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On July 23, PBS reviews the life of the Buddha in two back-to-back programs, The Buddha and Bones of the Buddha. The first film tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion. The evening concludes with a Secrets of the Dead program that examines the suspected 2,500 year old remains of the Indian sage.

The Buddha

Tuesday, July 23 at 7pm on PBS North

Two-and-a-half millennia ago, a new religion was born in northern India, generated from the ideas of a single man, the Buddha, a mysterious Indian sage who famously gained enlightenment while he sat under a large fig tree. The Buddha never claimed to be God or his emissary on earth. He said only that he was a human being who, in a world of unavoidable pain and suffering, had found a kind of serenity that others could find, too. This documentary by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin tells the story of his life. Richard Gere narrates. Tuesday, July 23, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET

Secrets of the Dead: Bones of the Buddha

Tuesday, July 23 at 9pm on PBS North

A huge stone coffer uncovered in Northern India in 1898 contained five reliquary jars, one of which bore an inscription that seemed to say it contained the remains of the Buddha himself. But doubt and scandal have hung over this amazing find. For some, the whole thing is an elaborate hoax. For others, it is no less than the final resting place of the leader of one of the world’s great religions, a sage who died nearly 2,500 years ago. Renowned historian Charles Allen sets out to solve this mystery, once and for all.