The original Star Wars movie was a smash hit. The movie spoke to audiences of all ages on a deeper level. I believe I can elucidate the tenets of Zen thought in this iconic film. Obi-Wan Kenobi was based on a traditional samurai warrior.
1) The samurai influence
But there may be an even more direct connection. His humble, wise manner and gentle humor made him appear like the archetypal sage of fables. This quality did not escape the notice of Westerners who met him. Upon seeing him in Dharamsala, for instance, the makers of the popular film Star Wars decided to use him as the model for Yoda, the spiritual guide of the epic.
Subscribe now to read this article and get immediate access to everything else. The series of films that began in finally ended with the release in May of the final installment, Revenge of the Sith. A lot has happened in the nearly thirty years since Star Wars first appeared. The films have undoubtedly changed Hollywood, helping to usher in the twin eras of box-office blockbusters and limitless spin-off merchandizing. Matthew Bortolin appears to be one such fan. In his new, well-timed book, The Dharma of Star Wars , he uses his beloved films as a vehicle for explaining the dharma to other potential followers. This entertaining and insightful Buddhist primer thus provides a useful service to future film buffs who want to better understand the real-life religion behind this popular fictional world. Anyone who knows the movies only from their commercial detritus will be surprised at how deeply Buddhism—and in particular Zen—permeates the Star Wars universe. The Jedi Knights, a sort of enlightened galactic peacekeeping force, wear robes not unlike those of Japanese monks although the hoods are more reminiscent of Catholic orders , and their weapon of choice is a high-tech saber, which they wield much like medieval samurai.
He is a small, green humanoid alien who is powerful with the Force. In his first appearance in the original trilogy , Yoda is described as the Jedi master of Obi-Wan Kenobi and subsequently trains Luke Skywalker to use the Force. The character reappears in Return of the Jedi where he reveals his age to be Yoda has become iconic in popular culture due to his distinct pattern of speech and role as an old, wise mentor. In the prequel trilogy , set a generation before the original trilogy, Yoda is among the most powerful members of the Jedi Order and a general of clone troopers during the Clone Wars.