Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King, is a mythological figure who is known for rebelling against Heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he later accompanies the monk Xuanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India. Sun Wukong is widely regarded as the strongest divine demon in history. As one of the most enduring Chinese literary characters, Sun Wukong has a varied background and colorful cultural history. Sun Wukong's origin is from the White Monkey legends from the Chinese Chu kingdom (700–223 BC), who revered gibbons and especially white-colored ones.
Sun Wukong is born from a magic stone that sits atop the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit. The stone develops a magic womb, which bursts open one day to produce a stone egg about the size of a ball. When wind blows on the egg, it turns into a stone monkey that can already crawl and walk. One day, the monkey finds a large iron bridge over rushing water, across which is a house. He brings the other monkeys to raid the house and they make it into their home, declaring the stone monkey their king. He takes the throne and calls himself Monkey King.
Sun Wukong establishes himself as a powerful and influential demon. In search of a weapon, he travels to the oceans and acquires the Golden-banded staff Ruyi Jingu Bang, a treasure of Ao Guang, the dragon-king of the Eastern Seas. Upon Sun Wukong's approach, the staff glows to signify it has found its true master. It can change its size, multiply, and fight according to its master’s whim. It weighs 13,500 jin (8.1 tons). When not wielding the weapon, Sun Wukong shrinks it down to the size of a sewing needle and tucks it behind his ear.
In addition to taking the magical staff, Wukong defeats the dragons of the four seas in battle and forces them to give him a golden chain mail shirt, a phoenix-feather cap, and cloud-walking boots. When Death came to collect Sun's soul, he defied Yama's, the King of Hell, attempt to collect his soul by laying waste to the armies of the Underworld and even defeating some of the Kings of Hell. Instead of reincarnating, he wipes his name out of the Book of Life and Death along with the names of all monkeys known to him. The Dragon Kings and the Kings of Hell report him to the Jade Emperor.
When he was tricked by the Jade Emperor into watching over the horses, the Monkey King was infuriated by this humiliating act and rebels, proclaiming himself the Great Sage, Equal of Heaven and sets the Cloud Horses free in vengeance. Sun Wukong later single-handedly defeats the Army of Heaven's 100,000 celestial warriors, all 28 constellations, four heavenly kings, Nezha the god of protection, and proves himself equal to the best of Heaven's generals, Erlang Shen. Eventually, through the teamwork of Taoist and Buddhist forces, including the efforts from some of the greatest deities, and then finally by the Bodhisattva of mercy, Guanyin, Sun Wukong is captured.
Sun Wukong is locked into Laozi's eight-way trigram Crucible to be distilled into an elixir (so that Laozi could regain his pills of longevity) by samadhi fires. After 49 days, however, when the cauldron is opened, Sun Wukong jumps out, even stronger. He is now able to recognize evil with huǒyǎn-jīnjīng (lit. "golden-gaze fiery-eyes"), an eye condition that also gives him a weakness to smoke, and proceeds to destroy Heaven's remaining forces. It was only by the intervention of Buddha himself that Sun Wukong was finally defeated and imprisoned by the great Buddha underneath a mountain with a mystical seal for five centuries.