Comments on “Stories of the vampire, stories of the sea”



Kate's picture

Have you had the pleasure of seeing Khyentse Rinpoche's film "Travellers and Magicians"? -- a very beautiful example of another Buddhist story-within-a-story.

Travellers and Magicians

Yes, I really enjoyed that movie. It also made me "homesick" for Bhutan, seeing the scenery. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is one of the Lamas I admire most, for many reasons; one is his success in combining contemporary and traditional approaches to Vajrayana.

The story-within-a-story in that movie is the one about a man who sees a magic horse, jumps on it and rides off into long, complicated adventure lasting years, in which he marries a woman living in a jungle hut -- and then suddenly snaps out of the vision to discover that only a moment has passed.

Interestingly, Will Buckingham's book tells a version of the same story! pp. 92-95. Different in details, but recognizably the same. I have heard that many versions are known in India and Tibet.



through the hall of mirrors

Kate's picture

Hmm-- it just occurred to me that this literary device carries a sense of 'Indra's Net', and that hall-of-mirrors endless regress of reflexive awareness-- of awareness, of awareness of awareness, of awareness of ...

--Which, in itself has always suggested nonduality to me, and watching the dance of the mudras of emptiness and compassion performing the moebius of infinite call-and-response.

As well as the hoary, pointed joke about 'It was a dark and stormy night, and the Captain said to Antonio,'"Antonio, tell us a story." And Antonio began, "It was a dark and stormy night...'

Nesting and vertigo

Will Buckingham writes, about another Indian nested story-collection, that it

leaves us without any sense of solid ground at all... the nesting becomes ever more complex, so that by the time you have read only a few pages, it is impossible to map precisely where one is within the complex mass of stories, where one story begins and another ends. The various levels of dream, illusion, and reality throughout the text are continually confounded, time stretches and compresses, whole universes are fitted into single moments or moments are stretched to near eternity. In a story such as this, there is nowhere ... to get a foothold. (p. 59)

There is a vertigo of emptiness here, but emptiness adorned with riotous form... as you note!

My next metablog post will be about stories within stories. And a later one will concern the sense of disjuncture and confusion that I hope readers will feel on reading the dialog between the narrator and young monk at the end of "The tale the vampire told". As the narrator noted in "25 vampire stories", tellers deliberately nest stories in order to confuse their audience, and to work an emotional transformation...


Kate's picture

Yeehaa! Or, as Aretha asked: 'Who's zoomin' who?' Maybe we-- or some of us, anyhow-- never outgrow our need for dizziness--?

'What, if?'

Here my story, as my time that went by, there was bad news with & from me, an issue, I didn't know, didn't think, so far never found out, if I could rely on to exist as any 'relevant' case, mine. Meanwhile, on the other hand, if you want to, it's my big obligation right now to let you receive my own & most voluntary 'self testimony' to being happy to exist as a righteous man, forever to be, i.e. because of the fact that God & that money ideal can still, meanwhile & after all exist as no true ↔ happiness, whatever God Itself(!) can get away with Its 'IT' or not, so that I can of course tell & e.g. help us all find out &, whoever is who, our best answers to, what's our just as good future, all about & forever to be, 'why & when,' since I'm meanwhile & most certainly under obligation to start by telling you that Count Dracula means quite a lot to me, whatever He existed or not, greetings, 'J.A.,' Santiago, Chile, please to be concluded, note: I represent a relevant issue that has no obligation, whatsoever that I can hide that much, too much, from you, because also your lawyer is quite welcome, please, to find out about, what my good news is, though bit by bit.