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Buddhism and Cinema
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7/15/2011 at 3:05:43 PM GMT
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Buddhism and Cinema

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Buddhism and Cinema

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University of Toronto

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Despite the emerging interest in the relationship between religion and cinema and filmic portrayals of relgion, the buddhist tradition has long remained underthematized within the cinema and within film scholarship. This may have to do with the general tendency for this spiritual practice to be individual, private, and grounded in meditation and inward contemplation. This buddhist cultivatation of inner vision, contemplation, and the void contrasts dramatically with the cinema's overall association with voyeurism, alternation between spectacle and action, and (in documentary) an grounded in the material world around us. Nevertheless, ever since the Dalai Llama was driven into exile, international awareness of and curiosity about this ascetic spiritual practice continues to blossom. Buddhist practices have, for example, been incorporated into new age subcultures, where they have also been subjected to commercialization and commodification. The Dalai Llama himself has become increasingly politically active and outspoken, hereby breaking with specific traditions of pacifism and seclusion. This panel takes stock of the emerging relationship between Buddhism and cinema, and invites philosophical, film theoretical, phenomenological, or spiritual approaches to this emerging relationship. Papers could address Buddhist themes adopted into screenplays for feature film production, or documentaries exploring some facet of buddhism, or zen filmmaking principles. Please submit a 250-300 word abstract with a five-item bibliography and a brief author bio to by Tuesday, August 9th.

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