When he was 29, the Buddha abandoned the palace where he had grown up and set out to comprehend the nature of suffering. After an arduous six-year struggle, he attained in Bodh Gaya, a village in northeastern India, the ultimate wisdom - enlightenment - and spent the rest of his life teaching others what he had learned. He gave his first teaching in a deer park in Sarnath, not far from the holy city of Benares on the Ganges river.
The Buddha imagined that his message would disappear after his death. His teachings, he believed, were as transient as everything else - no more enduring than thoughts flickering through the mind. But his teachings have come down to us in visual images as well as the texts from different Buddhist traditions, providing instruction and inspiration for countless millions for 2500 years.
This video is a clip from the feature length documentary film "The Buddha" from director David Grubin. The film can be viewed in its entirety at "The Buddha" on PBS Video. It will also be rebroadcast on PBS on December 22nd (check local listings).
Return to the Art of the Buddha Exhibit.