Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
– Jedi Master Yoda
It is impossible to omit all the Star Wars IV hype this weekend. It’s all over social media, and I’m frankly not immune to it. I’m a writer, and for many years studied the teachings of Joseph Campbell, who was a renouned mythographer and a personal mentor of George Lucas who had a huge effect on the films, and even made a cameo appearance in one of the movies of the first trilogy. If the SW Universe feels like a myth for our age, we have JC to thank. He was Lucas’ very own Obi Wan Kenobi.
I chose to share this meme as part of my Lotus Sutra blog series to demonstrate that even Jedi philosophy and spirituality has been influenced by wisdom of the sutra. When we study the innumerable worlds in Epicurus and in the sutra, we’ll find even more cosmological similarities with the SW universe.
In Buddhism, there is a doctrine that teaches that there is a chain of causation of suffering, and even names the links within that chain. It’s this doctrine that inspired Yoda’s parallel Jedi wisdom. This is how it is expounded in the Lotus Sutra.
Then he broadly expounded the doctrine of the twelve-linkedchain of causation: ignorance causes action, action causes consciousness, consciousness causes name and form, name and form cause the six sense organs, the six sense organs cause contact, contact causes sensation, sensation causes desire, desire causes attachment, attachment causes existence, existence causes birth, birth causes aging and death, worry and grief, suffering and anguish. If ignorance is wiped out, then action will be wiped out. If action is wiped out, then consciousness will be wiped out. If consciousness is wiped out, then name and form will be wiped out. If name and form are wiped out, then the six sense organs will be wiped out. If the six sense organs are wiped out, then contact will be wiped out. If contact is wiped out, then sensation will be wiped out. If sensation is wiped out, then desire will be wiped out. If desire is wiped out, then attachment will be wiped out. If attachment is wiped out, then existence will be wiped out. If existence is wiped out, then birth will be wiped out. If birth is wiped out, then aging and death, worry and grief, suffering and anguish will be wiped out.
Lotus Sutra, Chapter Seven: the Parable of the Phantom City