The Journey to the West Questions and Answers
by Wu Chengen

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What is Zhu Bajie's new title for his efforts in Xuanzang?

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Zhu Bajie's new title is Altar Cleanser.

He is given this title by the Tathagata. Accordingly, Zhu Bajie once served as Marshal Tien Peng, a water god in the River of Heaven. He was an illustrious warrior. However, his reign as a river god ended after he flirted with an immortal maiden at the Heavenly Peach Banquet.

Because of his indiscreet behavior, Zhu Bajie was sentenced to be reborn as a beast. Then, after his conversion to Buddhism, he zealously guarded Xuanzang as the holy monk made his journey west. Upon hearing that he has been given the title of Altar Cleanser, Zhu Bajie becomes visibly upset. He questions why he has been given such scant honors when the holy monk and Sun Wukong have both been made Buddhas.

The Tathagata responds by reminding Zhu Bajie that he is still lazy and has a voracious appetite. As a result, Zhu Bajie has not purified his soul enough to ascend to greater honors. The Tathagata contends that Zhu Bajie should be happy with his new position, since it will accord him plenty to eat.

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