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Open AccessArticle

Pedestrian Dharma: Slowness and Seeing in Tsai Ming-Liang’s Walker

Department of Theology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA
Religions 2018, 9(7), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9070200
Received: 26 May 2018 / Revised: 16 June 2018 / Accepted: 20 June 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practicing Buddhism through Film)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Buddhism and modernity; contemplative studies; kinhin; slow cinema; transnational Chinese cinema; Tsai Ming-Liang; walking meditation; Zen ritual Buddhism and modernity; contemplative studies; kinhin; slow cinema; transnational Chinese cinema; Tsai Ming-Liang; walking meditation; Zen ritual
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Ng, T.-K. Pedestrian Dharma: Slowness and Seeing in Tsai Ming-Liang’s Walker. Religions 2018, 9, 200.

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