The Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha

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. —From product description on
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Average: 3.7 (3 votes)


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The Buddha

Field of Interest/Specialty: Business/Social Studies
Posted On: 12/30/2017

Don Yuhouse
Dr. Brenda G. Jordan
Movie Review “The Buddha” The Story of Siddhartha (a film by David Grubin)
28 November 2017
A PBS documentary on the Buddha and the origins of Buddhism was interesting from a factual side. This video was instructional on the history of Buddha and the beginning of Buddhism. It gives a step by step process of how the Buddha attained enlightenment and reached nirvana. It is a well told story with animation from still drawings and renderings and artwork.
This is not a motion picture with action, actors, or live acting. As an educational tool, this video would be great to introduce or reinforce segments on the teachings of Buddha and Buddhism. To show this to a class as a documentary from beginning to end would not be recommended by this viewer unless you are studying philosophy or theology.

I watched it twice!

Field of Interest/Specialty: Elementary
Posted On: 02/21/2013

I am certified K-6. I felt parts of this film would be appropriate for any age. (There are some drawings/paintings of naked women that I would exclude for younger grades.) I would probably not show the entire film to any grade level due to the length. Two hours is a long amount of time to take away from other activities.
The film could be used in 2 ways. I feel this film would be a good reward after having learned most of the material. It would help you further understand the concepts already discussed. Otherwise, the film could be used to BEGIN the lesson. This would be a good way to introduce the topics discussed.
Overall, I felt the film was interesting and I really loved the interviews with the monks and the Dalai Lama. I think the cartoon segments were well placed and would keep students interested.

Very Informative Film

Field of Interest/Specialty: English
Posted On: 05/18/2011

6th Grade English Teacher
Shady Side Academy
The Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha is a two-hour long documentary on Buddhism directed by David Grubin. It is appropriate for middle and high school. You could even use some parts in fourth and fifth grade. I think the information would be too much, but they could learn much from the images.
The documentary goes through the life of Siddhartha and his journey to become the Buddha. The film is narrated by Richard Gere. The main story is told through animation, but interwoven through the animation are interviews with Buddhists, including monks, nuns and lay followers. There are also interviews with the Dalai Lama. Ancient artwork is also featured in the firm, which was a highlight for me including paintings and sculptures. The film also shows footage of holy places in India today including scenes from Varanasi and scenes showing people bathing in the Ganges. It also shows young monks in training and joining the Sangha. It also shows people practicing meditation and yoga.
The film does an excellent job explaining Buddhism and how it is practiced today as well as how Siddhartha found his enlightenment.
The film is broken into the following sections: Birth, Siddhartha, Leaving the Palace, Reincarnation, Asceticism, A Childhood Memory, Enlightenment, The First Teaching, The Four Noble Truths, Then Sangha, Meditation, Teachings, Miracles, Earth of the Buddha, Epilogue.
Two hours was a long time even though it was interesting. I would recommend showing parts of the movie that best highlight what you are trying to teach otherwise I think the students will tune out. If there is a lot of the film you want to use, I would recommend breaking it up in shorter sections as you go through your unit because it is a lot of information and a lot of speaking.
The special features include an interview with the Dalai Lama talking about Buddhism and the differences it has from other religions. This is really short but interesting. There is also a special feature on Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites, which shows footage of people meditating and worshiping at these sites today.