The Buddha

About This Episode

Two-thousand-five-hundred years ago in northern India, Prince Siddhartha left his palace, where he had spent twenty-nine years indulging in pleasures, with a determination to comprehend the nature of human suffering. After a grueling six-year spiritual quest, he attained enlightenment meditating under a fig tree. Siddhartha 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 religions.

Narrated by actor Richard Gere, The Buddha tells the story of the Buddha through ancient artwork that depicts the various stages of Siddhartha’s journey, contemporary animation that vividly portrays the legends surrounding the Buddha and contemporary footage of northern India, where many of the religious rituals from the Buddha’s time are still practiced today. Experts on the Buddha from His Holiness the Dalai Lama to poet Jane Hirshfield to scholar Robert Thurman and astrophysicist Trinh Xuan, who represent a variety of disciplines, relate the key episodes of the Buddha’s life and reflect on what his journey means for us.