“Buddha” seeks Dalai Lama’s blessings

DHARAMSALA, Apr 3: After completing 30 episodes chronicling the early life of Buddha from his birth to relinquishing the princely life to living an ascetic life practising self-mortification in pursuit of contemplative ideals, Siddharth, the prince of Kapilavastu transforms into Buddha, the enlightened one in two weeks time on Buddha (The King of Kings), an Indian TV serial.

To mark the occasion, the cast and the production crew led by the producer Dr B K Modi of Spice studios visited Dharamsala on April 2 to seek the blessings of the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is considered a “living Buddha” by the Tibetans as well as millions of followers of the Buddhist faith across the world.budha

After meeting the 78-yr-old Tibetan leader, a screening and a skit was performed at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts(TIPA) in the evening by Himanshu Soni, the lead actor who played Buddha, Neha Kumar Uppal, who played Amrapali, a royal courtesan and Abhiram Nain, who played Ajatshatru, a king of ancient India’s Magadha empire.

Following the screening and the skit, Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, Chief guest at the presentation appreciated the performance of the actors, especially Himanshu for playing Budddha and congratulated Dr Modi and the entire team for successfully telling the life story of Buddha on the small screen though he was initially sceptical about it when Dr Modi, whom he referred to as a close friend, told him about the project some ten years ago.

“Though I do not have the time and the energy to watch all the episodes, I will try to watch the show whenever possible but from the few episodes I’ve seen I can deduce that it is well made,” Rinpoche said.budha 1

Speaking in immaculate hindi, Rinpoche further said, “performing arts was an important discipline of ancient Indian culture about which Acharya Bharat [Muni] had written a comprehensive treatise explaining in detail various techniques and expressions which are still being referred to and followed by today’s artistes. So, through this show, you have also tried to revive ancient Nalanda’s art and cultural heritage for which I would like to extend my appreciation and wish you all the success.”

When asked about his meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr Modi said His Holiness stressed on guiding people away from a faith based society to a knowledge based society through this television show.

“His Holiness told us that there are certain things we should make sure that the serial covers-the message of middle path, the message of interconnectedness that we are all connected and the message of using logic in whatever decisions you take and not because you read it [somewhere] or somebody has told you,” Dr Modi said and added

“India is fortunate to have Tibetans in India after they lost their country because the Tibetans did not come empty handed. They came with the knowledge of ancient India’s Nalanda tradition which they have kept in a vibrant and lively form by learning, debating and practising after the destruction of the Nalanda School in India.”

The 52 episode show, “Buddha-The King of Kings” started broadcasting on September 8, 2013 and is shown every Sunday at 11:00 am on Zee TV and Doordarshan.

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