The Bureau of the Five-Grain Transmigration – from A Journey to the West

A Journey to the West is one of the four great Clasics of Chinese literature and was written in the sixteenth centuury by Wu Cheng’en. In the west it is better known by as “Monkey” because of the 1960’s cult television series of that name.

A scene of Journey to the West

A scene of Journey to the West (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It tells the story of the pilrimage of the buddist monk Xuangzang. In this excerpt the character Pilgrim (aka the Handsome Monkey King) is called by the derogatoryly term pi-ma-wen, by “Idiot” (aka. Piggy).

“Just now when we entered the hall,” Pilgrim said, “I chanced to notice a little door on our right. Judging from the foul stench coming through it, I think it must be a Bureau of Five-Grain Transmigration. Send them in there.”

Idiot, in truth, was rather good at crude labour! He leaped down, threw the three statues over his shoulder, and carried them out of the hall. When he kicked open the door, he found a huge privy inside. Chuckling to himself he said, “This pi-ma-wen truly has a way with words! He even bestows on a privy a sacred title! The Bureau of Five-Grain Transmigration. What a name!” Yu, A.C. 1977, The Journey to the West Volume II Pg. 315. (Translation of)

An illustration of Zhū Bājiè

It seems as though even the classics can’t let a good peice of toilety humour pass them by.

“F” is for the bureau of Five-Grain Transmigration

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5 thoughts on “The Bureau of the Five-Grain Transmigration – from A Journey to the West

  1. Pingback: A to Z Challenge – a retrospective « A Fettered Mind

    • Man! I was just handed the baton tohignt and this relay thing is supposed to end tomorrow!? I’m still going to participate, but I’m not going to have a post done by tomorrow Anyway, this post (your part about failure) speaks to me so much! I feel like you might as well have titled it, LAURA, it’s okay to fail. I’m writing this post FOR YOU, specifically for RIGHT NOW. I could explain all the reasons why but that’s a blog post in and of itself. In fact, I might do that Anyway, just thought you should know I think this is great. So much so that I will be linking to this on my blog. You can find it under Worth a Read in the bottom right. Thank you.

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