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Buddhism Facts - Best Documentaries On The Buddha

Interesting Facts About Buddhism, On Film & In Movies

For those curious about Buddhism, the ancient eastern religion is often explained in documentaries and movies. There are also a good list of Youtubes on the Buddha that serve as a great resource for Buddhism facts.

Here's our top ten list of movies you can watch on Buddhism to get the facts on this very old spiritual path:

#1: Little Buddha, which is a movie based on a real story, follows the life of the Buddha, played by Keanu Reeves. The storyline delves more into Tibetan Buddhism though, which is starkly different than Zen Buddhism, or traditional Indian Buddhism. Read more about the differences here.

#2: Speaking of Youtubes explaining Buddhism, here's a good one:

#3: The 2013 Netflix Series on Buddha here

netflix buddha series
#4 Buddhist history and basics from the Dalai Lama in this Youtube

#5 Seven Years In Tibet is another movie that gives us some insights into Buddhism, from the Tibetan angle

More Buddhism Facts

  • Buddhism emerged in India about 2.5k years ago. 
  • Buddhism is largely based on the teachings of Buddha, who was an Indian prince born (563BC) as Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of this ancient religion.  
  • It was predicted that the Buddha would either be a great king or great holy man (we now know he became both!)
  • Four things inspired the Buddha to see that life is a cycle of suffering: an old man, a sick man, a poor man, and a corpse....this is what set him on his spiritual journey.
  • Other named for the Buddha is 'the enlightened one' or 'the awakened one'.
  • Buddha's own spiritual path started with meditation studies with gurus who fasted, and did other extreme things like holding their breathe and living in the wilderness.   
  • When was the Buddha finally "enlightened? Answer: when was 35 years old he decided that he would not leave the Bodhi tree until he attained it, and that he did after several days.  
  • Buddha died when he was 80 years old in Kushinagar, India, in the year 483 BC.
  • How many followers does Buddhism have? 360 million, but probably more. 
  • Ironically Buddhism's place of origin does not have much meaning for the people there in terms of increased numbers of followers. 
  • Buddhism is more popular in the East, but picking up in the West. 
  • Although Buddhist teachings are different, they all focus on ending suffering. 
  • The main Buddhist branches are divided as follows: Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.
  • A Buddha never claimed to be god, only a teacher who would share the way of enlightenment he found. 



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