THIS MEETUP HAS BEEN CANCELLED AND WILL BE RESCHEDULED DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL. THANK YOU!
NOTA BENE: WE HAVE CHANGED THE LOCATION OF THIS MEETUP
Greetings, Fellow Jedi! Time again for book group! This time we are reading "THE DHARMA OF STAR WARS" by Matthew Bortolin. "Dharma" is a Buddhist concept meaning, simply, "spiritual practice." We will briefly discuss the concept of dharma in general, then move on to Bortolin's book. It's not a difficult read--it's actually very low-key and amusing in parts, I think we will enjoy reading it and discussing it!
The book is available at the Chicago Public Library as well as available on Kindle, and of course as a paperback on Amazon, or from your local bookstore. (I find it a good addition to my library, just in terms of general Star Wars books I keep around.)
"Is Yoda a Zen Master? What might Jedi training be like? Are the adventures of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader part of a spiritual epic? The answers—as well as humor, excitement, and much more—are here. The Dharma of Star Wars' cover promises a fresh and fun take on the films that have so captured the public's imagination, and its pages do not disappoint. Author Matthew Bortolin is a self-professed Star Wars geek (and, proud of it!), as well as a member of the Buddhist community of the teacher and bestselling author, Thich Nhat Hanh. Here, Bortolin casts a light on the timeless qualities and the wisdom to be found in George Lucas' already-classic film series. The result is a rollicking and eye-opening read sure to edify, and most of all, entertain—just like Star Wars itself....
"Bortolin, an ordained member of Thich Nhat Hanh's Buddhist community, may be the ideal person to write about the Buddhist themes in Star Wars: he camped out for tickets to all of the movies—even the less than stellar ones—and possesses his very own set of Jedi robes. In short, consistent chapters, Bortolin explores themes such as suffering, mindfulness, karma and transcending the dark side. One especially helpful chapter examines what nirvana is, comparing it to the all-pervasive Force of Star Wars, and clarifying that nirvana isn't a sort of Buddhist heaven or a blissed-out mental condition. Rather, Bortolin asserts, it is "the very absence of ideas and conceptualization." Bortolin looks to Jedi meditation as a parallel discipline to the Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation. In this state, Jedi knights "get in touch with reality as it truly is," observing their minds with calm compassion and allowing greater understanding of the present moment. One of the book's greatest strengths is Bortolin's stubborn determination to find something redeeming about the two most recent Star Wars films, and he does actually recover enough of these nuggets to make some fans take a second look at those overhyped flicks. With humor, strong examples and timeless wisdom, Bortolin offers a new way to think about a pop culture phenomenon. Lead us to Yoda, he does."