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Friday, July 17, 2009

The Laughing Buddha























It was raining in Kathmandu.

I was walking down the road to reach my hotel. I had my umbrella. It wasn’t protecting me. I saw him standing on the side of the road, holding his hand over his head.

His clothes were wet and clinging to his body. He looked ill. He had probably been standing in the rain for long.

I looked at him. He looked at me. He smiled. My hotel wasn’t far.

“How far do you have to go?” I asked him.

“End of the world,” he said.

“You’ll need an umbrella in this weather,” I said, and gave him mine.

“Thank you,” he said, “You take this.”

He gave me what looked like a small statue that resembled him.

“Whenever you feel sad, take a look at this and you’ll feel happy,” he said.

And vanished.

Wikipedia says the laughing Buddha is admired for his happiness and contentment. Rubbing his belly brings wealth, good luck, and prosperity. At the Humber School of Writers’ Summer Workshop, I met her and metaphorically rubbed her belly.

Image: Isabel Huggan with me at Humber College's Lakeshore Campus. Humber School of Writers provided the photograph.

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