The Buddha

Ratings: 8.33/10 from 70 users.


The BuddhaThis documentary for PBS by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere, tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion.

It features the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and sculptors, who across two millennia, have depicted the Buddha’s life in art rich in beauty and complexity.

Hear insights into the ancient narrative by contemporary Buddhists, including Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.S. Merwin and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Join the conversation and learn more about meditation, the history of Buddhism, and how to incorporate the Buddha’s teachings on compassion and mindfulness into daily life.

Two-thousand-five-hundred years ago in northern India, Prince Siddhartha left his palace where he had spent twenty-nine years indulging in pleasures.

He was determined to comprehend the nature of human suffering. After a grueling spiritual quest that lasted six years, he at last attained enlightenment meditating under a fig tree.

He became the Buddha, the “awakened one,” and devoted the rest of his life to teaching the way to enlightenment that he himself had found, giving birth to one of the world’s great religions.

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39 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Man

    One thing about the knowledge of the director of this documentary...""Buddha was born in Nepal not in India."" And her mother Maya devi was queen from Nepali shakya kingdom not from India....Please donot give false information to the viewers...

  2. Eylzen

    @ Man
    He does state that he was born in a border valley between India and Nepal. His mother might have been born in Nepal, but the documentary simply states that she was the queen of a small Indian kingdom.

  3. anurag

    It was Prince siddharth who was born in Nepal,but He became Buddha in India:)),and you cannot view buddhism in isolation,there were two of buddha contempories at that time,Mahavira(Jainism) and Gosala(He founded religion known as Ajivika,which is now a dead religion.and both buddhism and jainism borrowed from Ajivika as much as they borrowed from hinduism).

  4. Vlatko

    Well said @anurag.

  5. anurag

    @ Vlatko,

    An word of appreciation from is end is/will always held in high regards by me.Thank you

  6. equus

    “His holiness the dalai lama”…hahahahahaha…how & where do you get such a title? Holiness…the pope also got it…no mammal with flesh & blood will be called holiness by me…ever…holiness…hahahahahahaha…gtfoh.

  7. Abhinav


    Holiness is a title bestowed upon people in india who have renounced everything that we call our own, be it material or social (wealth, property, job, family, mother, father, daughter, son, friends etc etc.). Buddha merely taught that "you are not your friends or family, you are not your wealth or money" So, holiness is a title given to an individual who has surpassed the craving for lust, emotions, desire, etc is given that title. Just as Eisntein, Da Vince, Beethoven or Mozart were called geniuses or maestro's by the people themselves because they possessed uncommon skill in their respective fields. If you can do an ounce of what these people have done, Im sure the title would be bestowed up on you by society rather than call yourself one. Unless you can do even an iota that they have done, I suggest that you shut up.


  8. Gus Hales

    Man: Interesting comment you make picking at the details of the life story of the Buddha. Isn't this just typical of what man does to any profound message. Forget the message, forget what it may be pointing to and forget the deep meaning leading to the end of suffering. Just get lost in the detail.

  9. ashman

    in context of observing, the emotion invoked by the life of holy/non-holy man and his quest to understand himself and what he sees his world to be is tremendous. What an adventure this vessel we call our body/temple can be.

    I believe we all intentionally/unintentionally with force/patience/meditation pursue the meaning and understanding the moment of our birth into consciousness.

  10. jasonsociety

    Actually Hinduism borrowed concepts from Vedic religions, Buddhism and Jainism, Hunidusim is a modern religion founded by shankaracharya.

  11. miggymig

    This documentary was well done. As for the comment above, I'm not very knowledgeable about this, but was Nepal a part of India during Budda's time (as was Pakistan and Bangladesh)? India was much bigger during Buddah's life, so I would defer to him originating there even if Nepal eventually became separate. In other words, I come to conclude that during his life, Budda would consider himself to be Indian (perhaps Nepal not being in existence yet). It now comes to mind that perhaps I should have checked on this first!

  12. anurag

    Actually if you see from religious/language/culture sense the east ends with China and west starts with India,and it is a known fact that Sanskrit is the mother of all european languages.

    asides to@jasonsociety

    The school of thought shankaracharya started is known as Vedantha(It means commentary on vedas with Advaith as its core teachings) there were numerous other school of thought before Shankara and there were many others after him.even before Buddhism and Jainism the ancient religion of india has two division one was vedic and other was Sharmana.....

    There is no word for religion in sanskrit dictionary,and the word Hinduism is not found on any scriptures of hinduism,the correct name is Sanatana Dharma.

    Anurag Awasthi

  13. tk

    Nations didn't exist back then like they do today. They were small accumulations of land and villages. So wether the place the bhudda was born is being called Nepal or India today is of little consequense.

    I really found the Dalai Lama very charming and nice.

  14. light

    The budda taught that the middle path IS the way, Yet he reached enlightenment through radical Extremism! Perhaps the most extreme person who ever lived.

  15. anurag awasthi


    Please read about Kapalika sect and chervaaka sect which was in existence during the time of Buddha before deciding what is extremism and what was the middle path he preached

  16. Jamal Mortoza

    During the time of Buddha there were many kingdoms in the area and many peoples. All of the people in the Easter part of the sub continent around Bengal, Nepal, Bhutan, Assam, Bihar, and Orissa had all overlapping sections that belonged to a variety of kingdoms. India in its present modern form was not united until Asoka assended the throne and carried out many wars against the Orissians and Bengalis during which time it is said he converted and became a Buddist and the next time India as an Empire included most areas was under Akbar the Great of the Mughals. After the Mughals the next group to unite India were the British although some would argue that is strictly not true as a third of the country was governed by various princes. The people of these areas all spoke a form of early Sanskrit called Dev Sanskrit or Early Eastern Sanskrit and there is a lot of cross over as result between the main languages such as Nepali, Bengali, Assami, and Oroowa (Orisian)

  17. FundoK

    Buddha died while still searching for the truth.People nolonger need to follow him since the Truth came into the World.Jesus said, He was and is the Truth ,The Way and the Life.As for those who lived before Jesus,God knows how they will be treated finally. However, Judgement will be passed on to any body who has know the Truth but rejected Him(Jesus).

  18. alonsoisaac06661

    thats like me saying im the truth just because someone is idoliezed dosent make it more true than it is you cand say he was wrong he found for himself his own life style and religion for peace unlike someone who follows a set religion that restricts you his was free liberated types of teaching.. i dont even follow that religion and i know this much dont bad mouth this because of your religion

  19. Paco

    I am catholic, but feel that anybody may recognize that the Buddha was a great spiritual teacher. As an ape from the genus Homo, I feel inheritant too of the teachings of the Buddha. What would some fundametalist Christians say if they saw Jesus giving high testimony of the Buddha's teachings? Jesus was not sectarian, and His heart would have surely recognized the light put forth by the Buddha. Remember that in the gospel Jesus praised a roman centurion, from a pagan religion, for his great faith!! Although the roman was probably praying to Jupiter and the sort. People shouldn't use religion in an exclusive way to feel superior or selected. We should all treasure the great human heritage from all corners of the world, being Islam or Buddhism

  20. Anbarasan Thirunavukkarasu

    Among the notable contemporaries of mahavira was a wandering teacher who belonged to the sakya clan of Kapilavastu in the nepal tarai to the north of the basti district of the uttar pradesh.

  21. Jayant Arora

    Instead of following the path showed by Buddha you guys are arguing about his nationality. By arguing over such a petty thing you people are failing Buddha. Please stop this non sense and follow the path of trust and peace. Praise humanity and feel lucky that we have his teachings to guide us.

  22. anuragawasthi

    In sanskrit buddha means 'enlighten one'The first historical buddha known as 'Saguta Buddha'lived in 1500 B.C and Gautama Buddha went to Bodhi-Gaya to get enlightenment from the birth place of Vishnu-avatar-Buddha.

  23. StevenLJones

    FundoK. Why do you bother to watch this if you so firm in your Jesus belief? Judgment. Judge least ye be judged or remove the mote from my own eye. Why cling to form? Can you not find love in your heart and is that not enough? Do you have to have Jesus? Why? And anybody that disagrees with you, in you mind you send them to hell. That must hurt.

  24. nipunasuja

    I felt happy when I saw your comment, and I agree 100%. People spend far too much time arguing over technicalities in religions or trying to "convert" others rather than practicing their own religions. I'm a Buddhist and I think of Jesus as an exceptionally loving, kindhearted teacher and it almost makes me cry to think of his sacrifices. A wise person would take what positive messages they can take from any good teacher. Even in Buddhism, there's an instance when the Buddha asks a former follower of Mahavira to continue supporting his previous teacher, and there are many stories about people from other faiths being reborn in heaven due to their generosity, morality etc. Sure, there are differences in religions but when you focus on the differences that only leads to conflict, whereas focusing on similarities has the power to unite people. So why can't people just get along?

  25. Hadie

    you seem to know quite a lot about Budhism, can you give me some reliable books or sites I can read? Thanks!

  26. anuragawasthi

    Many people want to learn abt Buddhism,but buddha himdelf said do not believe because I say so, experience it yourself...............I would recommend that before you start learning abt Buddhism,initially you just start meditation for ard 20min daily....................and when you do meditation try not to think
    abt anything .while doing this if you have any problem you can contact me.........Iam a Hindu not a buddhist..........but a Iam from india I know a bit abt Buddhism and hinduism,

  27. Larissa Paredes

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I loved it!

  28. Winston Smith

    no reason to even dream there was a historical jesus. Watch THE GOD WHO WASN'T THERE

  29. Prakash Lama

    buddha was born in lumbini which is in NEPAL and not any part of northern india. the only relevance to buddha's story with india is that siddhartha meditated in bodh gaya which is in india.

  30. Gunjan

    The country Nepal existed long before Buddha was born but there was no country named India at that time. India was many countries ruled by various kings. Nepal was never part of INDIA not even when English Ruled. Buddha was born in ancient king dome named Kapalvastu which now lies in border of India and Nepal. The ruins of palace of Buddha's father, Uncle and buddhas birth place is discovered in Nepal. Before the British Rule all Kapilvastu (and many more) was inside Nepal. Nepal was never returned its land even though British returned India to its people(the recent history affects peoples mind than the ancient). So now when someone else claim birth place of buddha as well, the old Neplease wound hurts.

  31. Michael Veys

    Unity does not mandate uniformity....their is the simple truth of jesus lost 18 years when he traveled to india...known as st. isa....just google it or find the book and documents ...the lost years of jesus by the summitlighthouse...he was in essence a yogi...mastering his lifeforce and internalizing that light by studying the great texts of india's legacy...the birthplace of religion...jesus was the christ...gautama became the buddha....they are one in this age when duality...when end separation and draw wisdom from all the traditions..

  32. Shrawan Shrestha

    nice video

  33. Shrawan Shrestha

    educational video

  34. Friso Woudstra

    This was really well made. I'm a mindfulness learner myself and I fellt this was both good in providing a view on Buddha's life as well as his teachings - some of which were really wel explained. The use of both shots of modern sites, historical drama and animation gives it a refined feel. Full score for me.

  35. Rune Moon

    did they mention the fourth encounter?

  36. Richard H. Pratt

    More than that Paco...jesus studied Buddhism. Read JESUS LIVED INDIA. by Kirsten.

  37. Richard H. Pratt

    This is the best presentation I have yet seen, on the life and teachings of the Buddha.

  38. Saleko

    Wonderful documentary, i really feel wonderful after watched this

  39. Indus

    Buddha was born a Hindu.

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