This is a series of nineteen videos lasting 2 – 7 minutes each on the philosophy, art and culture of Buddhism in India by the renowned art historian and photographer Benoy K Behl.
Behl has had many exhibitions of his work, and made many videos on the subject of Indian art and sculpture. He has also been featured in National Geographic magazine.
Behl presents his material in a very attractive manner and gives the context, background and underlying philosophy of the various monuments that he visits across India and Ladakh.
He himself is evidently a neo-Vedāntin and he tends to interpret things from that perspective, talking about the aim of Buddhism as being the “formless” and the “divine”, which someone following early Buddhism could not agree with. It does however give him a sympathy with later, especially Tantric forms of Buddhism.
The films are very well made and quite inspiring, and he certainly has a genuine love of the paintings, sculptures and art works which he examines. The film series finishes without closure, and (besides a trailer) there is only one other film on his YouTube channel Buddhism Films and that is a song so it appears it may never have been completed.
In the series he takes in the following subjects:
- Path Of Compassion
- The First Sermon
- Emperor Ashoka
- The Stupa
- Bharhut Stupa
- Sanchi Stupas
- Stupas Of Andhra Pradesh
- The Journey Within (Overview of Cave Monasteries)
- Bhaja Caves (Maharasthra)
- Kondavane & Karle Caves (Maharasthra)
- Masterpieces Of Buddhist Art (Ajaṇṭā)
- The Intellectual Quest (Mahāyāna and Nālandā)
- The Vehicle Of The Thunderbolt (Vikramaśila)
- Orissa: A Cradle Of Buddhism
- Buddhism In Kashmir
- Legacy Of Kashmir
- The Second Great Diffusion Of Buddhism (Himālayan Region)
- The Monasteries Of Rinchen Zangpo (Ladakh)
- Enchanted Alchi (Ladakh)
These are the sort of meditative films that can be returned to profitably again and again. At the end I include a trailer for his proposed film about The Second Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava. I hope he gets the opportunity to complete this work.
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Some Stills from the Documentaries
Parinibbana at Ajanta
Temple in Ladakh