The Dharma of Zelda
Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:22 PM
[18:36] auratwilight: the whole dharma thing? Pretty much solved 99% of everything.
[18:37] auratwilight: People still cite me on fansites about the Zant/Onmyoji thing
[18:37] chetdew: Well I guess that's why I don't like it when it gets too complex with "divine pranks" and paradoxes. That seems unlike most myth, whereas usually it really does feel like legend
[18:38] chetdew: It's why I hated the split timeline for a long time too
[18:39] auratwilight: well the divine prank thing is totally straight up dharma, which is as myth-y as it gets.
[18:39] chetdew: Yeah, that was a really good call on the onmyoji thing, I think that was definitely intentional and the American/European fanbase just didn't pick up on it because we're unfamiliar with it
[18:39] chetdew: What do you mean?
[18:41] chetdew: I haven't read all your thoughts on the dharma stuff, I've only previously seen your thoughts on the Zant stuff and the stuff about Ganondorf's role as a manifestation of Demise's hatred
[18:41] chetdew: But I find it very intriguing
[18:43] auratwilight: sorry was called away a sec
[18:43] auratwilight: The dharma stuff I haven't really compiled together. How familiar are you with the concept of dharma in general?
[18:44] chetdew: I have a little bit of an idea of some of it but I've probably barely scratched the surface
[18:44] chetdew: Especially in this context
[18:44] auratwilight: as in, lol, basically what you've read from me, then?
[18:45] chetdew: Well I have an interest in mythology and other cultures but when it comes to viewing it through a Zelda lens and vice versa then yes, I don't know about it beyond what you've said
[18:46] auratwilight: well, alright, basically "dharma" is like a mix between "destiny" and "cosmic law."
[18:46] auratwilight: It's more liberating than the western concept of fate, but in some ways also more specific.
[18:47] auratwilight: It's kind of like how gravity demands that what goes up must come down, but nothing says something MUST go up in the first place, you know? there's still a choice element.
[18:47] chetdew: Yeah
[18:47] auratwilight: Dharma, like Karma, is usually used to explain things like the cycle of reincarnation
[18:48] auratwilight: For instance, it is entirely possible that SS Link and Zelda were the only planned incarnations, and if things went how Hylia schemed everything would've been rad and totally awesome forever.
[18:48] auratwilight: Demise's curse imparts a new dharma onto the entirety of Hyrule's multiverse, forcing Link and Zelda to reincarnate, and also demands that Ganondorf must harass them. And if Ganondorf isn't available, perhaps that dharma sicks the more minor villains on them.
[18:51] chetdew: Well, maybe there's something in your interpretation that covers this too, but from the way it usually goes down and the way Demise said it, I was thinking that Ganondorf harasses the Hylians as a whole and in turn forces Zelda and Link's current incarnations to try and stop him
[18:51] auratwilight: well, yea
[18:51] auratwilight: he's Demise's hatred, which is pretty omnicidal
[18:51] auratwilight: but it gives special consideration to Link and Zelda.
[18:52] auratwilight: and frankly I don't think there's a better way to express hate for the two of them than destroying the world they love.
[18:52] chetdew: Yeah, I'm just saying, Ganondorf always shows up before Link and Zelda and Demise targets Link's people in his curse even though he does mention the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero first and foremost
[18:52] auratwilight: I think that's sort of a reverse-causality thing
[18:53] auratwilight: He comes first and targets the hylians so that Zelda and Link will rise up to challenge him and hopefully fall.
[18:53] auratwilight: or perhaps it's because Demise is older than both of them, therefore Ganondorf must be older than them
[18:53] auratwilight: That's dharma, too.
[18:54] auratwilight: unlike destiny, Dharma is supposed to run in every direction of time.
[18:54] auratwilight: another, less extreme example of dharma would be the Sleeping Zelda story.
[18:54] chetdew: So it also explains why things that have already happened, happened?
[18:54] auratwilight: yes
[18:55] auratwilight: Because of the Sleeping Zelda, the prince mandated that all princess must bear the name. And because of the nature of that proclamation, it is perhaps possible that it ran the other way in history.
[18:55] auratwilight: This maiden and that maiden bear the name Zelda for they are the Princess of Destiny, respecting the tragedy of the sleeping princess to come.
[18:56] chetdew: Damn dude, that's almost too perfect
[18:56] auratwilight: I love dharma.
[18:56] auratwilight: it's basically the Rule of Symbolism.
[18:56] auratwilight: it allows shit like "It happened because it was thematic" to be a law of the setting.
[18:57] auratwilight: It also solves like all the series in-references, like the Light Spirit Lanayru and the electric dragon Lanayru don't have to be the same person, but can be related through a shared dharma.
[19:00] chetdew: However, maybe there's something I don't quite get, but that's actually why I don't like the idea that there was a literal divine prank or even that Ganondorf had to get the ToP to set up the events of TP. If things had already "gone up to go down" so to speak, why would this incarnation of Ganondorf need to survive? Under the idea that it doesn't need to go up, it just goes down if it goes up, why would the gods or destiny or dharma do all this nonsense just to set up Twilight Princess?
[19:00] auratwilight: Well, the idea I liked is that OOT Link divided the Triforce in the child timeline's ending since he had the ToC.
[19:01] auratwilight: And, well, didn't Midna say that the purpose of the Twilight Mirror was so that the two of them could meet?
[19:01] auratwilight: There needs to be a reason for it to be used...
[19:01] auratwilight: therefore history is predestined backwards through time to arrange it so that Link and Midna meeting is a necessary effect of causality?
[19:03] chetdew: Well yeah, but I feel like if the only condition is that one day the Twili and the Hylians can meet and stop hating and fearing each other all this Ganondorf stuff needn't happen just for that. Especially because there's still a chance Zelda and Link could fail
[19:03] auratwilight: Another aspect of dharma is that the reward has to equal the risk.
[19:03] auratwilight: a ying yang taoist element
[19:04] auratwilight: so maybe the Goddesses decided to take care of the upcoming Ganondorf incarnation by binding him up into the Hylian/Twili thing, to show them that neither side is wrong by showing them an example of true evil.
[19:04] auratwilight: dharma, by the way, would also explain why TP Link and Zelda have their Triforce pieces. They got it via reincarnation from OOT because their child versions never utilized those gifts.
[19:04] chetdew: I guess I like the idea that, even if he's destined to appear and harass Zelda and Link, Ganondorf has to actually work to get to that goal and that the gods aren't really trying to let him have his way, even if only for a while...so that'd be my problem with some of the overly destiny-based stuff
[19:05] auratwilight: Well, yea, I agree there.
[19:05] auratwilight: And dharma would support you there
[19:05] auratwilight: But I don't see anything wrong with the Triforce thing I mentioned.
[19:05] auratwilight: He had the Triforce the instant OOT Link divided it, and only made use of it then, etc.
[19:06] chetdew: Yeah, that works, I think that's one of the most likely possibilities
[19:07] auratwilight: also this model fixes all the problems with the Triforce. Making a wish alters the dharmas necessary to make the wish come true, instead of dropping it in yo' lap.
[19:08] chetdew: But what do you make of The Wind Waker in regards to this? I always saw it as one of the few "new" Links in the sense that the "spirit of the hero" vanished into the child timeline and remained the chosen hero of that timeline, but the King needed to find a new spirit to take up that mantle
[19:09] auratwilight: TWW Link inherited his dharma, because there was no spirit or bloodline to continue, but a Link must appear.
[19:09] auratwilight: and the wish of King Daphnes broke the old dharmas, in the sake of Hope.
Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:56 AM
Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:15 AM
The basic concept of dharma is that it's sort of like the middle ground between free will and predestination, and is like the metaphysics that governs the soul, transmigration, and the supernatural flow of the world's laws. A more simple example of a dharma is "Vampires must drink blood because they are cursed" or "Every Link wears the green tunic and hat because it's part of the role." It's a thing that's not bound by strict, linear time and causality, and can cause itself, paradoxes be damned.
It is a sort of rule that allows things to occur because of a future thing that needs to happen, such as "The meeting of X and Y has to happen, and there's three paths this can happen: A, B, and C. Free will exists, but one of those three paths must occur." It is the dharma of Link to save Hyrule, but he fully has the choice of rejecting this duty.
I'm still not sure how to explain it, because there's no nice Western counterpart to the idea where I can say "Dharma is basically this." The word Dharma pretty much literally translates to "Divine Law", though, and can best be compared to the laws of physics (Gravity dictates that what goes up must come down, but it's your decision to make it go up in the first place), or to a God's Commandments, such as "The world shall be flooded for 40 days and 40 nights."
Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:11 PM
Edited by Nerushi, 09 December 2011 - 12:11 PM.
Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:11 PM
Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:40 PM
does any of that make sense? and sorry if all that came off as rambly, i just really like this concept.
edit: oh hey, 4,000 posts. how about that.
Edited by Finbarr, 09 December 2011 - 02:42 PM.
Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:47 PM
Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:49 PM
The "Divine Prank" fiasco is a really good example. The hypothetical scenario I posed in that chat log is that the Twilight Mirror's purpose was to resolve the enmity between Hylians and Twili, which can be accomplished by Link and Midna meeting. If this is the case, and Link and Zelda are still bound by the dharma of Demise's hatred, it's really to be expected that some huge ass contrivances fall into place to make Ganondorf an instrument of bringing the two races closer together.
Posted 09 December 2011 - 03:56 PM
I was reading this dharma article and I was struck by the fact that it tells a tale of a warrior who rescued a goddess from a demon king, slaying him with a silver arrow. Why, that is exactly what we did in the first and ALTTP, sort of. Dharma indeed.
Also, regarding the divine prank, in now makes sense why the Sages suddenly called Ganondorf out on his 'hatred' once he obtained divine powers ( rather than before ). And also why, after being indisposed in the Twilight Realm, Ganondorf found Zant so easily, whose 'hatred' gave him power to escape it.
Posted 09 December 2011 - 04:51 PM
Posted 12 December 2011 - 06:14 PM
Dharma = 100% on your final. At least that's how I've always seen it described.
EDIT: I am also aware of the idea of cyclic existences in regards to dharma, but that isn't exactly dharma, either. It's the idea that people are doomed to repeat existence in an endless cycle until they reach/follow their dharma and escape it. I may be off base as it's been a few years since I read about it, but I don't remember dharma being referred to in a way beyond the path to enlightenment.
This stuff interests me, so I would like to see where you are coming from, but I keep wondering whether or not dharma is the word you are looking for or not.
Edited by Altum, 12 December 2011 - 06:50 PM.
Posted 12 December 2011 - 06:54 PM
You're kind of right, kind of not. While Dharma is supposed to be the 'best'/'intended' order of the world, it's capable of being changed, being broken, and even correct. A major tenet of Buddhism, for instance, is to transcend one's dharma and discard it as a step of leaving the world (though one must do so without commit an adharmic action).
That's legitimate, I suppose. Though I feel there's some subtle, fundamental differences, since even deities can be bound by a dharma and my model allows for legitimate free will. That being aside, Dharma is the "way things are meant to be", but being the "ideal" isn't the same thing in Eastern philosophy; For instance, Demise's curse complements "the way things are meant to be", because the Legend of Zelda dictates that Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf must fight over the centuries; but that isn't really the "ideal" nature of the world.
Dharma is quite literally "celestial law"; the fundamental nature of the world. Dharma is, as an unfortunate result of this, connected to Samsara, and there is bleedover between the two concepts. If you do not satisfy your dharma and it isn't broken, you are doomed to repeat it, just as one is fated to transmigrate in the samsara of existence until you escape it, though there are differences in connotations, dharma usually being treated as a good thing (but not otherwise).
Posted 12 December 2011 - 07:29 PM
The difference is that it seems like you are applying a micro-level philosophy on a macro-level scale. I haven't seen dharma referred to in a sense that would make people be reincarnated to repeat a cycle. Dharma is usually the way to escape a cycle. However, I can see where you are coming regarding the thematic repetitions and it possibly being the dharma of Hyrule as a whole, like a thematic dharma. I just don't know if I would use dharma instead of just saying "destined to repeat" in this instance. I agree with what you're saying as a whole, but I just feel it's a debate of semantics.
I would like them to apply such an idea to a game. I always figured the ultimate end to the series would be when Link, Ganondorf, and Zelda give a big "fuck you" to the Goddesses and break the cycles of suffering that have plagued Hyrule since the beginning (AKA an actual fulfillment of dharma ).
Hopefully what I'm saying is getting through. I think we have different interpretations of dharma, and as you said, it's not something easily defined. I'd never criticize one's personal beliefs.
EDIT: I guess what I'm saying, in short, is that dharma seems defined as a path of righteousness, whereas you seem to be using it as a general term for the divine goal of the world at large, which is something that will come to how far one wants stretch the concept of dharma.
Edited by Altum, 12 December 2011 - 07:33 PM.
Posted 12 December 2011 - 10:53 PM
I suppose the term I use is kind of irrelevant as long as we all understand what I'm saying, though dharma can bind people into transmigration because of its connection to Samsara. Dharma is the natural, cosmic law of the universe. If that cosmic law dictates reincarnation, welp...
Well, more like a FUCK YOU to Demise, if anything. The Goddesses just seem to roll with what lower-level people do.
My grandmother was a temple caretaker, and she pretty much taught me everything I know, complete with literary citations. I just trust it, but asian philosophy and theology is fragmented as hell.
Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:47 PM
Either way, I think the Goddesses like seeing this stuff play on, like Ganondorf inexplicably getting the Triforce of Power when he's being killed in TP's backstory. I'm guessing that's where you're alleging "dharma" kicks in, but I think there is a more specified causality behind it. Even if one is to blame the cosmic law of Hyrule, well, they created Hyrule in the first place. I think this stuff goes on and on because they allow it/wanted it. Hell, they created the Triforce, anyway, and left it for the taking. Then again, they flooded Hyrule to end it, so maybe not. Really hard to say what was divinely intended here, and what isn't. I'm a little curious how powerful the Goddesses are, actually. Should we consider the three of them on the level of, say, Christianity's God? Or are they lower on the tier of universal dominance?
Seems to me like we're confusing fate and dharma, though. Fate is the intended outcome, whereas destiny is where your actions ultimately lead you, whether or not it matches up with your fate. I've usually seen dharma described (loosely) as the method/path by which your fate and destiny become the same, though I've only seen it used in a spiritual context of "being a good person," and not in a grander sense. I just don't agree with the idea of saying "dharma" leads to some of these random things to happen, but that's because I haven't seen dharma used in that way. I'd say it's more fate forcing itself than dharma, which as you said, can be broken. If you have some online sources regarding dharma used in this way, please post them. I'd like to read more into it. I'm pretty into different religions/philosophies/spiritualities.
Interesting conversation, though. The cosmic law of Hyrule is not discussed very often.
Posted 13 December 2011 - 04:01 PM
I blame Shintoism's melting pot nature. The word is originally Indian and was used to morally justify the caste system, then it passed through Buddhism, and then in Shinto its treated as Universal order.
What's the difference between a cosmic law and a never-ending curse that will span eternity and help dictate the turning of fate forever and ever?
Personally, I'm of the mind that the Goddesses aren't even around at all. Perhaps they just left to make other multiverses without really caring about the finished product, or perhaps they expended themselves in the act of making the Triforce, and remnants of their souls incarnate as oracles, or giggling girls outside of a circus tent...
Well, they left Hylia to guard it. Considering the Triforce is described as regulating the laws of the universe, it's probably a necessary existence, and it might not have ever been intended to be used by mortals.
They're omnipotent, so...probably?
All of my sources are print books my grandma left me from her library, and it's all in Japanese, so I'm not sure how useful it'd be to you. Sorry...
Though until we resolve the issue, maybe we should just make up a term for this concept, such as "Prezeldanation" or something. I definitely think the idea I'm forming here is meaningfully different from the western concepts of fate and destiny, so I don't want to use those terms because of their baggage. If Dharma is going to be problematic too, the word should be ditched.
Posted 13 December 2011 - 04:50 PM
Posted 13 December 2011 - 05:38 PM
Edited by Altum, 13 December 2011 - 05:40 PM.
Posted 13 December 2011 - 05:39 PM
Posted 13 December 2011 - 07:13 PM
Yeah, I spaced and forgot about him having to grow his spirit to be worthy of the title. In that light, not only did we see the origin of the Master Sword, but also the origin of the spiritual legacy of Hyrule's heroes. Bitchin'. Of course, if they decide to prequel again, this could easily be rethought to have been SS Link becoming worthy of inheriting the title rather than forging it, but that's neither her nor there.
Also, kinda provides yet another possible reason why OoT Zelda finds the name "Link" somewhat familiar.
Edited by joeymartin64, 13 December 2011 - 07:14 PM.
Posted 13 December 2011 - 09:08 PM
i've always been fond of the luke/leia interpretation myself
Posted 13 December 2011 - 11:33 PM
Posted 14 December 2011 - 05:41 AM
Yup, I can see that. Also ties in nicely with how obvious the romance is between their predecessors in SS, come to think of it.
Edited by joeymartin64, 14 December 2011 - 05:42 AM.
Posted 14 December 2011 - 08:02 AM
Posted 14 December 2011 - 03:40 PM
MUAHAHAHAHAAHA AS PART OF MY CURSE I SHALL REINCARNATE THEM AS SIIIBLIIIIINGS! HAVE FUN ROMANCING NOW, MORTALS! ...ew what are they doing? OH GOD DAMMIT.
Posted 14 December 2011 - 04:50 PM
Posted 14 December 2011 - 04:59 PM
Posted 14 December 2011 - 06:18 PM
Link, Zelda is your
Posted 24 December 2011 - 12:39 PM
So what you're suggesting is basically the Wheel of Time (specifically from the book series of the same name) Except golden triangles. Or at least they have the power to change it.
So then (for anyone who knows what the heck I'm talking about) Demise is the dark one, Ganondorf is Ishmael, Zelda is Lews Therin/the dragon, and Link is...let's go with Artur Hawkwing.
That...works surprisingly well 0.0
Back on topic, that's really the best comparison I can think of to what I think you're getting at. I really like the idea (and it gels real nice with my personal beliefs) I can't really find anything else that expresses it, since there's so many connotations and different meanings with anything else I can think of. Which is something I've found to be the case with a lot of Eastern Concepts.
In short, I like this. I really like this. Great insight as ever
Posted 24 December 2011 - 07:03 PM