“First comes the day Then comes the night. After the darkness Shines through the light. The difference, they say, Is only made right by the resolving of gray through refined Jedi sight” – Journal of the Whills, 7:477
In the practice of Buddhism it is vital that a person come to know and accept the fundamental truths of life. Without the knowledge of these truths and the attainment of wisdom a person will surely continue to live in an existence of delusion and grasping attachment of things impermanent leading to suffering.
Buddhism teaches the four noble truths. Life is suffering. Suffering is caused by our own delusions and liberation from suffering can only come about by releasing our attachment to delusions. The final truth is that the path to freedom from suffering lies in the Eight-fold path. Right View is wisdom and understanding of the four noble truths. Right View is the point of depart on the long path to enlightenment.
“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda
According to Buddhism the root cause of all suffering (Dukkha) are the mental, emotional and behavioral states that lead to greed, ignorance and hatred. Right View is the wisdom to resolve this imbalance. Wisdom leads to freedom from suffering and the attainment of nirvana through the Eight-fold Noble Path.
The fictional Jedi follow a similar journey as the Eight-fold path in their lifelong training. The point of depart is the Jedi Code and knowledge of self and the Force. Without an understanding of this wisdom there is no becoming a Jedi. One cannot apply what one does not understand. In the original trilogy Luke Skywalker grapples with his understanding of the Force under the tutelage of Obi-wan Kenobi and then Yoda. The Jedi Masters tried to instruct Luke in “Right View”.
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.” – Yoda “The Empire Strikes Back”.
In “The Last Jedi” Luke Skywalker in turn tries to explain the Force to Rey. Rey misconceives of the Force although it is strong in her. She believes that the Force is merely some sort of tool used to “control people and make things float”. Luke senses this and is reluctant to teach her the ways of the Jedi as Rey lacks wisdom and he willingness.
Learning the Force
The Force can barely be described in words but it can be sensed and felt. Luke tries to show the Force to Rey by teaching her to let go of preconceived notions and to simply allow her self to fully sense the Force through the natural energy of the Island refuge. The Force is the energy that resides and flows through and between all things and all life. But it is more than that.
Knowledge of the Force as it is rather than what one would judge it to be is crucial in the training of the Jedi. Without real experience and mentoring, Right View is difficult to attain. Skywalker was taught by Yoda but failed to properly instruct Rey on Ahch-To. Rey must rely solely on her self to fulfil her destiny without the guidance of a teacher. What Rey lacks in Right View she makes up for with an indomitable spirit. It may not be enough however.
The Real World
Real world Jedi have divergent view of what the Force is as much as the Fandom has on Rey. Unlike Buddhism we do not have the Four Noble Truths or the Eight-fold Noble Path but we do have the Jedi Code. Buddhists also have the shared community of wisdom (Sangha). The Jedi have an online community. The parallels in the recovery community are the 12 Steps and a global support fellowship. Each is a path to a form of enlightenment through wisdom.
In my recovery, Right View was paramount. Facing the truth was life and death. I had to wake up to my addiction and admit it to myself and others. Self Knowledge was essential as was honesty. I had to accept that I was powerless over alcohol and that I could never drink again if I wanted to survive. As harsh as the truth was, the reality was that it fit into the paradigm of the Four Noble Truths. Acceptance and letting go of attachment was the only way forward. The 12 Steps the path to freedom from suffering.
The Jedi Code provides a mantra for living based on Right View. The Jedi Code teaches that emotions exist and are part of being human. We choose how to respond to our emotions and should not allow ourselves to be ruled by them.
We should always seek knowledge and accept that we will never have full knowledge. Our ignorance should not be ignored. We should strive to learn.
Being human we care. However we should not allow ourselves to become so passionate about what we care for that we suffer for its sake. We should avoid clinging attachment and be prepared to let go of what we fear to lose. Serenity is the outcome of non-attachment.
In the midst of the storm we can find shelter. We can be the source of calm and equanimity when everyone else is losing their minds. In the chaos we can find harmony.
We do not fear death and accept it as part of the circle of life. All things must return to the Force.
Emotion, yet peace.
Ignorance, yet knowledge.
Passion, yet serenity.
Chaos, yet harmony.
Death, yet the Force.
Right View is Freedom
No endeavor worth pursuing can be achieved, no meaningful change in our lives possible unless we are willing to accept things as they are; the truth. This is the essence of Right View.
To fail to seek the truth is to surrender to a live of illusion. With an illusionary view of life comes unhealthy attachments and ultimately suffering. We are swimming against the flow of life and we will struggle.
As we learn more about who we truly are the falsehoods we came to accept as real start to fall away. We start to see things clearly and we stop fighting the world. On that high road is the path to freedom.
“When this exists, that comes to be:
With the arising of this, that arises.
When this does not exist that does not come to be,
With the cessation of this, that ceases.” – Buddha