Read the full summary of ‘The Half-closed Eyes of the Buddha and the Slowly Sinking Sun’ written by Shankar Lamichhane to understand the exercise (Questions and Answers) of this chapter.
Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. How does the tourist describe his initial impression of the Kathmandu valley?
The tourist expresses her feeling about the Kathmandu Valley. She says that Kathmandu Valley is full of beauty-its geometric fields, its earthen houses of red, yellow, and white. The scent of soil and mountains is in the air, arid there’s an age-old peacefulness in the atmosphere that attracts her(tourist). She perceive that the blue hills outspread his arms and called her to embrace.
b. According to the tourist, why is the West indebted to the East?
According to the tourist, the west is indebted to the east because easterner has given many things to westerner; the religion arid the Puranas, images of brass and ornaments of ivory, manuscripts of palm leaves and inscriptions on copperplate and also the civilization and its wisdom.
c. How does the tourist interpret the gaze of the monks and nuns?
The tourist calls the gaze of the monks and nuns, the samyak gaze; a sight that perceives everything in its true form.
d. Why do the tourists think Nepali people are wonderful and exceptional?
The tourists think Nepali people are wonderful and exceptional because she thinks that Nepali people live in a house-like temple, but are unaware of its beauty and enchantment. They create wooden images, there are also multifarious ornamentation and many styles, there is the flowing music of a chisel in the hands of an artist. Not only this, tourists also think Nepali people are wonderful and exceptional due to their hospitable behavior.
e. What are the different kinds of communities in the Kathmandu valley and how do they co-exist with each other?
The different kinds of communities in the Kathmandu Valley are Aryans, non-Aryans, Hindus, and Buddhists. They co-exist with each other due to the effect of Nepali soil that enables them to flourish together and live together in harmony.
f. What does the tourist feel about the temple of Adinath?
The tourist feel the living example of Nepalese tolerance and coexistence and also the variety of gods, religions, and
philosophies when she saw Adinath temple from Chobhar hill.
g. Why does the guide take the tourist to the remote village?
The guide takes the tourist to the remote village to find the pulse of reality. He wants to see her the poverty and sympathetic aspect of the beautiful country which was never talking in any books nor seen by other tourists.
h. What does the innocent village couple think of the doctor?
The innocent village couple assumes her as the eldest son who has brought a life-restoring remedy across the seven seas for his brother.
i. What are the differences between the paralyzed child and his sister?
The difference between the paralyzed child and his sister are;
Paralyzed child’s (boy) whole body is useless; he cannot speak, move his hands, chew his food, or even spit. Every vein, nerve, and bone is powerless to heed the commands of his brain. His eyes are the only living parts of his body and it is only his eyes that indicate that he is actually alive.
But his sister whose body functions properly work. She crawls around, picking up everything she comes across and putting it into her mouth, knocking over the beer, overturning the cooking stone.
j. Why does the guide show the instances of poverty to the tourist?
The guide shows the instances of poverty to the tourist because, in the beginning, tourist only sees the bright aspect of the country i.e. various cultural and religious diversity, natural beauty, the gaze (a sight that perceives everything in its true form) of monks and nuns. So, the guide shows him the pulse of reality to guide i.e. poverty and sympathetic aspect of the beautiful country in the farmer house.
Reference to the context
a. Which narrative technique is used by the author to tell the story? How is his story different from other stories you have read?
The techniques used by the author are known as the ‘stream of consciousness technique‘ in this story. This story is different from other stories I read ever now. It is because, in other stories, the narrator only speaks about the event of the story from one side but this story deals with the monologues of two characters a tourist guide of Kathmandu valley and a foreign tourist. The characters of the story don’t show any actions and events like in other stories. ‘Stream of consciousness’ techniques is used in this story. But in other conventional stories, I read ever follow the stream of awareness techniques in the story where a narrator shows the action and events.
b. How is the author able to integrate two fragments of the narration into a unified whole?
The author is able to integrate two fragments of the narration into a unified whole by providing the example of different eyes and linking them to two different universes. The author shows the reality of Nepalese(eastern) poverty and sympathetic aspect which the western not see from their eyes. They only see the upper beauty of the eastern. But they don’t understand and feel the inner reality of the eastern and their pain. The author shows the hardship, diseases that the people face in the community. The tourist only pictures the things from one hand(beauty). But a guide makes her see the things from the other hands(pain and sympathetic aspect).
c. The author brings some historical and legendary references in the story. Collect these references and show their significance in the story.
The author brings some historical and legendary references in the story. They are:
|Manjushri and his deed||Kathmandu Valley was once a lake. It is believed that the Manjushri cut a gorge at a place called Chobhar Gorge, near Chobhar Ancient Hill Village, and drained away the waters to establish a habitable land. (src)|
|Cultural, tradition, and art crafts||The story mention that easterner had given many things to westerner; Puranas, images of brass and ornaments of ivory, manuscripts of palm leaves and inscriptions on copperplate and also civilization and many musical instruments. If we destroy all the history books then these are things which would again create a new tradition, religion, and culture and made us rich in culture, tradition, religion, and air crafts.|
|The gaze of monks and nuns||The story compares the gaze of monks and nuns who receive alms and spread the law in the nooks and crannies of the Kasthamandap with ‘samyak gaze’. This is a sight that perceives everything in its true form.|
|Historical Relationship||The story talked about the close relationship of Nepal with Tibet at the time of the Licchavi dynasty.|
|Half closed eyes of buddha and setting sun reflected in the eyes of the Buddha||The Half closed eyes of buddha and the setting sun reflected in the eyes of the Buddha represents peacefulness in the country by which people feel warm and peace.|
d. The author talks about the eyes in many places: the eyes of the shaven monks and nuns, eyes in the window and door panels, the eyes of the Himalayas, the eyes of the paralyzed boy, the eyes of the welcoming villagers and above all the half-closed eyes of the Buddha. Explain how all the instances of eyes contribute to the overall unity of the story.
The author talks about different eyes in many places of the story: the eyes of the shaven monks and nuns which is compared with eyes ‘samyak gaze’: a sight that perceives everything in the true form. The author also talks about other many eyes in the story; eyes in the window and door panels, the eyes of the Himalayas, the eyes of the paralyzed boy, the eyes of the welcoming villagers, and above all the half-closed eyes of the Buddha. These all eyes represent Nepal as a country that is rich in culture, religion, tradition, and art craft.
The half-closed eyes of Buddha represent Nepal as a peaceful country where people feel peace and warm. If we destroy all the history books. Then these eyes would again create a new tradition, religion, and culture and made us rich in cultural, traditional, religious, and air crafts. In this way, the author connects all these eyes for the overall unity of the story.