Buddha On The TV

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Buddha On The TV

Postby Thaibebop » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:16 am

Hello,
I just watched this little clip from PBS about a special that they are doing April 7th. Most of the time I avoid TV docs on Buddhism. I might watch something that deals more with modern issues of modern Buddhist countries or poeple but not one on just the teachings or history of. However, this is PBS. For those that don't know PBS they have always had a good rep for docs. I also noticed that the monks pictured in this clip were dressed in orange.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4NyhN0-N6k

So, what do you guys normally think about tv docs on Buddhism, not Dhamma talks but educational shows? Do they get it rigth most of the time? Do they present a more popular view? What do you think?
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby bodom » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:33 am

Awesome! I cant wait to see this! I NEVER see anything Buddha related on television. Thank you!

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby BlackBird » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:45 am

PBS have uploaded the first 30 minute installment to youtube, you can find it here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBuddhaPBS
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby Thaibebop » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:14 am

Well, I guess we'll be watching then! :D
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby mindfulSpirit » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:57 pm

They have uploaded 8 out of 19 files of the documentary.

THE BUDDHA: Birth & Youth, part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6R5bVgU ... re=channel

THE BUDDHA: Birth & Youth, part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFIOMp4K ... re=channel

THE BUDDHA: Birth & Youth, part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqjQj5NP ... re=channel

THE BUDDHA: Seeking, part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6q8zx-1 ... re=channel

THE BUDDHA: Seeking, part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgefjlmZ ... re=channel

THE BUDDHA: Seeking, part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT-iKQcL ... re=channel

THE BUDDHA: Enlightenment, part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySNZfbUR ... re=channel

THE BUDDHA: Enlightenment, part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itWPupLk ... re=channel
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby Thaibebop » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:26 am

Thanks for that. :anjali: I have been watching them. So far,nor bad at all. Mostly introductory stuff.
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby Sobeh » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:42 am

Introductory stuff like this is awesome, as it ultimately increases the minimum standard of knowledge in a given population. This can never be overdone.

:popcorn:
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby alan » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:36 am

Several cringe-worthy moments in the first part alone.
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby Sobeh » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:43 am

It is what it is: introductory, glossing a lot of subtlety for the sake of brevity and clarity, but ultimately it's what I expect from a PBS show.

Having taught Comparative Religion at the college level, I find that I would have no problem showing this film in an Intro class. In fact, it includes a lot of footage on alternative practices in the beginning which help with visualizing the contemporary world Sid walked around in, all of it offering fantastic springboards for discussion. That alone is worth the price of admission.
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby alan » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:07 am

Hated it, hated it, hated it.
Ok I'll go take a swim and do some yoga, come back try to find something good to say.
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby alan » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:06 pm

Watched the whole thing and spent some time cooling off after a very negative initial reaction. Went back over some of the episodes and all I can say is: It could not realistically be any worse. It's pathetic, from the childish cartoons to the "poets" they use as commentators, to Mark Epstein, who is clearly in over his head. It's turgid. It wastes precious time on irrelevant side subjects. It goes heavy on the myth and light on the Suttas. It establishes no real point of view (we get a salad of Zen-Lite tidbits here and there), nor does it give the viewer a reason to care. Even the photography sucked.

Hey PBS: do us a favor and cancel this atrocity. All it is going to do is turn off people who might want to learn about the Dhamma.
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby alan » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:42 pm

Yes, I know my writing style is a bit forceful. I do have a tendency to get wound up and rant. So keeping Right Speech in mind I'll present my opinion from another angle. Let's say we have a Bill Maher viewer. Our viewer is smart enough to pay attention to the issues of the day. So Bill goes off on a comedy bit mocking Buddhism, and viewer X wants to know a bit more, being independently minded. So he checks out this PBS Doc.
Ok now ask yourself this question: assuming the first 10 minutes of dreams of elephants and impossible birth nonsense doesn't get him reaching for the remote, what does our potential Buddhist take away from this show? Does it motivate him to read more? To question friends? In short, does it inspire people to take their first steps on the path?

I'd say no. In fact, I'm betting our guy or gal will just laugh along with Bill Maher, certain now that Buddhists are kind of nice but nutty, and not really worth their attention.
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby Sobeh » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:56 pm

alan wrote:Does it motivate him to read more? To question friends? In short, does it inspire people to take their first steps on the path?

I'd say no. In fact, I'm betting our guy or gal will just laugh along with Bill Maher, certain now that Buddhists are kind of nice but nutty, and not really worth their attention.


Whether Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, or any number of like-minded folk... PBS isn't a round-table debate amongst religious leaders worldwide, nor is it a symposium on cutting-edge research trends in academia. It's PBS, and that means basics, basics, basics.

Sure it doesn't take up the mantle of textual analysis, it doesn't weigh the Dhamma against Xian Scholasticism, it doesn't introduce the burgeoning Secular Buddhist movement, it doesn't do a whole hell of a lot. But think back to what YOU first learned about Buddhism. Chances are, this bio was chapters one and two. Gotta start somewhere.

The whole program isn't even posted yet. I'm betting we at least get the Four Noble Truths by the end, but if we don't, it is then that I'd agree with your assessment.
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby appicchato » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:18 pm

It could not realistically be any worse. It's pathetic, from the childish cartoons to the "poets" they use as commentators, to Mark Epstein, who is clearly in over his head. It's turgid. It wastes precious time on irrelevant side subjects. It goes heavy on the myth and light on the Suttas. It establishes no real point of view (we get a salad of Zen-Lite tidbits here and there), nor does it give the viewer a reason to care. Even the photography sucked.

Gotta agree with Alan here...only the hard core (interested) will stick around after the first five minutes (of elephant dreams and side birth cartoons, only to be followed by...wait for it...poets)...guaranteed laughs all around...
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby alan » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:51 pm

Hi Sobeh.
I'm not going to take up the mantle of textual analysis,
And I'm not the guy you want to talk to if the discussion is centered around Xian Scholasticism.
No idea what you are talking about, to be honest. When did Textual Analysis get a mantle, and what have the Xians have to do with this?
Bio of the Buddha was nowhere near my introduction to the Dhamma. Has a value, of course. But I just can't envision a scenario in which smart people who might become Buddhists are first turned on because he was a prince, he was born like this or like that, at such and such a time, etc. And adding all the ridiculous mythical fantasies renders whatever value this approach may have irrelevant, at best.
Surely there is a better way to introduce Buddhism to a wide audience.
Cheers,
Alan
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby meindzai » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:04 pm

At least it wasn't Keeanu Reeves.

-M
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby Sobeh » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:34 pm

I think I understand what happened. I chose to view the film as having a primary audience in the United States, and to this extent the story is a good one when it comes to introducing the person of the Buddha to a Xian audience. The Digha Nikaya was likely used for a similar purpose, and this is simple a modern iteration of that intention.

imo
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:13 am

i just keep thinking, who the heck are these poets? it wasn't even like Anne Waldman or Gary Snyder or other major American Buddhist poets...
but these things are always sorta iffy, who writes them? and why don't actual Buddhist scholars or monks make them?
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby bodom » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:20 am

Very disappointing.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddha On The TV

Postby Thaibebop » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:13 am

I think it's just Hollywood Buddhism, maybe it will get someone to look deeper.
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