Summary: ‘The Tranquil Guardian’ is a work of short fiction penned by Malaysian writer and poet, Malini Lakshmi Bai, which explores a Buddhist monk’s profound awakening to the concept of kindness.
Deep within the heart of a thick forest, nestled amidst towering trees, stood a small hut or better known as kuti among the forest dwellers.
Its humble presence exuded an aura of serenity and tranquility. Inside this rustic abode resided a youthful monk, adorned in an ochre robe, who had dedicated his life to the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.
The monk, known as Mahindasiri Thero, had chosen this secluded dwelling to detach himself from the distractions of the world.
Surrounded by nature’s symphony, he found solace in the gentle rustling of leaves and the melodious songs of birds. The forest became his sanctuary, a place where he could commune with the divine.
Every morning, as the first rays of sunlight filtered through the canopy, Mahindasiri would rise from his simple mat and begin his daily rituals.
He would sit in a lotus position on the floor, his eyes closed, and his mind focused on the present moment. With each breath, he would let go of worldly concerns, allowing his spirit to soar freely.
As the day progressed, Mahindasiri would venture out into the forest, his footsteps light and purposeful. He would walk along the winding paths, observing the intricate beauty of nature.
The vibrant colors of wildflowers, the delicate dance of butterflies, and the gentle babbling of a nearby brook all served as reminders of life’s ephemeral wonders.
One day, as Mahindasiri was meditating beneath a towering bodhi tree, he heard a faint cry for help. Opening his eyes, he saw a wounded magpie struggling to fly. Without hesitation, he gently cradled the injured creature in his hands and carried it back to his hut.
Mahindasiri carefully tended to the magpie’s wounds, using herbs and roots he had gathered from the forest. Days turned into weeks as he patiently nursed the bird back to health and showered compassion and loving-kindness. During this time, a bond formed between them, transcending the barriers of species.
As the bird regained its strength, it would perch on Mahindasiri’s right shoulder, accompanying the venerable monk on his daily walks. Together, they explored the forest, sharing in the wonders of mother nature.
The bird’s presence brought a new dimension to Mahindasiri’s solitude, reminding him of the interconnectedness of all sentient beings.
One evening, as the sun painted the sky with hues of gold and crimson, Mahindasiri sat outside his hut, the bird perched on his outstretched hand. In that moment, he realized that his purpose extended beyond personal enlightenment. He had become a guardian of the forest, a protector of all its inhabitants.
Words of Mahindasiri’s compassion and wisdom spread throughout the nearby villages. People would seek his counsel, finding solace in his gentle words and profound insights. The small hut in the forest became a monastery not only for the venerable monk but for all those who sought refuge from the chaotic world.
Years passed, and Mahindasiri Thero’s teachings continued to inspire generations. His legacy lived on, carried by those who had been touched by his presence. Although his physical form eventually returned to the earth, his inspiring teachings remained, forever intertwined with the forest he had called home.
And so, the small hut in the forest, once a place of solitude, became a beacon of light, guiding lost souls towards inner peace. It stood as a testament to the transformative power of compassion, loving-kindness and the profound wisdom that can be found in the simplest of dwellings.
Cover image by Zeynep Tuğçe/ Pexels. The copyright of ‘The Tranquil Guardian’ belongs to Malini Lakshmi Bai.