Top 5 Buddhism YouTube Videos for Buddhist Newbies


Just do a search for Buddhism videos on YouTube, and you are likely to be overwhelmed with the choices.

This is both a blessing and a hindrance if you are just beginning to learn about Buddhism.

For someone new to the religion, or just exploring it, finding the right videos to explain Buddhism can be extremely helpful.  In this article, you will find five videos I recommend to Buddhist newbies to help them not only learn about Buddhism but also to grow.

This article is part of a series on the basics of Buddhism:  Click here to view more.
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The Top 5  Video List

Understanding is the heartwood of well-spoken words.  ~ Buddha

These five videos will be more than enough to get you started in learning about Buddhism and putting that knowledge into direct practice.  After watching my recommendations, it is highly recommended you find a local temple/teacher to guide you further.  Be sure to check out my “Top 5 Books for Buddhist Newbies” article to help you learn more!

#1:  Buddhism, Explained by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

One of my favorite teachers is Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh.  While you may have only heard about famous Buddhists, such as the Dalai Lama, Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh is quite famous himself.  Gaining popularity during the Vietnam war where he became friends with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he has become one of the most famous Buddhist teachers worldwide with millions of followers and a plethora of books he wrote (my favorite being this one).

In this short video, he explains quite a few topics in Buddhism such as Nirvana, death & dying, perceptions, freedom of views, fear, meditation, “interbeing”, understanding, and answering the question “is Buddha a god?” (video spoiler: the answer is “no”).  He was interviewed as part of the documentary movie “Life of Buddha” (2003).

 If you enjoyed this video with Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, you should also check out this interview with him by Oprah (click here). 

#2:  The Life of the Buddha (BBC Documentary)

This has been one of my all-time favorite documentaries about the life of the Buddha.  Beautifully filmed, structured, and explained, I am sure you will enjoy it as well.  Included in this video are interviews that help explain the life of the Buddha, and Buddhism itself.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find where this can be purchased online, so the only place you can watch it is on YouTube.

#3:  The Buddha (PBS Documentary)

PBS did a fantastic job of creating this documentary on the Buddha (which you can buy on BluRay or DVD).  Compared to the BBC version above (still one of my favorites), this one uses a mix of animation to explain certain parts of the Buddha’s life and important events and includes interviews as well (to include the Dalai Lama).  This documentary is about two hours, so you will get a bit more in-depth than the BBC version, however watching both will give you a solid footing on the life of the Buddha, his teachings, and concepts of Buddhism, of which is important when you are first starting out.

#4:  The Death of the Buddha (BBC)

This video is extremely short, but I am including it for a specific reason:  it is entirely about the death of the Buddha.  I enjoyed that you get to see, in modern times, the place of the Buddha’s death.  Even more interesting, is how the Buddha felt about dying in this place, in the middle of nowhere, while others wanted him to die in a place where he could be truly ‘honored’.  Instead, the Buddha found this place to be appropriate.  This is truly a short video to meditate on…how the Buddha died, and his thoughts at that time, are almost as important as how he lived.  Because we all “die”, we can learn from the Buddha himself how he made the final “exit”.

#5:  Introduction to Buddhism

Fo Guang Shan (FGS) is one of the world’s largest Buddhist organizations and is based out of Taiwan.  However, they have over twenty temples in western countries, with the largest Buddhist temple in North America located in California.  Their English Dharma series playlist is a wonderful way to learn about and practice Buddhism!

Bonus Video:  Is Buddha a God?

This question comes up often with those new to Buddhism.  While Buddhism is a religion, the Buddha is not a god we worship.  This video by Venerable Master Sheng Yen can offer some more information about how Buddhists view the Buddha.

Alan’s Buddhism Playlist

I create videos on Buddhism and Buddhist teachings for beginners.  You can find me on YouTube at to view them all.  This playlist is a collection of some of my videos you may enjoy!

YouTube Channels to Follow

Here are some channels/creators on YouTube you will enjoy related to Buddhism (there are of course many more, but these should get you started):

And here are some YouTube auto-generated topic channels:


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