Zhu Bajie is a complex and developed character in the novel. He looks like a terrible monster, part human and part pig, who often gets himself and his companions into trouble by his laziness, his gluttony, and his propensity for lusting after pretty women. He is jealous of Wukong and always tries to bring him down. His Buddhist name "Zhu Wuneng", given by bodhisattva , means "pig who is ability, or pig who rises to power", a reference to the fact that he values himself so much as to forget his own grisly appearance. Xuanzang gave him the nickname ''Bājiè'' which means "eight " to remind him of his Buddhist diet. He is often seen as the most outgoing of the group. In the original Chinese novel, he is often called ''dāizi'' , meaning "idiot". Sun Wukong, Xuanzang and even the author refer to him as "idiot" over the course of the story. Bodhisattvas and other heavenly beings usually refer to him as "Heavenly Tumbleweed."
Zhu Bajie's name is composed of three characters: ''Zhū'' which means "pig", and ''Bājiè'', which means "Eight Prohibitions". His name was formerly Zhū ''Liùjiè'' , ''liù'' meaning "six". When he committed two more sins, however, his name was changed to ''Bājiè''.
Zhu Bajie originally held the title of ''Tiānpéng Yuánshuǎi'' , commander-in-chief of 80,000 Heavenly Navy Soldiers. When Sun Wu Kong was born, he was a giant demon. Tiānpéng Yuánshuǎi defeated him and he was granted his present title. He was later banished, however, for misbehaviour. At a party organized for all the significant figures in Heaven, Bajie saw the for the first time and was captivated by her beauty. Following a drunken attempt to get close to her, she reported this to the Jade Emperor and thus he was banished to Earth. In some retellings of the story, his banishment is linked to Sun Wukong's downfall. In any case, he was exiled from Heaven and sent to be reincarnated on Earth, where by mishap he fell into a pig farm and was reborn as a man-eating pig-monster known as ''Zhū Gāngliè'' .
In the earlier portions of ''Journey to the West'', Wukong and Xuanzang come to Gao village and find that a daughter of the village elder had been kidnapped and the abductor left a note demanding marriage. After some investigations, Wukong found out that Bajie was the "villain" behind this. He fought with Wukong, but ended the fight when he learned that Wukong is a servant of Xuanzang, revealing that he had been recruited by Guanyin to join their pilgrimage and make atonements for his sins .
Like his fellow disciples, Bajie has supernatural powers. He knows 36 transformations. Like his fellow disciple, Sha Wujing, his combat skills underwater are superior to that of Wukong. The novel makes use of constant imagery and Bajie is most closely linked to the Wood element, as seen by another one of his nicknames, ''Mùmǔ'' .
At the end of the novel, most of Bajie's fellow pilgrims achieve enlightenment and become or arhats, but he does not; although much improved, he is still too much a creature of his base desires. He is instead rewarded for his part in the pilgrimage's success with a job as "Cleanser of the Altars" and all the leftovers he can eat.
As a weapon, he wields a , a nine-tooth iron muck- from Heaven that weighs roughly 5,048 kilos .
In the manga '''' and the anime '''', ''Dragon Ball Z'' and Dragon Ball GT, there is a pig named which is loosely based on Zhu Bajie; he is greedy, ugly, stupid and has the shape-changing ability.
'''', an anime and manga loosely based on ''Journey to the West'', features a major character named is loosely based on Zhu Bajie; indeed, ''Cho Hakkai'' is Japanese for ''Zhu Bajie'', as is his previous name ''Cho Gonou'' . Hakkai, being gentle and polite, and hardly resembling anything but a human, is nothing like Bajie. However, in a team of impostors who take the party's place in a few episodes, Hakkai's counterpart is in fact a slobbish glutton.
In the anime ''InuYasha'', Zhu Bajie's descendant is a demon named Chokyukai that abducts young unmarried women and takes them to his palace.
The Capcom arcade game '''', also loosely based on ''Journey to the West'', features a character drawn from Zhu Bajie in the form of the second-player character Tonton.