Continuing the tradition for artful cappuccino discussions relating to Buddhism and Psychology (or any other topic) all ‘Buddhist Psychos’ are invited to meet, caffeinate and trade ideas on Saturday 16th July, at Ariyasom Villa, Sukhumvit Soi 1. (venue to be confirmed)
It doesn’t really matter if you have a background in psychology, Buddhist, both/neither – it’s always a good chance to swap ideas on these or other subjects with fellow Bangkokians, so anyone is most welcome to join.
So moving on from our previous discussions of Charisma, and Non-self, we will look at the message of Story. Carl Jung claimed that stories followed a universal format, with ‘archytype’ characters that appear in tales all the world over. This he called ‘collective unconscious’, a universal human dream.
The launch theme for the July meet, is a book that all humans should read:
The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
According to Wikipedia it is the 8th best selling book the world has ever known (with some interesting other top 10 titles), translated into 190 different languages.
A number of versions are available online for free by googling about, or else you can get several types of file of the book by clicking here.
Here is one version I have uploaded for you, that is a little hard to find, that is very spacious, and so excellent for ipad/tablet/kindle readers .. (not good for printing out though) Antoine de Saint Exupery – The Little Prince
Date : Saturday July 16th
Time : 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Why This Book?
Well, it may look like a children’s book, but the messages are very much for adults. Each part of the story is a metaphor for inner states that one finds when undertaking the inward journey of the spiritual life. Going inwards, things get turned on their heads, and logic starts to work differently – and in order to deliver these messages, many authors turn to allegorical tales with strange and interesting characters in bizarre situations. If you know how to read the metaphors, then it becomes a very beautiful depiction of the inward journey.
The story starts out with the author and narrator being lost in the desert with little water – this actually happened to the author during WWII, but in the story it is to be understood in the biblical sense, of being in the ‘desert’ of the senses when one turns from the outside world and looks inwards. All spiritual hourneys begin in this way – Parsifal, knight of the round table, sees the kingdom of the Holy Grail, and then is forced out to wander in the world unhappy. Jesus is tempted in the desert, and Buddha also went through the ‘Dark night of the soul’ on his path.
The narrator draws a boa that has swallowed an elephant – from the outside and then from the inside. But the Prince later tells him that only children can understand this! He draws a sheep several times, but the Prince is only happy with a sheep in a box – what is the meaning of this? How come the Prince is from a set of asteroids that are only large enough for one person? The Boababs are big ugly trees that take over the planet if you are not careful (you need a sheep to eat them as they sprout, before they get big). What kind of bad qualities do these trees represent?
The story is incredibly rich in metaphor and delightful in imagination. No wonder it is the 8th most popular book there has ever been.
We will look at the first 10 chapters (which amounts to about 30 minutes reading as the chapters are very short). This takes us through the narrators descent into the desert, the drawings, the sheep, the arrival of the Prince, the sudden sprouting of a very special flower, and the Prince’s departure from the planet. The next part of the story, of the Prince visiting the asteroids, we will leave for next time, though if you read the whole book now all the better.
The more general discussion will centre around the role of story, Yung’s archytypes, and why so many writers depict the inward journey (if that is what it is) in the style of children’s tales. And of course, any other topic that comes up.
Location is probably going to be Ariyasom Villa, in the Library or by the pool as convenient.
Could not be easier – go down Sukhumvit Soi One, right to the end, and Ariyasom is on the left.
Click the map for an even larger view (note that this map is proportional to actual distance, and has North at the top. It is less than a 10 minute walk from Ploen Chit BTS Station on Sukhumvit One