Buddha: Genius of the Ancient World

Buddha: Genius of the Ancient World

Series 1



This enticing series about some of antiquity's most eminent thinkers (Socrates, Confucius and the Buddha) begins with the most influential of the three.

While Buddhism's iconography is recognised throughout the world, the story of Gautama Siddhartha (the enlightened prince who became known as the Buddha), is less familiar to the West. And the tale of how Siddhartha used wisdom and introspection to tackle the problem of human suffering is certainly an eye-opener.

Even for those not interested in Buddhism's more spiritual aspects, its insights into ideas like interconnectedness, compassion and the ego still sound radical today. "It's cognitive psychology 2,500 years before the phrase was invented," says presenter Bettany Hughes.


Historian Bettany Hughes investigates the ideas of ancient philosophers, starting with the Indian nobleman Siddhartha Gautama, more popularly known as Buddha. Thought to have been lived and tought between the sixth and fourth centuries BC, the sage and holy man inspired a diverse belief system that influences the lives of millions of people to this day. She travels to India, where the Buddha experienced the challenging ideas and extreme methods of wandering `truth seekers', after he had abandoned his family and homeland in the Himalayas to embark on his philosophical quest to find a solution to human suffering.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Bettany Hughes
Executive Producer Mike Smith
Series Producer Rob Cowling