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Buddha [Blu-ray]

Richard Gere , David Grubin  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Gere
  • Directors: David Grubin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0033XUHAY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,311 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Two and a half millennia ago, a new religion was born in northern India, generated from the ideas of a single man, the Buddha, a mysterious Indian sage who famously gained enlightenment while he sat under a large, 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 by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin tells the story of his life, a journey especially relevant in our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion. Richard Gere narrates.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
193 of 198 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buddha - the Awakened Leader April 8, 2010
My wife and I watched this documentary last night when it aired on PBS and enjoyed it very much. The pace, cinemagraphic and informational quality were all very well done. I thought the choice of participants (frequently cut to for ongoing commentary) was pleasing and varied (Asian, Western, Men, Women, Old, Young, Ordained, Lay, Scholars and Poets). Actor Richard Gere as well, was perfect as the unobtrusive narrator. The narration accompanied illustrations that included wonderful footage of modern (timeless) India and a variety of traditional and contemporary Buddhist art (painting and sculpture), and traced the life of Buddha through the main places and cultures of India he lived as they are preserved and appreciated today. (I thought the occasional use of the flowing, simple and whimsically animated graphics was okay in depicting the myths. My wife, not a Buddhist, thought they were a bit too simple and cartoony...)

Overall I thought the show kept a nice balance between presenting Buddha the awakened human being, and Buddha the mythical cosmic being (very little is objectively known of him since it was probably over 300 years after his passing before anything was written down about him, his origins and teachings). Dharma-wise, the content seemed delightfully whole, even, smooth and free of sectarian edges (if anything the approach was more Therevadin oriented, as it kept to basic common themes and really looked at the Buddha the man and not Buddhism the religion). The effect was a teaching very down to earth and applicable to all of us regardless of our beliefs.

I finished the show feeling more inspired to wake up - to meditate, to enjoy life, to pay attention moment by moment and let the natural wisdom and compassion of this moment flow (within and without me).
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112 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thoughtful Rendering That I Highly Recommend April 17, 2010
I think this movie will satisfy Buddhists as well as those who know nothing of the Buddha.

This isn't a deep exploration of the Buddha's teachings. But I think that's a good thing. Buddhism has been unduly complicated over the 2,500 years since his death. But the core teaching has always been simple.

It's easy to fall into the trap that many contemporary Buddhists fall in to, who seem to want to mystify the most ordinary things. Frankly, I think this does a disservice to the Buddha's teachings, which I believe were intended from the beginning to be simple and straightforward and easily understood.

For those who don't know much about the Buddha:

He never wanted to be worshipped and never claimed to be God or God's son or representative. He only claimed to have found a way to be free of earthly suffering. And one of his highest teachings is to not *cause* the suffering of another.

Like Jesus, he asked his students to practice nonpossession and nonviolence.


As an afterthought, I thought I should mention that the Buddha had separate rules for householders. They were required to practice nonviolence but they were also allowed to have possessions. And they weren't required to practice celibacy like the monks and nuns. In general they were required to practice kindness and honesty. And they were forbidden to earn a living in any way that would cause harm to someone. I don't believe this is covered in the film, so I thought I would mention it for anyone who is interested in learning more about Buddhism.
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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Supreme Tale of The Great Buddha April 8, 2010
By A. Wong
This is one of the very best historical Buddha documentary I've seen in a long, long time. Richard Gere, our great spokesman for his most blessed HHDL and Buddhism narrates this tale with utmost respect and care, along with a great cast of highly revered experts including Robert Thurman, other monks, nuns, poets, writers, and of course, none other than his His Holiness Dalai Lama (HHDL). The docu covers much grounds, including the Buddha's childhood stage, mostly historical and commonly accepted findings of his youth, to his last dying days, covering much intimate details of his search for reaching and attaining enlightenment, hence the Buddha, meaning the Enlightened One. Thanks to the wonderful David Grubin and a great cast and Richard Gere for bringing this to fruition and the most blessed teaching of Buddhism, not just to a Western audience, but to the world. On a separate but related note, my wish is that this video would one day be widely available and be seen in mainland China for some 1.3 billion plus Chinese to watch and learn from the great teaching of the Buddha, and not the crass, materialism of modern times, hence have a new found respect for Buddhism, for Tibet and its people.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I practice Nichiren Buddhism, and I love the film. April 12, 2010
This film is made by Tibeten Buddhists without focusing on Tibetan Buddhism. That's probably what I admire about the film most of all. They simply told the story of the man we all know as The Buddha. It's not a propaganda film.

Buddhists do not worship the Buddha, but we do revere him. In my Buddhist practice (Nichiren Buddhism) we do not have any Buddha statues or worship any person whatsoever for instance; rather, we try to practice and, sure, to a certain extent pay homage to his teachings. As the saying goes, 'The Buddha is a person, and a person is the Buddha.' The goal of practicing Buddhism is not to worship, but to become; we practice to attain the same enlightenment as Shakyamuni (aka Gautama, aka Siddarta, et cetera). What's great about this film is that it represents how the Buddha sought enlightenment.

On the other hand, there are parts of the world where the Buddha is revered as if a god or savior, which is like trying to get rich by counting someone else's money, so it's good to see a film that talks about the man for a change, and again without promoting a particular practice.

They also show a lot of the practices that are often mistaken for Buddhism, and give them a balanced treatment--purely as points of reference rather than opinion.

This film represents the Buddha in a way that is entirely agreeable to those who subscribe to a multitude of viewpoints on the subject of his teaching, and practice them in various ways. I also believe it's a good film for non-Buddhists who are simply interested in the unique history and undeniable cultural and philosophical impact the Buddha has on hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

On plain production quality:

I liked the animated segments.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history
Very informative and easy to follow. Excellent history
Published 2 days ago by Katie Nash
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 days ago by Reginald Drummond
5.0 out of 5 stars thanks
Published 11 days ago by Stephen L. Lubin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautiful visuals, and a very good intro to the story of The Buddha.
Published 14 days ago by LMB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I have watched this program multiple times.
Published 15 days ago by Jorge Nutsford
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very well done. Now we need a new Buddha to emerge.
Published 18 days ago by Thomas
1.0 out of 5 stars Very narrow and one-sided. Does not represent a general Buddhist...
There are only two schools of Buddhism, the Northern School (Mahayana) and the Southern School (Theravada), and each school has many traditions (denominations, per se). Read more
Published 22 days ago by john1411
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This movie is exactly what I expected and was promptly delivered to my home.
Published 29 days ago by shelbytzu
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the cuts from narration to personal points of view
A gentle entertaining intro to the Buddha. I enjoyed the cuts from narration to personal points of view. And the blending of video with photos and animation. Very informative.
Published 1 month ago by Tim
5.0 out of 5 stars I"m hooked on Amazon Docs
Thoroughly enjoyed this documentary about Buddha. Very informative the quality was very good it was my first experience with the Amazon movie service. Read more
Published 1 month ago by healthymj
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SDH Subtitles
I bought "Henry VIII and his six wives" and it was written in the box "closed captioned" , but it was not really true . There was no subtitle at all and I could not understand a word. So, be careful whwn you buy these films.
May 4, 2011 by regina |  See all 2 posts
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