Sayadaw Ashin Nanda bowed his head. A steady stream of vehicles passed by. Drivers stared at the monk. Fingering his prayer beads, he asked for answers.

The noise of the city faded into the background. He tried to recall what the scene would have looked like fifty years ago.


Thích Quảng Đức, the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, walked into the middle of the intersection on Phan Đình Phùng Boulevard.

He sat cross-legged. Five gallons of petrol were poured over him. He prayed, holding his beads. Then he struck a match.

The flames enveloped him, burning his flesh. He did not move, he did not scream.

The crowd watched. Placards decried the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. Some screamed, some prayed, some watched silently.

Press photographers took pictures.


Ashin Nanda opened his eyes. He thought of Myanmar, his homeland. He saw the flaming villages of the Rohingya Muslims in his country, set alight by Buddhist militants. He saw the fleeing women and children. He saw the bodies of the slain.

No-one answered his prayers.

Written as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in around 150 words, based on the weekly photo prompt. Thanks as always to the challenge host Priceless Joy. For more information visit HERE.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

More information about the self-immolation protest of Thích Quảng Đức in Saigon in 1963 here: Wikipedia.

More information on the current plight of the Rohingya Muslims at the hands of the Myanmar military and police here: Wikipedia.

Sayadaw – a Burmese/Myanmar Buddhist senior monk or abbot.
Thích – surname taken by all Vietnamese monks.




Daniel placed the doll carefully on top of the pile.

He struck the match and held it next to the teddy bear.

The flame grew. It consumed all the toys.

When his mother came running out the house it was too late.


‘Why did you burn your sister’s toys, Daniel?’ his father asked him that evening.

‘Because Mummy’s always crying in Lily’s room with them.’ Daniel said. ‘I was trying to make her happy again.’

His father gave Daniel a hug and kissed him on the head.

‘It’s not the toys that make her sad, Daniel.’

Copyright Karuna

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.