This documentary is one from a series of films about man’s religious quest featuring Ronald Eyre, entitled The Long Search, which aired on the BBC in 1977.
In this episode Eyre goes in search of the Buddha in Japan, and finds himself increasingly farther away from his subject the nearer he gets.
He starts and ends with Zen, which I think he has some appreciation for. He talks to several masters, looks at how it is embodied in their lives, through calligraphy, sword fighting and the like.
He also takes passing glances at Shinto (the Way of the Gods), Soka Gakkai (a non-Buddha Budhhist sect) and Pure Land Buddhism, which he spends more time on, before returning to Zen.
The reason for the title can perhaps best be summed up by one of the people he interviews, Master Kobori, who puts it succinctly:
There is Buddha for those who do not know what he is really, there is no Buddha for those who know what he is really.
The consultant for the series was Ninian Smart, and Trevor Leggett was one of the advisors.
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