Yi Cha-don(异次顿)

Yi Cha-don

Headword

이차돈 ( 异次顿 , Yi Cha-don )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Legends

Writer KimYongduk(金容德)

This legend narrates the story of Buddhist martyr Yi Cha-don of Silla, who gave up his life for his faith at the age of twenty-two (twenty-six according to some accounts).

It was in 528 that the first attempt was made, by King Beopheung, to officially introduce Buddhism to Silla. There was much hesitation, however, since there were no followers among the king’s subjects and they were all against the idea. Yi Cha-don noticed the king’s hesitation and said to him, “It is a royal subject’s honor to give up one’s life for one’s country, and the highest act of loyalty for a common subject to offer one’s life to the king. If your majesty should behead this humble subject for accusations of falsely delivering the royal command, all the subjects of this kingdom shall submit to your majesty’s orders.” But the king declined, saying, “Even if it would be an act of charitable virtue on your part, I advise such blame should best be avoided.” Despite the king’s refusal, Yi Cha-don insisted, “It is not easy to give up one’s life, but if this humble subject should be allowed to die in the evening so that a great cause would be realized in the morning, the days of Buddha shall again see the light of day and your majesty’s path shall unfold peacefully.” Having reached a heartfelt understanding with Yi, the king summoned his subjects, and as expected, many of them opposed the introduction of Buddhism. But Yi Cha-don stepped forward and said to the king, “It is said that extraordinary events follow the emergence of extraordinary men. Buddhism is a faith of deep meaning, and there is no way for me to deny my belief.” As had been agreed, the king ordered that Yi Cha-don be beheaded. Yi Cha- don said, “I accept this punishment for the sake of Buddhism, so if Buddhism is indeed a divine belief, a divine event shall surely follow my death.” Then the sword slashed Yi’s neck, and blood that was white like breast milk surged from his body, and his head flew all the way to Mt. Sogeumgang in Gyeongju, where a temple called Jachusa was built on the spot where it landed.

The legend of Yi Cha-don is a tale of spiritual experience, demonstrating the miracles of Buddhism while depicting the social and political mood at the time of the introduction of Buddhism to Silla.

Yi Cha-don

Yi Cha-don
Headword

이차돈 ( 异次顿 , Yi Cha-don )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Legends

Writer KimYongduk(金容德)

This legend narrates the story of Buddhist martyr Yi Cha-don of Silla, who gave up his life for his faith at the age of twenty-two (twenty-six according to some accounts).

It was in 528 that the first attempt was made, by King Beopheung, to officially introduce Buddhism to Silla. There was much hesitation, however, since there were no followers among the king’s subjects and they were all against the idea. Yi Cha-don noticed the king’s hesitation and said to him, “It is a royal subject’s honor to give up one’s life for one’s country, and the highest act of loyalty for a common subject to offer one’s life to the king. If your majesty should behead this humble subject for accusations of falsely delivering the royal command, all the subjects of this kingdom shall submit to your majesty’s orders.” But the king declined, saying, “Even if it would be an act of charitable virtue on your part, I advise such blame should best be avoided.” Despite the king’s refusal, Yi Cha-don insisted, “It is not easy to give up one’s life, but if this humble subject should be allowed to die in the evening so that a great cause would be realized in the morning, the days of Buddha shall again see the light of day and your majesty’s path shall unfold peacefully.” Having reached a heartfelt understanding with Yi, the king summoned his subjects, and as expected, many of them opposed the introduction of Buddhism. But Yi Cha-don stepped forward and said to the king, “It is said that extraordinary events follow the emergence of extraordinary men. Buddhism is a faith of deep meaning, and there is no way for me to deny my belief.” As had been agreed, the king ordered that Yi Cha-don be beheaded. Yi Cha- don said, “I accept this punishment for the sake of Buddhism, so if Buddhism is indeed a divine belief, a divine event shall surely follow my death.” Then the sword slashed Yi’s neck, and blood that was white like breast milk surged from his body, and his head flew all the way to Mt. Sogeumgang in Gyeongju, where a temple called Jachusa was built on the spot where it landed.

The legend of Yi Cha-don is a tale of spiritual experience, demonstrating the miracles of Buddhism while depicting the social and political mood at the time of the introduction of Buddhism to Silla.