The Buddha

The Buddha

Thu, 03/04/2021 - 8:30pm - 11:00pm

Animation of the Buddha gaining enlightenment while sitting under a fig tree

Courtesy of Asterisk Animation

This film brings to life Prince Siddhartha and his journey.

Twenty-five-hundred years ago in northern India, Prince Siddhartha left his palace where he had spent 29 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. The Buddha, a documentary directed by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin, brings to life Siddhartha and his journey. The program airs Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

The film, narrated by actor Richard Gere, is undertaken in conjunction with Asia Society Museum, which has organized an exhibition entitled Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art, the first-ever exhibition examining artistic production inspired by sacred sites and the practice of Buddhist pilgrimage in Asia.

Experts on the Buddha, representing a variety of disciplines, relate the key episodes of the Buddha's life and reflect on what his journey means for us today. They include His Holiness the Dalai Lama; poets Jane Hirshfield and W.S. Merwin; scholars Robert Thurman, Kevin Trainor, and D. Max Moerman; astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan; psychiatrist Mark Epstein; and practicing Buddhist monastics.