Leading the horse and poling the luggage, they darted like rodents past the Current-Moon Cave. When they reached the back door, they cried, “Master!” The elder recognized their voices and answered from the thorny bushes. Sha Monk parted the grass and picked up his master, who mounted the horse hurriedly. So,
Almost harmed by the vicious blue-faced spirit,
He met by luck the zeal of Hundred Flowers’ Shame.
The scorpaenid has from the golden hook escaped:
He wags his head and tail to swim with the waves.
Eight Rules led the way in front while Sha Monk brought up the rear. They left the pine forest and proceeded on the main road. Look at the two of them! Still bickering and grumbling, they were trying to put the blame on each other, and Tripitaka had to spend all the time attempting to pacify them. At night they sought a place to rest; when the cock crowed they looked at the sky. Stage by stage, they soon traveled some two hundred and ninety-nine miles. When they raised their heads one day, they saw a beautiful city. It was the Precious Image Kingdom, a marvelous place indeed!
How boundless the clouds!
How vast the journey!
Though the land is a thousand miles away,
Its condition is no less prosperous.
Auspicious mist and smoke surround it;
Bright moon and clear wind befriend it.
Green, towering distant mountains
Spread out like a painted scroll;
The flowing stream, surging and bubbling,
Throws up pieces of white jade.
Arable fields, joined by roadways and paths;
Worthy of food, dense sprouting rice crops;
Hooked by the fisherman, three winding brooks of a few households;
Gathered by the woodsman, one load of pepper-wood from two hills.
Each corridor and each rampart
Are made strong as if by metal and liquid;
Every house and every home
Vies with one another in felicity.
Nine-tiered towers rise like palace halls;
Layered terraces soar like beacons.
There are also the Great Ultimate Hall,
The Bright Cover Hall,
The Burn Incense Hall,
The Text-Viewing Hall,
The Policy-Proclaiming Hall,
And the Talent-Engaging Hall—
Every hall lined with jade threshold and gold steps,
With civil and military officials.
There are also the Great Light Palace,
The Bright Sun Palace,
The Long-Lasting Pleasure Palace,
The Bright Clear Palace,
The Memorial-Establishing Palace,
And the Never-Ending Palace—
Each palace, with its chimes, drums, pipes, and vertical flutes,
Releases its boudoir sorrows and springtime griefs.
There are in the forbidden courtyard
Young, fresh faces like flowers bedewed;
There are on the palace moat
Slender waists like willows dancing in the wind.
On the broad boulevard
There may be one who is capped and sashed,
Who, elaborately dressed,
Mounts a five-horse chariot.
At a secluded spot
There may be one holding bow and arrows
Who, pushing through fog and clouds,
Would pierce a pair of hawks.
Alleys of flowers and willows;
Towers of pipes and strings:
Spring breeze here’s no lighter than at Luoyang Bridge!
Our scripture-seeking elder
Recalls the Tang court and his bowels almost burst;
Our disciples, flanking their master,
Rest in a post-house and lose their souls in dreams.
There was no end to the sight of such fine scenery at the Precious Image Kingdom. Master and disciples, the three of them, brought the luggage and the horse to a post-house and rested.
Afterwards, the Tang