Author Topic: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th  (Read 3944 times)

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2010, 08:53:47 pm »
(I) was also uncomfortable with "the poets" representing Buddhism.  Must have been some of Richard Gere's friends and associates.  Seems like there should have been HHDL (good choice), Dr. Robert Thurman (good choice) maybe a Zen Monk who is fluent, a Nicheren Monk, a Theravadan Monk (Perhaps Bhikkhu Bodhi or someone like him.)  blah, blah, blah, etc. etc..  Some of the comments seemed a little spacy to me and not much emphasis on The Dhamma.

Rather disappointing overall.  Still (I) saved it and will look at it again tonight.  Perhaps (I) will like it better the second time.

Of the many people I can think of as either experts on Buddhism or inspiring speakers on Buddhism... who were those commentators? So I've read Mark Epstein's book, he would not have been my first choice. The various poets, I was left wondering "Who are you? Why are you selected to represent the Buddha's life?"

On one hand, I did not learn anything from the show, and I am not an expert on the life of Buddha so the documentary was very basic. On the other hand, I think for people who are unfamiliar with Buddhism it was a good introduction.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline catmoon

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2010, 10:59:07 pm »
  I guess Buddhists were not the target audience.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2010, 08:48:28 am »
Ahhhhhhh!  Watched South Park, which had an episode re. Facebook friends instead.  Got caught up in a little guy who didn't have any friends and Kyle got dematerialized and rematerialized into the Facebook file server where he had to confront His Profile in competition by playing Yatzee.  Fortunately he won twice and was returned to the brick and mortar world.  Made way more sense to me than The Richard Gere effort.

(I) was also uncomfortable with "the poets" representing Buddhism.  Must have been some of Richard Gere's friends and associates.  Seems like there should have been HHDL (good choice), Dr. Robert Thurman (good choice) maybe a Zen Monk who is fluent, a Nicheren Monk, a Theravadan Monk (Perhaps Bhikkhu Bodhi or someone like him.)  blah, blah, blah, etc. etc..  Some of the comments seemed a little spacy to me and not much emphasis on The Dhamma.

Rather disappointing overall.  Still (I) saved it and will look at it again tonight.  Perhaps (I) will like it better the second time.

Of the many people I can think of as either experts on Buddhism or inspiring speakers on Buddhism... who were those commentators? So I've read Mark Epstein's book, he would not have been my first choice. The various poets, I was left wondering "Who are you? Why are you selected to represent the Buddha's life?"

On one hand, I did not learn anything from the show, and I am not an expert on the life of Buddha so the documentary was very basic. On the other hand, I think for people who are unfamiliar with Buddhism it was a good introduction.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2010, 09:27:25 am »
"THE UNMISTAKEN CHILD" - was a beautiful real life story on finding the reincarnation of Tibetan master Geshe Lama Konchog who passed away
in 2001. Among other things, it involves a long & arduous journey of searching, meeting, interviewing and listening to stories about young children with special characteristics and performing rarely seen ritualistic investigative tests designed to determine their likelihood of reincarnation.  He finally does find the child, presents the child he believes to be his reincarnated master to the Dalai Lama — who makes the final decision. It was absolutely mesmerizing & breathtaking. It turned out to be another two hour show that followed the Buddha documentary, I was surprised to find out about it, since it was not promoted by pbs.
I just bought it off of Amazon.
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Tsomo

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2010, 09:57:27 am »
 :dharma:
Here in Ireland, due to rights, we couldn't watch The Buddha documentary.
However, why knock Richard Gere's effort?
I hardly know who Richard Gere is .... only know he is dedicated to buddhism, and that he does his thing for buddhism. For me that's good enough.
No attachment - no aversion - no conceptualizations - no dualism - isn't that after all the buddhist way to be?  :namaste:
 

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2010, 10:34:26 am »
The Buddha's teachings, The Dhamma, is the beneficial aspect of Buddhism, not cultural fairy tales, and the rituals.  Very little was said about The Dhamma, or how The Practice of Buddhism and how it has benefited life on this planet.  It is similar to talking for an hour about the decorations and embellishments put on knives, forks, spoons, and plates and never mentioning their purpose as eating utensils.

But, folks like stories about The Easter Bunny and Santa Klaus, why not entertain them with mythical stories about The Buddha which have little or anything to do with what Buddha taught and what he accomplished?  It's on a par with the statues of Buddha with clocks in his belly.  At least we'll know what time it is.  Never mind The Dhamma.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2010, 10:59:11 am »
The Buddha's teachings, The Dhamma, is the beneficial aspect of Buddhism, not cultural fairy tales, and the rituals.  Very little was said about The Dhamma, or how The Practice of Buddhism and how it has benefited life on this planet.  It is similar to talking for an hour about the decorations and embellishments put on knives, forks, spoons, and plates and never mentioning their purpose as eating utensils.

But, folks like stories about The Easter Bunny and Santa Klaus, why not entertain them with mythical stories about The Buddha which have little or anything to do with what Buddha taught and what he accomplished?  It's on a par with the statues of Buddha with clocks in his belly.  At least we'll know what time it is.  Never mind The Dhamma.
Yeah, I had some of that reaction, too.

Offline J. McKenna

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2010, 12:34:54 pm »
"Who are you? Why are you selected to represent the Buddha's life?"

I wondered the same and after reading up on each still can't figure why they were chosen unless cost was an issue. No surpises or unknown were seen by me, but my housemate found it a good intro to the LIFE of the Buddha ....
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2010, 12:59:41 pm »
Saw the second hour today.  Much better than the first hour.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline catmoon

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2010, 01:09:44 am »
"Who are you? Why are you selected to represent the Buddha's life?"

I wondered the same and after reading up on each still can't figure why they were chosen unless cost was an issue. No surprises or unknown were seen by me, but my housemate found it a good intro to the LIFE of the Buddha ....

This is just it... the target audience is clearly not the Buddhist sangha, the whole thing is aimed at those who know nothing at all about Buddhism. The entire first half of the thing is dedicated to explaining who Buddha was, where he was from, why he went seeking and what he found on the way.

The strange part is that well, if it is a documentary, then why is there such emphasis on mythical episodes like jumping 30 foot walls on horseback, elephants crawling inside people, hordes of demons defeated by Buddha and so on? Most people are going to reject this stuff out of hand, just as most people reject Jonah and the whale out of hand.

I don't want to knock the effort, but I guess I have the critic gene. Help, I can't stop, I'm outta control... too bad they couldn't cast Charlton Heston as the Buddha and title it The Four Noble Truths...

 
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2010, 01:56:41 pm »
too bad they couldn't cast Charlton Heston as the Buddha and title it The Four Noble Truths...
Wait, I've seen that version. They spray painted Keanu Reeves tan and he played the Buddha... "Like Dude! How does one like totally end this suffering stuff?"

Offline J. McKenna

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2010, 05:34:48 pm »
too bad they couldn't cast Charlton Heston as the Buddha and title it The Four Noble Truths...
Wait, I've seen that version. They spray painted Keanu Reeves tan and he played the Buddha... "Like Dude! How does one like totally end this suffering stuff?"

Perhaps you meant John Derek, or Steve Reeves ........ Keanu was much too neo-classical .......  :lipsseald:
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline Arya-Shraman

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2010, 06:40:50 am »
I watched it on Youtube.I was also surprised to see poets. But I think its a good effort. Given that  so little is done on youtube and TV about Buddhism.Lets say this is just start. And appreciate it .It will mature.I know what it takes to make a movie.Lot of constraints.. If we discourage such effort we block all future efforts of a better and more mature documentary .

Nice Job,People. I congratulate the pbs team.

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2010, 08:05:57 am »
I watched it again. I really do enjoy the the stylistic presentation, and I am glad that they spoke about the Dharma in the last hour (even if it was brief and overshadowed by miracles and supernatural feats).  I figured out why the poets bother me so much. The woman poet, she makes many claims about the Dharma and being a Buddhist that I was uncomfortable with. That was her experience with Buddhism, I don't know if her claims are universal. And she looked like she had just taken a hit of XTC before filming, I thought she was going to reach through the screen and give me a hug and a kiss.

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Re: 'The Buddha' two hour documentary premiers on PBS April 7th
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2010, 09:53:23 am »
I didn't have a problem with either poet - Hirshfield or Merwin.

I won't speak to the rest of you, but poetry plays a big role in the tradition I practice in.  Realized masters have, throughout my lineage's history expressed realization via poetry from the the dowas of the mahasiddha Milarepa right down to today with the Karmapa, my own teacher - the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, his guru - Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and many others.

I'm not saying that Hirshfield and Merwin have any sort of realiztion, but their poetry is informed/inspired by the Dharma and poets often bring a perspective that academics do not have.

One thing I thought would have been cool, is if they had bagged using Richard Gere for narrator and got someone like Peter Coyote or Robert Redford instead (I find Gere's speaking vioce irritating).  Another thing would have been to have an ordinary, everyday, unremarkable Buddhist practitioner offer comment.

 


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