Buddhist films tracing the heritage trail

  • People
  • Saturday, 18 May 2019

Nashik caves, 2nd century AD, Maharashtra, India, is another grand group of rock-cut caves on top of a high hill, on the outskirts of Nashik.

Films provide a comprehensive perspective of the ancient monuments and art heritage of Buddhism in India. They cover a wide range of the heritage of both Theravada and Mahayana-Vajrayana orders, providing a view of the richness of the whole Buddhist tradition, said visiting Indian filmmaker Benoy K. Behl about his films which will be screened in Kuala Lumpur.

“Research for these films was done from 1990 to 2008, and the films were shot between 2004 and 2008,” he added.

The films have been screened throughout India and, most recently, were shown across Russia where Behl’s exhibition, Buddhist Heritage Of The World, was part of The Festival Of India event last December.

Behl is the scriptwriter, cameraman and director of the films. Sanghamitra Ghosh is editor and assistant director in many of the films. In recent years, assistant director Sujata Chatterji, has also been helping Behl.

The 10 films selected for screening at the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, are:

May 19, 10am: Philosophy Of The Buddhist Sites introduces India during the time of the Buddha. It traces the Buddha’s life, his philosophy and teachings. The sites covered include Lumbini, Kapilavastu (Piprawaha and Ganveria), Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Rajgir, Kushinagar and Ashoka’s caves at Barabar, as well as a few pillars and inscriptions of Ashoka (6th century - 3rd century BC).

This magnificent chaitya- griha (prayer hall, 7th century AD) in Cave 10 at Ellora Caves, Maharashtra, India, is in keeping with the early tradition of rock-cut caves. The ribbed ceiling replicates the wooden architecture of the period.

May 19, 2.30pm: Heritage Of Buddhist Art In India covers Bharhut and Sanchi stupa railings of the 2nd century BC, to the art of the Kashmiri painters across Western Tibet and the Indian Himalayas in the 12th century.

May 19, 8pm: The Making Of Stupas And Their Sculpted Railings covers the site of Bharhut, the railings in the Indian Museum in Kolkata and the stupas of Sanchi (2nd century BC to 1st century AD).

May 20, 11.30am: Rock-Cut Caves Of Western India. This covers the caves in Bhaja, Pitalkhora, Bedsa, Kondavane, Karle, Junnar, Kanheri and Ajanta (2nd century BC - 1st century AD).

May 22, 11.30am: The Buddhist Heritage Of The Krishna Valley In Andhra Pradesh. The sites included are Guntupalli, Jaggayyapeta, Amravati, Nagarjunakonda, Panigiri, Gummadidurru, Ghantasala (3rd century BC to 4th century AD).

May 24, 11.30am: The Buddhist Caves Of Western India. The sites visited are the caves at Ajanta, Kanheri, Kondivite, Aurangabad and Ellora (5th century to 7th century AD).

May 24, 8pm: The Buddhist Legacy Of Kashmir-Emperor Kanishka. The sites covered are Harwan (4th great Buddhist council), Parihaspura, Mulbek Buddha, Kartse Buddha, Sani Stupa (originally made by Emperor Kanishka, 1st century AD), Guge in Tibet, and the monasteries of Nyarma, Karsha, Phugtal, Tabo, Lhalung, Nako, Alchi, Mangyu and Sumda (1st century to 12th century AD).

Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, Bihar, India, was built at the spot where the Buddha gained Enlightenment.

May 25, 11.30am: The Schools Of Art-Mathura And Gandhara revolves around the making of Buddha images and shines the spotlight on the schools of art of Mathura and Gandhara (1st and 2nd centuries AD).

May 26, 11.30am: The Buddhists Sites Of Orissa covers Dhauli, Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, Udayagiri, Langudi Hill, Kaima and the villages of Nuapatna and Maniabandha, where active Buddhist worship has continued since the 3rd century BC till the present.

May 26, 2.30pm: Spread Of Buddhism Beyond India features important Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka (Sigiriya, Pollonaruwa, Dambulla caves), Myanmar (Bagan), Thailand, Tibet (the early monasteries), Nepal (Swayambhunath stupa), Bhutan, China and Japan.

The films will be screened at Puja Hall, Level 1, Wisma Dhamma Chakra, Buddhist Maha Vihara in Jalan Berhala, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

Nashik caves, 2nd century AD, Maharashtra, India, is another grand group of rock-cut caves on top of a high hill, on the outskirts of Nashik.

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