Discuss and evaluate what part Eastern philosophy and religion play in George Lucas's conception of Star Wars?

Essay by renrenCollege, UndergraduateB, July 2005

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In the Return of the Jedi, one thing some might have noticed is that it is very difficult to figure out if Luke Skywalker has become a Jedi or not. He believes and appears to intuit that he is, but Yoda, near the beginning of the film, tells him he is not quite done with the training yet. In Zen philosophy, unlike traditional, or Indian, Buddhism, the concept of enlightenment is rejected: it is held that only those who have no understanding of true reality have a belief in "attainment of enlightenment."

More interestingly, I find that with a little discussion it could be seen that the Force would be very much like the model of ultimate reality in Buddhism where even the Dark and Light side of the Force would have clear interpretations. But we cannot merely disregard one of the aspects of the Force if we are to understand the Star Wars saga on its terms, rather than on terms convenient for the interpreter.

Clearly the Force of the Star Wars films is not like the concepts typically found in Eastern or Western religion or philosophy. We then have the opportunity to learn about just what the Force is. We can also attempt to find if it is a more coherent description of ultimate reality than the concepts typically found in Eastern or Western religion or philosophy.

Near the end of Star Wars: A New Hope, when Luke destroys the death star, we see that just before he does, Vader is inadvertently thrown out into space, and then moments later, the entire Death Star is destroyed. This implies that Luke has reached a very high Jedi-state. But note that with Vader still existing, out in the void, Luke's ultimate fear is still in place, but at a minimum...