The Dharma of Star Wars: A Book Review

Recently, I talked about my renewed interest in Stat Wars and Buddhism. My recent fascination with Yoda in a Zen-Buddhist context encouraged me to find more books on Star Wars and Buddhism, which lead me to The Dharma of Star Wars.

The author, an ordained member of Thich Nhat Hanh’s religious order, and self-proclaimed Star Wars fan walks the reader through many basic Buddhist concepts, but shows how they are applied in Star Wars and how scenes in Star Wars express Buddhist truths.

I was pretty skeptical of the book at first because it seemed like it would be gimmicky but it turned out to be a pretty solid introduction.

The book is mostly geared toward new people and covers the usual stock subjects such as:

  • Four Noble Truths
  • Eightfold Path
  • Mindfulness and Meditation

An experienced Buddhist probably wouldn’t learn anything new unless you’re a Star Wars fan and wanted to see how they might overlap. The author readily admits not everything in Star Wars is Buddhist but definitely demonstrates how they have much in common. As you can guess, the Jedi embody Buddhist qualities: selfless, respect for life,1 openness, peace over war, etc. The Sith Lords of course embody the selfish ego, and the need to control and dominate through lies and sophistry. But the book does a good going beyond the obvious tropes to more subtle things that I personally missed, plus a few Jar-Jar Binks hijinks too.

I’ll post some stuff from the book soon. For now though I will say if you are new to Buddhism or are Buddhist and love Star Wars this book is worth a read. It may teach you a few Jedi tricks too. 😉

1 Minus a few missing limbs…

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Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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