Subscribe now to read this article and get immediate access to everything else. The series of films that began in finally ended with the release in May of the final installment, Revenge of the Sith. A lot has happened in the nearly thirty years since Star Wars first appeared. The films have undoubtedly changed Hollywood, helping to usher in the twin eras of box-office blockbusters and limitless spin-off merchandizing. Matthew Bortolin appears to be one such fan. In his new, well-timed book, The Dharma of Star Wars , he uses his beloved films as a vehicle for explaining the dharma to other potential followers.
The original Star Wars movie was a smash hit. The movie spoke to audiences of all ages on a deeper level. I believe I can elucidate the tenets of Zen thought in this iconic film. Obi-Wan Kenobi was based on a traditional samurai warrior. His clothes were folded left over right, in the Japanese style. His Jedi beliefs eschewed laser guns for the far more elegant lightsaber from a more noble age, echoing the samurai sword. Obi-Wan is not the only nod to samurai culture.
2) Focus on the present
But there may be an even more direct connection. His humble, wise manner and gentle humor made him appear like the archetypal sage of fables. This quality did not escape the notice of Westerners who met him. Upon seeing him in Dharamsala, for instance, the makers of the popular film Star Wars decided to use him as the model for Yoda, the spiritual guide of the epic. Rinpoche never saw the movie, but would undoubtedly have been amused at the caricature.
He is a small, green humanoid alien who is powerful with the Force. In his first appearance in the original trilogy , Yoda is described as the Jedi master of Obi-Wan Kenobi and subsequently trains Luke Skywalker to use the Force. The character reappears in Return of the Jedi where he reveals his age to be Yoda has become iconic in popular culture due to his distinct pattern of speech and role as an old, wise mentor. In the prequel trilogy , set a generation before the original trilogy, Yoda is among the most powerful members of the Jedi Order and a general of clone troopers during the Clone Wars. He also trains all Jedi children, before they are assigned a Jedi master. Yoda appears again in the sequel trilogy , advising an older Luke and empowering Rey to face a revived Emperor Palpatine , along with other past Jedi. While Frank Oz served as the primary performer, over the years, he had been assisted by a multitude of other puppeteers, including:  Kathryn Mullen Ep.