Force Lore: The Jedi Code


Source: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Jedi_Code/Legends

OVERVIEW

The Jedi Code was a code of conduct intended to help establish, regulate and maintain the general behavior of all Jedi. Despite undergoing, at some point during Jedi history, a subtle but substantial alteration of at least its written tenets, the code’s fundamental context and meaning, invoking as it did self-discipline, tolerance, compassion, harmony and peaceful exploration, remained unchanged.

MANTRA

Around 2000 years ago, the original Code was refined by Odan-Urr, and put into practice as what would become the code for a few thousand years to come.

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.

However, the original code would still be chanted by Jedi younglings during their Initiate Trials. The original code is as follows:

Emotion, yet peace.
Ignorance, yet knowledge.
Passion, yet serenity.
Chaos, yet harmony.
Death, yet the Force.

Additionally, there was a longer variant of the Code that pointed out more details of a Jedi’s life and what they must follow, expanding more on what the code means.

A Jedi does not act for personal power or wealth but seeks knowledge and enlightenment.
A Jedi never acts from hatred, anger, fear, or aggression but acts when calm and at peace with the Force.
Jedi are the guardians of peace in the galaxy.
Jedi use the powers to defend and to protect, never to attack others.
Jedi respect life, in any form.
Jedi serve others rather than ruling over them, for the good of the galaxy.
Jedi seek to improve themselves through knowledge and training.

MISCELLANEOUS TENETS

Here can be read a number of miscellaneous tenets which are not mentioned in the Code, but should be known for all Jedi.

  • The Jedi are the guardians of civilization, yet do not allow civilization to destroy needlessly.
  • A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for aggression or personal gain.
    • A corollary of the Code was “A Jedi does not act for personal power.”
  • The lightsaber is the symbol of the members of the Jedi Order.
  • If a Jedi ignites his lightsaber, he must be ready to take a life.
  • Jedi do not marry (with some exceptions), in order to avoid attachment and so as not to create dynasties of those strong in the Force.
  • Jedi respect each other, and all other life forms.
  • Jedi must put the needs of the community above the needs of individuals.
  • A Jedi must protect the weak and defenseless from evil.
  • Jedi must always cooperate in battle or crisis.
  • Jedi must not have wants; self-reliance must be shown.
  • Jedi are forbidden from ruling others.
  • A Jedi Master may not have more than one Padawan. The only times more than one could be taught were in times of dire need for Jedi.
  • In this era, apprentices were taken from early childhood, though older students were not unheard of.
  • A Jedi will not kill an unarmed opponent.
  • A Jedi will not take revenge.
  • A Jedi does not cling to the past.
  • The Jedi do not believe in killing their prisoners.

SELF-DISCIPLINE

Self-discipline was one of the key concepts of Jedi behavior, and Jedi Padawans were taught this from a very early age. The lessons started off similar to what might be taught to an ordinary student; however, as the student progressed, so did the complexity of the lessons.

Conquer Arrogance

Jedi were required to learn that, although they were able to use the Force, they were no better than those who could not. Jedi were taught that they were only Jedi because some had taken the trouble to teach them, not because they were superior to others, and that a Jedi Master was only a Jedi Master because he had disregarded his own sense of self-importance and embraced the will of the Force.

Conquer Overconfidence

Many young Jedi students, while learning the ways of the Force, began to believe that they could accomplish anything. Many young Jedi died taking on tasks that were far too difficult for them, not realizing that the Force was only truly limitless to those who had limitless understanding.

Conquer Defeatism

Young Jedi also learned that defeatism was just as dangerous as overconfidence. Although it might have seemed contradictory to the goals of conquering overconfidence, a Jedi would first plan for success, then for failure. Jedi who always plan for failure expected to lose, and usually only used minimal effort—enough to say that they had tried.

Conquer Stubbornness

Jedi would always have been ready to accept defeat if the cost of winning was greater than the cost of losing. Jedi were taught that it was always best to end things peacefully than to win or lose.

Conquer Recklessness

Many young Jedi lacking in self-restraint were always ready to ignite their lightsabers and plunge straight into battle. They perceived a goal and rushed towards it, without any consideration for unseen dangers or other options. And so Jedi were taught that speed did not necessarily lead to success.

Conquer Curiosity

Many inexperienced Force-sensitives used the Force to satisfy their curiosity, probing into the business of others. Intruding gave the clear message that the Jedi felt they were above others’ privacy. Jedi were taught that although using the Force to discreetly uncover the secrets of others may have been occasionally necessary, it should never become a matter of course, as it would cause great distrust of the Jedi in general.

Conquer Aggression

A sizable number of Jedi, in training, confused the meanings of attack, defense and aggression. Thus Younglings were taught that it was possible for a Jedi to strike without aggression, so long as they acted without recklessness, hatred or anger. A Jedi was permitted to kill in self-defense—only if there was no other option. However, Jedi instructors taught their students that killing, no matter what the circumstances, was not to become commonplace. To conquer aggression, even in combat, a Jedi must have explored every other option, including surrender, before resorting to using lethal force. Jedi who depended on murder were close to the Dark side of the Force.

Conquer External Loyalties

Each Jedi was expected to remove as many external distractions from his or her life as possible. For that reason, the Order only accepted potential Padawans while they were still young children; they were too young to have already formed strong relationships and forbidden them forming attached relationships later in life. Jedi were not allowed to marry without special dispensation. Jedi were forbidden from taking a political appointment or to accept gifts. They were taught that their loyalty was to be to the Jedi Order, and to nothing else.

Conquer Materialism

Jedi were forbidden from keeping more than a few essential belongings. There were two reasons for this; first because they distracted a Jedi from the Force, and second because, as they emerged through the ranks, Jedi were required to leave for missions with extremely short notice, and so having many objects was a burden. It was rare for a Jedi to possess more than they could carry on their person at one time.

RESPONSIBILITY

Once a Jedi had mastered self-discipline, they could begin to accept responsibility for their actions. Jedi who shunned responsibility were never trained, and Jedi who embraced it were never denied training.

Practice Honesty

Honesty was the first responsibility that aspiring Jedi were taught. Jedi were permitted to stretch the truth if the situation required it of them, however this was to be done as sparingly as possible. An honest Jedi was always truthful with himself, his Master, and the Council.

Honour Your Promises

Jedi were taught that if they made a promise, they should have always been prepared to keep it, or else to have made amends. Thus, a Jedi should never have make a promise he or she was not certain they could keep. Jedi were encouraged to consult their Master before making a promise.

Honour Your Padawan

A Jedi Master was required to know that he must treat his Padawan with respect. He should never reprimand his Padawan in public, nor punish his Padawan for disagreeing with him. On the other hand, a Master should praise his Padawan, especially in the presence of others. This built the Padawan’s confidence, and strengthened the bond between Master and apprentice.

Honour Your Master

By the same token, Padawans were expected to show great respect to their Masters, especially in front of others. Padawans were taught never to disagree with their Masters to the point of argument, and that when they were in discussion with others, Padawans should only address their Masters when they had been addressed themselves. This spared the Master having to apologize for his Padawan’s behavior.

Honour the Jedi Council

Although the Jedi High Council was the ultimate authority of the Jedi Order, it was not possible for the High Councilors to be everywhere at once. Therefore, when the Council sent a Jedi on a mission, the Jedi spoke for and was a representative of the Jedi Council. The Council was forced to answer for the Jedi’s words and answers, and so the Jedi would have been careful not to put the Council in a difficult position, as to do so would be to show terrible disrespect for the Council.

Honour The Jedi Order

Every action a Jedi made reflected on the Order. Good deeds boosted the Order’s reputation, but poor behavior sometimes caused incurable damage. Jedi were taught to remember that each person they met might not have set eyes upon a Jedi before, and that the acts of the particular Jedi that person would influence their perception of the Jedi Order as a whole.

Honour the Law

One of the most important roles of the Jedi was to protect the peace and justice of the Republic, and so no Jedi was above the law. Jedi were expected to follow the law the same as they expected others to. Jedi were permitted to break laws, but only when it was required, and only if they were willing to suffer the consequences…

Honour Life

Jedi were expected never to commit murder, for any reason. However, if confronted with a life-or-death struggle, a Jedi was permitted to kill to complete their mission. This act was not encouraged, as ending life strengthened the dark side; however, if the act was justified—if it saved others’ lives, or if the Jedi was acting on the will of the Force—then the light side was equally strengthened. Jedi were also expected to think of those they had killed, and to think of the suffering caused by their deaths. A Jedi who did not care about his victims was on the path to the dark side.

PUBLIC SERVICE

Although the Jedi existed to serve the Force, they were funded by the senate because they served the public interest. If Jedi were unable to use the Force, they would continue to serve, because that was their duty. The fact that the Force was real, and that the Jedi were its most prolific and devoted practitioners, only strengthened their resolve to use it for good.

Duty to the Republic

Although the Jedi and the Republic were dissimilar, and the Jedi Order had no authority over the Republic, the Jedi served the Republic, and were expected to uphold its laws and ideals, and to protect its citizens. However, members of the Order held no rank in Republic hierarchy, and only served when asked; at all other times they stepped aside. This strange agreement between the two parties had stood for so long that no one knew how or why it had come about.

Render Aid

Jedi were obliged to help those in need of aid whenever possible, and were expected to be able to prioritize quickly. Jedi were taught that while saving one life was important, saving many lives was even more so. This principle did not mean a Jedi had to abandon other goals in every circumstance, but merely that a Jedi must do his or her best to make sure that they aided those who were most in need of assistance.

Defend The Weak

Similarly, a Jedi was expected to defend the weak from those who oppressed them, ranging from small-scale suffering at the hands of an individual to large-scale enslavement of entire species. However, Jedi were taught to remember that all may not have been as it seemed, and that they should respect other cultures, even if they clashed with a Jedi’s moral or ethical code. Jedi were also warned not to act in areas out of their jurisdiction, and to always consider the consequences of their actions.

Provide Support

At times, it was necessary for a Jedi to stand aside and let other people defend the weak, even if the Jedi felt that they could do a superior job. Jedi were taught that they should assist by word or action as required by the situation, offering advice when requested to, warning when necessary, and arguing only when reason failed. Jedi should remember that they wielded the marvelous tool of the Force, and that they should be prepared to use it only for good.

CRYSTAL CODE

The crystal code was a mantra traditionally recited by a Jedi while witnessing his/her student assembling his/her lightsaber. However, this was not a constant, as a separate tradition held that Jedi students should fabricate and assemble their lightsabers in private, without their master’s guidance or intervention.

The crystal is the heart of the blade.
The heart is the crystal of the Jedi.
The Jedi is the crystal of the Force.
The Force is the blade of the heart.
All are intertwined.
The crystal, the blade, the Jedi.
You are one.

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