Taoism and disappearing Jedi

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Mex, Dec 20, 2000.

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  1. Mex Jedi Knight

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    Dec 20, 2000
    Kessel Runner,
    thanks for the thought on Obi-Wans "lying". I think you're right, I've never thought about that before. The truth, as Obi-Wan perceived it after piercing the veil, was that Anakin was dead. Well, not quite the truth, as it turned out in the end.
    On the similarity of qigong and Qui-Gon, this was indeed noted by several people right when EP I came out.

    Jedi Raziel/Darth Raze,
    this issue concerning the modernization of a philosophy is a difficult topic. On the one hand, I concede, it may be neccessary portray a philosophy differently to make it accessible to new generations and prevent it from getting buried forever. But there is great danger that in this process the teachings are modified to the extent that the core of the philosophy is no longer recognizable. I do not mean to imply that this is what happens in StarWars, for Lucas has always refrained from associating StarWars with one particular religion, and has done wisely so. Hopefully it succeeds getting some of the younger fans interested in eastern philosophy, or in philosophy in general, for that matter.
  2. Rhui Chatar Jedi Knight

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    Jun 4, 1999
    star 3
    Ah, refreshing this is...
    up
  3. Darth_Raze Jedi Master

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    Oct 10, 2000
    star 1
    Yes, Mex, you are right. When it comes to modernization of points of view, it is necessary not to lose the core instinct. Generally, I try to embrace the creative side of the issue, and let my enthusiasm justify some reinvention, or re-creation. What I've found is that nothing ever gets so mangled by re-interpretation that its main idea is lost entirely... Revisionists can repair, as well as destroy.
    Interesting about Obi Wan's lying. However, though I am often disagreeable, and perhaps too much so, I have to disagree that it can be justified with the above philosophy; that the Tao, in other words, can justify his "different point of view" rap. I've often praised the Jedi for not mechanically obeying some moral code: change is the one eternal constant, and they are utilizers of the eternal energy, the Force, which is creative, and active, and not still-born. It may sound like I've just contradicted myself, but having a still mind, I believe, gives one knowledge of that which moves, and being full of passion or emotion makes the world slow down, and the Jedi should be calm, and relaxed, and basically cool. I think, in sum, if Obi Wan were a better Jedi, he would not need to lie; he would merely smile and nod, and not say anything at all.
    While I wax philisophical, I am mindful of your statement, Mex, that no one philosophy is centered in Star Wars- that is a good point too.
  4. Kessel Runner Manager Emeritus

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    Apr 10, 1999
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    Quote:
    "It may sound like I've just contradicted myself, but having a still mind, I believe, gives one knowledge of that which moves, and being full of passion or emotion makes the world slow down, and the Jedi should be calm, and relaxed, and basically cool."

    This reminds me of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Unless you are completely still, you are effecting that which you are studying.


    Just thought I'd interject a bit of science into this philosophical discussion.
  5. Mex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 2000
    Darth Raze, you are raising difficult questions indeed. On this Obi-Wan-being-a-liar issue. First thing that comes to mind is the fact that when Obi-Wan argued with Qui-Gon in TPM on the training of Anakin, Obi-Wan stated "it's not disrespect master, it's the TRUTH". And Qui-Gon answered: "From your point of view". So Obi-Wan is not the only one who argues that there are different perceptions of the "truth". Question is, if the things, structures and processes we hold to be real in fact are only "Maya" as the Hindus say, i.e. an illusion caused by our perception of reality, is there an ultimate truth at all with issues surrounding material things? As far as I know, in Zen it is said that there is no such thing as a lasting existence of an individual but that individuals are actually a collection of constantly changing structures of energy (please correct me if I'm wrong). If this is the case, Obi-Wan's statement that Anakin is dead is in fact very close to the ultimate truth.

    On the philosophy issue in StarWars, even though Lucas denies a connection to a specific philosophy, I find the connection to Taoism a lot more pronounced than to other (Eastern or Western) philosophies. Nevertheless I am grateful for his attitude, for if he had done otherwise I can imagine the debates arising by Taoists arguing, on the one hand, all aspects of StarWars that do not perfectly fit into Taoism. And on the other hand, reproaches to Lucas for "diverting the youth to Non-Christian religions and esoterics" would have been even louder than it has been the case.
  6. Darth_Raze Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2000
    star 1
    Well, I'm not so sure about Taoism being the most similar to the ethic of Star wars of all philosophies. If you're Inner Alchemy solution to the problem of disappearing Jedi checks out, I may have rethink that...
    But you have guys fighting with blazing swords, like the angels, fallen and high in the beginning and the end of the Bible, Satannically-horned villains, bad guys falling into "pits", compassion vs. avarice... the Christian imagery (and I've studied Eastern and Western religions academically) is, to me, overwhelming.
    But then you've got Ben telling Luke to avoid trusting his eyes, which reminds me of Zen monks sitting zazen to patiently wear down their attachments to Maya, a life-force which most resembles the chi of various martial arts, good guys using arts which remind one of Judo, or Aikido, which are defensive and passive, while bad guys rely on blitzing...
    I believe the Yin/Yang is essentially a Taoist symbol, but I've seen it in Shaolin temples in many, many kung fu movies, which are Buddhist, and Confucian, as well as Taoist....
    It may simply be safest to call the Force, and its philosophy a Blend, and hope that the Jedi library scene in Ep. II will give us some conclusive answers.
  7. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    Kessel Runner: Excellent addition of science into the discsussion! That's why I so thoroughly enjoyed "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" and "The Tao of Physics" They directly compared scientific breakthroughs with Eastern Philosophy. Another mind-bender is "The Holographic Universe" I've been thumbing through "The Tao of Pooh" as well.

    From Mex:
    "As far as I know, in Zen it is said that there is no such thing as a lasting existence of an individual but that individuals are actually a collection of constantly changing structures of energy (please correct me if I'm wrong)."

    Or put another way:
    "Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter."

    Again, this realization on an experiential, rather than cognitive level is what allows Yoda & Obi-Wan to transcend death. There have been interviews with the Flanneled One where he says that Obi-Wan & Yoda (and apparently Anakin as well) have learned the disciplines necessary to, and this is the quote "retain their identities after death" rather than merging completely with the Force. They simply changed their frequency. This is also borne out in current scientific theory that "matter" is nothing more than "energy" that resonates at a lower frequency.

    Separation is an illusion.

    Whoa, I've come full circle.
  8. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    Linking topics:

    http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=1389346&start=1569005

    The Force, Free Will & Morality
  9. Darth_Raze Jedi Master

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    Oct 10, 2000
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    Damn, Merkurian, you're frying my brain...

    There is no soul, in strict Zen... we return to silence, and we must come to accept that. In non-Zen Buddhism (Zen is one Japanese sect) you have some Buddhas hanging out in the "pure lands" which is like Buddha heaven, while others, Bodhisattvas, return to earth in endless reincarnations to save all the deluded souls that are left from lousy karma. Zen is this: You are dust, you return to dust, there is nothing else, accept it. Mex's Inner Alchemy proposition is most similar, I think, to what you mentioned GL talking about, which is why I find it so compelling, because otherwise, the "souls" the Jedi have seem more like Christian constructs than anything else, to me.
    A lot of Zen's configuration in the martial arts, yes, does strive to show a practitioner that there is not so much a difference between mind and matter as has been thought... in that Blakean scheme I mentioned in the thread you made a link to, in Ulro there is none, which is pure Zen, and in Eden it is total, in which a soul would exist. Eden and Ulro are opposites not only as Heaven and Hell, but that they represent the goal and origin of human evolution, from an amoeba to a disembodied, god-like will of pure energy. When Luke "saves" Vader, he may actually have saved him from non-existence, for in choosing "Hell", he may have chosen a hylic, of material fate, as opposed to an enduring, or spiritual one.
  10. Mex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 2000
    Well, it seems I have to clarify why I think StarWar's most pronounced connections relate to Taoism.

    1. The Force. First of all, the Force. The Force so much resembles the Taoist concepts of Tao and Chi that it's almost impossible to ignore. StarWars is unthinkable without the Force. Likewise, in no other philosophy the role of Chi is so important as it is in Taoism. My theory is that the Tao corresponds to the Unifying Force, whereas Chi corresponds to the Living Force. Unlike in Christian and some other religion, never ever in StarWars some personal deity like the Christian God is mentioned.

    2. Inner Alchemy: In my first post, I mentioned that the transformation of all material elements of the physical body into chi is the next to last stage of Inner Alchemy (at least according to this book that's been haunting me for the last few weeks). This implies that there is a last stage of Inner Alchemy, which I haven't posted on yet. At this last level, "death is transcended entirely. One can simply transform the physical body into the immortal body and leave this world or return to it at will" (AHL, p. 9). It is also stated that it takes 80 to a few hundred years to achieve this stage of complete immortality (Qui-Gon simply died too early!). Unless you accomplish the stages of Forming The Spirit Body, individuality is lost after death, just like in Zen. It is only through the practices of Inner Alchemy that Taoist masters are able to retain their individuality after physical death. This exactly reflects the Lucas' quote mentioned by JM: They have to learn the disciplines first.

    3. Talking to Immortals: In Taoism, it is also believed that Immortals are able to return to this world (at least in spirit form) and that they occasionally talk to certain individuals (as happens in StarWars with Ben Kenobi and towards the end of ROTJ with Yoda and Anakin).

    4. Shaolin/Fighting: Shaolin originally was a taoist temple until Da Mo (alias Boddhidharma) came to Shaolin approx. 500 B.C. and "invented" Ch'an as the Chinese origin of Zen Buddhism, which evolved into Zen when in later came to Japan. Zen Buddhism is widely believed to have emerged as a synthesis of Taoism, Buddhism and additional input from the Japanese (again, please correct me if I'm wrong). Extraordinary fighting skills have also been reported with regard to TaiChi Masters, esp. the Yang Family. TaiChi is an original Taoist form of martial arts. Sword and Saber Forms also exist in TaiChi, and unlike some other martial arts, they are practiced not just with muscular power and speed, but with Chi. The Shaolin Kung Fu also primarily works with Chi, and practices such as Iron Shirt Qigong are unthinkable without their taoist background. Btw. In Hard Qigong practices have been known that enable the adept to make extraordinarily high leaps and develop super-natural running speed. I don't need to elaborate on the connection to certain Jedi abilities. The same reasoning applies to telekinetic abilities like lifting stones etc. An in addition, extremely high level masters are said to be able to handle the energy of lightnings. I don't need to elaborate on the connection to the Emperor's abilities in ROTJ (a taoist master who has become corrupt).

    5. Compassion is the supreme Virtue in Taoism, too.

    6. I've already mentioned the fact that Ben and Yoda are introduced as perfect taoist hermits in ANH.

    Phew. Sorry this post got so long, didn't intend to bore you. On further reflection, more connections may reveal themselves. For me, the satanic looks of Maul and the Fallen Angel status of Anakin, as well as the possible biblical reference of his name, don't live up to the connection of StarWars core elements to Taoism. Prove me wrong.

    PS: Merkurian, I, too, have read Capra's Tao of Physics and Zuvak's Dancing Wu Li Masters. I enjoyed both of them, but due to Capra's unmatched clarity and insight his book, to me, is by far the better one.

  11. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    "This implies that there is a last stage of Inner Alchemy, which I haven't posted on yet. At this last level, "death is transcended entirely. One can simply transform the physical body into the immortal body and leave this world or return to it at will" (AHL, p. 9)."

    WOW!!! I didn't realize that the Flanneled One was *so* into Taoism! Early drafts of RotJ called for Obi-Wan and/or Yoda to come back from the spirit realm in fleshly form to help Luke in his final battle against the Emperor.

    In-f'ing-credible!!!
  12. Rhui Chatar Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 3
    The thing that keeps drawing me back to the SW saga in not just the embedded eastern elements but that the story demostrates the links to other philosophies or theosophies so smoothly.

    The saga is an amazing study vehicle for pulling out those things which link the great beliefs. That is the subtle genious of GL. That he can move his plot along by taking bits and pieces of *seemingly* contradictory beliefs and insert them in such a way as to illuminate their similarities, not their differences.

    I can't wait until the next movie to see how he addresses Moksha- you can bet there will be more to it than the simple plot device that it seems to be on the surface.

    or maybe not
    RC
  13. Kessel Runner Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 1999
    star 6
    No kidding RC,

    As a matter of fact, I think it's beautiful in that it shows how similar all the various world belief systems are. The differences are subtle and superficial, in comparison to the true nature of their philosophies.


    This is an absolutely spectacular thread, and Mex you were far from boring in that long post of yours. I'm going to ruminate before I think about how I'm gonna respond... Time for me to get some of these books you guys are talking about. The more I read, the more I think I am a closet Taoist.
  14. Ecthelion Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2000
    star 3
    Ahh, for the old days when threads like this were commonplace. Sigh...

    For what it's worth, I'm increasing the size of my already formidable reading list based on the content of this thread.

    Raze,

    I appreciate your knowledge of the history of martial arts greatly. As a fellow with similiar interests, I'd have to say that you've yet to say anything that's wrong as far as I can tell. :) I'm currently studying Aikido and although I'd like to take Pa-Kua Chang or Tai-Chi Chuan as well, I'm having a helluva time finding clubs that either A, teach Pa-Kua or B, teach Tai-Chi with emphasis on it's martial applications rather than it's therapeutic applications.

    with happiness and courtesy to all who are participating in this thread,

    MH
  15. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
    "TaiChi is an original Taoist form of martial arts. Sword and Saber Forms also exist in TaiChi, and unlike some other martial arts, they are practiced not just with muscular power and speed, but with Chi. "

    Indeed, the Tai Chi masters have never been defeated in combat. No one is able to get close enough to them to lay a hand on them. From what my teachers have told me all of the duels ended before the challenger was able to get to the master. They simply fell to the ground drained of chi.


    "Unlike in Christian and some other religion, never ever in StarWars some personal deity like the Christian God is mentioned."

    Oddly enough though the bible is repleat with examples of Christ using chi to heal and do miracles. There is a story of a woman who was ill and touched the hem of Christs garment and was healed. Christ stops walking, turns, and says, 'Who touched me? I felt ENERGY leave me.' (paraphrased and I'm not sure where it is found in the bible)

    Seems very Taoist, but try talking to your average Christian about this and they will freak!

    Also check out Luke 11:33-36 where Christ gives information on meditation regarding the third eye (which some Hindu sects and some sects of Buddhism refer to as the Christ center). This also seems pretty Taoist to me.



  16. Kessel Runner Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 1999
    star 6
    This thread is great,


    Yeah, Wylding,

    In college I saw a demonstration of the Chi. The professor, who had been studying it, brought in a Master and she couldn't get near him. She kept trying to draw up the Chi through the ground and she just couldn't touch him. One time she laid a hand on him and she jumped back like it hurt.
  17. Mex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 2000
    Well, it is said that we will see Yoda fight in EP II or III. Wouldn't it be totally cool if Lucas pictured him fighting like a TaiChi-Master? Imagine the Clones just falling to the floor, never being able to lay a hand on him! This would be a worthy fighting style for Yoda! Would also perfectly fit Lucas' (or McCallum's?) statement that we will see why Yoda is "the" Jedi master.

    On the issue of energy healing in the bible, Wylding, energy healing exists in virtually all religious systems, e.g. in Hinduism (Kundalini Yoga) and in Tibetian Buddhism; in other religious systems like Christian it is called spiritual healing but the basic principle is the same: Energy, spiritual or otherwise, is used for healing purposes. There's a variety of sources of energy, apart from the body's own chi, such as Earth Chi, Cosmic Chi and the Universal Chi. For example, the Third Eye (or upper DanTien) is the entry for Cosmic Chi and once opened it is the source of certain psychic abilities.

    During spiritual training you gradually learn how to tap more and more of these sources. Getting access to external energy sources is the prerequisite for energy healing abilities and spiritual development. Christ of course was extremely advanced in his spiritual development, and so it's not surprising that he should be able to use the Universal Force for healing purposes. However, in Christian religion, as far as I know, such abilities are believed to be restricted to certain "chosen" individuals, because they are believed to be a gift by God, whereas in Taoism in principle with proper training and regular practice they may be achieved by everyone. As I mentioned before, the Chinese are known to train Chi healers who are working as regular employees in chinese hospitals. Actually a teacher of mine was employed as a Chi healer for 20 years before he left China in the late 1980's.
  18. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    All this talk about Tai Chi masters & swordwork makes me think of Mace Windu. According to Nick Gilliard, Master Windu's style is supposed to be deceptively slow but undeniably deadly; very economic of movement as opposed to Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan's brilliant but exhausting style.

    Anyway, back on topic. I'm with Ecthelion: my "library list" grows with each post. Good thing for me I do part-time at a bookstore, eh? Employee discounts are a wonderful thing!
  19. Jedi_Raziel Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2000
    This seems like a good time for me to say for the 10,000th time that the basis of all world religious or philosophical and necessarily fighting systems is Human. Taoism may be a greater clarification of this essential truth than most other religions comparitively, or simply in Star Wars terms.
    Great point about Jesus's healing energy leaving him, Wylding, I was just about to post on that when I read your words. I can't see any real difference between the Holy Spirit, or the chi, or the Tao, or even the Shin ("spirit-mind-breath-intuition-wind-soul") of Zen and Shinto. Jesus was not the only one able to heal; it was his supposed ability to wash away sin with his blood that was unique to him. The apostles, as Paul writes, utilizing faith, and more importantly love, performed similar miracles, usually beating up on godless magicians to do so. Faith is what Luke lacks, as he tries to focus and muster his mind's energy to lift his ship out of the swamp, as Yoda says, but stretching out with one's feelings is also emphasized. We break a lot of ground in this thread; I think the next logical step would be to find the connection between faith and love.
    Just clearing something up I said earlier... (as Darth Raze)... some people today who I still argue with don't believe that Vader could have redeemed himself at the end of ROTJ. My point always is (for I think he could) that there is no agency that keeps people in heaven or hell, no wooly-bearded god up on a cloud handing out judgments. Speaking of the connections between Eastern philosophies and physics, as so many of the books mentioned in this thread have, (how did you guys who did get through Wu Li Masters??? I have no gift for math...) the law of thermodynamics which states that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction is, to my mind, a mathematical and modern expression of the idea of karma, just as all physics grows out of the same frame of mind as those once-thought-mystical schools; the Brahma, the Super-Ego, the "God" who holds heaven and hell in scales in his hands. Karma, in sum, is a natural function of the human mind, and thus the human universe, and so when I said that Zen had no doctrine of life after death, whereas its opposite state of mind did, I meant that one focuses on matter, and the other on mind. Nonetheless, in many religions, spending a life selflessly suffering for others can win one a glorious spirit body, that is, the road through hell leads into heaven, and vice versa. The Emperor also survives death (EU) but returns to the physical world, drawn by what the Buddhists would call attachment.
    Sorry if that's all convoluted; I hope it's not too off the point.
    I wish I had the knowledge to prove anything you said wrong, Mex, but as yet, I don't. All I can do is continually assert that there are similarities between Christianity and Star Wars, as well as Taoism, and that it's my belief that the redeeming Son, Luke, saves his Father, the Force incarnate, from oblivion, by redeeming his soul, his karma. For the record, Luke and Anakin are both Christ figures, but while Luke is only the earth-bound "nice-guy" Christ, Anakin represents that character, as well as the "Day of Wrath" Christ. (Whatever happened to "He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword..."?) I've never heard the Force described as "the Ineffable Way", though I've of course heard "the way of the Force."

    All stories, ultimately, are one; Mankind's.
  20. Mex Jedi Knight

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    Dec 20, 2000
    Sorry if I'm starting to get on your nerves, but I have to come back to the Inner Alchemy issue once again. One additional thing just came to mind... in ROTJ, when Luke visits Yoda on Dagobah, Luke says "Master Yoda, you cannot die." Yoda: "Strong am I with the Force...but not that strong!" (quoting from "The Annotated Screenplays" p.266; as for ROTJ, I've only got the German synchronization on tape, but I believe the dialoque is much the same in the original movie). Does this mean that even Yoda has not completed the last stage of Inner Alchemy, i.e. if he would be even stronger with the Force he would be able to transcend death entirely and leave and enter This World at will? I.e. he cultivated the spirit body enough to retain individuality after death and be able to talk to Luke, but didn't attain the last level of actual physical immortality?

    Jedi Raziel, being a mere hobby-philosopher I cannot comment on the relationship between the Holy Spirit, the Tao, Chi and Shin, but there definately is a difference between the Tao and Chi. The Tao is the process emerging from the Wu Chi and in the beginning it "created" the two polar forces Yin and Yang. The Yin-Yang-Interaction in turn is the origin of the energy field Chi. It's just like in electricity: Current only arises through the existence of both a plus and a minus pole. So the Tao is there prior to Chi; the Tao existed and can exist without Chi, but not Chi without the Tao. Note for those who got through Capra and Zuvak: Personally I believe that the Tao, at least with regard to it's merely physical aspects, could be equated with the Schroedinger Wave Funktion, whereas Chi could be equated with the energetic and material phenomenons that manifest when the wave functions collapses. Any thoughts on this?
  21. NhikRath Jedi Knight

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    Dec 25, 2000
    star 1
    Hey; I've been a Taoist for more than half my life (I was a Buddhist for a few years which overlap with my Taoist days) so I might be able to help you guys out. You've been talking about how Taoism is an expression of human experience and the charting of spiritual matters and the such. This is all true; from a certain point of view.

    The man who founded Zen-Buddhim and the man who founded Taoism met once by accident. They talked about their teachings and were very polite and parted ways after some time. Soon after the meetings; the Buddhist guy told his pupils that the Taoist guy was probably the most dangerous man he'd ever come to meet. Why you ask? Here's why. While Buddhism is based on human suffering and compassion as a key into para-nirvana and eventually nirvana; Taoism is quite different. First of all; Taoism is not a religion. A religion by definition must believe in a higher conciousness/diety(ies)/or God.

    I'll now speak to you through an extreme Taoist's point of view: I do not believe in any of this [God] and am simply on a much higher level than human existence. Suffering and compassion are all irrelevant to me. My life is my life and has little effect on the universe as a whole. I have no goals; no preference; no identification; no action; and no needs. Where Buddhism focuses on understanding the human soul; I focus on understanding the Tao which is not only MY soul; but the soul of all other beings and non-beings. To successfully do this I must maintain a non-tainted spirit; and it this action which is usually what is seen by others. While I do this action; it is infinitely and thus not mine. I have no goal but to be; but to be I must do. This is what can be named the wu-wei. While my life and non-life are unimportant I do not take them lightly. In fact; my being is my only concern. Do not be fooled; I will do nothing to prolong my life except that which is vital to my body and mind. If I am to suffer great misfortune to my body or estate; I will protect it if I see the act fit. I have no enemies nor friends; not because I do not want any but because all I know and see is me and I am it. When you are something you cannot be its enemy; and you similarly cannot be its friend. Since I have no enemies or friends I eliminate all feelings of distrust; angst; jealousy; guilt; and fear. These things are not bad; I just have no use for them. But this is also why some see these things as bad; because it means that those who are feeling these things are not at a high level of understanding. (Which is somewhat hypocritical: you are appalled by the existence of something that also exists inside yourself; and thus see the work to expell that thing as futile. In this way; all "negative" feelings are feelings of self-hatred and unconfidence. If you get rid of these two; you rid yourself of all negative feelings.) This is also why faith is so often preached by religions; because faith resembles self-confidence; but is not exactly the same thing. Faith is for those who cannot believe in themselves. But now that you've heard this; why do you remain in your religion? Why use a butter-knife to cut down a tree when you can use a chainsaw?Maybe you won't.

    Anyways; the disappearing act portrayed by George Lucas is just a symbol for unification with the Tao. But then what about this Inner Alchemy thing you've brought up? Sometimes in very very rare cases; a Taoist can concentrate the energy that he learns about in his body; thus doing spectacular physical things such as disappearing and becoming one with the Tao. The fact that George Lucas has this in his movie(s) is not surprising since Joseph Campbell was a strong influence on Lucas and Campbell knew a thing or two about everything.

    As for disappearing Jedi I can remember only a few: Obi-wan Kenobi; Yoda; Jerec; and supposedly Anakin Skywalker although it was somewhat delayed. (As if the Force was discussing what happened to him in a committee before it finally said come on in. He hadn't disappeared yet when Luke torched him. Ooohh; maybe he wasn't dead yet; that'd su
  22. Mex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 2000
    Hi to you Lord Nhik Rath,

    thanks for outlining your toughts on Taoism. I think most of what you said is true - from a certain point of view :). However I think your perception of religions (other than Taoism, which to me is not a religion) is a bit restrictive - I've made the experience that even within a given system people perceive the teachings very differently. For example, I know a Jehova's witness who with regard to her thoughts, attitudes and way of life is much closer to Taoism than some Zen-Buddhists I know. As Chia said, the Tao is beyond religion, science and philosophy. In the end, the goal of all religion, philosophy and science is the truth. I consider myself a Taoist adept too, although I'm well aware that I have a long way to go. But as I learn more and more about Taoism and the Tao, I'm getting a deeper understanding of other religious systems like Christianity. In fact, I understand Christianity far better today as a Taoist than I did when I was a dead-card member of a Christian Church years ago. Today I say there's no need to belittle other religious systems or approaches. It is simply that the Taoist way seems to be the most accessible for me.

    On a different thing. You said the man who founded Zen Buddhism and the man who founded Taoism met once? I don't quite get it, who do you mean? Da Mo came to China approx. 500 A.D. (according to historical sources, Zen (Ch'an) was founded in Shaolin in 527 A.D.). Who do you mean by "the man who founded Taoism"? The I Ging, which many hold to be the origin of Taoism is about 3000 years old. There is no particular name associated with it that could be regarded as a "founder". The Yellow Emperor, who may also be regarded as a founder of Taoism, lived in the 27th century B.C. As to Lao Tse, it isn't even clear if a man by the name of Lao Tse ever actually lived, some historicans maintain that the Tao Te King was written by several authors over a longer time period. If Lao Tse actually existed, he is said to have lived approx 800 to 500 B.C. There's no way he could have met Da Mo. He is said to have met Kungfu Tse (aka Konfucius), maybe you were mixing this up.
  23. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
    Hey NhikRath,

    Good post.

    I agree that there are many similarities between Buddhism and Christianity. Leaders of both groups have said that Buddhism was never meant to be an ism and Christianity was never meant to be an tianity :)
    They both have traditions of non-violence and the goal of seeking peace. Both are very powerful and rich in variation and tradition. Both seek to enlighten their adherents. Both have generated conflicts...I could go on.

    However, you state that Christ was a practicing Buddhist and spent 27 years in the far east studying. However, we have historical accounts of Christ at the age of 12 or so in Jerusalem at the temple. Even if you are fuzzy with your math and fudge a few years hear and there, there just isn't enough time to get Christ from the middle east to the far east, study, come back, and die. That would put him at almost 40 by the time of his death...10 years too many. Unless of course you discount archaelogical evidence that supports the historical accuracy of the bible.

    I can appreciate the idea, but I think that Christianity and Buddhism (although VERY similar in many aspects) evolved quite seperately and have some STRIKING differences of which I am sure everyone here is aware.
  24. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Mex wrote: "But as I learn more and more about Taoism and the Tao, I'm getting a deeper understanding of other religious systems like Christianity. In fact, I understand Christianity far better today as a Taoist than I did when I was a dead-card member of a Christian Church years ago."

    Here here! I'm of the same mind (or spirit if you will) I did time in the local Youth for Christ group as a teen (*sigh* the things you do because of girls...) and eventually became repulsed by what I termed "mindlessness" and became a being of intellect rather than spirit. Strangely enough, the "wake-up call" was Star Trek VI, when Spock "shushed" a young Vulcan, telling her "Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end." WHOA!!! Now I've come full circle.

    I've been interested in eastern beliefs, as well as Islam, the Khabbalah(sp?), and Yoruba, in addition to Christianity.

    Anyway, I digress. I think it's true that even Yoda lacked the understanding to master the "final discipline," to be able to go back & forth between the realms of the living and the dead at will. Still, early drafts of RotJ called for Yoda & Obi-Wan to do just that. (This also may have been what Obi-Wan was hinting at in ESB when he warned Luke that he would be unable to help in his battle against Vader; he may have only been ale to pull that stunt once.) Another draft called for their ghosts to appear in the final battle over Endor, shielding Luke against the Emperor's Force lightning.

    There were some interesting bits posted about Taoist beliefs that sound like the Jedi Code. I'm not sure of the attitude that folks on this thread have towards the EU (except for Ecthelion & Wylding) but with your permission, I'd like to post some info from the new Star Wars Role-Playing Game. It has to do with how to properly role-play a Jedi character. I think you'll find the parallels fascinating. I don't have the book handy, so it'll be this evening at the earliest that I can get that info...
  25. Mex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 2000
    Merkurian, oddly enough, If I dare say such a thing on a StarWars board, Spock and the Vulcan culture played their role in my "awakening" from the dream of pure logic, too. The Vulcans have been about the only thing that's got me interested in StarTrek (apart from Q, of course). Maybe Diane Duane's book "Spock's World" would be fun for you, there's even a Taoist computer playing a significant role.

    I'm looking forward to your post on the role-play instructions how to portray a Jedi! :)
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