Ichadon, or, How Buddhism Came To Korea: A Romance of Flying Severed Heads (Part 3)

Ichadon bolted upright and shouted “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!”

The monk shouted these words involuntarily and practically unconsciously to the silent Korean night, as he had dreamed deeply of the future of Buddhism in Korea and was not yet fully awake. What am I saying?, of course it was a dream of the future, as all dreams concern times that are not yet our own, but this future was pieced together from nonsensical moments in the past. What were they?

One was the very reason he had become a monk to begin with: hearbtreak. He gave his darling flowers, and she whacked him across the face (with these same flowers). This is also why Ichadon has always been nicknamed “The Pouty And Puppy Dog-Eyed Monk”, or, “The Monk With The Face That Says ‘How Could You Do This To Me?'”

Another was the typical incontinence of the obese. A fat man laughed at a joke and, of course, shot milk out of his nose. The joke was Ichadon, who was walking by at the time with bloody thorn scratches all over his face. The fat man was also lolling on a field and sucking on purple grapes with Ichadon’s first and only love.

After this humiliation Ichadon said to himself: “Fuck this shit, I’m joining a monastery.”

Finally, he had witnessed a new sport that was favored by the tyrannical court ruling Korea at the time: it involved taking a criminal, slicing off his head at high speed, and attempting to catch the head as it flies through the air. The catchee then must weave through a number of opponents and reach the finish line at the end of a field in order to score a goal. So as to increase the rather poor aerodynamic shape of the severed human head, the players in question sometimes attached broad-brimmed hats or even wings made especially for the occasion to the heads of the executees. The game was, of course, called HeadBall. It was very popular during the Reign of Terror and is still sometimes practiced as a more patriotic alternative to football in Saudi Arabia.

These elements assembled themselves in his unconscious mind to solve the problem of How Do I Bring Buddhism To Korea?—and with the puzzle fitted together, he burst, he exploded—shouting like Archimedes splashing and spluttering naked with his screw in a bubblebath. He had seen the future of his great nation, the wisest, calmest, serenest, and most Buddhistic country under the sun, where everyone is really relaxed all the time. He had beheld the triumph of his faith and philosophy in Korea. And it all began with a flying severed head—his own.

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