What are entertaining/fictional movies, cartoons or books about Buddhadharma or Buddha himself?

  • 1
    Why are “shopping list” questions bad?
    – ChrisW
    Jan 23, 2015 at 23:29
  • Haha point taken. maybe though its not that bad a shopping list question I think since not many are made..
    – Ahmed
    Jan 24, 2015 at 0:03
  • I don't think it is that bad a shopping question. The answer @ChrisW linked to gives two key aspects of the shopping question in that it asks others: "please make a subjective decision for me and explain it" or "please list all my possibilities with their strengths and weaknesses". I don't think Ahmed was asking for a decision and explanation. Nor do I think he was asking for or expecting an exhaustive list. The question is absolutely subject to some opinion and subjectivity, but other than that I think it was an interesting question and I'm finding the answers useful.
    – tkp
    Jan 24, 2015 at 20:08
  • Just a thought, but in terms of ensuring that our SE site has some of the best answers available, is there any merit in gradually combining all these lists into a single "definitive" (although it could never really be that) answer? Usually we want multiple answers, but in this case, where there's 90% duplication but just enough new stuff in each answer to be useful, I don't think multiplicity necessarily buys much for the visitor looking to get a comprehensive overall view. What do others think? Is it worth creating some kind of single "union" of existing answers?
    – tkp
    Jan 24, 2015 at 20:18
  • I love the comics "Dharma the Cat" , however, the early stories I loved very much, but once the author had changed his concept (I think around 2009 but this might be completely wrong - I just more-or-less forgot that whole thing) for me the comic-style became inappropriate for that initially sophisticated and fine humour (so I don't know how it developed up to today) Jan 24, 2015 at 20:44

11 Answers 11


Some of these may be too tenuous a link but ymmv:

Movies (some are also books)

  • Kundun
  • Little Buddha
  • Seven Years in Tibet
  • The Dhamma Brothers
  • Buddha Wild: Monk in a Hut
  • The Devotion of Matthieu Ricard
  • Cloud Atlas (well, it's supposed to be; I never got it -- I hear the book is better)
  • When the Iron Bird Flies
  • Journey to the West
  • Groundhog Day (see, tenuous!)
  • The Matrix (ditto)


  • Breakfast with Buddha
  • Not Quite Nirvana
  • The Accidental Buddhist
  • The Big Bang, the Bddha, and the Baby Book
  • There is No God and He is Always With You (the author, Brad Warner, has a few others)

There's a ton of other stuff here, and even more pops up by Googling "buddhist movies".

  • 1
    @ChrisW, thanks for that edit. I did intentionally leave some other editor's addition of "Fight Club" untouched, but it's only because I've never seen it so I had nothing with which to object. That said, from what little I do know it has something to do with Brad Pitt punching people in the head, so I'm not surprised you ditched it :-)
    – tkp
    Jan 24, 2015 at 20:14
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    Hmm. That said: unomaha.edu/jrf/vol11no2/ReedFightClub.htm
    – tkp
    Jan 24, 2015 at 20:15
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    That said, The Wizard of Oz as a Buddhist Parable.
    – ChrisW
    Jan 24, 2015 at 20:23
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    Yeah it could go all downhill pretty fast from here :-). e.g. fullcontactenlightenment.com/2011/12/… Maybe we could have a competition for "Movie/Book/Thing/etc With The Most Tenuous Link To Buddhism Ever". It's actually quite hard, because if it has people in it, happy or sad, you can always figure out some kind of link. So far my best attempt is "The old bit of wool lying on the carpet at my feet as I type this" And the Buddhism link? Well it's wool, which is like thread, and lots of Buddhist writings are in suttas, which are threads ...
    – tkp
    Jan 24, 2015 at 20:49
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    lol nice play on words there tkp... like you said before it would be cool to have a community post that people can edit and put very well-done buddhist medias (matrix doesn't count).. maybe your current answer but i don't think its allowed to convert to community wiki at this point
    – Ahmed
    Jan 25, 2015 at 18:33

Some movies with Buddhist concepts:

  1. Cloud Atlas.
  2. Little Buddha.
  3. Kundun
  4. The Dharma Brothers (Documentary)
  5. The Buddha (Documentary)
  6. Spring,Summer,Fall,Winter..and Spring.
  7. Why has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East.
  8. Wheel of Time
  9. Doin Time Doing Vippassanna (Documentary)
  10. Angulimala
  11. OK Baytong
  12. Amongst WHite Clouds (Documentary)
  13. Amrapali
  14. My Reincarnation (Documentary)
  15. The Holy Man (Comedy)
  16. WHen the Iron Bird Flies (Documentary)
  17. Milarepa
  18. Nang Nak (Horror)It's a thai story about a hungry ghost whose still attached to her husband.
  • 1
    doing vippassana and milarepa sound like interesting titles!
    – Ahmed
    Jan 24, 2015 at 5:04
  • 1
    Agreed.Doing Time Doing Vipassanna is about a rehabilitation program of teaching Vippassanna Meditation to a group of prisoners in India,which is one of the harshest prisons.It's inspired prisons in other other countries to adopt this program. Here's the full movie www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkxSyv5R1sg
    – Orion
    Jan 24, 2015 at 9:39

Some more of such referees can be found in: Depictions of Gautama Buddha in film


Osamu Tezuka's Buddha is really fun manga and fictional account of Buddha's life. Also check out Ikkyu... awesome manga about Zen and sudden realization! Gave me chills when I really put myself into his journey...

A good movie that fictionally demonstrates some Buddhist concepts is Cloud Atlas. Samsara is another good one. There are plenty of lists (I've only seen the top three) online.


Here's a list of films carrying the Buddhist philosophy, most of them are arthouse.

  • Rashomon (1950)- Akira Kurosawa
  • Ikiru (1952) - Akira Kurosawa
  • Ugetsu (1953)- Kenji Mizoguchi
  • Sansho the Bailiff (1954)- Kenji Mizoguchi
  • The Burmese Harp (1956) - Kon Ichikawa
  • Onibaba (1964)- Kaneto Shindo
  • Kwaidan (1965) - Masaki Kobayashi
  • A Touch of Zen (1971) - King Hu
  • Baraka (1992) - Ron Fricke
  • Passage to Buddha (1993) - Hwa-Om-Kyung
  • The Cup (1999) - Khyentse Norbu
  • Samsara (2001) - Pan Nalin
  • Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives (2010) - Apichatpong Weerasethakul
  • The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013) - Isao Takahata

My favorite Buddhist films:

If you want to find more one way is to click on the links above and look under "People who liked this also liked..."

Also there are these organizations:

The Buddhist Film Foundation is working on an archive of Buddhist films but at the time of writing i couldn't find anything public

Hope this answer helps you and others


Book: The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Mitchie. A fictional story told by a cat, who is the Dalai Lama's pet at Dharamsala. The Dalai Lama rescued this cat when it was very young. The entertaining story told by the cat is imbued with dhamma teachings. The teachings are of course expounded in a simple way, since a cat is a not a very intelligent animal.


Adding the classic Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.


No one mentioned what I take to be the single best movie of Buddhism ever made - Enlightenment Guaranteed!

Hilarious, to the point, and honest.



-Hesse's Siddhartha is interesting, but it is not an account of the Buddha himself. It touches on elements of Buddha dharma, but can be somewhat confusing in its intermingling of dharma and Hindu Advaita

-I highly recommend Deathbed Sutra of the Buddha, but then again, I am the author, so I have a bit of a bias!


-Kundun, for Tibetan Buddhism

-The Buddha (PBS production)...with some annoying cartoon segments

-Little Buddha

-The Tibetan Book of the Dead - the version narrated by Leonard Cohen. Available on Netflix, and quite good in the sense of a not being too "Hollywoodish"

-The Fountain: philosophically, it's a bit of a mess, but it's an entetaining story that explores key Buddhist themes such as impermanence, self, and suffering. Great acting (Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz), directiong by Aronofsky, very "trippy" special effects,


The french born Wanderer and former Bhikkhu Isidhamma has specialed himself in producing dhammic stories in Burma which he/their give as present of Dhamma. Some are in burmese, french and english, or with subtitles.

You may contact him and get known his work on dhammadana.org

Some of them are:

  • The Great Legacy

    Aye Mi is an ambitious photographer eager to start a career in advertising but doesn't have enough money to buy a camera. Her only hope is to recover a lost inheritance, a valuable ruby.

Aye Mi discovers that the jewel has been taken by some young evil witches who have menacing and corrupting powers. Facing her worst fears, she makes big sacrifices and will not stop for anything until she retrieves the stone.

Will Aye Mi ever doubt the value of what is unexpectedly discovered along the way?

  • Deliverance 2007

  • The box of desires

    Dhamma Pictures has the pleasure to presents to you the uploading of our latest movie : "The box of desires". Quality Full HD. Don't forget to activate the English subtitles ("CC" button right & above the screen under Youtube). "The box of desires" is a love story beetwen two Myanmar teenagers who try to meditate in order to get a pure heart.

  • The taste of the Dhamma

    It's good enough to experience this taste only once…

It's enough to know its flavour one single time…

Yati, 14 year old, is accused to be a witch because she knows many things that's usually impossible to know. Otherwise, she prodided powerful potions which have unwishable effects. Phu Phu, who accuses Ko Saing to make her drink a potion, had herself strange behaviors before to get the potion. In order to clarify this affair full of intrigues, the teacher organise a judgment with the three teenagers. Therefore, the most important will be to know how to find an antidote, the only one which is efficient…

This movie is offered to all. We − which include PDO's school's children of Mandalay − would appreciate that it been LIKED and SHARED. One clic is so easy. ; )

One may find a small collection of other movies and documentaries (not all really Dhamma Dana) here: "Buddhist" Documentary films - "Buddhistische" Dokumentarfilme

Not many are watched, so there no quality garanty can be given at large.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

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