‘Dragon Ball Super’ Fan Theory Inspired By ‘Journey To The West’: Jiren Is Buddha, Goku Is The Monkey King

Dragon Ball Super fans have come up with a theory about Jiren and his seemingly unlimited power, and it might very well reveal how the Tournament of Power will progress in future episodes. The two DBS fans shared quite an interesting theory in a subreddit dedicated to the show.

According to Reddit users Hydrox2016 and BetterGoHam, Jiren might have reached a Buddha-like state, which is why he defeated Goku with little effort. Hydrox2016 linked his theory to the Chinese legend Journey To The West — an ancient tale telling the story of the Monkey King.

Most fans of the series will know that Akira Toriyama used Journey to the West as a source of inspiration for Dragon Ball. Goku, in particular, is loosely based off the Monkey King from the ancient story. Hardcore Dragon Ball fans will remember that Goku was originally dubbed the Monkey King in the classic DB manga and anime. The Saiyan even had a tail to go with it.

According to the DBS subreddit member, Toriyama may have returned to Dragon Ball’s roots since Jiren seems to be inspired by the character of Buddha in Journey to the West. The hero from Universe 11 seems to have a power level much like Buddha himself, who is the one character in the Chinese legend that actually subdues the Monkey King — at least for 500 years.

In Episodes 109 and 110, Jiren’s eyes seemed to have a lot to do with his powers. Hydrox2016 ties Jiren’s eyes with the Third Eye in the Buddhist belief system. The Reddit user explains that Jiren may have awakened his third eye and reached a state of Clairvoyance or Enlightenment.

Fellow DBS Redditor, BetterGoHam, supports Hydrox2016’s theory, adding his own explanation of Jiren’s power. According to BetterGoHam, the Universe 11 fighter likely awakened through meditation, which Buddhists believe is the path to reach Enlightenment. Jiren, if any, is incredibly fond of meditating.

Both Redditors theorize that Goku awakened a level of Enlightenment during his fight with Jiren, which explains why he seemed to immediately close the power gap between himself and the Universe 11 fighter. Once awakened, those who are Enlightened are more aware of their surroundings, which explains why Goku seemed to be able to foretell his opponents’ moves during Episode 110 of Dragon Ball Super.

Reaching Enlightenment could also explain why Goku was in a calm state. He only yelled when his grip on the power seemed to be waning. When Goku did finally scream, it sounded like the yell of the Oozaru, which is, of course, a direct reference to the Monkey King.


The Gods of Destruction were shocked by Goku’s new power level, too, which they called Ultra Instinct. According to IGN, the power level can be reached by non-Saiyan beings, which supports Hydrox2016 and BetterGoHam’s theories. If Ultra Instinct can be reached by any being, then it is possible that Jiren had already reached the power level before the Tournament of Power, and it simply manifests differently among different species.

Ultra Instinct also seems to be a power level that surpasses the power of the Gods of Destruction. It is already well-known that Jiren is more powerful than Belmod, so it is plausible that the Universe 11 hero had already unlocked Ultra Instinct.

If the Reddit theory is true, then Toriyama would have brought Dragon Ball full circle, and there’s no telling where the show will go from here. However, Jiren and Goku’s fight isn’t over yet. Goku will, undoubtedly, find a way to master Ultra Instinct and save Universe 7 from destruction. The only question right now is how the story will get to that point.

[Featured Image by Toei Animation]