Airs Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Two and a half millennia ago, a new religion was born in northern India, generated from the ideas of a single man, the Buddha. He was a mysterious Indian sage who famously gained enlightenment while he sat under a big, shapely fig tree.
The Buddha never claimed to be God or his emissary on earth. He said only that he was a human being who, in a world of unavoidable pain and suffering, had found a kind of serenity that others could find too.
This documentary draws upon 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.
His biography is also tracked geographically across the sweeping landscapes of northern India. The testimony of contemporary Buddhists -- including Pulitzer prize-winning poet W.S. Merwin and His Holiness the Dalai Lama -- provides insight into the ancient narrative.
To tell his story is to understand his teaching. And to understand his teaching is to gain new insight into what it is to be human. Richard Gere narrates the film.
This program originally aired in 2010.