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Tintin in Shambhala

A comic, anonymously inserted into the meme-stream, has been making the rounds recently:


Click the image above to get the full-sized version on the web page where it originally appeared.

This cartoon was first brought to the world’s (well, the Shambhala world’s) attention in a sangha-announce message posted December 6, 2009 by “gremi” at mail.com, titled Need help with this puzzles!:

Dear Friends,

My wife and myself are back home, and are so much appreciative of the North American Sangha contributes to Europe, where we study and do Shambhala dharma practices. 

We hope you will tell us what is the meaning of this cartoon that we also got from the internet and want to know if we did not receive something written down explaining. What is the message please?

Here is the cartoon: http://lambda.lunariffic.com/~jandd0/ [2]

What does this mean?

Yours, Gordi and Lyske Remi

This was followed by several more messages by “George Remi” (as the Shambhala member site identifies “gremi”), including a compilation of various responses to and speculations on the cartoon .

A Tintin [3] aficionado would know that “George Remi” is the name of the Belgian individual who used the nom-de-plume of Hergé [4] to author the world-famous Tintin comics [5]. Many of us grew up with those, and Chögyam Trungpa himself was a big fan of the young bodhisattva.

The comic is ambiguous enough to elicit reactions true to a person’s proclivities. The final, mostly blank conversation balloon invites readers to put their own response in Tintin’s mouth.

Please go ahead! Rules of the game:

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Comments Disabled To "Tintin in Shambhala"

#1 Comment By Jigme Chowang On December 28, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

WTF?.. Is this what Trungpa Rinpoche meant by “super samsara”?

#2 Comment By ashoka On December 29, 2009 @ 10:28 am

“Boy, that guy’s father was a lot stranger than his books made him sound.”

#3 Comment By Chris On December 29, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

Oh NO! , Here comes another fund-raising appeal!

#4 Comment By Suzanne T On December 29, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

Chris: LOLOLOLOL that is perfect! Including the “….?”!!!

#5 Comment By tsering On December 29, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

Hey relax! It’s all karma…right

#6 Comment By John Tischer On December 29, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

Let’s go…..I”ll buy you a cheeseburger.

#7 Comment By tsering On December 29, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

John best yet!

#8 Comment By tsering On December 30, 2009 @ 2:50 am

Hey! Bubble just got popped!.It’s great news! .What about that cheeseburger

#9 Comment By John Castlebury On December 30, 2009 @ 9:24 am

“Are you going to let a little thing like that disturb your samadhi?”

To the maker of the Tintin comic panels: this is a miniature masterpiece — a brilliant stroke of art and magic. Bravo!

Captain Haddock falls to his knees surrendering to the pomp and circumstance of his own mind — created in reaction to the pomp and circumstance he has just observed — [why O why did they look, not supposed to look!]

#10 Comment By Michael Sullivan On December 30, 2009 @ 10:29 am

“Is that what they mean by ‘regard all dharmas as dreams’ ”

#11 Comment By Larry On December 30, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

SURPRISE!! ………WHAT!? You didn’t like that!?? DO HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT A SPECTACLE LIKE THAT COSTS!??? Whatever. Happy freakin’ birthday, dad.

#12 Comment By John Tischer On December 30, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

Hey….Larry…Happy Birthday Dad! I’ll buy you both a cheeseburger!!

#13 Comment By Mark Szpakowski On December 31, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

Hey… Larry… Captain Haddock is not Tintin’s Dad!

#14 Comment By Larry On December 31, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

Hey….Mark….TinTin wasn’t a Buddhist!

#15 Comment By Mark Szpakowski On January 1, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

We can only speculate. In “Tintin in Tibet” he does get a (refuge?) name, “Noble Heart”. The extension to him and Haddock sitting by the side of the road with a begging bowl (Snowy’s bowl originally?) is quirky and humorous, but not outlandish, and doesn’t do violence to the existing story line.

#16 Comment By John Castlebury On January 1, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

Okay, but what is the mystery of this…

In the first two frames, Tintin sits to Captain Haddock’s left, and they turn to their LEFT to see the approaching procession…

In the 3rd, 4th and 5th frames, Tintin now sits to Captain Haddock’s right and they are looking to their RIGHT to see the approaching procession…

And, by the 6th and final frame, Tintin is once again seated to Captain Haddock’s left.

Why has Tintin leapt up [off-screen] and sat down on the other side of Haddock while the procession is passing?

And why has Tintin then leapt up again [off-screen] after the procession has passed and sat back down in his original place?

#17 Comment By tsering On January 2, 2010 @ 1:24 am

John, give the creator a break! “mystery”somewhat in the mind of the beholder, no?

#18 Comment By John Castlebury On January 2, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

More mystery for the mind of dear tsering the beholder:

How can the procession at one moment be approaching from the left, and in the next moment be approaching from the right?

I mean, how does that vast procession switch over to the other side and re-assemble itself – in the blink of an eye? Gasp!

And because of that huge switcheroo, maybe Haddock is experiencing motion sickness! Or else maybe he thinks he is having a flashback of delerium tremens!

Or maybe he curls up in a fetal position out of exasperation with Tintin’s jumpiness, always jumping to a conclusion?

If that is the case, then tsering’s admonishment would fit in Tintin’s mouth:

“Hey, [would you] give the creator a break?”

#19 Comment By John Tischer On January 2, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

Haddock’s old….he’s haddock…
Tin Tin is Maitreya…”Always look on the bright side of life”.
…different aspects of the same mind…?

#20 Comment By John Castlebury On January 4, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

No one-upmanship of the cartoonist intended, at all; on the contrary. Anyway it’s doubtful it’s even a mistake, but rather an instance of artistic license, for aesthetic reasons.

Think of the picture as a transparency like a negative – if we turn the picture over, we see the opposite image, what was on the left is now on the right and what was on the right is now on the left…

Chances are that orientation better suited the artist’s sense, that’s all, and let consistency be damned. Still, if someone notices the trick, it piques curiousity and raises funny conundrums…sort of like POP

#21 Comment By Dan Taylor On January 26, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

Hey Nick and Gabrielle,

This is my attempt at goosing a response from you to my letters from late December posing my questions to your own letters re. the TinTin cartoon. Has anything been solved that I don’t know about. I’m in Oregon.

I used to have pretty good sources in the Halifax sangha, but don’t now, when somebody there (or where) produces this altogether engaging allegory saying what? Or asking what? Surely the author or authors of the thing have been sleuthed out by now and the riddle busted. What have I missed?

Meanwhile, my letters to you still await an answer, unless somehow you never got them. If so, I hope this corrects whatever glitch happened, and I’ll hope for your responses.

#22 Comment By Sherab Gyatso On February 15, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

Where did that path suddenly come from?

#23 Comment By ash On February 19, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

One day at a time, one day at a time, Captain.
So what was it this time?

#24 Comment By Suzanne Duarte On April 2, 2010 @ 6:44 am

Jeezus! While we’ve been sitting here practicing all these years, KOS has been turned into SHAMALOT!