The Half-closed Eyes of the Buddha and the Slowly Sinking Sun by Shankar Lamichhane Exercise: Questions & Answers Class 12 English
Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. How does the tourist describe his initial impression of the Kathmandu valley?
➜ The tourist describes his initial impression of the Kathmandu valley as green, with geometric fields, earthen buildings in red, yellow, and white, and the aroma of soil and mountains in the air.
b. According to the tourist, why is the West indebted to the East?
➜ According to the tourist, the West is indebted to the East for the pleasant atmosphere, religious and cultural sculptures, the Purans, ivory ornaments, manuscripts of palm leaves, inscriptions on copperplate old tools, and many other things.
c. How does the tourist interpret the gaze of the monks and nuns?
➜ The tourist interprets the gaze of the monks and nuns as ‘the samyak gaze,’ which denotes pure and uncontaminated perception; a sight that detects everything in its genuine form.
d. Why do the tourists think Nepali people are wonderful and exceptional?
➜ The tourists think Nepali people are wonderful and exceptional because of their ability to create exceptional wooden images, as well as numerous ornamentations and beautiful images of deities, enchanting music from traditional musical instruments, and hospitable behaviour through diverse cultural and religious ceremonies.
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 found in the Kathmandu valley are Aryans, non-Aryans, Hindus, and Buddhists and they co-exist with each other in harmony.
f. What does the tourist feel about the temple of Adinath?
➜ The tourist feels the Adinath temple is a live example of Nepalese tolerance and coexistence.
g. Why does the guide take the tourist to the remote village?
➜ The guide takes the tourist to a remote village to show the tourist the pulse of reality through the eyes of a farmer’s family, their hard labour, clean environment, and miserable living.
h. What does the innocent village couple think of the doctor?
➜ The innocent village couple thinks of the doctor as the rays of hope for life.
i. What are the differences between the paralyzed child and his sister?
➜ The difference between the paralyzed child and his sister is that the paralyzed child’s entire body is worthless; he can’t speak or crawl, and just his eyes are living parts of his body, but the sister’s entire body operates normally. She can speak, crawl, and move her body freely.
j. Why does the guide show the instances of poverty to the tourist?
➜ The guide shows the instances of poverty to the tourist so that he understands the really terrible poverty of people living in remote locations, as well as their lack of security and modern conveniences despite their hospitable behaviour.
Reference to the Context
a. Which narrative technique is used by the author to tell the story? How is this story different from other stories you have read?
➜ Shankar Lamichhane, the author, uses the stream of consciousness as a narrative technique to narrate the story “The Half-closed Eyes of the Buddha and the Slowly Sinking Sun.”
This story differs from others I’ve read since most other stories are told in the first person, with the narrator or persona describing the events in his own words, however, this story is told through the monologues of two characters, a tourist guide in Kathmandu Valley and a foreign tourist. Furthermore, unlike traditional stories, the story uses a stream of consciousness technique to capture what the two protagonists think rather than portraying actions and events. In this context, stream of consciousness is a writing style or storytelling approach that reflects the natural flow of a character’s extended mental process, frequently by including sensory experiences, recollections, unfinished thoughts, unique syntax, and sloppy grammar. This approach of stream of consciousness, on the other hand, is not found in any of the prior stories I’ve read.
b. How is the author able to integrate two fragments of the narration into a unified whole?
➜ The author of the storey “The Half-Closed Eyes of the Buddha and the Slowly Sinking Sun” attempts to integrate two pieces of narration into a unified whole by connecting them with instances of eyes and associating them with two separate universes. The author is detailing events that are happening in the community as well as the activities that people do for a living. On the other hand, he ties it to the world of farmers, where people are uninformed of the real world and suffer from a variety of traditional beliefs and diseases.
Thus, by connecting two separate worlds or conceptions of the East and the West, he conveys the message that one should picture things deeply through their deeper eyes and comprehend the true meaning of the circumstance. He associates the guide’s journey with the tourist and watching the thing on the one hand, and the guide explaining the meaning of the places and activities on the other through examples of eyes and his narrative techniques of stream of consciousness on the other.
c. The author brings some historical and legendary references in the story. Collect these references and show their significance in the story.
➜ In the story “The Half-Closed Eyes of the Buddha and the Slowly Sinking Sun,” the author Shankar Lamichhane brings some historical and legendary references. The following are the references and their significance:
- The mention of Manjushri and his sword stroke at Chobhar, which caused the Bagmati River to overflow, represents her contribution to allowing people to live in the valley.
- The Puranas, depictions of brass and ivory ornaments, palm leaf manuscripts, and copperplate inscriptions all demonstrate that the Nepalese people are rich in culture, traditions, religions, and art crafts.
- The eyes of the shaven-headed monks and nuns represent ‘the samyak gaze,’ which implies pure and uncontaminated perception; a sight that perceives everything in its genuine form.
- The mentions of Princess Bhrikuti and King Amshuvarma illustrate historical ties or relationships with neighbouring countries such as Tibet.
- The beautiful light of the sunset reflected in the Buddha’s eyes shows Nepal as a country of Buddha with many more hopes and peaceful sentiments in the people.
- The Adinath temple is a live example of Nepalese tolerance and togetherness.
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.
➜ In the story “The Half-closed Eyes of the Buddha and the Slowly Sinking Sun” the author talks about the eyes in many places such as The eyes of shaven monks and nuns indicating ‘the samyak gaze’ which means the sight that perceives everything n its true form. The eyes of the carved lattice windows, the eyes painted on the door panels. The eyes on the stupas, the eyes of the people, 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 instances of eyes indicate that it is a land of eyes, a land guarded by the half-closed eyes of the Lord Buddha. Even if all of the world’s history books were destroyed today, but itis these eyes which displays a new culture, civilization, religion, natural beauty and the land of Buddha. The journey becomes meaningful by the memories obtained by the eyes.
In this way, the author connects various instances of eyes to memories that people acquire and people’s appetites that never come true as they imagine something with their inner eyes and hearts, and therefore unites the story as a whole.
Reference beyond the text
a. Write an essay on Living Proximity to Nature.
➜ Living Proximity to Nature – An Essay
Nature is made up of everything we see around us, including trees, flowers, plants, animals, the sky, mountains, and forests. Humans rely on nature for a variety of reasons, the most important of which being survival. Nature provides us with oxygen, food, water, shelter, medicines, and clothing. Nature’s various colours are what make the Earth appealing and appealing. Nature includes everything that surrounds us, such as air, water, animals, the sun, and the moon. Nature is vibrantly coloured, and it contains both living and non-living organisms. Nature provides food and shelter to animals, fish, and insects as well. Nature is critical to the growth and balance of life on Earth.
People are inextricably linked to nature because it is the finest place for them to live, and it is nearly impossible to live in the world without it. It offers various sources of energy, organic agriculture, and so on. It goes without saying that we should assist people in reducing natural damage, reusing items, and recycling used elements to create fresh ones. People from all over the world should work together to reduce the strain on the environment and restore its balance.
b. The story talks about the ethnic/religious co-existence of different communities in Nepal, where the Buddhists and the Hindus and the Aryans and non-Aryans have lived in communal harmony for ages. In your view, how have the Nepali people been able to live in such harmony?
➜ In the story “The Half-closed Eyes of the Buddha and the Slowly Sinking Sun” the author talks about the ethnic/religious co-existence of different communities in Nepal, where the Buddhists and the Hindus and the Aryans and non-Aryans have lived in communal harmony for ages.
In my view, the Nepali people have been able to live in such harmony as people from many ethnic and religious origins worship some common deities in addition to their clan or family deities. This is due to historical, cultural, political, and geographical factors. Nepal’s various ethnic groups arrived in the country from various directions, bringing their religious traditions with them. However, there was no single majority group, and no one community could entirely force the other to abandon its spiritual system. The fact that the East’s faith systems are not dictatorial like the Abrahamic faiths made it simpler for people to embrace the deities and customs of others.
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