and assist his pilgrimage. (Chapters 8-11)   


When Guanyin arrived in China, Emperor Tai Zong was in the middle of opening a new major Buddhist temple. The emperor had recently returned from the Yama’s court (i.e., death).  The emperor had bought his way back to life by borrowing from the treasure accumulated by an elderly pious Buddhist couple. Since the couple refused the emperor’s effort to repay his debt by this world’s treasure, the emperor decided to dedicate a temple to the couple’s virtue instead. A high-ranking Confucian court official protested the emperor’s decision, saying that Buddhism was a foreign religion and would be used as a means of Indian invasion of China. A Buddhist high priest countered that the three teachings (Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism) were equally sacred and should not be suppressed or persecuted. The emperor agreed with the priest.(Chapter 12)


Emperor Tai Zong wished to find a most holy priest to read the scriptures to open his new temple. Xuan Zang, who was the reincarnation of Lord Buddha’s second student, Lord Golden Cicada, came highly recommended.


  Xuan Zang has a complicated life story.  His father Chen Guanrui passed the civil service examination as the first place winner, and was appointed a governor of Jiangzhou.  Prime Minister's daughter Wenjiao was looking for a husband found Chen Guanrui the ideal candidate.  They wed and traveled to Jiangzhou, together with his mother.  The mother got ill and had to be left behind at an inn while she was recouping. At the Jiang River crossing, a ferry pilot took fancy to beautiful Wenjiao,  killed Chen Guanrui, assumed his name, and installed himself as the governor. Already pregnant with Xuan Zang, Wenjiao chose to live to give birth to the baby.  At his birth, God of South Pole told Wenjiao that the baby was destined to a great fame, and she should live to see her husband again.  The imposter governor Liu tried to kill the new-born Xuan Zang.  Wenjiao wrote their life story on a cloth with blood, tied the baby and cloth to a piece of plunk, and floated down the river.  The baby was discovered by the abbot of the Jinshan Temple, and reared as a Buddhist monk. 

  When 18, Xuan Zang asked the abbot about his identity.  The abbot showed him the cloth on which his mother wrote with her blood.  Xuan Zang went to see Wenjiao.  On her bidding, he went looking for his paternal grandmother who had been left behind at an inn 18 years ago.  Xuan Zang found her as a blind beggar.  Xuan Zang healed her blindness by praying to Buddha and licking her eyes.  He, then, went to his maternal grandfather, Prime Minister, and told what had happened.  Prime Minister told the emperor, who sent a 60,000 strong army to punish the imposter.  The imposter Liu was executed.  Chen Guanrui's body floated up to the surface of the Jiang River.  Chen Guanrui had once bought a golden carp, and released in a river. This carp was God of the Underworld Yama in disguise.  Yama repaid Chen Guanru's merciful deed by sending him back to life. Chen Guanrui became the governor of Jiangzhou.  Xuan Zang returned to the Jinshan Temple to study further.  Wenjiao, glad to have been reunited with her husband and son but ashamed of herself for the years she had lived as the imposter Liu's wife, later took her own life. (Chapter 8)  


While Xuan Zang was reading the scriptures, Guanyin appeared, disguised as a wandering beggar monk, and called out, “Master, you are reading only Himayana scriptures. Could you not read Mahayana scriptures?” Xuan Zang jumped down from his seat and bowed to Guanyin and replied, “Master, please forgive me for not greeting you earlier. All our priests know is Himayana and have no knowledge of  Mahayana.” (If a Mahayana Buddhist priest actually addresses a Theravada priest in such a condescending way, the reply won’t be so differential.) Guanyin said, “Himayana you teach cannot save the dead from the Hell. The best you can do with it is educating the public through your virtue. I have the Mahayana scriptures which can save the dead from the Hell, lead the anguished out of their suffering into the state of bliss, and let them transcend the life and death.”


A watchman alerted the emperor of the intruders.  Guanyin and Hui An were arrested and brought in front of the emperor. Guayin explained that she knew Mahayana which could save the dead from the Hell, lead the anguished out of suffering into the state of bliss, and let people live forever. The emperor asked her where he could find the Mahayana scriptures. Guanyin replied they were in India with Lord Buddha. When the emperor asked her to recite the scriptures from memory, she revealed her true form and flew away on a cloud, accompanied by Hui An. Enthralled by this divine manifestation, the emperor decided that someone had to go to India to obtain the Mahayana scriptures. Xuan Zang volunteered and departed the same day. (Chapter 12)   


On his way to the West, Xuan Zang passed by Wu Kong’s prison, and released him. Even though he had sworn to become Xuan Zang’s disciple, Wu Kong’s pride and temper made him a difficult student to manage. So Gunyin, disguised as an old peasant woman, gave Xuan Zang a magic metal head band hidden in a stylish cap. The band would shrink and stretch according to incantations. Wu Kong was happy to wear the stylish cap. When Xuan Zang shrunk the band by incantation, the pain caused the band was so great that Wu Kong tore away the cap but the band remained on his head. (Wu Kong is always depicted in pictures wearing a golden ring around his head.) As Wu Kong could not remove the band on his own, and since Xuan Zang promised he would remove the band once he reached India, Wu Kong had no choice but to obey Xuan Zang. (Chapter 14)


When the dragon that Guannyin had earlier saved ate Xuan Zang’s horse, Guanyin made the dragon take the shape of horse to carry Xuan Zang. (Chapter 15) Xuan Xhang and Wu Kong met Pig of Eight Prohibitions (Chapters 18-19) and Water Demon Zhu Bajie (Chapter 22) who became Xuan Zang’s disciples and bodyguards. As Xuan Zang and his disciples were doing the pilgrimage to atone their sins, their progress was not to be easy. Xuan Zang needed to go through eighty one sufferings to atone his sins. (Xuan Zang’s sins were not having been attentive enough to Buddha’s teaching in his former life.) Xuan Zhang, therefore, repeatedly encountered greedy priests who tried to steal his fabulous robe (a gift from Lord Buddha himself) and evil demons that wished to capture and eat him, for his flesh was believed to give demons huge power boost and extreme longevity.


Wu Kong and his fellow disciples spent fourteen years on the road, fighting many battles against ferocious demons, using a variety of magic weapons and spells, with occasional help from Guanyin when things got too tough. Though these battles make great visual presentations, we skip the details since they do not translate well in words. Here it is enough to say that through the arduous pilgrimage, Xuan Zang and his disciples gradually cultivated their inner virtue. Arriving in India, they attained the rank of Buddhist deities and Wu Kong was released form the headband. Having earned Mahayana Buddhism's magical power, Xuan Zang flew back to China on a cloud to spread the Mahayana teaching. The story ends with a Buddhist chant, extolling the virtue of Mahayana.  


The Journey to the West tries to persuade that Lord Buddha is mightier than Laozi, but that Buddhist deities and Daoist deities can peacefully co-exist as friends.  This seems to indicate some discomfort Buddhists felt in the face of overwhelming prevalence of indigenous Daoism.  

The Journey to the West also introduces popular Daoist cosmology. In its opening, this novel cites a poem that describes how the world started.

Before Chaos parted, Heaven and Earth were mingled,

Formless and timeless, something no one had seen.

But when Pangu broke the haze,

The Creation began, the impure and the pure parted.

The supreme goodness ruled universally,

Created all things being capable of enlightenment. (Chapter 1)

This poem is attributed to an obscure text, The Chronicle of Deliverance in the Westward Journey, whose existence has never been proven. 

Journey to the West continues to explain what implied in this poem in more details:

The single period of Heaven and Earth is consisted of 129,600 years. The period is divided into twelve epochs; Mouse, Bull, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, and Boar, with each epoch consisting of 10,800 years. At the end of the Dog epoch, Heaven and Earth were obscure and all things were indistinct. The beginning of Boar was darkness, and called Chaos. At the end of Boar period, the creative force began to work. In the middle of Mouse epoch the power of yang stirred, and the pure and light floated upwards and became the Four Phenomena of the sun, the moon, stars and celestial bodies. (Note:There are different interpretations of Four Phenomena and this list is not definitive.)


With the approach of Bull epoch, Earth became solidified. In the middle of the Bull epoch, the Five Elements of water, fire, mountain, stone, and earth formed. (Note: This list differs from the standard list of Five Elements which counts metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.) At the beginning of the Tiger epoch, the powers of Yin and Yang started to create. During the tiger epoch, humans, beasts, and fowls came into being. This established the state where the three forces of Heaven, Earth, and man coexist. (Chapter 1)


This world period system is that of philosopher Shao Yong (1011–1077) who lived during the Song Dynasty era (979–1279). The Song Dynasty era was the time of cultural renaissance where neo-Confucian scholars rejuvenated Confucianism by incorporating ideas from Daoism and Buddhism so as to make Confucianism equipped with cosmological and metaphysical system. The most famous and influential of neo-Confucians is Zhu Xi (or Chu Hsi 朱子,1130–1200). Because his writings became the standard textbook for studying for civil service examinations, he can be considered as the father of Modern Confucianism. Zhu Xi’s famous doctrine is ko-wu-chih-chih (格物到知), by which he meant that, since every and any seemingly trivial thing in this world in some ways reflect the dao, by observing things and happening at hand carefully and thinking about them, people could slowly cultivate the understanding of the dao. Zhu Xi, who was a great synthesizer of philosophical ideas, incorporated Shao Yong’s cosmology into his own system.  


Shao Yong lived a very unorthodox life for a Confucian intellectual. He refused to follow the expected path of taking civil service examinations to become an official, and instead lived like a Daoist hermit in poverty and seclusion. He is singular in his zealous pursuit of cosmological numerology to decipher the cycles of universe. His numerological system is developed from the hexagram system of Yi Jing (or I Ching, translated as Book of Changes, compiled around 700 BCE), which is one of the classics of Confucianism. Yi Jing is a book of divination that uses a binary system based on the concept of the interactions of yin and yang. Yi Jing weaves its binary system into an octagonal divination table. Shao Yong reworked this system into a far more elaborate one. So much so that German polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz (1646–1716) who learned of Shao Yong’s work through Jesuit missionaries expressed his amazement at the mathematical complicity of his system. Though astrological numerology for which Shao Yong devoted his talent is now a discarded science, Shao Yong’s mathematical method is considered as a precursor to the modern computer’s binary system and still attracts scholars’ attention today.


In order to calculate the cycles of the universe, Shao Yong used combination of binary progression of numbers that were traditionally used for time measurement in China (such as 4 for four seasons, 10 for ten earthly elements, 12 for twelve celestial elements, and 30 for the span of one human generation) to decide that the universe would go through cosmic cycles counted by Yuan, or 129,600 years. One Yuan consists of 12 epochs or Hui (10,800 years each), one Hui, of 30 Yun (360 years each), and one Yun, of 12 Shi (30 years each) respectively. Shao Yong believed the world came to be in the first two Hui, and at the sixth Hui, i.e., at the zenith of life cycle of the world, the ancient sage emperors of Yao and Shun ruled. According to Shao Yong, the world has been in decline ever since, disintegrating back into chaos in the last couple of Yuan.


129,600 years is far longer than 6,000  (or 7,000, depending upon counting) years that is the assigned life span of the world in the Judeo-Christian tradition. According to his system, even though the humanity has passed its prime time, the demise of humanity in the ninth Hui is still at least 20,000 years away. And 129,600 years is not the real life span of the universe, either. It is just one cycle, and Shao Yong indicated that the universe could last 129,600 raised to the power of four, or 282,110,990,745,600,000,000 years, which is just about eternity for us regular humans.

The Journey to the West continues:

Pangu constructed the universe, the ancient Three Kings taught the people how to survive, and the Five Emperors civilized the people, and the world was divided into four continents. This story is mostly about the Eastern continent. (Chapter 1)


The Journey to the West thus tells that Pangu caused the creation of the universe. What this Pangu is a difficult question to answer. The first books known to have told Pangu creation myth is by the Three Kingdoms era  author Xu Zheng (the third century). His books are since lost and known only through references in other books. The following is what he is said to have told:

In the beginning, earth and heaven were mingled. In 18,000 years from the beginning, Chaos parted, the pure which was to became heaven and the impure which was to become earth parted, and Pangu was trapped between them. Heaven floated a foot higher each day, earth grew thicker a foot each day, and Pangu grew a foot taller every day.  In 18,000 years the world became as it is now. When Pangu died, his body parts became the sun and moon, cloud, wind, mountains and rivers, earth and field, trees and grass, and metal and rocks. The worms that grew in his dead body were exposed to wind and turned into humans.

The origin of this myth is still debated. Some believe it was an indigenous myth, while others believe it was an imported myth, influenced by Indian Hindu mythology.


 There is no book in the Chinese tradition that is equivalent to the Genesis, which claimed the authority over the events of the beginning of the world. In contrast with pre-modern chronicles in the Christian tradition that customarily opened with the description of the beginning of the world based on the Genesis, Chinese chronicles omitted the tales of the beginning, and started the description of history with ancient legendary emperors. Speculations on the beginning of the world were left to the realm of folklore.

The History book Shu Jing (also known as Shangshu, compiled around 600 BCE), one of the Confucian classics, opens the description of Chinese history with legendary emperors Yao and  Shun. Shiji by Sima Qian, the most reliable source on ancient history, opens with the story of Yellow Emperor.  Shu Jing and Shiji treat the existence of the world and human beings as a given, and offer no explanation for how they came to exist. These emperors are not told as the first humans, either.  Shiji tells that Yellow Emperor replaced the previous rulers and became the emperor when he quelled the civil war to establish China as the peaceful, unified, civilized society. Yellow Emperor is considered the first emperor because he is believed to have founded the Chinese civilization itself. This view is still commonly shared and some half a million Chinese make pilgrimage to the Yellow Emperor’s tomb mound for his veneration on the annual festival day.


            Sima Qian states that the four emperors who succeeded Yellow emperor (Zhuan Xu, Qiao Ji, Yao, and Shun, who comprise Five Emperors together with Yellow Emperor) were his descendants. He also states that the every founder of the successive Chinese dynasties (Zia, Yin, Zhou, and Han) were descendants of Yellow Emperor. Thus, for Sima Qian, a true emperor had to be a descendent of Yellow Emperor and mirrored the high morality Yellow Emperor exhibited. Some other history books list different names for Five Emperors.

In the Tang dynasty era, Sima Zhen (618 - 907) added the story of Three Kings to Shiji in his commentary known as Shiji Suoyin. This addition is still included in many of currently available editions of Shiji. Three Kings are Fuxi, Nüwa, and Shennong. Fuxii is said to have had a snake body and human head, invented trigrams and letters, and established the customs concerning marriage. His sister Nüwa also had a human head and snake body, restored the balance of Heaven and earth when it tilted, and invented musical instruments. Shannnong had a human head and bull’s body, invented agriculture and medicine as well as five-stringed zither, started commerce, and developed trigrams into the divination system. As clear from the description of half human, half animal bodies, these Three Kings are purely mythical.


Some strands of legend say that Fuxi and Nüwa were husband and wife, and they created all the humans. In other strands of legends, goddess Nüwa is credited with creating humans. She made humans by mixing the yellow soil with water. She took care making each one at first, but later she got tired, and resorted to a kind of mass production by dipping a rope in the mud and letting the drippings from the rope form into humans. This strand of legend says this is why there are better and lesser humans.


In the Chinese tradition, there is no Creator God who single-handedly created the universe and its inhabitants. The world is envisioned to have come into existence mythically long time ago, and to go through changes according to the cyclic patterns of days, years, to the rise and fall of the human dynasties, and the comic cycles. In the Chinese tradition, the concept of time was hardly ever discussed, because time was generally believed to be cyclical and eternal. As cosmic cycles are so long and hardly affect the human society in the foreseeable future, there are very few Chinese intellectuals who engage themselves in such questions, with rare exceptions like Shao Yong.


The resulting general lack of the end time expectations is in strong contrast to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition that believes in the world’s teleological progress toward the End. The tradition of imminent End Time expectation has been strong, and in the recent years such expectations manifested in excitements that surrounded the arrival of the year 2000, as well as in the bestselling apocalyptic Left Behind series. End Time expectations are, though not unknown especially among Buddhists, not in the mainstream fabric of Chinese tradition.


Despite its plentiful talk of gods, demons, ghosts, and afterlife, Chinese popular culture is fundamentally this world oriented, because this human world is envisioned to last, albeit interrupted periodically by the rise and fall of political powers, just about forever. Their underworld of the dead is envisioned as the extension of this world from which sometimes one can even return to this world. Even their veneration of dead ancestors has this worldly purpose of ensuring the continuation of the house. (Such veneration is supposed to enable the dead ancestors to do their negotiations in the underworld to ensure the prosperity of the later generations.) And Confucian intellectuals push this tendency even further, paying exclusive attention to this world.



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