The Naming of the Monkey King
Sun Wukong, which means 'Monkey Awakened to Emptiness'
The Patriarch smiled and said, "Though you have rather a base sort of body, you look like one of the rhesus monkeys that eat pine seeds, and I ought to give you a surname that fits your appearance and call you Hu ('Macaque'). The elements that make up the character Hu are 'animal,' 'old' and 'moon'. What is old is ancient, and the moon embodies the Negative principle, and what is ancient and Negative cannot be transformed. But I think I would do much better to call you Sun ('Monkey'). Apart from the 'animal' element, the character Sun has one part implying male and one part suggesting a baby, which fits in with my basic theories about children. Your surname will be Sun."
When the Monkey King heard this he kowtowed with delight and said, "Great! Great! Now I have a surname. I am eternally grateful to you for your mercy and compassion, master. I beg you to give me a personal name to go with my new surname, then it will be much easier to address me."
"There are twelve words within my sect," said the Patriarch, "which I give as names. You belong to the tenth generation of my disciples."
"What are these twelve words?" asked the Monkey King.
"Broad, great, wisdom, intelligence, true, likeness, nature, sea, bright, awakened, complete and enlightenment. If we work out the generations of disciples, then you should have a name with Wu ('Awakened') in it. So we can give you the Dharma−name Sun Wukong, which means 'Monkey Awakened to Emptiness'. Will that do?"
"Marvellous, marvellous," said the smiling Monkey King. "From now on my name will be Sun Wukong."
When the Great Vagueness was separated there were no surnames; To smash foolish emptiness he had to be awakened to emptiness.