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The Themes Of Buddhism In The Matrix

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“The Matrix” is a pluralistic film, in that it takes bits and pieces of many major religions or philosophies and combines them into one film with a resulting patchwork quilt of ideas. One of the main religions or philosophies that “The Matrix” drew from was, Buddhism. With the martial arts elements present, it makes sense that the Buddhist ideas that underlie most eastern fighting traditions would appear. The movie in particular, uses Zen Buddhist ideas and imagery, the most prominent example being that of the mirror. The Buddhist mirror is a Zen concept that demonstrates the ideal mind and how it should operate. The idea behind it is that an ideal mind is clear or without thought, like a mirror is. A mirror is not attached to anything, it solely reflects what is present, “...a "mirror-mind," one that is uncluttered, free, and therefore empty. Just like a mirror, a mirror-mind simply reflects what comes before it” (Brannigan 102). Human life and experience distort everyone’s mind or mirror. Often people’s minds more closely resemble fun house mirrors, which present a distorted picture instead of reality. Emotions, bias, moods can all color or change memories or perception, and ‘cloud’ the mirror. For Buddhists, the cause of all the distortions is thirst and desire, so in order to achieve an accurate reflection, Buddhists must move beyond attachment and let that go. According to Zen tradition the way to do that is meditation. However, to fully be without attachment, the
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