In The Princess Bride, outcasts and also loners uncover true friendship. Drawing on the standard film, Ethan Nichtern uses Buddhist teachings on how to do friends with yourself and others.

You are watching: The dharma of the princess bride


*

The original bromance (from top): Fezzik (Andre the Giant), Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) in “The Princess Bride.” Photo: AF save on computer / Alamy share Photo.


OBEY FEZZIK. Once Andre the Giant’s stenciled confront began showing up everywhere in American cities in the 1990s, immortalized versus brick and also concrete in artist Shepard Fairey’s collection of “OBEY” stickers, posters, and also graffiti, his image suddenly ended up being Americana.

Before his fatality in 1993, and before the generational increase of this movie, Andre the large was best known together an angry, hulking, an effective professional wrestler. Yet I was method more interested in his character from The Princess Bride, Fezzik. I provided to imagine that the confront depicted on Fairey’s authoritarian stencils was no the 7-foot, 4-inch, 520-pound world Wrestling Federation icon. Instead, these drawings were questioning me come “OBEY” Fezzik.


*

Shepard Fairey’s treatment of Andre the large was seen almost everywhere American cities in the 1990s. Photo by 360B / Alamy stock Photos.


If friend visualized Fezzik, climate Fairey’s job-related was no longer a clever send-up of an Orwellian theme. “OBEY” was, instead, a gentle reminder, a soft need from Fezzik because that loyalty and also friendship, a command i was happy to follow. The WWF persona was a guy to fear, the type of gigantic who could throw you off a cliff if you prompted his wrath. No Fezzik. Fezzik was on my side, your side, our side. Not just some colossus, Fezzik was a tenderhearted poet (“Anybody want a peanut?”), the type of comrade who would lug you and also several friends up the sheerest that cliffs, also the Cliffs that Insanity; or who would nurse you earlier to health from her brandy-amplified PTSD; or who would bring you four perfect horses specifically when you required them come make certain you obtained away safely, getting to a place where no poor guys can ever discover you. Fezzik to be the friend of every friends.

The Princess Bride is, very first and foremost, a story the friendship. More specifically, that is a story of loners who finally discover their genuine pals. It speak of an unforeseen “bromance,” among the greatest bromances ever before to inhabit the silver screen. Their friendship starts with a post-traumatic, mercenaries-turned-besties alliance in between the Turkish gigantic Fezzik and also the Spaniard Inigo Montoya. This partnership later includes Westley, the Farmboy turn Dread Pirate Roberts turned ago into Westley again.

These three unlikely friends get over their personal demons to support each other’s journeys in grief, revenge, and, that course, storming the castle to liberate the Princess. Like most friendships, theirs is a beautiful accident the circumstance, a harmonizing of shared suffering, a camaraderie the is only just start when the story ends.

Why do these heroes come together? those in it because that them?

Friendship is never a guarantee. In this story, each hero starts as a loner. In the book, by william Goldman, the karmic origins of your solitude are additional examined. Fezzik and Inigo have come with each other as mercenaries, and are currently close friends as soon as the movie begins, yet their beginning stories note them both together social outcasts that each shed their parents also soon. Inigo’s mother passed away in childbirth, and also his father was brutally murdered through the Six-Fingered Man, leaving Inigo alone at the tender age of eleven. In the book, Fezzik loses his parental inexplicably during a young wrestling job in Mongolia. Westley’s beginning is never plainly established, only that he works in squalor together some sort of serf because that the household of his lover Buttercup. And as the man in Black, it’s evident Westley prefers to role solo. So why execute these heroes come together? what’s in it for them?


SIGN UP for LION’S ROAR NEWSLETTERS

Get even much more Buddhist wisdom ceded straight to your inbox! sign up because that Lion’s Roar cost-free email newsletters.


What’s in it for anyone? Why do we ever before befriend each other? Is over there a biological or spirituality imperative to friendship? perform comrades help our spirituality journey, or are we much better off, as plenty of spiritual voices have modeled and also taught end the ages, figuring life the end in solitude? probably our desire for friendship is a remnant of ours tribal days, when we had actually to team increase to defend ourselves versus neighboring clans. Thus our ancestors passed along the habit the identifying through a tight tape of comrades, of specifying a “we,” of forming a posse, a squad to aid us survive a attention world.

The haphazard beginning of the friendships amongst the personalities in The Princess Bride brings come mind the accidental origin of most friendships. Couple of friendships are ever planned. Her friends start as the son your mommy made friend play with as soon as you to be little, as the girl that sat down beside you in the college cafeteria together you faced doubts around your self-worth in one unfamiliar social setting, the male you uncovered yourself in a heated politics conversation through at a cousin’s wedding reception, the woman through whom friend commiserated top top the torment of having actually the exact same horrible boss, the one you preserved bumping right into in an imaginative circles and with who you eventually exchanged call information.

Friendship has actually something to perform with coincidence, but additionally with shared benefit. Friends discover each various other through attraction, yet the chemistry connected is lot harder to surname than sexual or romantic longing. Us can’t be certain why Fezzik and Inigo, because that example, love each other so dearly, but their Odd pair charm reminds me the the pull of so numerous friendships end the food of my own life.

Inigo and Fezzik meet as mercenaries working under a man who is the definition of a bad boss, the Sicilian “genius” Vizzini. Perhaps the 2 create bad karma as soon as they assist Vizzini through his plot come kidnap and kill Buttercup. However, as the story renders clear, the two are good guys who’ve shed their parents and also might simply exhibit bad judgment once it concerns obeying their abusive employer.

Lose her parents, uncover an abusive new father figure. That a classic story. When we fulfill them, Inigo and Fezzik have developed an amazing connection, a friendship that will certainly eventually incorporate a third, heartbroken warrior, the previously innocent Farmboy Westley, currently the deft man in Black, aka the present holder of the location “Dread Pirate Roberts.” Personally, I always longed to be component of such a strange brotherhood, or brother-and-sisterhood, and turned come this movie whenever mine life felt as if the were lacking the visibility of that actual quirky and also supportive friend. Whenever i couldn’t discover my Fezzik in actual life, I found Fezzik here.

*
When Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) inquiry Westley (Cary Elwes) just how he could be certain he’d come earlier for her, that replied, “This is true love. Friend think this wake up every day?” Photo: Moviestore arsenal Ltd / Alamy stock Photo.


First, make Friends through Yourself: Meditation

Participating in a great friendship is one of the marvels of life. How do you discover one? space there clear Buddhist rule for once a friendship is at its best, as soon as it aids one’s exercise of mindfulness and compassion?

From a buddhist perspective, a good friendship is one the helps girlfriend recall your awakened qualities, attributes that, like muscles, need to be emerged through training. These features include patience, generosity, and insight.

There are certainly some standard Buddhist accuse for structure healthy friendships. However to recognize the Buddhist technique to friendship, you need to start at the beginning.

The vital to friendship, to finding your Fezzik, is very first to do friends with yourself. Theure is a basic word because that this process of agree your very own friend request: that word is meditation. This has actually nothing to carry out with leave the world behind or transcending anything. It has to do with obtaining to know yourself so the you will certainly be poised come befriend others more fully.

Those who meditate will certainly tell you the meditation bring you much more in touch v your aloneness. Mindfulness it is provided an suffer of the mind that cannot be straight shared by anyone else. Meditation deserve to provoke a most restlessness and, ~ above a depths level, unveil anxiety and fear due to the fact that the exercise points out the raw truth, stripped bare of distractions, that you are, in fact, always alone with your very own mind.

The mind that is found in meditation is a an individual and exclusive space, a movie theater with a seating capacity of one. I frequently joke that we have to serve oneself popcorn during meditation sessions, because the mind is history’s best cinema. Sit up, relax, and enjoy the show.

Sometimes my personal movie is boring, favor watching twenty minute of C-SPAN. At other times, my mind is an ext rambunctious, like an episode of Game of Thrones. In the theatre of self-awareness, you are cowriter, codirector, and also audience because that your own perceptions, beliefs, and opinions.

If friend don’t think me, put down this magazine, sit tall, and also for a couple of minutes just watch her thoughts dance. Don’t worry around finding the breath (or any other meditation an approach you may have actually encountered). Simply let her awareness walk wherever her thoughts command you. Also if you’re bored, yes actually fairly a compelling movie being displayed in there—or in “here,” or wherever the mental theater in reality “is.”

If she going come learn just how to befriend various other humans, you have to match that effort by befriending yourself.

Something seminal happened to me during a difficult era as soon as I found The Princess Bride. I took my very first formal class in meditation, a course just for children. Ns was ripe or ten, and found the practice incredibly boring—I didn’t begin meditating semi-regularly until high school—but it was a productive boredom, a nonevent that brought tremendous value.

Being silent with the devices of mindfulness presented me to a feeling of lively ordinariness. In that space, the seeds were planted for a delayed-release curiosity around the mind. Most of the ordinary magic the meditation was shed on me in ~ the time—I fell in love through the practice only later on—but i remember the value of establish that ns had an entire internal people to explore, my own VHS repertoire of thoughts and also stories, perceptions and also projections.

The mind was an inner an are that was related to, and yet entirely distinct from, the human being out there. In fact, my mind to be my true home, a house into i m sorry others could never be totally invited. Because of this privacy, the mind is a kingdom equal components scary and fascinating: one part castle, one component haunted house. I have spent plenty of years because then make the efforts to acquire to understand my psychic a little better, in order come become an ext genuinely available for the world I know and love.

If you going come learn exactly how to befriend various other humans, you have to enhance that initiative by befriending yourself. In the food of mine life, if i really want to “find my people,” I likewise had come learn how to find myself, if not as my best friend climate at the very least as mine first friend. Later on on, the gift confusions that puberty and high institution made me commit to constant meditation. And also the first time I gained dumped in college, that’s when I knew i was a Buddhist. During those years, the practice and also teachings ended up being indispensable to that I was.

When you meditate, girlfriend don’t discover instantaneous peace, although exercise can absolutely guide you into a much less tumultuous within setting, a loved one calm within body and mind, at least temporarily. The positive results of mindfulness approaches on the parasympathetic concerned system have actually been well documented, both anecdotally and also empirically. I trust the gathered accounts of countless practitioners much more than ns trust the objective evidence of clinical studies, but both are quite helpful.

There is, however, one big fairy tale at this time being readily available up about meditation: the fantasy that transcendence, the possibility of beginning a irreversible bliss state, an inside paradise devoid of thoughts and feelings.

Some systems of meditation promise a suddenly bypassing of every the discomfort of thoughts and also emotions, the capacity to settle into the exact same induced ease every solitary time girlfriend sit. While these viewpoints may have some positive impacts on tension levels, I believe they room not as reliable as promised. And also even if this versions of meditation room helpful, they miss the real treasure chest of the practice.

The deepest benefit of meditation, for me, is the possibility of befriending the inherent creativity of the mental itself. When you feel at residence in your awareness as that is, girlfriend have access to the strength of your mind together a an imaginative tool. The mind no longer needs to be wrestled or suppressed right into peace. As soon as your awareness is favor a movie screen, and your thoughts are seen as worthy characters, the psychic becomes like a theater. As soon as you watch a movie, would you rather get to know the characters or ~ do so they nothing exist?

Genuine meditation consists of a certain amount of discomfort. Chief amongst the uncomfortable experience of meditation, you will eventually discover, are your very own Rodents of unexplained Size. In this case, they space Rodents that Unusually Small Size, so tiny they aren’t even physical entities. These Rodents the Unusually little Size are negative thoughts, the aggressive commentaries with limitless self-critiques the gnaw at you. Lock the thoughts the tell girlfriend you aren’t good enough, not effectively equipped to it is in human. These pests try to to convince you that you’re more than likely going to dice forgotten and also unloved.

See more: Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 Poster, Poster Stop Online Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol

No one knows however where negative thoughts reside physically in mind or body, or whereby they come from. (They aren’t single origin.) possibly it’s ours advertising society that pressures these Rodents the Unusually little Size ~ above us; maybe it’s institutional racism and sexism; possibly it’s inherited trauma from our parental and also genetic lineages regarding self-worth; probably it’s one inheritance from a previous life time of perplexed circumstances. I think it can just be every one of the above. Who knows?

Long before anyone knew what the brain looked choose or just how a nervous mechanism functioned, the Buddha realized critical point. Moment by moment, we don’t must know specifically where our think live in the brain; we simply need come know just how to work-related with them. The collection of tools for doing therefore could jointly be dubbed “mindfulness.” end time, mindfulness can help you cohabitate her nervous system safely through the Rodents of one Unusually tiny Size. With greater familiarity, several of your an adverse thoughts might become harmless. Part rodents can dissolve right into space. Some might even morph into tiny Mice the Compassion.