Engaging with the World Through Walking Meditation

Artist Tattfoo Tan and the venerable Thupten Phuntsok explain the water bowl technique.

Artist Tattfoo Tan and the venerable Thupten Phuntsok explain the water bowl technique.

One sunny morning this November, visitors had the chance to participate in a meditation walk through a closed section of Freshkills Park. This was the second meditation walk offered  by artist Tattfoo Tan and the venerable Thupten Phuntsok of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art.

During the walk, participants practiced engagement with the world through walking meditation. They used a water bowl technique that offers an additional level of awareness. The technique starts with one participant pouring a full bowl of water, and then each participant shares their water with the person next to them, dividing and sharing the water with one another. By concentrating on keeping the water in the bowl as they walk, the experience prompts a connection with the place and among participants.

Video by Tattfoo Tan

These walks are part of Tattfoo Tan’s New Earth Resiliency Training Module (NERTM), a series about alternative practices in art and education towards interactions with/in a changing world. Through his series, Tattfoo encourages looking at ourselves as we look at the changing landscape and its future. He believes that we need to first understand and restore ourselves before restoring the land. Since 2015, NERTM workshops and demonstrations have been integrated into programming and events at Freshkills Park.

The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art holds regular Saturday meditation sessions. Thupten sees the potential for hundreds of people to participate in collective meditation walks at Freshkills Park in the future. We plan to continue this partnership by offering walks closed sections of Freshkills Park until more park spaces open over time.

This program is made possible by an Original Work Grant from Staten Island Arts, with public funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, as well as an Art and Social Justice grant from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

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