Jedi Knight-Class
Rev Antonio Hernandez unravels the mythology of Star Wars
To be a good person is to think, speak, act, work, study and live in the right way.

Much of what Lucas has presented with the Jedis is merely "crackpot" Buddhism. It is clear he attempted to unite the samurai class with the Buddhist priests, although in old China the priests were the "Chinese samurai". Everything Lucas uses, including the clothes (except for the brown Bedouin robe), is taken from Buddhism. The "Force" is actually found within, in every one of us.

Buddhism presents this as the teaching of "Buddha Mind" or "Original Mind". It is the mind cleared of delusion. Lucas then added a dash of American Indian mysticism. The control of the environment and of others is merely a reflection of the Buddhist concept of "not being of this world". A person at peace, not of this world, has total "control" over the environment and that environment at the end of the day is only oneself. The weapons training is obvious. Buddhists were at one time the sole custodians of the fighting arts, and for good reason. What Lucas has done is the same thing many Asian fables have done over the millennia: take a good true story and turn it into an impossible, fantastic magical adventure.

Now, there are idiots who actually want to be Jedis but have no idea what the Dharmapada is. They want to wear the brown desert robe, not knowing that it is one of the favorite habiliments of Muslim terrorists hiding out in the deserts. They want to wield a REAL lightsaber not just a good substitute, mind you but they would run screaming from a Japanese katana. If only these folk would turn to SOMETHING more anchored in reality. They could make a Jedi fan club. They could go back to their original religions, or join a new appealing one. They could even start on a path of learning by exploring Madame Blavatsky or Nicholas Roerich. It is the consummate example of the poverty of security that all these people want to be real Jedi Masters. Just as when I was young, everyone wanted to be Bruce Lee. It would have been like asking a neurosurgeon to impart the totality of his knowledge in six weeks or less. By the way, did you know that Jedi and Yoda are variants of the same word? It is "JO-dai", the Chinese term for "Jewish".

Do Jedis Go to the Schul or the Dagobah?

There has been far too much Jedi fanaticism lately, and for those not in the know, a Jedi is a not very original creation of George Lucas of "Star Wars" fame. The Jedi spirit populates the "Star Wars" films.

Stale old Buddhist legends have become... Jedi Masters- Buddhism is terrifying in its simplicity. There is but one major teaching, which is called the "Four Noble Truths". These consist of the following syllogism: Suffering is real, thus it must have a cause; the cause is selfish desire, meaning the separation of oneself from others and the elevation of oneself over and above others; if suffering is a real, caused thing, it can be ended; and the way to end it is... basically to be a good person.

To be a good person is to think, speak, act, work, study and live in the right way. Buddhism presumes we all know right from wrong-- forget about the nonsense that there is "no" right or wrong. Finally there is the right understanding of the Four Noble Truths and the Path of Practice, and right meditation.

The Buddha discovered some amazing mental traits emerge after years of serious meditation; he constantly reminded the monks NOT to reveal their new talents to anyone, ever.
Because Asia has always been a hotbed of martial arts, and because Buddhism spread far and wide, Buddhists eventually became the custodians of the arts. The monks became renowned teachers.

All this is reflected in Lucas' Jedi Order. Lucas makes the Jedis the guardians of peace in the galaxy; the Buddhists have always been lucky to be guardians of peace in their own monasteries.
The point is simple: Lucas encourages people to work hard at being good, and to keep a disciplined spirit. This is the Buddhist message. Lucas' Jedis wear the robes of Buddhist priests, except for the brown robe that is typical of our desert-dwelling folk.

The word "Jedi" is the Americanized pronunciation of the Chinese word for "Jewish". Lucas plays little intellectual jokes of this kind for fun but how many people know this? How many people understand the Hebrew message written on Darth Vader's chest controls? How many people realize that the Jedi costume has been worn on THIS planet for the last 3,000 years?
I DO NOT intend this as a proselytizing essay. Buddhism forbids seeking converts. But I am pleading that Jedi-lovers everywhere use common sense. Use the Jedi philosophy as a launching-point for your studies and progress, not as a basis.
Pay attention to the fundamental ideas, not the fact that a little green goblin taught a silly white boy to levitate rocks.

*With my Thanks and Blessing,
© Rev. Antonio Hernandez *Independent Buddhists of America May 2002

May the (Dark) Force be with you
Jess Wynne
This week I've been mostly dabbling in Satanism and
battling Darth MollyDog with my lightsaber.

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