Star Wars and Lao-tzu.
In the movie Star Wars Obi-Won Kenobi said to Skywalker “May the Force be with you.” I have forgotten all the action that made Star Wars a great movie. The one thing that has stayed with me is when Obi-Won Kenobi said to Skywalker “May the Force be with you”. This force is everywhere and gives the Jedi their power. Conversely it gives the villain Darth Vader his, opposing power.
The similarity between Lao-tzu and Zhungzi writing about the Tao and Star Wars power is obvious. The Tao is described as the driving force of everything an indescribable force that keeps the whole cosmos in equilibrium. Lao-tzu is quoted as saying “The Tao that can be described is not the real Tao.”
The opposite forces of Yin, the dark and negative, and Yang, the Hot and light side, as shown in the beautiful Yin and yang symbol of opposing opposites are attributed to Zou yan. All this has a Pantheist philosophy about it, the unfathomable laws of nature and the delicate balance, nature needs to keep things flowing in harmony. Mans ignorance of natures laws are causing problems. When the Yin and Yang are out of balance, like nature out of balance there are problems.
The ego does not like to admit it does not understand the big questions, so man invents explanations in the form of powers, forces and gods. I really do not know, one of them could be right; I will not debate on that subject. I try to keep an open mind, I have my ideas but they are like clay that has not been fired, they can be reshaped. I do not mind sharing my ideas, largely they are not my ideas, they are a combination of ideas from many sources.
The Buddha is supposed to have said “Do not accept my teaching, practice then and only accept them if they work. I have been putting those words into practice, testing many vastly different beliefs and concepts, from motivational books to religious writing, myths to scientifically proven facts. As well as science fiction like Star Wars. It does not matter where it originated or who said it first. If it works for you practice it.
People are looking for truth, truth is hard to define, it is subject to change, what was true in the past is often not true today. The exception to this is that everything in time is subject to change. All things in time change it is a universal unchanging fact. It is part of the Buddha’s teaching and when fully under stood will help to alleviate suffering.
Fundamental to all schools of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths and The Eight Fold Path. Refer to my earlier page A Path to Live By. Also The Way to Peace and Contentment. Ignorant of right understanding, the way things really are, we grasp and cling to things we should realize are fleeting, unsustainable and impermanent. Like a child with an inflated balloon an unpleasant outcome is inevitable. This is learning the hard way from life experience. The lesson may have to be repeated. Still many never learn that giving is more rewarding than clinging and hording. To be able to share and let go when the need arises.
This is all part of the original teachings of Sakyamuni the sage of Shakyas, Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha. No other ethical guide, religion or philosophy reveals so clearly actions leading to peace, contentment and the end of suffering. The Four Noble truths: that life has unsatisfactory aspects causing suffering, because of ignorance craving and attachment. The Eight fold Path leads to cessation of attachment and craving and therefore suffering. Sanskrit words describing the Four Noble Truths, The first truth is Dukkha a word that has no exact synonym in English. To describe dukkha as suffering is misleading. All beings are subject to suffering because of ignorance of the true nature of things. The problem is all things are impermanent described by the Sanskrit word Anicca. The Buddha was like a doctor discovering the disease first, noting the cause second, prescribing the medicine third and fourth the cure, The Eight Fold Path.
Meditation is another Buddhist teaching that originated at a much earlier time, it is mentioned in the Bible, Hindu Vedas, Chinese Taoist and adopted in Buddhism as a way to calm and train the mind. These are the profound teachings The Buddha gave to his followers. As Buddhism spread it absorbed other beliefs, religions and myths, some like the Taoist are worthy of study. Though many only muddied the water, but do make interesting reading and should be looked into.
The Eight fold Path is a way of life that gives one a long-term goal to aim for. Taking self-discipline without any divine help, it is not an easy path to adhere to in the turmoil of life’s distractions. To stray from the path has no dreaded fear of retribution from a demanding God. The only repercussion is karma, the law of cause an effect, the seed you sow governs the crop you get.
The idea of Karma originated in Hinduism they believed a just God punished or rewarded as was deserving of the individual’s deeds. The Buddha did not enter into discussing gods and creation his interest was in finding a cure for suffering. Originally Buddhists believed Kama to be the law of cause an effect. To test this smile and usually you get a smile in return when we act badly there is a negative response. It may not happen immediately but when the conditions are right the deed will yield a like response. Karma is a fact in this life, as for the afterlife I would not speculate.
Buddha’s teaching is a profound philosophy that has been polluted as it spread to other lands. Today it is a conglomeration of many beliefs, myths and religions. I find this reading colourful, interesting and a wonderful puzzle to be sorted out. Wise and helpful aspects have been added as well as unintelligible nonsense.
I try not to criticize the beliefs others hold because religious people are usually sincere, kind and trustworthy, if treated with respect. Reciprocity is needed, one cannot expect respect, if they are not respectful, or be trusted if not trustworthy or be shown kindness if they are unkind. All this can be thought of as aspects of karma.
Unfortunately religions create positions of power that can have an adverse influence on the religion. Yet if religion is sincerely practiced it can be a great comfort and do a lot of good.
All major religions have the same basic principles, commandments, precepts or laws. Beyond all the other differences there is a neutral place we can all meet and share the basic good values we all hold, a place where empathy and kindness lead to understanding.