Sep 042013

Along with the “otaku” scence, google reveals the existence of a slightly more serious group of people discussing how much of a Zen-Master’s wisdom is contained in the puppet called Yoda, acting in parts of the Star Wars series. Very likely Yoda’s most popular quote “Do or do not. There is no try” sounds too convincing in our complicated world (where I can at best “try” to keep my computer running),  and the call was answered by the trademark “Just Do It.”, presumably to hoax us into buying new shoes.

Behind all this, there is the more serious question of what makes a genuine “Master”. Why not follow a puppet, a hermit living high up in the mountains we’ll never have a chance to meet in person, or someone popular whom we only know through books or media?

The Masters I experienced did not allow to be employed for any kind of projection from their (real or want-to-be) students (which includes to be “followed”, sometimes even to be called “Master”). Instead, their interaction helped us students to realise ourselves, not just enjoy our own “my master” fantasies. These Masters acted like setting up a mirror instead of a silver screen in front of a projector: what we see after switching on light is not the film we expected, but the projector itself … most likely a sobering experience.

As most important I experienced the exchange from person to person … just “watching” a Master (or reading their books) is like watching food. It does not help at all if you are hungry … what counts is the interaction with him or her and you. You want to taste, chew, swallow and digest … only looking does not feed an empty stomach. Watching nice films, hearing wise words, admiring from far acts of bravery and mercy … forget it it! You ask and get an answer. You are being asked and have to answer. Verbal or non-verbal, polite or rude … but it is not words and actions of eternal wisdom, what you can expect from interacting with real Masters is what you need (or deserve) right here, right now. So, even if Yoda was the most enlightened Zen-Master ever, watching him on the silver screen can be, at best, entertaining.

Said that … there seems to be a reason why I (and so many others) apparently like Yoda. Looking at this picture, I believe his late creator was quite a character …

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