Heaven On Earth: Buddhism| 25mins
Director: STEPHEN ROOKE | Producer: STEPHEN ROOKE
Focus Years: 2004 | Country: Ireland
Each program in â€˜Heaven on Earthâ€™ deals with a different branch of faith - from Christianity, Islam and Judaism, to Buddhism, Hinduism and the ancient and all-encompassing creed of Paganism. Through the great shrines of each religion, the civilizations that founded them are explored together with the art of their construction, the unity and division they have engendered and the devotion that sustains them today.
In this episode, we go in search of the art and architecture that represents the Buddhists, by traveling through Bodh Gaya and Sanchi in Central India to Borobudur, Indonesia, New York, and finally return to Varanasi, India.
Religious doctrine has always directly influenced the evolution of art and architecture. The prohibition of representational art in the Koran led to the development of abstract, geometrical decoration in mosques; the spire of a medieval Gothic cathedral is a representation in stone of human aspirations to reach a heaven that is, quite literally, in the sky above; the fact that Hinduism feels more at home with the sensual than most religions is obvious in its iconography.