Walk Like the Buddha

The art of slow protest

| November / December 2004

The Budha walk has its origins in the 1992 documentary movie Baraka, in the scene where a monk is moving ever so slowly and peacefully through a busy city street. We adapted that idea one day in a large shopping mall in Edmonton, Alberta.

Four of us started moving in super-slow motion, one behind the other, as the busy mall patrons passed us by. The action worked -- shopper after shopper stopped to watch as we made our way from the ground floor to the main floor. People gathered, and many of them wondered out loud what we were doing and why we were there. Some of them thought we were part of the Fringe, an annual theater festival in Edmonton. Others remarked that we were simply strange; one person even suggested that we might steal something. Eventually a mall security officer arrived and engaged us in conversation as we continued our slow progression through the mall.

SECURITY: You have to stop that or I'll have to remove you.

US: Stop what?

SECURITY: What you are doing.

US: What are we doing?