Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Filmography - Eastern Philosophies and Religions: Buddhism

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of April 2011

Filmography - Eastern Philosophies and Religions - Buddhism

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of April 2011. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. To find titles acquired after this filmography was last updated, use keyword searching in ALADIN (


10 questions for the Dalai Lama: One man's journey through the northern Himalayas. 2007. 1 videodisc (85 min.). Ten questions are posed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by filmmaker and explorer Rick Ray. Ray examines some of the fundamental questions of our time by weaving together observations from his own journeys throughout India and the Middle East, and the wisdom of an extraordinary spiritual leader. DVD 3535

America as a Spiritual Democracy: Steven Rockefeller. 1990. 1 streaming video (30 min.). The path Steven Rockefeller has taken on his intellectual and spiritual journey would very likely surprise his great-grandfather, the tycoon John D. Rockefeller, Sr. A convert to Buddhism, Steven Rockefeller has been teaching Religion at Middlebury College in Vermont for almost 20 years. Centering on what he calls the democratic reconstruction of religion,Rockefeller has steeped himself in the writings of Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Dewey. In this program with Bill Moyers, Steven Rockefeller discusses his idea that the time has come to reconsider America as a spiritual democracy.The greatest single moral failing of many religious traditions,says Rockefeller, is their inability to teach their followers to respect people of a different tradition the same way they respect people of their own tradition. Streaming video

Ancient China. 1996. 1 streaming video (50 min.). From the creation legend of Panku to the demise of the Han Dynasty, this program traces Chinese history and explores the roots of Chinese culture today. Visit the Great Wall of China as scholars discuss why it remains even today a symbol of oppression, exemplified in the legend of the weeping woman; the Imperial Palace and how it exemplifies Chinese beliefs in harmony; and the Beijing Opera, whose works are an elaborate retelling of traditional folktales. The influences of Buddhism, ancestor worship, and Taoism in China are also discussed, along with stunning footage of the Buddhist caves and the terra-cotta army. Streaming video

Ancient India. 1996. 1 streaming video (48 min.). The antecedents of modern Indian culture can be traced back to the Harappan civilization, which flourished between 2300 and 1500 BC in what are now Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Aryan tribes from the Russian steppes invaded the subcontinent in 1000 BC, bringing their language and culture. The resulting synthesis between the Aryan and Indian civilizations brought forth a unique society that included a caste system, which soon became entrenched. This program examines the religious tension between Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, and the historical events that shaped the great Indian civilizations, from the Mauryan Empire through the Mogul Empire. Maps and scholars provide insight into a culture that remains vibrant and diverse today. Streaming video

Buddha in the Land of the Kami (7th-12th Centuries). 1989. 1 streaming video (53 min.). The history of Japan past and present is the story of the kami, the supernatural, not quite godlike spirits who underlie the Japanese-ness of Japan-who created the Japanese islands at the beginning of time and remain today the ones responsible for health and luck, for success in childbirth and business, for the proper functioning of silicon chips and the uniqueness and unity of the Japanese. This program begins with the creation myth of Japan and explains the origin and scope of the kami concept; explains the arrival of Buddhism and how Buddhism and the kami were assimilated; discusses the role of Chinese culture, style, and writing in Japanese culture; and demonstrates how the Japanese garden epitomizes the Japanese view of the relationship between humankind and nature, space, time, and reality. Streaming video

The Buddha of suburbia. 2007. 2 videodiscs (ca. 215 min.). Karim is the son of an assimilated Indian businessman in London. When his Zen-obsessed father becomes the guru of the swinging suburban scene, Karim is swept up into the world of theater, art, drugs, rock and roll and sexual exploration. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 3689

Buddha: The Path to Enlightenment. 1999. 1 streaming video (43 min.). Drawing on Buddha's ancient sermons, this program vividly depicts the life story of Siddhartha Gautama, who is said to have renounced luxury and radical asceticism alike to attain spiritual freedom by taking the middle path. Transformed, Siddhartha became reverentially known as Buddha, The Enlightened One,and offered his teachings to any who wished to learn the Four Noble Truths. Buddhist rituals, holiday celebrations, and holy sites such as Buddh Gaya and Mt. Kailash are interspersed throughout the narrative. Aspects of monastic life are also explored, as well as the concepts of karma and nirvana. Streaming video

Buddhism. 2003. 1 streaming video (27 min.). Using architecture and art, this program studies the birth of Buddhism in India and its spread to other lands, where it has flourished. The Mahabodhi Temple, in Bodh Gaya; the Great Stupa at Sanchi, India; the Borobudur Temple-the largest Buddhist shrine in the world-in Indonesia; and the Chuang Yen Monastery in New York State, with its 37-foot-tall marble statue of The Enlightened One surrounded by 10,000 smaller statues, are featured. Streaming video

Buddhism. 2007. 1 streaming video (28 min.). In this program, Dennis Wholey has a conversation about Buddhism with Hyon Gak Sunim, guiding teacher of the Seoul International Zen Center at Hwa Gye Sah Temple in Seoul, South Korea. Topics of discussion include the principle of nowness; the meaning of dukkha; the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path; Buddhist resonances with the teachings of Jesus and Socrates; the Buddhist temple experience; how Hyon Gak Sunim, raised a Roman Catholic in America, came to Buddhism; and the popularity of Buddhism in the 21st century. The program also goes inside the Center's temple to illustrate aspects of Buddhist worship. Streaming video

Burma: In the Garden of the Crying Buddha. 1998. 1 streaming video (49 min.). Renamed Myanmar by its ruling junta, Burma is one of the world's poorest nations due to decades of iron-fisted military control and despite its valuable natural resources and priceless national treasures. This program presents an intriguing glimpse of Burmese life, ranging from washing the sacred Buddha at the Maha Muni Pagoda and the initiation of young Buddhist novices amid the ruins of Bagan to farming the amazing floating gardens of Lake Inle. Issues including Burma's 40-year civil war, the vital role of the railway and the cinema, and rampant smuggling are addressed as well. Streaming video

China from the Inside: Freedom and Justice. 2006. 1 streaming video (56 min.). How free are the Chinese people? Do they worship as they please? Do China's journalists seek and tell the truth? Can citizens with grievances petition the state, and if so, is the process of any value? This program sheds light on civil liberties and human rights, or the lack thereof, in the PRC. Viewers discover the strict conditions under which Tibetan Buddhism is practiced in China; the surprising flexibility granted to Catholicism, albeit the Communist Party version of the faith; the enmity between the government and Falun Gong; and other examples of political oppression, such as forced evictions, corruption, land-grabbing, punitive reeducation, and whitewashing of the AIDS problem. Distributed by PBS Distribution. A part of the series China from the Inside. Streaming video

Chinese Buddhist Temples. 2005. 1 streaming video (25 min.). Although they may not look exactly like their counterparts in China, North America's Chinese Buddhist temples are closely linked to them through symbolism and traditions that go back more than 1,500 years. This video looks at structural symmetry, north/south building orientation, and interior layout; architectural elements like pagodas, columns, and courtyards; the lotus flower as a design element; and the statues of Buddha and the temple guardians. Buddhism's origin in India, the Siddhartha/Buddha story, and aspects of Buddhist worship are introduced as well. Streaming video

A Congress of the World's Religions: Speaking Out for Peace and Unity. 2008. 1 streaming video (28 min.). On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, 1,800 delegates gathered at the Congress of World Religions in Montreal to spend a week in ecumenical dialogue. This program captures the wisdom of attendees who, speaking from the podium or offstage, address topics ranging from widespread religious fanaticism, the destabilizing action/reaction spiral of violence, and the misuse of religion for political ends to defusing alienation through acceptance, fighting the radical poverty that polarizes communities, and nurturing understanding through greater awareness of the oneness of humankind. Participants include Congress President Arvind Sharma; Rabbi David Rosen; religious mythologist Karen Armstrong; the University of Montreal's Patrice Brodeur; George Washington University's Seyyed Hossein Nasr; Yifa, recipient of the UN's Outstanding Women in Buddhism Award; Harvard Divinity School's Harvey Cox; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation; Deepak Chopra, president of the Alliance for a New Humanity; Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi; and Huston Smith, philosopher of world religions. Streaming video

Eastern philosophy. 2006? 1 videodisc (146 min.). A three-part series exploring the major religions the Far East and Middle East, covering: Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Judaism, and Islam. DVD 5971

Friends in high places.  Ethnographic video online. 2001. 1 streaming video (88 min.). Film on the central role of nats and spirit mediums in alleviating the day to day burdens of modern Burmese life. The mediums profiled in the film, chiefly gay men, are considered to be neither male nor female and are regarded by society with a curious mix of reverence and disdain. Streaming video;764215

God and Buddha: a dialogue. 2003. 1 videodisc (ca. 86 min.). In this unprecedented dialogue, held at Tibet House New York, Deepak Chopra and Robert Thurman explore the ultimate harmonies between Buddhism and Vedanta. DVD 1486

The Gods Come Home: China's Traditional Faiths Persevere. 2008. 1 streaming video (52 min.). After decades of Communist oppression and neglect, Buddhist temples are now thriving across China. But are Buddhism and Taoism even relevant in a country that has thoroughly embraced materialism? How does government bureaucracy affect those religions? And can far older spiritual traditions survive in such a rapidly evolving society? This program addresses those questions as it visits monasteries and temples in Shanghai and in rural, economically disadvantaged areas. Following the daily practices of a frugal and soft-spoken monk, the film also features wealthy, high-profile Buddhist officials and interviews China's Minister of Religious Affairs, who encourages Buddhism but frowns on folk religions. Streaming video

Grief and Healing. 2000. 1 streaming video (26 min.). The news of a loved one's impending death is often accompanied by an initial reaction of fear. In this program, introduced by NewsHour's Ray Suarez and facilitated by Frank Ostaseski, founder of San Francisco's Zen Hospice Project, seven everyday people reflect on their experiences with loss, grief, and healing. Discussing what they fear, how they would say good-bye, and other deeply personal topics, some discover the transformation and healing that may occur in such moments. The program concludes with a simple exercise in which participants write a final message to their loved ones, toss the paper into a fire, and watch the ashes rise into the darkness. Streaming video

Healing and the mind. Healing and the mind. 2009. 1 videodisc (57 min.). Vol. 3: Examines two therapies that involve neither drugs nor surgery. One is a form of Buddhist meditation; the other, group psychotherapy. Both teach patients to use their minds to improve the healing capacities within their bodies. DVD 5712

Hinduism and Buddhism. 1996. 1 streaming video (56 min.). This program explores the two great religions to come from India. The historian of religion can find almost anything he wants in India, enacted with intensity. What remains is to carry its insight into everyday life.Smith uncovered the mysteries of multiphonic chanting among Tibetan lamas, previously unknown in the West. Characterizing these chants as the holiest sound I have ever heard,Smith reveals the chanting to be a form of meditation. Smith spent ten weeks with a Zen master silently meditating 8 hours a day, where he derived insights that help the viewer understand the way of Zen Buddhism. The DVD version of this program also includes a special video introduction by Mr. Moyers. Streaming video

India. 2003. 1 streaming video (37 min.). This program captures the increasingly political nature of Hinduism and its volatile relationship with Islam-India's leading minority religion. It argues that this volatility results from their past history, when large parts of India were dominated by the Muslim rulers, the Mughals. Today, many Hindus demand greater recognition of Hinduism in governmental affairs and oppose what they feel is the favoring of Muslims and other minorities. In other words, Hindus call for a tougher form of Hinduism. But there are many religious beliefs in India: Sikh and Buddhist, Christian, and even atheist. Does this mean there is a contradiction between Hinduism as politics and Hinduism as faith? Streaming video

India: love and devotion. World Explorer. 2000. 1 videodisc (54 min.). "Looks at the six main religions in India -- Hindiusm, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, and Christianity -- while exploring the breathtaking architecture and landscape of India's holy sites."-- container. DVD 1521

Indus to Independence A Journey Through Indian History. 1 streaming video (34 min.). India, a rich amalgam of cultures and religions, bears the imprint of many civilizations. Beginning with the Stone Age, this comprehensive program unfolds India's past, era by era, covering the Indus Valley civilization, the Vedic Age, the Mauryan empire, the Gupta Age, the southern kingdoms, the Muslim invasion, the Mogul and Maratha empires, the British Raj, and independence. The impact of India's diverse religions-Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Christianity-is also explored. Streaming video

Join me in Shambhala. Ethnographic video online. 2007. 1 streaming video (29 min.). An incarnate Tibetan lama travels to remote villages in Buryatia, Russia hoping to re-awaken Buddhism which was repressed under the communist regime. Streaming video;764286

Journey into Buddhism. 2007. 1 videodisc (81 min.). Journey through legendary rivers to the greatest Buddhist temples and mystical sites of Laos, Thailand, and Burma. Explore the different cultural representations of this universal icon of inner peace. DVD 3492

Journey into Buddhism. 2007. 1 videodisc (85 min.). Explore the lost civilization of Angkor in Cambodia, including the largest temple in the world - the magnificent Angkor Wat. Travel through Hindu Bali, the jungles of Java, and the Buddhist Borbudur. DVD 3493

Journey into Buddhism. 2007. 1 videodisc (89 min.). Visit extraordinary temples, monastaries, and festivals; such as the Jokhang Temple and the Potala Palace, which is home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama; and learn the living traditions of this vanishing civilization. DVD 3494

Judgment. 2004. 1 streaming video (24 min.). If there is life after death, will it be one of bliss or torment? This program focuses on the moment of judgment in the belief systems of ancient Egypt, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, and Christianity. Featured works of art include the Egyptian Book of the Dead; a Buddhist painted scroll; a mosaic from the Byzantine Church of San Apollinare Nuovo, in Ravenna; a mosaic in Venice's first cathedral, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta; Giotto's fresco Last Judgment; the doom painting over the chancel arch of the Church of St. Thomas, in Salisbury; Michelangelo's The Last Judgment, in the Sistine Chapel; The Last Judgement by John Martin; and Mark Wallinger's Threshold to the Kingdom, a slow-motion video installation filmed at London City Airport. Streaming video

Kundun. 1998. 1 videodisc (135 min.). In a remote area of Tibet a two-year-old child is identified as the Dalai Lama. The story follows him into adulthood where he tries to rule his nation at one of the most challenging times in its history. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 6487

Laos: In the Shadow of the Giants. 1998. 1 streaming video (47 min.). Impoverished, sparsely populated, and still recovering from the Vietnam War, Laos exists on the edge of the abyss. This program considers the cultural and economic impact on Laotians and Hmong alike of initiatives designed to improve the country, such as the new highway being built by Swedish engineers. Although the regime's reeducation campsshow no signs of being closed and antigovernment rebels continue to make travel dangerous, foreign tourism is being courted for the currency it can bring, while the country's rich spiritual life-expressed through the practices of Buddhism and animism-serenely continues. Streaming video

The Life of the Buddha. 2003. 1 streaming video (51 min.). Called a religion, a philosophy, and a science of mind, Buddhism is the way for hundreds of millions throughout the world. Who was the historical Prince Siddhartha, and where did he undergo the events that shaped his perceptions of the human condition? This remarkably accessible program dramatizes the life of the one who, beneath a tree at Bodh Gaya, transcended life's misfortunes and sufferings and became known, forevermore, as Buddha. Scholars, researchers, and monastics provide illuminating insights into Siddhartha/Buddha's experiences, his teachings, and the rapid spread of Buddhism after his death. A BBCW Production. Streaming video

Life, the Universe, and Everything. 2005. 1 streaming video (60 min.). Beginning at the Gargas Caves, France-humankind's first house of worship?-this program seeks to understand why our ancestors began to believe in one or more divinities and how, through the ages, different cultures have expressed that belief. Great mysteries such as death and nature are considered as factors in the evolution of religious faith as Robert Winston, archaeologist Jean Clottes, The British Museum's Irving Finkel, and others discuss animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism. The Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan; Bambalapitiya Temple, Sri Lanka; the Great Stupa, Anuradhapura; and the Atashgah fire temple, Isfahan, are just some of the sacred sites visited. A BBCW Production. Streaming video

Little Buddha. Miramax classics. 2000. 1 videodisc (123 min.). In a big American city, a boy and his family discover a story about a prince in a land of miracles. But the miracle becomes real when Tibetan monks appear, searching for their leader's reincarnation -- who they believe has been reborn in the boy. Suddenly, their worlds meet, leading the Americans on an extraordinary adventure. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 253

Robert A. F. Thurman on Buddhism. 1999. 1 videodisc (220 min.). Discusses the Buddha in the world, and the difficulties and methods of becoming one; the four noble truths, the 3 wheels of Dharma, the 3 vehicles, and the metaphor of the turning of the wheel of Dharma; and the Sangha, or community of those who try to live according to the Dharma. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 1611

Robert Thurman on Tibet. 2002. 1 videodisc (240 min.). Professor Robert Thurman discusses the history and culture of Tibet and the history of the Dharma in Tibet. DVD 1562

The Roots of Belief: Animism to Abraham, Moses, and Buddha. 1998. 1 streaming video (51 min.). Neanderthals begin burying their dead in sepulchers that simulate their huts in an attempt to connect with the spiritual world. When God first speaks to Abraham, he becomes the father of three great religions: Judaism, and subsequently Christianity and Islam. Moses leads the children of Israel out of slavery and into the Promised Land. Buddha, The Awakened One,teaches humans to transcend their worldly desires. This program traces these stories, and their inevitable path toward the institutionalization of religious practice. Streaming video

Sacred Memory. 1998. 1 streaming video (20 min.). Sacred memory forms the infrastructure of most faiths. This program examines these memories in several major religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. The path of religious memory is traced to special holy days such as Ramadan in the Muslim religion, and Christmas and Easter for Christians. The celebration of the birth and teachings of Buddha and those of important gods in Hinduism are discussed as intrinsic to the religious memory of those faiths. The significance of the Christian liturgical calendar is explained by Martin E. Marty, and the significance of the Islamic calendar as a document that traces the important events in the life of the prophet Mohammed is explained by Sayyid M. Syeed, Ph.D., of the Islamic Society of North America. Streaming video

A Separate Peace: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Shintoism. 1998. 1 streaming video (54 min.). This program examines the structure and major tenets of these four eastern religious philosophies. The role of the spiritual master in Hinduism is defined, and the belief in transcendental power and a multitude of deities is explained. The history of Buddhism is traced from the 6th century BC. Reincarnation and nonviolence are discussed as major beliefs. Chinese Taoism, especially its stress on the equilibrium of forces, is examined. Shintoism, a Japanese religion, is presented as a form of animism in which nature is composed of a multitude of deities: the kami. Shintoism's coexistence in Japan with Buddhism is explained as follows: Shintoism is in charge of birth and marriage; Buddhism is in charge of death. Streaming video

Sky burial. 2005. 1 videodisc (ca. 15 min.). Sky Burial follows the ritual of "jha-tor", the giving of alms to birds in a northern Tibetial monastry--where the bodies of the dead are offered to vultures as a final act of kindness to living beings. At the Drigung Monastry lamas chant to call the consciousness from the body. Juniper incense is burned to summon the vultures. Special body breakers, or "rogyapas", unwrap the bodies and cut away the flesh. The bones are crushed and mixed with tsampa, a roasted barley flour. The entire body is consumed by the birds, assuming the ascent of the soul. DVD 1593

Thailand: King, Combat, and Ad Karabao. 1998. 1 streaming video (48 min.). Unlike its neighbors, Thailand has never been colonized or annexed-but keeping it that way has been a stern challenge. This program examines Thailand's political independence, which is based on democratic and generally peaceful rule by a culturally supported monarchy. However, growing dissatisfaction has caused grass-roots dissent, as demonstrated by the lyrics of pop music idol d Karabao, who protests against imported consumer goods, and the agitation of Ubon Without a Border,a group lobbying for open access with Laos and Cambodia. The powerful yet incongruous influences of Thai boxing and Buddhism are also assessed. Streaming video

Tibet: Cry of the snow lion. 2004. 1 videodisc (ca. 103 min.). A snow lion is a mythic beast of Tibetan legend. As a protector of the nation, the snow lion is emblazoned on the Tibetan flag. Today the Tibetan flag is outlawed in its own homeland. Ten years in the making, filmed during a remarkable nine journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. The dark secrets of Tibet's recent past are powerfully chronicled through riveting personal stories and interviews, and a collection of undercover and archival images never before assembled in one film. DVD 1552

Time Life's Lost civilizations. Lost civilizations. 2002. 1 videodisc (102 min.). Africa:  White colonists in Africa couldn't believe that natives were responsible for the extensive kingdoms of Great Zimbabwe and the Swahili Coast, and thus credited the achievements of these ancient cultures to wandering Phoenicians, the Queen of Sheba, or Arab travelers.  Cecil Rhodes 'explorations' destroyed portions of Great Zimbabwe, but Gertrude Caton Thompson found, excavated, and first asserted that the ruins were of African origin.  Their descendants are now reclaiming the legacy of these advanced, lost cultures, with the glories of their accomplishments acknowledged. Tibet:  From the 7th to the 11th centuries, Tibetan warrior clans ruled large sections of Central Asia.  Travelers on the Silk Road feared them, for their archers and cavalry were fierce and effective.  The warriors were in turn conquered by Buddhism, which arrived in the 8th century.  In 1642, Tibet became a theocracy as a monk took the throne of the nation, militarism was phased out, and three centuries of relative peace ensued.  In the aftermath of the Chinese invasion and the exile of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan culture, and its unique quest for peace, inner knowledge, and nirvana may cease to exist. DVD 5834

To the land of bliss. Ethnographic video online. 2005. 1 streaming video (47 min.). Focusing on the post-Mao revival of Buddhism in China, the filmmaker offers an intimate portrayal of the Chinese Pure Land Buddhist way of living and dying. Streaming video;763977

A touch of zen = Xia nu. 2002. 1 videodisc (180 min.). "Ming Dynasty noblewoman Yang must escape from the evil eunuch Hsu. She seeks refuge at a decrepit town where she gets assistance from a naive scholar and a group of mysterious yet powerful monks." --from container. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 595

Unmistaken child. 2009. 1 videodisc (104 min.). Follows the 4-year-search for the reincarnation of Lama Konchog. The Dalai Lama charges the deceased monk's devoted disciple, Tenzin Zopa, to search for his master's reincarnation, a child who may be anywhere in the world. Includes featurettes. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 6695

Walking with Buddha. 1 streaming video (29 min.). As the number of immigrants from southeast Asia increases, more and more Americans will come into contact with believers in Theravada Buddhism. This program, filmed in Thailand, looks at the life of the Buddha and traces the development of Buddhism in various countries. The program also describes the day-to-day lives of Buddhist priests as they counsel, teach, beg for alms, and meditate. The Buddhist emphasis upon compassion based on meditation offers an example and challenge to all. Streaming video

Wheel of time. 2005. 1 videodisc (80 min.). "Wheel of Time is acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog's gorgeously photographed look at the largest Buddhist ritual in Bodh Gaya, India.  It is said that Buddha found enlightenment under a tree in Bodh Gaya and today, Buddhist monks are ordained in this holy place.  Herzog magically captures the lengthy pilgrimage (which for some, is over 3,000 miles), the monk's creation of the beautiful and intricate sand mandala (the wheel of time) along with many secret rituals that have never been seen before on film.  He delivers a personal and introspective look at what Buddhism really means to the most ardent followers, as well as giving outsiders an intimate look into a fascinating way of life." - - from cover. DVD 1563