Kung Fu Panda Wisdom

If you have not seen Kung Fu Panda, do yourself a favor and see it. It is more than just enjoyable kids’ movie. It is a movie full of deep wisdom which brings the traditions of Daoism in a light that is universally understandable, making them very applicable to the days we live in. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie multiple times with my kids. I have enjoyed reflecting on the wisdom hidden within it. I have enjoyed finding parallels between the wisdom of the Baha’i Writings and this creative pearl of a movie.

Here are some of the gems of Master Oogway, a Yoda-like character full of wisdom and witty charm (transcription courtesy of Justin):

One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.

Quit, don’t quit. Noodles, don’t noodles. You are too concerned with what was and what will be. There is a saying – Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift. That is why it is called ‘the present’.

Shifu: Master master, I have very bad news…

Master Oogway: Ah, Shifu, there is just news, there is no good or bad.

Shifu: Master, your vision was right. Tai Lung has broken out of prison; he’s on his way.

Master Oogway: That is bad news…if you do not believe the dragon warrior can stop him.

Shifu: The panda? That panda is not the dragon warrior. It was an accident! He wasn’t even meant to be there.

Master Oogway: There are no accidents.

Shifu: Yes, I know, you’ve said that already. Twice.

Master Oogway: That was no accident either.

Shifu: Thrice.

Master Oogway: The panda will never fulfill his destiny nor you yours until you let go of the illusion of control.

Shifu: Illusion?

Master Oogway: Yes – look at this fruit tree. I cannot make it blossom when it suits me, nor make it bear fruit before its time.

Shifu: But there are things you can control. I can control when the fruit will fall, and I can control where to plant the seed. That is no illusion master …

Master Oogway: … ah yes, but no matter what you do, that seed will always grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.

Shifu: But master, a peach cannot defeat Tai Lung…

Master Oogway: Ah, but maybe it can, if you are willing to, to guide it, to nurture it, to believe in it.

Shifu: But how? How? I need your help master…

Master Oogway: No, you just need to believe… Promise me Shifu, promise me you will believe…

Shifu: I will try…

Master Oogway: Good. My time has come – you must continue your journey without me.

Shifu: Master! You can’t leave me!

Master Oogway: You must believe!

Shifu: Master!

I can clearly see the parallel between this dialog between Master Oogway and his pupil Shifu and the farewell address of the Master, Abdu’l-Baha to his American followers:

I say unto you that any one who will rise up in the Cause of God at this time shall be filled with the spirit of God, and that  He will send His hosts from heaven to help you, and that nothing shall be impossible to you if you have faith. And now I give you a commandment which shall be for a Covenant between you and me: that ye have faith; that you faith be steadfast as a rock that no storms can move, that nothing can disturb, and that it endure through all things even to the end; even should ye hear that your Lord has been crucified, be not shaken in your faith; for I am with you always, whether living or dead; I am with you to the end. As ye have faith so shall your powers and blessings be. This is the standard — this is the standard — this is the standard.

(Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 503)

Po’s goose father addressing his son, the Dragon Warrior:

There is no special ingredient! For something to be special, you simply have to believe it is special!

And here is Baha’u’llah‘s parallel, from The Hidden Words:

I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.

(Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

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