Spiritual Beliefs In George Lucas's Star Wars

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George Lucas' Star Wars has been an "unprecedented commercial success in the history of cinema and has made a huge cultural impact" (Feichtinger 28). It is a popular franchise and is widely known all over the world. Star Wars plays a major role in influencing the youth and sending a message to everyone, especially the fans. George Lucas said that he wanted to do more than entertain the masses; he wanted to "introduce young Americans to spiritual teachings through 'new myths' for our globalized, pluralistic millennium" (Burke). These spiritual teachings and motifs are seen throughout the Star Wars movies and they "promote values and worldviews", which are adopted from Buddhism (Feichtinger 34). These Buddhist motifs are expressed through the…show more content…
Zazen, also known as seated meditation, is one of the three marks of Zen that is occasionally shown in the Star Wars movies. Zen is one of the schools in Mahayana Buddhism. In Jedi meditation, Jedi Knights are "observing their minds with calm compassion and allowing a greater understanding of the present moment" (Bortolin 70). Feichtinger states that the Jedi connects combat and heroism with a "deep spirituality" which is similar to how the samurai incorporates "concentration, mindfulness, and determination into their sword fighting", which is based on Zen meditation (32). Seated meditation is a way for Buddhists to calm their minds, but it is quite popular even amongst non-Buddhists as well, especially in America. Mindfulness is evident in the movies, and Christian Feichtinger shows that in the beginning Episode I: The Phantom Menace (d. George Lucas, USA 1999), Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master, Qui-Gon Jinn had a conversation about mindfulness as they were first introduced to the audience. Qui-Gon tells Obi-Wan that he should "not center on [his] anxieties" and to "keep [his] attention here and now, where it belongs". Obi-Wan then replies, "But Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future." Qui-Gon responds, "But not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the living Force, young Padawan"…show more content…
In this tradition, they have the Goddess Kuan Yin (her name literally means "hears cries"), which shows that compassion is a fundamental part of this tradition. Christian Feichtinger states that the Buddhist element of compassion is also seen in Star Wars, particularly in Episode V in a dialogue between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Anidala. In this scene, Padme asks Anakin if "[he is] allowed to love" and that "[she] thought that was forbidden for a Jedi." Anakin tells Padme that "Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which [he] would define as unconditional love, is central to a Jedi's life. And so [she] might say that [the Jedis] are encouraged to love" (36). Compassion is having concern for other people's well-being, and about putting others before yourself, which is the "ideal Buddhist attitude of devoting one's life to others without any self-interest for the pursuit of the happiness", is "a main characteristic of a Jedi and recommended as worthy of imitation", and relies on the interdependence of all things (Feichtinger 36). With this said, another Buddhist motif that is recognized in Star Wars is interdependence; meaning that everything is connected to each other. "The Jedi recognize the interdependence of all being and develop the virtue of compassion. All things are connected and depend on each other by creating and being created by the 'Force'" (Feichtinger

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