This paper reads Wong Kar-wai’s Ashes of Time (1994) through the lens of Buddhism, specifically focusing on the issue of suffering and of mind. Buddhism attributes suffering to mental attachment, expressed as craving and clinging. In this sense, Ashes of Time, which also reflects on the problems of anguish and suffering with respect to its characters’ unfulfilled desires and their attachment to memory, shares several fundamental ideas with Buddhist thought. More importantly, the film proposes ways to break free from suffering that are similar to those espoused by Buddhism. In doing so, the film reflects the Buddhist dialectic idea that insists on absolute negation as the way to be released from suffering, which eventually progresses to an absolute affirmation; that is, embracing suffering in a paradoxical sense.
"Oblivion beyond Forgetting: A Buddhist Reflection on Suffering in Ashes of Time,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 14
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol14/iss2/3