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FICTION on the WEB short stories by Charlie Fish

Prayer Story for Tibet
by Sheri R. Watson

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From across the Himalaya came an answer to the small prayer ever-circling on the wind, wind that seemed to blow forever across Tibet with an aching voice. Following the path of the bright moonlight a great black bird approached the monastery, a bird blacker than even the dark, sentinel houses and buildings of the strangers that shadowed the land. Following in the wake of his wing beats, a wonderful warmth of Dharma and Harmony washed over the land in his flight, in this the longest, coldest winter. He had journeyed so far, not in rebirth but in this chosen form, to re-awaken the pure Love that Tibet had always embodied, to claim it for now in a way only he could, for the eventual return of Peace to his country.

The monastery beckoned in the moonlight as one small, single candle flame brightened a small window. The monastery had been the great birdís home, a place where he had traveled many miles on the path to illumination, learning in time that the journey would be even longer and more difficult a task to undertake, coming to understand that he would have to leave in order to lead his people. But tonight, a young monk was waiting for him to help him carry out his mission.

He came close to the illuminated monastery window, greeting the young monk in red and saffron robes, who hung a khatas around the great black birdís neck in honor. The candle was blown out, and the monk climbed on the birdís back who lifted his wings to fly into the cold, still winter night. They climbed to a great height, and began to spiral over the small, still country, from the farthest reaches inward.

The monk began to chant and pray as they flew, his breath hanging in the air. The bird grew even larger and his great wing beats scattered the monkís prayer chant to the four corners as they spiraled, calling to awaken the great and passed leaders resting in chortens and stupas. Below the great black bird carrying the monk, smaller black birds began to arise from the country, calling in greeting and flying high to join them as the teachers were bidden to help lead their people for an undetermined time.

Soon the great black bird himself began to call out, the sweetest sound of Dharma and Harmony resounding over the country, causing the strangers to shift and turn in their sleep, their dreams disturbed by a great Love and Peace. Those borne of Tibet, present and in exile, felt too the calling of great Love and Patience sound in their hearts. Throughout Time his call extended, and the ancestors heard. All that was ever or now or would be the purest essence of Tibet - the people, the animals, the land and all its components - the Heart of Tibet reverberated and joined the great bird and the leaders for a journey to safe-keeping.

The sound of his call slowly faded as the last spiral across his land took him over the monastery. The monk with shining eyes was now ready for this long winter as he left the birdís back and slipped into his room again, re-lighting the small, single candle flame, red and gold like the rising sun, and blue like the clearest spring sky. He would remain part of the stronghold left in Tibet, and the great black bird blessed the monk as he rose again into the air.

The great bird turned to the path of the shimmering moonlight that would guide them all beyond the Himalaya, the smaller birds following in a silky cloud, Hope whispering in the wake of their flight. Someday, the Spring will come again after the longest, darkest winter they had known, with Dharma and Harmony sprouting like fresh green plants and wildflowers, Faith like new waters of the melting snow running free in the rivers, and like the great Love of a people spreading across Tibet again in the wake of the new Spring sunrise, Peace at last settling across the land.

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