Creation of the Gods: A Somewhat Less Than Critical Commentary
The Shang Dynasty gave way to the Zhou Dynasty about 1100 B.C. The Taoist Jiang Ziya served as Military Minister for King Wu, the first Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty, gathering around him numerous Taoist disciples to aid in the overthrow of the despotic last king of the Shang Dynasty. One of these disciples was a dwarf, four feet tall with a face the color of earth, ugly and unimposing, with the surname of Sun. His origin was uncertain; Sun himself was no more specific than, “I come from some island in the sea.”
Sun studied Chan Taoism as a disciple of the Immortal Krakucchanda, who lived in Flying Cloud Cave on Dragon Squeezing Mountain. Followers of Chan Taoism were destined to break the prohibition against killing. Although Krakucchanda would later become a Buddha, Sun was destined to a far different fate. Under Krakucchanda, Sun studied the Way for about 100 years. As a Taoist disciple, Sun gained a variety of supernatural powers. First, Sun learned to travel on foot 1000 li (300 miles) per day. Sun also mastered the martial arts, specializing in wielding the iron cudgel. Later, Sun learned to travel 1000 li per day underground, magically burrowing without leaving a trace behind. For this reason, he was known among Taoists as Earth Traveler Sun.
Unfortunately for Earth Traveler Sun, Shen Gongbao, a dissatisfied Taoist acting against the will of Heaven, revealed to him, “You have no hope of becoming an immortal, but you may be able to enjoy riches and power in the world of men.” Thus, Earth Traveler Sun was corrupted and entered the political world of men. Stealing two gourds of elixir pills and the Celestial Binding Ropes from his master, Earth Traveler Sun ventured forth from Flying Cloud Cave.
With these marvelous tools, Earth Traveler Sun first battled the Zhou army, going so far as to capture the Taoist Generals Nezha and Huang Tianhua as well as the Minister Jiang Ziya himself. Earth Traveler Sun was not fond of dogs; when he saw the Sky-Barking Hound of Yang Jian, he twisted his body and disappeared into the ground, fleeing from the battle unseen. However, Earth Traveler Sun’s greatest weakness was lust; he was captured naked in bed with a general disguised as King Wu’s concubine. Earth Traveler Sun joined Jiang Ziya, marrying the woman General Deng Chanyu, in order to convince her father, General Deng Jiugong, to ally himself with the Zhou army. Earth Traveler Sun and his wife, skilled in the slinging of stones, often fought in battle together.
As a General of the Zhou army, Earth Traveler Sun distinguished himself in battles against such powerful Taoist enemies as Ma Yuan, the Winged Celestial, and Luo Xuan the Burning Flame Immortal. Alas, Earth Traveler Sun was destined to die on the battlefield. His Master, Krakucchanda, predicted:
Skilled in traveling underground,
This meant that Earth Traveler Sun was fated to lose his life at the hand of Zhang Kui, garrison commander of Mianchi County.
Earth Traveler Sun continued to distinguish himself in battle. He challenged Kong Xuan, who mistook him for three feet tall and said, “That poor dwarf is doomed to die; I can just kick him to death.” Thus distracted, Kong Xuan was struck in the face with a stone from the arm of Deng Chanyu.
Earth Traveler Sun battled Chen Qi and Qiu Yin at Green Dragon Pass. He coveted Yu Yuan’s golden-eyed five-cloud camel and tried to steal it but failed. He battled Fa Jie at Jiepai Pass. He convinced Deng Kun and Rui Ji to join the Zhou army at Lintong Pass. But against, Zhang Kui, Earth Traveler Sun was fated to die. Zhang Kui too could travel beneath the Earth. He ambushed Earth Traveler Sun at Fierce Beast Cliff and cut off his head. It hung on a pole in Mianchi County as a public warning. When Deng Chanyu sought revenge, Zhang Kui’s wife, Gao Lanying, blinded Deng Chanyu with 49 Golden Sun Needles, then sliced her head off as well.
Earth Traveler Sun was deified as the God of the Earth Mansion Star (Saturn). Deng Chanyu was deified as the Goddess of the Six Combinations Star.