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Religions 2018, 9(8), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080228

Blindness, Blinking and Boredom: Seeing and Being in Buddhism and Film

Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Received: 7 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practicing Buddhism through Film)
Full-Text   |   PDF [356 KB, uploaded 26 July 2018]

Abstract

This essay takes up a paradoxical problem articulated by Buddhist philosopher, Nishitani Keiji: the eye does not see the eye itself. It argues that film has a therapeutic function by virtue of its ability to draw our attention to this precise aspect of our existential situation; namely, that we alternate between being in our experience and perceiving ourselves in our experience. Or, to borrow Nishitani’s terms, we alternate between the act of seeing and the quest to see the eye itself. The essay explores this theme with reference to specific elements of formal cinematic language. Rather than focus on a particular film or set of films for analysis, we focus instead on how the grammar of cinematic language draws our attention to aspects of our existential situation that ordinarily escape our awareness. Insofar as this may also be a goal of Buddhist practice—that is, to expand one’s ability to perceive reality for what it is, beginning with one’s own experience of it—this essay highlights a few of the salient ways that perennial aspects of the human condition have been articulated through the languages of both Buddhism and film. View Full-Text
Keywords: Buddhism; film; aesthetics; Embodiment; cinematic realism; the uncanny valley; emergence; film editing; high frame rate cinema Buddhism; film; aesthetics; Embodiment; cinematic realism; the uncanny valley; emergence; film editing; high frame rate cinema
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Verchery, L. Blindness, Blinking and Boredom: Seeing and Being in Buddhism and Film. Religions 2018, 9, 228.

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