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Mountains and Clouds: Flusser’s Buddhism

Flusser encountered Zen Buddhism in the 1950s through his friend Alex Bloch who was assistant to a Zen monk. What would this mean for Flusser’s thinking and writing? This essay engages in the contradictory project of exploring Flusser’s Buddhism both from within his writing and from the outside, through Buddhist texts Flusser would not have read. Flusser’s experiences with meditation and Buddhist thought are described in autobiographical passages of Groundless and The History of the Devil, including some unusual moments of “enlightenment.” How did these linger in Flusser’s philosophical speculations? Flusser’s phenomenological essay “Mountains” from Natural:Mind is read against the work of Chinese poet Du Fu and Zen master Eihei Dogen, and the distinction between nothingness and emptiness is considered.

Mountains and Clouds (PDF 355.19 KB)