An ambitious and imaginative film that uses animation and contemporary voices including poets Jane Hirshfield and US Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, and Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman to explore the life and meaning of the man who became “awake,” and who continues to inspire the diverse Buddhist traditions all over the world.
The film, narrated by Richard Gere, tells the story of the Buddha through ancient artwork that depicts the various stages of Prince Siddhartha’s journey, contemporary animation that vividly portrays the legends surrounding the Buddha, and contemporary footage of northern India, where many rituals from the Buddha’s time are still practiced today.
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 Dr. Max Moerman; astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan; and psychiatrist Mark Epstein, as well as practicing Buddhist monastics.
“Buddhism is growing more and more popular in America,” said Grubin. “But the Buddha himself remains a mysterious, exotic figure, the founder of a religion in a different key. The Buddha never claimed to be God, or his emissary on earth. He said only that in a world of unavoidable pain and suffering, he had found a serenity which others could find too. In our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion, the Buddha’s teachings have particular relevance.”