The Journey to the West Questions and Answers
by Wu Chengen

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Why does the old turtle dump travelers from his back halfway across the river in The Journey to The West?

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When Sanzang and his disciples are kindly carried across the River of Heaven to the West bank by the the Ancient Soft-Shelled Turtle, the Turtle asks that Sanzang ask Tathagata Buddha about his fate. Immersed in his own quest and goals to acquire the scriptures, Sanzang completely forgets to speak to Tathagata Buddha about the fate of the ancient Turtle. Years later, when the Turtle is taking the travelers back across the River of Heaven to China, he asks that Sanzang reveal what Tathagata Buddha has said about when the turtle is to be converted to a...

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