This paper studies the ways that Walker
, a short film by the Malaysian-Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-Liang, visualizes the relationship between Buddhism and modernity. Via detailed film analysis as well as attention to sources in premodern Buddhist traditions, this paper argues that its filmic performance of Zen walking meditation serves two functions: To present slowness and simplicity as prophetic counterpoints against the dizzying excesses of the contemporary metropolis; and to offer contemplative attentiveness as a therapeutic resource for life in the modern world. By instantiating and cultivating critical shifts in viewerly perspective in the manner of Buddhist ritual practice, Walker
invites us to envision how a place of frenetic distraction or pedestrian mundaneness might be transfigured into a site of beauty, wonder, and liberation.
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