Every word counts

Talk The Buddha of History and the Buddha of Myth

The Buddha of History and the Buddha of Myth

The British Library

Key facts

Genre: Event with live subtitles


The different faces of the Buddha in history, art and literature

The Buddha was Socrates’ contemporary and shared his wisdom through dialogue and communication with the people he met as he travelled India’s dusty roads. His insights into ethics, psychology, and meditation still resonate 2,500 years on. 

But this ‘human’ version of the Buddha contrasts with the ‘mythic’ Buddha we find in most Buddhist art and scripture. Even the earliest traditions represented in the ‘Buddhism’ exhibition depict the Buddha performing miracles and surrounded by gods, or in one of his many previous lives. The later Mahayana Buddhist traditions represent the many aspects of Buddhahood symbolically and archetypally through a huge variety of Buddha and bodhisattva figures.

Vishvapani traces the relationship between the different faces of the Buddha in the history, art and literature, and their continuing relevance for anyone seeking inspiration and wisdom from the Buddha’s legacy.

Vishvapani, author of Gautama Buddha: the Life and Teachings of The Awakened One, is a Buddhist writer and teacher, and the Buddhist contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.

Part of our Buddhism exhibition events series.

This event will have live subtitles by Stagetext working with MyClearText.


Event details

Fri 25 Oct 2019, 7:00pm

Live subtitling by Stagetext

Book now

Venue details

The British Library
The Arts Council
The Arts Council
The Arts Council