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Saga The Jedi Order and the Sacred Texts - Flawed from the Start?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by PadawanGussin, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. The Deuteragonist

    The Deuteragonist Jedi Padawan star 1

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    Jun 25, 2018
    Personally, I always thought the Jedi Order and their teachings were flawed. The majority of the films reflect that. Not sure how they act in other non-movie material, but they were pretty neglectful most of the time. They didn't really seem to value emotion or attachment, which is fine...just not particularly effective. I mean, Luke and Anakin were constantly at odds with them. Anakin fell to the Dark Side partly because he lost faith in the Jedi Order after years of disappointment and neglect. Luke was only able to redeem Darth Vader because he rejected Obi-Wan and Yoda's council.

    To be fair, though, the movies are pretty inconsistent when it comes to what exactly leads to the Dark Side, as well as what constitutes as "dark".
     
  2. crazyewok

    crazyewok Jedi Padawan star 2

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    Oct 27, 2017
    Any organisation that has celibacy at it's core is warped and messed up.
     
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  3. yodaman_reborn

    yodaman_reborn Jedi Master star 1

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    Feb 7, 2009
    I think there's a large difference between human emotions and the duality of the Force, though often they seem somewhat intertwined. There is the idea that dark emotions can lead to use of the darkside of the Force which is the crux of what the Old Jedi Order believe. I personally believe that there was fault in how the Jedi dealt with emotions, particularly in the case of Anakin. Having said that not everyone who has "dark emotions" necessarily use the darkside of the Force, but the risks are increased.

    In that sense, learning to better control your emotions in order to avoid falling into darkness makes sense. But that’s a different concept as to actively practicing the darkside of the Force. I believe a lot of what differentiates the light and dark sides of the Force is dependent on how one uses it. For example, if one were to look at a knife you could use it to cut bread to feed your family, or you can use it to slit throats. Ones emotions may play a part in the decision of whether you choose to use the knife one way or the other. Having said that, someone who both cuts bread and slits throat isn't considered a balanced individual. In fact, if I spent my whole life using this knife and cut a thousand breads and I never slit anyone's throat, I wouldn't feel like I had somehow missed out on a valuable learning experience. One could argue that the Jedi were wrong on how they dealt with human emotions, but were right to say that one should not practice the darkside of the Force.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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  4. darth-sinister

    darth-sinister Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Jun 28, 2001
    "Jedi Knights aren't celibate - the thing that is forbidden is attachments - and possessive relationships."

    --George Lucas, BBC interview, 2002.
     
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  5. only one kenobi

    only one kenobi Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 18, 2012
    I'm kind of with you on pretty much everything here - except I do see the user's emotional state as being paramount in the distinction between Jedi and dark side...but then you pretty much argued what I feel anyway; by which I mean to say that a knife does not have, within itself, a dark side and a light side, it is the choice of the wielder as to how the knife is used.

    So, a force user learns that they can tap into this energy field that is within and surrounds all things, what they do with that knowledge and skill is down to the user.

    And this is pretty much what the OT propounds....that it is the emotional state/motivation of the user that defines what is dark side and what is Jedi. Nobody forbade attachment, or emotion...rather it was a key lesson that remaining calm and seeing the bigger picture is what will differentiate your future as a Force user...as it does with any kind of power.

    Of course, then the PT came along and foisted a whole load of baggage onto this very simple proposition - 'Balance in the Force' (a seemingly endlessly shifting and ultimately ill-considered concept), midiclorians, an eons long conflict between Sith and Jedi, a Jedi Order with a fixed hierarchy, doctrine and strict rules, the idea of Jedi being taken as infants...and so on.
     
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  6. PadawanGussin

    PadawanGussin Jedi Padawan star 2

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    Sep 6, 2017
    What I did think the prequels did well with is the exploration of religion vs spirituality. Balance of the Force is a perfect example of this. It shows how even with good intent "scripture" can be misleading and become dogmatic over time.
     
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  7. FS26

    FS26 Jedi Youngling

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    Jul 8, 2018
    I wouldn't say that the Jedi ignore the Dark Side (at least not initially), but acknowledge it, and then decide to side with the LIght (aka selflessness rather than selfishness). The difference between the Light and the Dark is how the Force user relates to the Force, either trying to submit to its flow and be in harmony with it, or by trying to manipulate it towards their own ends.

    An analogy to the Jedi's relationship to the Force and the Dark Side in particular is trying to walk a tightrope while being surrounded by strong winds: Walking on the rope means you are in balance, following the Light Side; the winds are your personal needs, shortcomings, and emotions. The big failing of the Jedi was to try to eliminate emotion, attachment, etc. rather than trying to learn to live with them and be in balance despite having emotions. We can see this in the 2 versions of the Jedi Code as well ("there is no emotion, there is peace" vs. "emotion, yet peace")

    The Jedi of the prequel era we're utterly unable to deal with Anakin's emotions because they had made themselves so detached from basic experiences in their attempt to be in balance. It's also why they took to recruiting babies, as it's easier to not form attachments when you never really experienced them.
     
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  8. PadawanGussin

    PadawanGussin Jedi Padawan star 2

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    Sep 6, 2017
    I have wondered what might have happened if the jedi Order would have been open to "Jedi Laypeople" becoming part of the structure of the Order.

    For example, I am Buddhist. I took specific vows and live in a certain way because of my faith hat the Buddhist path is a good fit for me. But, I have no plans to become a Monk and live in a Temple. I try to bring the Teachings of my "Order" into my everyday life to be a good decent member of society. Most faiths are like this, Not every Jew is a Rabbi, not every Muslim is an Imam, not every Catholic a Priest etc , etc. Most people are lay practitioners within a larger structured system.

    I think one of the errors the Jedi made was not to allow laypeople to enter the Order in some way and then to bring the Jedi Teachings to the galaxy as a whole. Not only would this have allowed the Order to grow, it would keep the leaders of the Order in touch with the concerns of the people it was tasked to protect.

    To me this might have allowed for a more flexible mindset in dealing with emotion and attachments as well as to allowed the changes that could have saved the Jedi from being so very blindsided.
     
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  9. FS26

    FS26 Jedi Youngling

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    Jul 8, 2018
    At least in canon, there are "lay people" that deal with the Force and Jedi (Lor San Tekka, Church of the Force), but the Jedi of the prequel era seems to be extremely insular in it's relationship to those outside the order.

    The two big failings of the Jedi were the confusion of emotional detachment for emotional control, and a complacency that the Republic, just by virtue of being the Republic, was morally right. By becoming de-facto law enforcement, they stopped actually being concerned about serving life and peace.
     
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  10. theraphos

    theraphos Jedi Knight star 1

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    May 20, 2016
    This is one of the things Lucas borrowed from Buddhism, and is widely misunderstood in fandom. There is an writer (Thubten Chodron) who I think put together a good summary:

    "Science says all emotions are natural and okay, and that emotions become destructive only when they are expressed in an inappropriate way or time or to an inappropriate person or degree...Therapy is aimed more at changing the external expression of the emotions than the internal experience of them. Buddhism, on the other hand, believes that destructive emotions themselves are obstacles and need to be eliminated to have happiness."

    On a related note, from the same article:
    "In a previous Mind/Life Conference, the question was raised. Does a Buddha have emotions? After much discussion, it was decided that Buddhas do have emotions, for example, impartial love and compassion for all beings. They feel generous and patient. They care about others and feel sad when they see others suffering. However, a Buddha’s sadness at seeing suffering differs from the feeling most people have. Our sadness is a form of personal distress; we feel despair or depression. Buddhas, on the other hand, are sad that others do not observe karma and its effects and thus create the cause for their own suffering. Buddhas feel hope and optimism for the future for they know that such suffering can cease because its causes—disturbing attitudes, negative emotions, and karma—can be eliminated. Buddhas are also much more patient than we are. Knowing that stopping suffering is not a quick fix, they are happy to work for a long time to overcome it."
    http://dharmafriendship.org/vtc-mind-and-life-2000-destructive-emotions/

    The above is in line with Lucas' commentary on the Jedi in which he speaks positively about their beliefs and practices. This largely western-pop-culture fandom is very focused on the Jedi being "wrong" for these aspects as some sort of objective fact that Lucas must agree with because we believe our cultural mindset is both universal and the only way that is "human" - but they are not wrong, they are different, and they are different in ways that quite frankly most of us don't understand or know anything about.

    EDIT: As for the question of laypeople within the Order, the differences between the GFFA/Jedi Order and actual Buddhism cover that pretty well, I think. In the GFFA, rebirth isn't a thing like it is in Buddhism; there's no endless samsara to teach people how to escape. Instead, the Jedi use their pseudo-Buddhist mindset training as a way to avoid succumbing to the poisons of the Dark Side, which people who are not Force-sensitive are not affected by and do not need to worry about.

    Similarly, I think it makes perfect sense that a religion/culture focused on serving the galaxy rather than controlling it would not seek to convert outsiders to their beliefs. The galaxy, for the most part, grows as it was meant to - the role of the Jedi is to step in only where necessary to keep the whole thing from burning down.

    There are other Force faith groups out there in the galaxy for the general public to participate in, as has been mentioned, and nothing's stopping anyone from taking up philosophy if they want to. The Jedi are not the entirety of Force religion, they are a monastic order. Just like the Shaolin Temple and its school of Buddhism is part of Chan/Zen Buddhism.

    UNRELATED EDIT: Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time a SW fan criticized the Jedi for their beliefs about "attachments" without understanding what attachment means, I would be wealthy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018 at 1:35 PM
  11. only one kenobi

    only one kenobi Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 18, 2012
    But..what's the point in a philosophy that living, evolved beings (ie, they are the result of an evolutionary process) cannot truly aspire to? When rhetoric and reality diversify from each other the rhetoric becomes useless. There is absolutely no point in pretending that you are a disinterested party when you are, by nature, otherwise. Do Buddhists not have friends? Is that not attachment? It is about understanding your emotional state, it cannot be about eliminating emotions - not and have anything to do with reality.
     
  12. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Nov 10, 2011
    Buddhists would disagree that it's impossible. The goal of Buddhism is to transcend the normal human condition. In fact, that's the goal of all religions. Given that the Force is supposed to represent all religions distilled down to their fundamentals, I'm not sure how you'd expect to escape this aspect as a Star Wars fan.

    A friend doesn't have to be an attachment. If you can appreciate your friend for who and what they are instead of what you would like them to be, and accept that your friend won't always be around, and not suffer in this knowledge, then you're not guilty of being attached to them. Personally I don't think that achieving a mind-state like this is remotely impossible.
     
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  13. FS26

    FS26 Jedi Youngling

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    Jul 8, 2018
    I'm not familiar enough with Buddhism to comment on how well the Jedi can be read through a Buddhist lens, though I'd argue that we cannot simply transpose Buddhist ideology onto the Jedi or the Star Wars franchise in general. I base my understanding of acceptance and controlling one's own dark emotions being a key element of Light Side mastery primarily on Yoda's encounter with the manifestation of his inner darkness on the Wellspring of Life during the Yoda arc of Season 6 of TCW, and his comments on the Jedi having been consumed by the Dark Side when discussing the Clone Wars with Ezra in Rebels.
    Furthermore, the Dark Side is not restricted to people strong in the Force like the Jedi. As an aspect of the Force it is present in all living beings, as is the Light Side. Just because a person is not able to tap into the Force to the same degree as a Jedi does not make them unable to learn from Jedi teachings.
     
  14. theraphos

    theraphos Jedi Knight star 1

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    May 20, 2016
    It is not attachment.

     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018 at 3:30 PM
  15. PadawanGussin

    PadawanGussin Jedi Padawan star 2

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    Sep 6, 2017
    I have always enjoyed this from AOTC as Anakin struggles with how to put his feelungs unto context

     
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  16. PadawanGussin

    PadawanGussin Jedi Padawan star 2

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    Sep 6, 2017
    There is no question that the Jedi had Teachings in both non attachment and well as impermanence. Yoda instructed Anakin to let go of what he feared to lose. In other words, To think that your well being can be sustained by external , temporary , highly unstable and shifting factors such as a job, home , money or even a relationship will ultimately be doomed to failure as all of these things will, at some point end. If you insist on being overly invested in these things true peace will continue to elude you.

    Where I think the Jedi erred was believing that they could manipulate cause and effect as opposed to their reaction to cause and effect. In essence that they could change Karma itself. This is where Qui Gon disagreed with the Jedi and why he was not on the high counsel. He was able to allow events to proceed as they would, "The living Force" in Jedi speak and find the places where he could intervene without true interference in the natural course of events. Returning to the Buddhist Teachings for a moment, there are times and events where even a Buddha who has gained Enlightenment , cant act as the Karmic connections involved simply cant be altered.

    As Yoda said, the Jedi had become to arrogant and too sure of themselves.

    I think that many of the Jedi thought that they had surpassed simply being a Teacher and a servant of the Force and wound up in a very bad situation because of this.
     
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  17. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Nov 10, 2011
    Yes, precisely. You're essentially describing the Taoist concept of wu wei.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_wei

    Qui-Gon's philosophy is exemplified in the way he manages to defeat Watto without even lifting a finger against him. Rather, Qui-Gon simply arranges events so that Watto's undoing comes about as a result of his own greed. There's a subtle poetic justice in the way those events unfold which is lacking in the blunt, brute-force approach employed by the Jedi against their enemies in the Clone Wars.

     
  18. only one kenobi

    only one kenobi Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 18, 2012
    Then please explain in what way it is not attachment. To have a friend is to have chosen one individual as someone 'special'...who is different from all other humans that you know. What differentiates this human from all the others you are supposed to love without judgement...because having a friend is in itself a judgement - that this individual is somehow different to those others. Unless, of course, by friend you mean something entirely different from everybody else's normal use of that word.
     
  19. theraphos

    theraphos Jedi Knight star 1

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    May 20, 2016
    What Buddhism means by attachment and what Western casual slang (which is not "everybody") means by attachment are not the same thing. I believe Phantom Calamari already did this clarification in a previous post; if someone really wants to read something more in-depth than that, Google is that way. I have said what I had to say, and my days of patiently writing out multiple long posts per thread on this subject every time someone presses me to do so are behind me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018 at 2:48 PM
  20. PadawanGussin

    PadawanGussin Jedi Padawan star 2

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    Sep 6, 2017
    Any person you meet in life will eventually be taken from you. This is also true of your possessions, job, etc. Ether they will die or you will die. So to use these things as a basis for your happiness is always going to end in failure. Enjoy the time you spend with others but realuze that in a very short time they will be gone.
    The only thing that will remain after you die is the karma of your actuons and this, and this alone will determine rhe circumstances of your rebieth.
    In Tibetan Buddhism the external parts of your life are like the meal your executioner provides on the way to your death. You might be distracted by the food for a moment but it will not alter your fate.

    There are 4 things to consider

    A precious life , one with the freedom to learn and practice virture. Many are born to slavery or other circumstances that do not allow a person to grow

    Impermanence., that this llife will not last forever and is easy to lise at any time

    Karma, the sum total of every action you have taken thru countless lives that will determine your rebirth

    The defects of Samsara, that there is suffering inherent to all things untill you reach Enlightenment

    I realuze this is not a Buddhist site and please dont close this rhread but I did want to try to clear up some of the misconceptions peolle are having.
     
  21. Justin Gensel

    Justin Gensel Jedi Youngling

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    Jun 11, 2018
    I don't think hierarchy was as much an issue among Jedi as people are stipulating. Jedi as a rule were not beings to desire positions of power or privilege, the things that a hierarchy supposedly locks others off from. The only one of their ranks that really lusted for more power was Anakin who wanted power as a means to justify his worth and to obtain the power to control others around him (such as his obsession with controlling Padme's life to prevent her death). As far as the younglings go, yes, that does seem odd to our sensibilities, but the Jedi never just took children. They knew where these children were and even spoke to the parents directly to put the choice in their hands about whether they wanted to have their children go to the Order. Most would give their children willingly, as it was considered a great honor to be accepted into the Jedi Order. Another issue that I feel we're maybe not looking at hard enough, suppose these children do stay with their families and don't go to the Order to hone their powers. How are non-Force Sensitive parents going to guide their children through the difficult stages of mastering something they don't have? They can provide love and support, but their child will always be an outsider in their community because of their gifts. Among the Jedi, they can still have friends and be a part of a community where they don't feel ostracized for their powers. What's more, they can have the structure and guidance they need to be able to use their skills in a beneficial way. And no part of the Order said that they HAD to be knights or even carry weapons. They could join the agricultural corps, work as teachers or even leave the Order altogether. The Jedi at the time of the PT had a lot of things going wrong, but most of their ideas did have a basis in being beneficial to the community around them. Being a Jedi was never supposed to be about being a soldier, but about bringing harmony and compassion to the Galaxy. Something that the Clone Wars robbed the Order of as they progressed.
     
  22. PadawanGussin

    PadawanGussin Jedi Padawan star 2

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    Sep 6, 2017
    In the ROTS novel, Dooku , in thinking about the GFFA under Sith rule, reflected on how the Sith would not allow Parents to deny their child to the Sith.

    So it seems as if children were not simply taken from unwilling families. There must have been a process put in place to lessen the stress of both the child and the parents.
     
  23. only one kenobi

    only one kenobi Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 18, 2012
    What Phantom Calamari 'clarified' was understanding that all things pass. That's not addressing what attachment is at all, but I do see now that the term "attachment" is being used here to describe an inability to let go. That isn't what attachment is at all, and I did try to address what attachment is by asking how a Buddhist could have friends (which was the term I questioned the use of, not attachment, by the way) and not be attached.

    I'm not sure I am interested in what Lucas has to say about attachment as he seems to have narrowed its meaning to "marriage", ignoring the bonds of attachment between Obi-Wan and Anakin, for example.

    I'll say it again, unless by friend you mean something other than the word's generally understood meaning, a friend is an attachment. That you can understand and deal with the loss of that friend is not about avoiding attachment, it is about understanding that such will happen and dealing with the emotions involved - not not having the emotions, but dealing with them.

    The idea that we can simply not have emotions, in some Super-human way (here described as a Buddha, itself a proposition of a transition from human to something 'other', as some sort of Ur-Buddhist) is the real error in understanding the philosophical underpinnings of Buddhism. As I said previously, the further the rhetoric departs from reality, the less use the rhetoric becomes.

    Taking this back to Star Wars, that is one of the primary differences in Jedi teachings between the OT and the PT. The notion of not having emotions/attachments is not a concept within the OT ("Your feelings do you credit..."), what is is remaining calm and centred - of being self-aware.

    Please also see the Oxford English Dictionary for the use of the term attachment, I'm not sure what you mean when you argue that how Buddhism (an Eastern philosophy whose original language is certainly not English) uses the word attachment, and how the more general use of a word is described as "Western slang" makes any sense at all. And if you are going to use a word as if it has an entirely other meaning that its actual usage then I think it a little rude to then decry anybodies "misunderstanding" of that transformed meaning.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018 at 11:50 PM
  24. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

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    Jan 5, 2011
    I'm just going to copy and paste one of my posts on this subject.

    From that link, though you need to read the whole thing:
    Another word is "clinging", which is a word that very much describes Anakin in ROTS. So The Phantom Calamari did address attachment by bringing up the inability to let go, ie clinging.

    Let go of the Oxford English Dictionary. It won't help you to understand what Lucas meant by attachment in the PT.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018 at 12:42 AM
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  25. yodaman_reborn

    yodaman_reborn Jedi Master star 1

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    Feb 7, 2009
    The jewel is in the lotus. It is about compassion which means to suffer with. Padme was the epitome of compassion as she often chose to suffer with others. Anakin refused suffering at all costs and that was his downfall. They both loved each other but handled it completely differently. It’s that juxtaposition that defines the moral direction of the saga and how it unfolds on their last encounter on Mustafar.