Buddhism References in Saint Seiya

Buddhism plays an important role in the popular manga series Saint Seiya.

The show integrates Buddhist philosophy – such as enlightenment and reincarnation – into its plot. This adds complexity to characters and the story.

The connection between Buddhism and Saint Seiya is clear when examining the character development. For example, Seiya’s journey is like a Buddhist seeking enlightenment.

He evolves from an ego-driven warrior to a just one – like the Buddhist path to awakening. There are also christian references in Saint Seiya

1. Virgo Shaka is a Buddhist

Virgo Shaka, a character in the anime and manga series Saint Seiya, stands out as a portrayal of Buddhist principles within the narrative.

Known for his wisdom, compassion, and commitment to non-violence, Shaka exemplifies the core tenets of Buddhism.

As the Gold Saint representing the Virgo constellation, Shaka’s character aligns with Buddhist ideals, emphasizing the importance of inner peace, enlightenment, and ethical conduct.

Shaka’s demeanor in battles reflects the Buddhist commitment to non-harming and compassion toward all living beings.

His use of non-violent techniques and a refusal to take life, even in the heat of combat, mirrors the Buddhist principle of ahimsa.

Additionally, Shaka’s journey and interactions with other characters echo the Buddhist emphasis on interconnectedness and interdependence. There are also Hinduism refferences in Saint Seiya.

The character’s name, “Shaka,” itself is a nod to Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha. This intentional naming further underscores the creator’s commitment to infusing Buddhist philosophy into Saint Seiya.

2. Concepts of karma and rebirth

Buddhism and Saint Seiya share similar concepts of karma and rebirth. Actions have consequences and influence the future. This idea is fundamental in both Buddhism and Saint Seiya.

In Buddhism, karma is the law of cause and effect. It means past actions shape present conditions and future lives. In Saint Seiya, characters’ deeds in previous incarnations determine their current destinies.

Both Buddhism and Saint Seiya focus on rebirth or reincarnation. Buddhism sees individuals going through cycles of birth, death, and rebirth until enlightenment. In Saint Seiya, reincarnation is the constant struggle of characters to protect justice and fulfill their destinies.

These concepts are presented differently in each context. Buddhism has a spiritual perspective, while Saint Seiya’s is fantastical, with mythological elements mixed with human experiences.

It is amazing to see these similarities in two so different realms: an ancient philosophical system and Masami Kurumada’s 1986 manga/anime series. There are also astrology references in Saint Seiya

3. Shaka’s Rosary

Shaka’s rosary, known as the Rosary of 108 Beads, holds profound significance in the Saint Seiya universe, specifically in battles against Hades

Modeled after the “Japamala,” a Buddhist prayer necklace, the rosary serves as a crucial tool to seal the souls of Specters, preventing their resurrection.

The Japamala, rooted in the Sanskrit words “Japa” (repetition) and “Mala” (chain or cord), signifies the repetition of sacred words or mantras to create an energy chain. In Buddhism, the Japamala is central to practices like meditation and mantra recitation, promoting spiritual focus and inner peace.

In Saint Seiya, Shaka’s rosary consists of 108 beads, mirroring the sacred number in Buddhism. The choice of 108 is not arbitrary; it holds various mathematical, physical, and metaphysical significances in both Eastern philosophy and Hindu traditions.

The association with Buddhism goes beyond numerical symbolism. The number 108 holds specific importance in Buddhism, representing negative passions, Buddha’s footprints, and various divine concepts.

Shaka’s rosary, deeply rooted in Buddhist principles, adds layers of cultural and spiritual richness to the Saint Seiya narrative. There are also many greek mythology refferences in Saint Seiya.

4. Emphasis on self-control and inner strength

Self-control and inner strength are essential in Buddhism and Saint Seiya. Both urge people to practice discipline, control, and manage their thoughts and emotions. These teachings help people gain self-awareness and control, enabling them to handle life’s problems with strength and grace.

In Buddhism, self-control is vital for enlightenment. Its followers are encouraged to limit their desires and connections, learning to let go of worldly pleasures. Through meditation and mindfulness, they can discover themselves and the world better.

Also, self-control is a big part of the training of the Saints in Saint Seiya. They are entrusted to protect the Earth using their Cosmos – a power from their willpower, determination, and justice belief.

By hard physical exercise and spiritual growth, they can channel their feelings productively and stay in control even in difficult times. Check all of the alchemy references in Saint Seiya.

5. Themes of enlightenment and self-discovery

In Buddhism, individuals practice spiritual activities such as meditation and mindfulness. This process of self-reflection leads to understanding the interconnectedness of all beings.

It also helps cultivate compassion and wisdom. Similarly, in Saint Seiya, the Bronze Saints train and face challenges. This helps them discover truths about themselves. This leads them to become powerful warriors and protect humanity.

Both Buddhism and Saint Seiya emphasize the importance of overcoming desires and attachments. In Buddhism, attachment is seen as a cause of suffering.

By letting go of attachments, individuals can experience freedom and attain enlightenment. In Saint Seiya, characters learn that strength lies in detachment from possessions or desires.

This helps them access inner power and fulfill their destinies as defenders of justice. Check the norse mythology references here.

Vítor Costa

Brazilian otaku addicted to classic anime. PhD in Polymer Science and Technology.

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