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Friday Flash – The Sutra of Lord Buddha and the Dragon – Part 4 – The Dragon – Friday Flash Fiction

In his reveries, Shakyamuni fancied that he was wrapped and resting within the coils and scales of a huge dragon. He felt a warm, sweet breeze upon his countenance, awoke, or maybe imagined that he did, and stared into the amber and blue eyes of the largest dragon he had ever encountered.

“Forgive my bluntness, but I perceive that you are dying, oh one who has yet to awaken.”

Shakyamuni had seen many things in his meditations and visions, but the sight of a two hundred foot dragon, his scales iridescent combinations of bright gold, regal purple, emerald green, fiery red and plutonian black glittering against the midnight sun, filled him with a sense of awe.

He remained speechless for a few minutes and wondered if his hunger had filled his mind with delusions.

“Forgive me,” said the dragon. “It is most impolite that I have yet to introduce myself. My name is iKarius.”

Shakyamuni had heard the name mentioned in whispered legends at the palace. Even the sadhus of the ancient forests were conscious of the Twelve Dragon Lords of the East. iKarius was considered to be the oldest and wisest of his race. The dragon looked at him with what can only be described as an intense disinterest, and Shakyamuni saw himself reflected in the sparkling amber blue eyes.

“My name is Shakyamuni,” came the reply. The dragon looked quizzical as he ran his eyes over what appeared to be a dessicated, barely living skeleton.

“Look at your ribs and their thin, dry covering of skin. I could take my talons and play you like a musical instrument. How sweet and melancholy do you think your song might be?”

Shakyamuni shivered a little, though there was no malice in the voice of the dragon.

“Thus I have heard, that you left your father, wife and son to wander about the country seeking an escape from suffering. Yet far from finding liberation, it appears to me that you merely ended up suffering even more. How did that work out for you?”

The man raised an eyebrow. Was the dragon mocking him, or was he interested in his story?

“Ever since birth, I have been conscious of the nature of suffering and how it surrounds and affects us all. So I resolved to seek the causes of suffering, understand them, and seek escape from them.”

“So,” laughed iKarius, “you decided to dress in rags, starve to near death and spend all your time locked up in your mind. It seems to me, dare I be sold bold to say, my skeletal friend, that you have simply chosen another way to extend your suffering. If you can, climb on my back and let me show you something.”

An honour or a threat? Dragons are known for wisdom but they also have a capricious nature and a waspish sense of humour. But what would happen if he refused? Dragons are bound by hospitality and honour. To decline an invitation might be considered boorish, and the invitation might not be extended so willingly again.

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