There will be no killing. Let the priest-beaters go in bondage to their own acts. Just and sure is the Wheel. However, by forbidding the village people to kill the spies, the lama knows he has acquired merit.
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The lama is not alone in his struggles with the Wheel. Kim also wrestles with it, but his issue is the resolution of action versus nonaction.
At one point in their journey, Kim heals a child, a son of a Hindu Jat, using a remedy that he took himself when facing a bout of malaria. The lama commends him, asserting that he had acquired merit by healing the boy. However, a little later the lama gently chastises Kim for helping to disguise the British agent E23 he meets on the train, implying that the difference between the two actions was their intentions.
Along with the Law and the Wheel, Kipling uses the Buddhist tenet of the Middle Way to help Kim reconcile the seemingly dichotomous parts of his life. The lama shows readers a good model of nondualistic thinking. As a Buddhist monk, the lama is opposed to killing, but he pays for Kim to go to school at St. Xavier, a school sponsored by the British military. He will have attained Freedom at the end. The rest is illusion. We be all souls seeking escape. No matter what thy wisdom learned among Sahibs, when we come to my River thou wilt be freed from all illusion. By noting how all these supposedly opposing characteristics are somehow unified within the singular person of Kim, readers can recognize that human beings are complex and full of contradictions.
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The typical Western paradigm conflicts with this ability to hold tension between two differing parts. This, too, is another example of the Middle Way, and it reveals how Kipling has managed to create a character in Kim that is outside the typical Western paradigm by using the Law, the Wheel, and the Middle Way, despite his own imperialistic leanings. They know the land and the customs of the land. This is an example of the metaphysics of presence as it assumes that no other subjective model can be used to evaluate a particular work.
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In fact, the same Buddhist perspective offers the possibility of a solution to other issues that face the world today. Mohandas Ghandi, a Buddhist and social activist, recognized that only when people realize their interconnection with others will genuine peace be possible. Further, by fostering the practice of nondualism, readers and critics alike may find themselves more willing to accept the interconnection of all by witnessing the commonalities people and cultures share as well as discovering that the differences provide variety and interest that is often lacking in homogeneity.
Though those wings may seem to be at odds with their movements up and down, it is the tension and fluid movement of air between that allows the bird to soar.
More importantly, readers may seek to better understand their own contradictions and complexities as well as those they may view as Other, comprehending that the Middle Way provides a gap wide enough to encompass all. Howard J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , Rudyard Kipling and Tibetan Buddhist Traditions.
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Jeffrey Franklin. The Lotus and the Lion. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, , Last modified January 24, November 13, Accessed July 22, Last modified November Nan Kuhlman is an academic writing instructor for Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, having recently relocated to Southern California from rural northwest Ohio. Nan has been freelance writing for over twenty years with her most recent publications on the parenting website Parent.
Brantlinger, Patrick. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, PDF e-book. Buddha, Gautama. Burns, Douglas M. Christensen, Tim. Kipling, Rudyard. Or even in his characterisation of the Jewish power behind the pedlar in "The Face of the Desert" a suggestion of something worse.
A more nuanced reading will perceive an amused or wry smile in Kipling's remembering and the human sympathy that infuses all his writing. US listeners should be warned that in Kipling's day "the N word" was in common use, and he therefore uses it naturally to describe people of Sub-Saharan African ancestry.
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A paragraph in the "letter" written on Kipling's arrival in Japan might serve as example. It closes: "The father-fisher has it by the pink hind leg, and this time it is tucked away, all but the top-knot, out of sight among umber nets and sepia cordage. Being an Oriental it makes no protest, and the boat scuds out to join the little fleet in the offing. And yet At first glance this is merely another example of Western bigotry. Note however the words Kipling uses to show us that this is not in fact a doll: "The doll wakes, turns into a Japanese baby something more valuable than money could buy".
The "Japanese doll" is a priceless human child and not a commodity to be bought in Bayswater. Perhaps the prejudice is not so much on the surface of Kipling's writing as under the surface of the reader's presuppositions? Time and again wry observation turns the familiar world into something fresh, and reminds the reader of shared humanity with the strange and foreign people being observed. Kipling as a tourist is no mere gawker whether in strange yet familiar Yokohama or in foreign Vermont. Summary by Tim Bulkeley. Play Across a Continent. The Edge of the East. Our Overseas Men. Some Earthquakes.
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