On April 7, PBS will premiere a two hour documentary titled “The Buddha.” During an interview with The State, the filmmaker David Grubin made this interesting comment:
“We try to set his life in its historical context, but it’s so long ago that we don’t know what he really did. But what I realized is, what he really did doesn’t really matter. What matters is the story and the meaning of that story and the message of hope that the story carries. And so you won’t find in this film a searching for the historical Buddha. What you do find is a great story with great interpreters of the story,” says Grubin.
It strikes me as a bit odd that they will try to establish the historical context of the Buddha’s life, but then say “what he did doesn’t really matter.” It’s the story that counts.
If the historical Buddha is unknown and irrelevant, what kind of “documentary” will this be? Apparently, it will document the stories of great interpreters who do not seem to be operating under many restraints. Separating fact from fiction is generally a worthy goal when one is pursuing the truth.