Buddha – The Way to Enlightenment


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Siddhartha Gautama was no liberator or reformer. He was the “enlightened” one – a title, given to him by his followers. In his state of total enlightenment, Buddha could have left the world forever, and entered long awaited Nirvana. He remained, however, to show his ever increasing band of followers the way to achieve self-redemption. His most important message: The world is a place of suffering. Human beings can only escape the cycle of reincarnation by choosing the right thinking and behavior, and by overcoming greed, hate and envy.


ZDF, 1999
Length: 43 minutes
Written and directed by: Bernd Liebner, Eike Schmitz
Camera: Suminda Weerasinghe, Lars Barthel, Wang Haibing
Editor: Wolfgang Allers
Soundmix: Oskar Kammerer
Narrator: Christian Brückner
Adviser: Jürgen Manshardt
Commissioning editor: Hans-Christian Huf
German or English version

Coming from a royal household, Buddha lived a life of luxury during his childhood and youth. He was deeply moved by chance meetings with people, living in poverty. He became an ascetic to transcend the transience of the world. For seven years, he sought in vain for enlightenment, through hunger and self-mortification. He then realized that he could only reach his aim on a purely spiritual path. Meditating under a fig tree, he finally did attain enlightenment and realized the “four noble truths”: suffering, the origin of suffering, the destruction of suffering and the path, which leads there. Thus he laid the foundations of a religion, that over 330 million people believe in today.

How did the historical figure Buddha actually live? How did he found and organize his monastic orders? And why did the Buddhist doctrine appeal to so many? The film searches for answers to these questions in monasteries, libraries, and holy places in India, Sri Lanka and Tibet. It shows an impressive panoramic view of Buddhism and follows the life and work of a charismatic leader, who founded a religion without gods.