Friday Fiction – Buddha is Patient

This week’s picture (from Dawn Q Landau) is both haunting and inspiring. Eventually it brought to mind the incredible journey of Tibetan pilgrims who walk hundreds of miles through mountains and bitter weather to reach Lhasa, kowtowing at each step. That is to say, they raise head and hands to the sky, then lie prostrate on the floor, then walk three short steps before doing it again. For hundreds of miles. It is an act of humility, of faith and of determination. And thousands from this tiny community do it every year. Most are young and unmarried, but not all.

If you want more stories, take a pilgrimage of your own to FF hostess, Rochelle’s page. Bowing is optional.


Buddha is Patient

“I leave at dawn. You need not wake.” She touched her son’s head as though he were a little boy; not a father himself.

“Journey will kill you,” he said, watching her gnarled fingers push a needle through the sheepskin lining of her apron and tie the final knot.

“Then I die in prostration.”

He shook his head silently. She would go anyway, and a rift now would serve neither.

“I die closer to enlightenment,” she added. “And if I do not reach Lhasa in this life, I get there in my next. Buddha is patient. I shall be too.”


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

31 responses to “Friday Fiction – Buddha is Patient

  1. MM Jaye

    I did bow… Soothing, soul-filling and suitably spiritual. Well done.

    I joined in May and did four FF in a row but then life and summer happened. I should try harder.

    Greetings from Greece!
    Maria (MM Jaye)

  2. I suspect she might just get there. Beautifully written

    • I like to think so too, Siobhan. On the other hand, there’s apparently a special pole at the palace which holds lots of teeth – pilgrims who won’t finish the journey ask others to take a tooth in order to fulfil the journey even in some small part. So if she fails on the way, perhaps a small part of her wil still succeed.

  3. Jen, your story perfectly illustrated what I see in the photo–a patience that has lived over many generations. A good choice of vehicle to show that.


  4. A gentle tale and much wisdom – compulsory reading for all.

  5. I loved that last line. I must remember it in my own life.

  6. A well-told tale of devotion. Beautiful

  7. I love the fact that the son accepted his mother’s wish to sally-forth. Nice one, Elmo!

  8. Jen, this is wonderful! I can imagine the small room or house they are in, and the feelings between them. Beautiful writing!

  9. she might be there before she even leaves the house.
    nicely written. Randy

  10. Dear Jennifer,

    Buddha is patient. I love that line and the living a life trying to emulate it. You cast a spell with this story, one that has us all thinking about our journeys. That is what good writing does, jen. Well told.



  11. Dear Jen,

    Not only did you tell of a woman’s patience and faith, you also beautifully illustrated a son’s devotion to and respect for his mother. Wonderful dialogue and just enough description to paint an entire scene. Altogether lovely.



  12. An incredible piece of history and a great story. #FridayFictioneers

  13. Shilpa Gupte

    Buddha is patient and I hope I can be, too!

  14. She will get there – it is her son who lacks faith, not her.

  15. The son’s initial response comes across as sleepy, which makes sense within the first line’s context. A good read!

  16. I’ve met a few Tibetans recently, in the course of my work, and your story captures the gentleness and serenity I’ve noticed in these people.

  17. Jen, Lovely story of faith. I saw a documumentary about these journeys on TV. We should all develop that much patience and devotion. Well written. 🙂 —Susan

  18. I like this a lot.. I think you have extracted the essence of the woman in the photo.. and at the end we always seems closer and more eager on the pilgrimage of life-

  19. You captured the essence of the prompt and the subject very well. The salt was definitely inspirational. 😉 BTW, I got to taste Himalayan salt recently for the first time.

    Well done, Jen!

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