I did what, I think, not many did. I did not watch one trailer for “The Buddha” or read one link, article or blog post on it before it aired. Hell, I even avoided the tweets on it and the YouTube teasers. The only things I saw were the 500 bookmarks delivered to the library (100 of which still sit on my desk).
Like Aliens:Resurrection, I wanted to be completely hype free for my viewing. Narrated by long-time celebrity Buddhist (or Buddebrity) Richard Gere and featuring the Lama, W.S. Merwin,scholar Robert Thurman and others this presentation of the The Buddha’s life was entertaining and broad but came off at the end as rather shallow and dull. I didn’t particularly enjoy the “scholarly” tidbits throughout the documentary although I can’t find any fault with the opening statements by the Dalai Lama. Personally, I think they would have been more stirring if placed at the end.
You are your own master
Future, everything depends on your shoulder
Buddha’s responsibility is to show the path, thats all.
There was also a lack of commentary from everyday practitioners on the life and teachings of the Buddha. With the same 4 or 5 talking heads speaking, the conversation got redundant after a while. The artwork and animations were a nice diversion for me but the mixing of spectacular myth with biography became convoluted.
I’m nitpicking. I enjoyed the film immensely. The best part was my daughter transfixed on the animated elephants and loudly trumpeting and laughing hysterically whenever the Dalai Lama popped up on the screen. Over all, I enjoyed the relaxed pace of the film as well as the simple explanation of the teachings. It served as a welcome introduction to a path that always requires a reminder. But I did, at the end, expect to see…
…next week on “The Buddha”.
For a fabulous review (and an honest one) of “The Buddha” check out My Buddha is Pink here.