The History of the 33 Jedi Teachings by Jedi Kidohdin (aka: David Hedges)
As you know, the Jedi Community was born online. In 2001, I remember seeing a bumper sticker for www.Jediism.org, The Jedi Religion, when I was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY. At the time I thought, “Now what, a Jedi religion too?” But I kept thinking about it and later looked it up online.
By 2002, I was a member of www.Jediism.org, and their Yahoo Group, which we used as a training room. I believe that www.Jediism.org was the original Jediism website, but you can research that further if you like.
Anyhow, after the novelty wore off, I was not happy with the teachings atwww.Jediism.org. They used to teach the code of chivalry as their group’s Jedi teachings, and were not very flexible. I kept arguing with them about their teachings because I believed that there were valuable teachings in the Star Wars Episodes, like mindfulness, living in the present moment, meditation, etc. They absolutely refused to consider it. Anyhow, I got in trouble for questioning their authority and they shut down their Yahoo Group in 2003.
Around 2004, I believe that www.Jediism.org got in trouble with Lucasfilms for selling Star Wars trademark items, like jewelry, t-shirts, stuff like that, and they eventually closed their website. I’m not really sure what happened to them after that.
The Jedi Fellowship, which later became the Jedi Sanctuary, was founded in July 2003 after some of us left www.Jediism.org. First we were a Yahoo group, and later we started a website called www.Jedisanctuary.org which is now closed. We also became an ULC certified congregation in 2003, the first ever ULC Jedi congregation.
Our Jedi Sanctuary group’s teachings were based on the Jedi teachings taken from Star Wars Episodes - which I carefully took from the Star Wars scripts and books. I wrote the teachings so that our group would have some structure. The Jedi path, as a real world path, was still new back then, and there weren’t any guidelines except for stuff like the code of chivalry.
First I wrote the 16 teachings in 2003, then the 18 teachings, and eventually the 33 teachings by 2008, but then I stopped. The Temple of the Jedi Order borrowed 16 of my teachings for their website, and other Jedi groups have also borrowed the teachings.
We published a guide with 18 teachings in March 2006, which you can still find online if you Google: The Jedi Sanctuary Training Guide For New Members. Also www.About.com has published the 33 teachings at this link: http://altreligion.about.com/…/33-Jedi-Teachings-To-Live-By…Anyhow, here are the 33 teachings that we presently use at the Jedi Sanctuary:
The 33 Jedi Teachings
1. Jedi believe in a positive, mysterious, invisible, universal energy called ‘the Force’, also known as the 'living Force', the 'good side', or the 'light side'. The Force is a living spiritual presence that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds all the matter in the universe together. The Force is the soul of all living things, you might say, and the glue that holds everything together. Every Jedi interprets the Force in a slightly different way; some as a Tao or Chi type energy, and some as a Higher Power type energy that controls the Universe with a definite will, plan, and direction. In general, the Force is considered to be a good and benevolent energy. Even the Jedi find it impossible to define exactly what the Force is, but there is no doubt about Its existence. Jedi can directly experience the Force (through meditation) and therefore they know it exists. Jedi believe that Force allows people to have free will and choice, but that destiny also plays a part in their lives. Jedi talk about the ways of Force, and the will of the Force, but the Force and all its workings are still declared to be a mystery. Strange and hard to understand are the ways of the Force! Jedi believe that the Force is with them throughout their lives and that it helps them both now, and beyond this life. The Force will always be with us.
2. Jedi believe that the dark side exists, but refuse to dwell on it, or follow it, or use it in any way. The dark side is a negative energy or dark energy that only leads you to more and more negativity. The dark side is considered to be evil by the Jedi, the opposite of good, and is never to be followed or used because ‘consume you it will’. According to Yoda, those who follow the dark side are considered to be evil and agents of evil. Negative emotions like fear, anger, hate, and aggression are all paths that lead to the dark side. In summary, the dark side is real; but we should always stay away from it.
3. Jedi choose to serve the Living Force, and are eternal servants of the Force. They choose to be subordinate to the way of the Force, and are serious about their service to the Force. Jedi are not thrill seekers or adventure seekers. They are serious about following the Jedi teachings in their own lives, in their own way, because the Jedi teachings lead to personal growth, positive thinking, and help Jedi to be conscious of their eternal connection to the Living Force, which is found within through meditation.
4. Jedi, in general, are individuals who are strongly connected to the Force. The Force is with them and helps them. However, the Jedi believe that the Force is extra-strong in certain Jedi, much more so than in others. Sometimes this is passed down through the family line, like in the Skywalker family, for example. Yoda was also extra-strong with the Force, and so was Obi-Wan. Someone who is extra-strong with the Force will succeed against all the odds, and this stands out; things will go unusually right for them. They will succeed where normal people will fail. Extra-strong Force individuals seem invincible; they are the natural heroes of the world.
5. Jedi live in the here and now, and don't have stress about the future or the past. Jedi live in the present moment. This isn't as easy as it might seem, because the mind is very restless and always rushes to the future or past, and doesn't seem to be content with living in the present moment. Contact with the Living Force always occurs in the present moment. The mind is our tool, and we need to stop the incessant thinking and mental chatter that comes from the mind in order to be conscious of the present moment, and to live in the present moment. We need to control the mind, our tool, and not let the mind control us. Mindfulness meditation is helpful to live in the present moment, and is possible with effort and practice.
6. Jedi are Force sensitive individuals, and are experts at feeling energy through the sixth sense or extrasensory perception. Jedi can feel the Force, and realize that the Force is within them. They can feel the Force flowing through them, and around them, and outside of them and in other living creatures too. Our five physical senses, and our scattered minds, can block us from feeling the Force, but It’s always there. Jedi are equally sensitive to dark side energy or negative energy, and need to know how to avoid it and how to protect themselves from it.
7. Jedi believe in trusting their intuition and feelings. Webster defines intuition as 'a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence.' Jedi are intuitive and are in touch with their feelings and with the core of their being. Jedi have the ability to access this "inner voice of knowledge" that seems to come from their Tan Tien, Hara, heart center, or belly center. Intuition is also known as ‘gut feelings’, 'hunches' or 'following your instincts'.
8. Meditation is clearly a part of the Jedi lifestyle. A Jedi needs to consciously experience the Force, and meditation and contemplation are time tested methods to accomplish this. Jedi believe that a calm mind can only be achieved through meditation, and a calm and motionless mind is needed to contact the Force. Jedi need to meditate often in order to calm and clear their overactive and restless minds. Our minds, like sponges, get contaminated from the world, and need to be cleansed daily. We even absorb things from those who are around us, watching TV, from our environments, co-workers, the food we eat, etc, so it's important to keep a calm, focused, clear mind, and to meditate daily.
9. Jedi are mindful of their thoughts and feelings and focus on the positive. A positive mental attitude is healthy for both the mind and body; this has been documented by modern science. Jedi are always mindful and watch their thoughts. Not every thought that suddenly 'pops' into our head is ours, since thoughts can originate from many sources and not just from our own physical brain. We have to be able to discern the thoughts and remove the bad ones or negative and fear-based ones. Even the food we eat, and things we drink can influence our thoughts. Physical locations can also influence our thoughts, like the dark side cave that Luke went into. So, we must always be mindful of our thoughts and feelings, and let the negative thoughts pass away from us, sort of like watching trash float down the river. We are not our thoughts, but we need to let go of the negative thoughts.
10. Jedi cultivate patience in their lives. Yoda tested Luke to see if he had patience, which he didn't have at the beginning of his training. However, Luke learned to have patience later on in life. Patience has to be consciously developed over time. All of the Jedi teachers stressed the importance of patience. I believe that we can all work on developing our patience too. Remember, Jedi choose to 'act' with patience, and not to 'react' with anger or rage.
11. Jedi try to protect and defend the helpless if possible. Jedi are also aware that being prepared and trained gives them an extra advantage, if they do have to protect themselves and others. The Force wants us to defend and protect ourselves. A Jedi belongs to the Force; if someone attacks a Jedi, then he/she defends himself/herself on behalf of the Force. Most Jedi know at least some form of martial arts or self defense. Also, Jedi don't leave others behind; Jedi go back and try to help those who are facing dangerous situations.
12. Jedi avoid acting on the 4 vices that lead to the dark side; fear, anger, aggression, and hate. We can't control which emotions we will feel, but we can pick and choose our reactions to those emotions. We always have a choice. For example, a Jedi might feel angry at a person, but can choose to act with patience instead of anger. If someone cuts us off on the highway, we don't have to get revenge by driving with anger and road rage; we have a choice. Be mindful of these negative emotion warning signs by paying attention to your feelings. If a Jedi ‘feels’ one or more of these negative emotions (fear, anger, aggression, or hate) building up inside, then it's a clear sign that he/she is probably moving towards the dark side and negativity; balance needs to be restored as soon as possible. If this happens, then it’s time for some meditation to work it out. One way to start working on this is to first acknowledge that you have a dark side emotion in you, like fear or anger, and don’t suppress the fact that you feel this negative emotion; instead, confess it. Like Yoda said, “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” After you name it, or confess it, then let go of the dark side emotion, and visualize it leaving your body. I like to use this visualization: close your eyes and see a bright white light from above moving into your head and down through your body. As the white light moves down your body, it pushes out all the negative energy; you watch the negative energy leave your body from the bottom of your feet, and you see it being pushed into the earth, where it is properly grounded, not to return again. Next, try to focus on and feel a positive emotion to replace the negative emotion. For example, compassion instead of hatred, patience instead of anger, humility instead of arrogance, trust and surrender to the will of Force instead of fear, etc. Jedi are always on the lookout for dark side emotions, and are determined not to allow negativity to take root in their hearts, minds and lives.
13. Jedi keep themselves physically fit on behalf of the Living Force; it is the will of the Force for a Jedi to stay fit. Jedi can't accomplish their mission in life unless they are mentally, spiritually, and physically fit. Fitness is an integral part of Jediism, but the level of fitness depends on the individual. Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, the Martial Arts, lightsaber fencing, jogging, swimming, biking, etc., are all excellent ways to stay fit. Fitness affects your mental health in a positive way, and improves your over-all well being. There are so many positive benefits to staying fit that I can't list them all here. However, always consult with your physician before starting any new physical fitness program.
14. Lightsaber dueling is the Jedi's sport of choice. Jedi duel with lightsaber replicas to practice living in the present moment. It’s hard to think about the past or the future if you are dueling with a lightsaber, ouch! Lightsaber practice actually has a multitude of benefits. Dueling helps improve a Jedi’s coordination, flexibility, and balance because when dueling with a lightsaber, it becomes an extension of you. Many adults suffer from play deprivation, and play has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety – so lightsaber dueling also reduces anxiety. It’s a good form of cardiovascular exercise too. The real lightsaber only exists in the Star Wars Universe, but for the Jedi, the lightsaber is a powerful symbol that represents alertness, mindfulness, agility, play, discipline, skill, and living in the present moment. You don't have to duel with a lightsaber in order to be a Jedi, but most Jedi like to duel with them. Warning: Always wear proper eye protection when dueling with lightsabers!
15. Jedi believe in destiny, and don't believe in coincidences. Jedi trust in the will of the Force and accept the fact that nothing happens by accident. Things happen for a reason. Jedi believe in destiny, and that there is a higher intelligent design to what happens in the Universe. Things happen when they are meant to happen; there is perfection in the will of the Force. Nothing happens by accident. There is a 'soul-plan' for every person, but it's hard to understand these things from our level. Sometimes strange indeed are the ways of the Force!
16. Jedi believe in 'letting go' of their attachments, and train on this. The fear of loss of one's attachments can lead to the dark side, so a 'letting go' and 'trusting in the will of the Force' attitude needs to be developed by Jedi to overcome this fear of loss. For example, Anakin had a great fear of loss and was afraid that his mother would die, and after she died, his fear of loss was transferred over to Padme. He became obsessed with his fear of loss, and eventually this led him to the dark side and to horrible actions. Everything really belongs to the Force and not to us, so we need to trust the Force, and not be so attached to people and possessions and things. We need to do our best, and give it our best shot, but then trust the Force for the outcome of events. Fear can be overcome by letting go and trusting in the will of the Force, and giving everything over to the Force. We need to surrender everything to the will of the Force, and believe that we will be taken care of, and that all will go well for us and our loved ones; only then can we defeat this fear of loss and have peace of mind. Perfect trust in the Force destroys the fear of loss, and we all need to train on this.
17. Jedi believe in life after death, and that the soul survives physical death. Therefore, Jedi do not excessively mourn those who pass. There will always be some mourning, and missing of that person, which is only natural for human beings. However, Jedi avoid the extremes of mourning that can be so debilitating, negative, and destructive; in other words, Jedi don’t get obsessed with mourning. Jedi trust that the Force will take care of the souls of their departed loved ones, and with love, let go.
18. Jedi have special abilities and are encouraged to learn the ways of the Force, and to use the Force, but only for good works; things like training, defense, knowledge, and helping others who are in need. Some of the Jedi skills are martial arts, fighting skills, telepathy, intuition, future sensing, visions during meditation, clairvoyance, clairaudience, telekinesis or psychokinesis, ESP or PSI, mind reading, remote viewing, healing with energy, and Jedi mind tricks. Jedi should be training to develop some of these skills, when time allows.
19. Jedi have compassion and respect towards all forms of life. Like Anakin said, “compassion is central to a Jedi's life”. However, we need to have love and compassion for ourselves first, and then let that compassion gravitate outwards to the whole creation. Can you look in the mirror and say to yourself that you have love and compassion for yourself, exactly how you are right now? That you accept yourself; that you approve of yourself? If yes, then you can easily have love and compassion for others. If no, then you need to work on having more love and compassion for yourself. Be kind to yourself. Love and compassion are essential to being a Jedi, so let it flow out from you to everyone and everything.
20. Jedi believe in peace and justice, and are the guardians of these two wonderful virtues. Jedi deeply believe in finding peaceful solutions to problems, if possible. Jedi are expert negotiators, and first try to solve problems without fighting. Obi-Wan Kenobi taught Luke that there are alternatives to fighting. Sometimes Obi-Wan used Jedi mind tricks, or fake dragon calls to scare the aggressors away, or he tried to persuade aggressors not to attack through higher reasoning. He always tried to look for alternatives to fighting first. Only when all other means failed would he use his lightsaber to solve the problem. I think Jedi can learn from Obi-Wan's example, and should only consider fighting as the last resort. We should all be well trained on how to defend ourselves and others, but should look for alternatives before we decide to fight. Avoiding a fight could be something as easy as moving out of the aggressor’s striking range, or trying to calm or distract the aggressor. But if all else fails, a Jedi will defend himself/herself and others because Jedi embrace justice, which means protecting and preserving the basic rights of others. Empathy is important too; without it, Jedi can't understand how others feel when they are injured by injustice.
21. Jedi believe in being humble, and consider arrogance to be a flaw, or something that is undesirable. The opposite of arrogance is humility. Jedi embrace humility, and do not consider themselves better than others. Jedi never use the Force in order to show off in public or to impress others, like Anakin did by floating fruit in the air in front of Padme. Jedi try to hide their powers from public view in order to help preserve their humility, which is a great virtue.
22. Jedi believe in service to others. There is a lot of satisfaction in serving others and most Jedi agree that that volunteerism is at least one way that you can serve. If you haven’t noticed already, Jedi prefer to be serving instead of receiving. Why is this? Like the old saying goes, it’s more blessed to give than to receive. The way of the Force is to give. The Force is always giving without expecting anything back in return, and the Jedi are like this too. Here are some practical benefits that come from serving others: service helps remove our egocentric thinking; service helps to bring us out of our self; service helps remove our feelings of self-centeredness; service helps increase the flow of positive energy within us; service reconnects us with others, etc. We can start a life of service today by doing something beneficial for someone else. We can start by volunteering to help people or animals in some way, and then keep adding on to that service. If we keep on trying, sooner or later the majority of our actions will be service orientated, instead of receiving or taking orientated.
23. Jedi are devoted to accomplishing their mission in life. Sometimes it requires great discipline, sacrifice, incredible focus, patience, inner strength, and a strong sense of duty to accomplish your mission. But first, a Jedi must determine what his/her mission will be; this is accomplished by deep soul searching and meditation. You must determine and choose what your mission will be; you will decide it for yourself. Then, you will need to prioritize or decide how important it is for you to accomplish your mission, compared to other things that will demand your time and attention. Balance will be necessary so that you can accomplish your mission and meet all of your other worldly responsibilities.
24. Jedi are always mindful of the Living Force. When Jedi are being mindful of the Living Force, their minds are not being filled with so many distracting thoughts. Jedi feel a connection to all living things when they are mindful of the Force. Our satisfaction in life comes from our personal connection to the Living Force; material things, relationships, fame and wealth don't bring lasting peace, happiness, or satisfaction. Only our daily and conscious connection to the Living Force brings lasting peace and happiness. We need to make the Force the center of our life. If we lose awareness of our connection to the Living Force, then we will slowly start to lose our happiness. Therefore, we need to stay mindful of the Living Force throughout the day in order to stay happy, peaceful and content.
25. Jedi believe in something called symbiosis. Webster defines symbiosis as “the intimate living together of two dissimilar organisms in a mutually beneficial relationship.” There is a connection between the Force and all living things. According to Yoda, "It's energy surrounds us and binds us." Obi-Wan stated that, "It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” We are all connected through the Force. Because of this, Jedi believe in, and practice symbiosis. For Jedi, symbiosis means to work well with, and get along with different life forms for mutual benefits and advantage. Jedi try to live in harmony with nature, and with those around them; this is accomplished by forming cooperative relationships with others. This is not always easy to accomplish, but very Jedi.
26. Jedi believe in the law of attraction or manifestation, which has always been a part of the Jedi path. The law of attraction is basically this: whatever you strongly think about and visualize, and firmly believe in it (mentally see it, feel it, and touch it), you will eventually receive it - if you keep it up. Jedi believe that everything is made of energy. Our thoughts are made of energy too, subtle mental energy, and they are real things. Jedi believe that the energy from our thoughts, if strong enough, will attract similar energy. The Force will bring us whatever we continue to firmly think about, even if we are unaware of doing it. Our subconscious mind is very powerful, and sometimes it can manifest things too. This makes it extremely important to know yourself, and to always be aware of what you are thinking. We don’t want to manifest negative things into our lives, only positive things.
27. Jedi believe in democracy, but they also believe in keeping an eye on politicians. Jedi are cautious of politicians, and of their many promises in order to get elected or re-elected. Jedi are skeptical about the intentions and secret dealings of many politicians, but also realize that there are some good politicians in government too. Examples of honest politicians from the Star Wars universe are: Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo and Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan; both were politicians who cared about and sincerely served the people they represented. Senator Bail Organa saved Yoda and Obi-Wan after the Jedi were defeated, and he clearly went out of his way to assist them. Chancellor Palpatine was the extreme opposite; he was exceptionally skilled at manipulating and deceiving the people in order to achieve his own personal evil agenda.
28. Jedi mentors are allowed to train one Padawan at a time, if they decide that they want to train an apprentice; it's a voluntary service. By accepting only one Padawan, the Jedi mentor has more time to train together with the Padawan. More focus and attention to detail can be given to the Padawan by the Jedi mentor. The Padawan who wants to be trained seeks out a fitting Jedi mentor who is available, prepared, and willing to train him/her. If a Jedi mentor accepts an apprentice, he/she promises to train and mentor their Padawan to the best of their ability. Both hands-on training and one-on-one instructions are given to the Padawan by the Jedi mentor. It’s an informal agreement for training by both parties (or if it's a minor, parents of the minor and the Jedi mentor must first agree). The agreement can be broken by either party at any time. Training sessions are based upon the Jedi mentor's availability to train the Padawan, especially if he/she has a full time job and other responsibilities.
29. Jedi train on oneness or union with the Force. The highest purpose of life is to train on becoming one with the Living Force. Qui-Gon Jinn returned from the Force to train Yoda and Obi-Wan on how to become one with the Force while they were alive, still in the body, without losing their individual consciousness. This is considered immortality, but religions call it by different names like enlightenment, self realization, or God realization; it's the same thing. 'Oneness' or union with the Force is something that we can all slowly train towards during our whole life. As long as we are breathing, we need to train on becoming one with the Living Force, and never give up.
30. Jedi believe in and are committed to the Jedi order. The Jedi are called an 'order' many times in Star Wars. The words ‘Jedi order’ give connotations that the Jedi Path is something like a religion, and like a way of life. The pure and true meaning of the word religion comes from the Latin word “religio” which was derived from the Latin word “re-ligare” or “to reconnect.” The purpose of the Jedi teachings are “to reconnect” a Jedi to the Force. Actually, we are always connected to the Force, but we have lost our conscious awareness of this special connection. Why have we lost it? Mainly because of the many distractions of the mind, and because of the busy and demanding world in which we live and work; we get so caught up in it! Also because we are not living in the present moment, nor are we being mindful of the Living Force. Anyhow, we should always be committed to the Force and to the Jedi order.
31. Jedi can see the future through the Force, both short term and long term future events. Short term future sensing is seeing how things will turn out shortly before they actually happen; it’s important for the Jedi because it gives them an advantage, and it’s an excellent survival skill. Long term future sensing is usually connected to visions received while in meditation, and sometimes is known as prophecy. Visions of future events can also be given to Jedi in dreams. Long term future sensing only provides pieces of the puzzle that might give warnings about upcoming events. Caution must be taken when trying to interpret visions of long term future events, because they can be easily misinterpreted.
32. Jedi can feel disturbances in the Force. If a Jedi is mindful, and stays consciously connected to the Force, he/she can feel these disturbances. Feeling Force disturbances usually happen after there has been some type of large scale disaster, and/or a great loss of life. Obi-Wan sensed a disturbance in the Force when billions of creatures had suddenly died after the beloved planet Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star. Yoda sensed it after Anakin had killed a tribe of Tusken Raiders. Also Yoda sensed it when the Jedi were being killed after order number 66 had been issued. Being able to feel disturbances in the Force saved Yoda's life, because he avoided the assassination attempt on his life. Jedi should take heed if they feel any disturbances in the Force.
33. Jedi believe in keeping their sense of humor, especially during adversity. Jedi are always quick to crack a joke when they are in danger, or when everything looks bleak. Jedi never miss an opportunity for humor, if they can somehow fit it in. Master Yoda had a great sense of humor, especially when he met Luke for the first time. Obi-Wan Kenobi possessed a dry sense of humor and sarcastic wit. All of the Jedi had a sense of humor to some degree.