The BBC’s Life of the Buddha

Editor’s note: when I started posting films on this blog they were posted on an ad hoc basis, often without a proper introduction or stills.

Over the next few weeks I will revisit some of the best films from that period and try and update the format and repost again, meanwhile I will continue to post new material on alternate days.

In 2003 the BBC made a 50-minute documentary about the Life of the Buddha, which has been well received and is posted in many places.

To my mind the film cannot seem to make up its mind what it wants to be, as it mixes legend and history, and is part archeology, part reconstruction.

There are interviews with Profs. Peter Harvey, Richard Gombrich and Kevin Trainor, who tell the bulk of the story. Amongst the monastics interviewed are H.H. The Dalai Lama and the head of the Mahā Bodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Ven Bodhipala.

Like most other films in the genre the documentary covers most of the early life of the Buddha, up till his Awakening, but has only a few of the teachings recorded.

The film is still worth seeing however, and it has been very influential and presents the Buddha in a sympathetic and positive light.


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to see a set of stills click on the date at the top of the embed below


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