(Make sure you read Part One here.)
No one suspected that one word would have such power. The crowd that had gathered was still. The Internet stopped; no tweets, no status updates.
“Life.” The word hung in air, as the mystical monk stepped down from the podium. As mysteriously as he appeared, he vanished. The world sat waiting, expecting more, anticipating an encore, but none was given.
What did he mean? It was the question in the silence that everyone seemed to be asking. It was on the face of all those there in the crowd, and on the lips of every news anchor. What was the life the monk spoke of?
That was when things took off, in the worst way.
Experts sprouted over night, knowing exactly what the monk was talking about. They declared that they had spent time with the monk, creating stories about who he was and what he meant with this single word. They wrote books, expounding on “Life”, in all it is, is not, could be, and will be. Some experts grabbed onto this word and stole it into their religion. That only served to make things more complicated, and begin to stoke the fires of war.
The counter arguments and “counter-experts” came on their heels, with greater force and more volume. Some asserted that the experts were wrong, that their doctrine and teaching was not accurate or reliable. Others demonized those claiming an understanding of “Life”. They proclaimed that life was not understandable, it was too complex for anyone to know. They came out their own books and teaching seminars.
That was when the debates started. The venomous back and forth did nothing to clarify what the monk went when he said “Life”. It only made the murky waters more muddy. Life suddenly meant so many things that it became a clique. Life became meaningless, just a title to an ideal that contradicted another.
It would have been one thing if the words remained words, but venom stings. It burns and wounds, and wounds demand that they are avenged.
It was a long walk up the Shin May Woo mountains. At 95 now, it was more than an physical endeavour; it was everything to take a step. But he knew that he must make it, he must make it back to his cave. Only then would he be done his task.
The monk had lost track of time. He could not remember the day or month that he left the podium, nor could he recall how many moons he had seen in the night sky. It had been a long time, a long journey, and he was eager to be back home. To be in the presence of his fellow monks would be most enjoyable, even if he did not say anything.
It was many moon cycles before the monk found the familiar caves that he called home. The site of his childhood, his adult life, the sight of the familiar brought a warm smile to his face. But it quickly fled, as his fellow monks came running out to meet him. They were not smiling. Their faces bore a great burden. Something was wrong, something that directly effected him.
“Master,” one monk cried through gasping breathes,” the world is breaking out into war over the word you have spoken. Life has given way to death.”
The monk’s heart arrested. He fell upon the cold stone floor, just outside his cave.
History remembered the Last Great War. It recalled the time after that, the Rising Day of Peace. The former was long, spanning decades and continents. The latter, brief enough to be a footnote between the Last Great War and what resulted from the monk’s one word. It was called The Battle of Life. It put the Last Great War to shame. It made the Rising Day of Peace a felting memory, and the goal of each side in the Battle.
It was in the midst of this kind of life that another great monk was born. But he would not speak one word. He would do much more.
The Battle reduced every opinion on Life into two camps, pitted against each other. On the one side was The Angel Choir. They were convinced that the Life the monk spoke of was not found in this world but somewhere else. Soldiers, or The Messengers, may not have agreed with each other, but they knew that Life could not be found on this planet. Life came from somewhere else. Anyone that did not agree with their unifying ideology was put to death.
The other side of The Battle was The Intel Army. These were the followers of intellectualism, the thinkers. The people that believed that philosophy, technology, the logical thinking and application of researched conclusions would bring Life to the world. The warriors of The Intel Army were called Bytes. Life would come from Bytes doing their due diligence, research, and logical application of truth. They did not feel that death was a useful way to deal with those that did not agree with them. Rather, they “recycled” enemy combatants, turning them into allies. These allies were called The White Eyes.
The monks were able to hide away from The Battle, but only for so long. They kept to the caves that ran through the mountains of Shin May Woo, doing all that they could to keep their traditions intact. It was in the chaos, when the Angel Choir started blasting and mining the mountains for minerals, that the monks came upon another monastery. But this was a monastery of women. There two monks fell in love, despite the vows that they were breaking. It was in this global bloodshed that they fashioned a union that had not been a part of the monk’s lifestyle for thousands of years.
It was into this world that I was born. I would become the great monk, destine to follow The Monk’s One Word, driven to heal the broken world.