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Happy Vesak Day: Celebrating The Best Monks of Video Games

Vesak Day, also known as the Buddhist New Year, is a significant holiday celebrated by Buddhists around the world. On this auspicious day, people come together to reflect on the teachings of Buddhism and to celebrate the journey of enlightenment.

In the realm of video games, monks have played a crucial role as protagonists or supporting characters. These characters embody the core values and principles of Buddhism, offering players a glimpse into the peaceful and spiritual way of life. In celebration of Vesak Day, we take a look at some of the best monks in video games.

 

Master Roshi – Dragon Ball Z

Master Roshi, the iconic hermit and martial arts master in the Dragon Ball series, embodies the wisdom of a monk. Despite his lecherous tendencies and his old age, Roshi is an extremely respected and capable warrior, serving as the master of Gohan, Ox-King, Goku, Krillin, and Yamcha.

While Roshi may not fit the stereotypical mould of a monk, his unwavering dedication to his students and his ability to push them to new heights make him an incredibly notable supporting character in the series. Despite his questionable behaviour, Roshi possesses genuine wisdom and a deep understanding of martial arts.

Dhalsim – Street Fighter

Dhalsim, the pacifist monk character in the Street Fighter franchise, is well-known for his unique fighting style and spiritual nature. Unlike his more energetic and youthful counterparts, Dhalsim exhibits a more “mature” and less “enthusiastic” demeanour. This is primarily due to his consistent reliance on traditional yoga meditation rites as a means to expand his spirituality and maintain his inner neutrality in the face of potential emotional involvement that may compromise his discipline.

Dhalsim’s ability to summon and control fire is a testament to his inner power and spiritual enlightenment. This extraordinary ability signifies his remarkable spiritual advancement and reflects his deep connection with the mystical forces of nature.

Zenyatta – Overwatch

Zenyatta, an Omnic Monk who was a part of the Shambali Monastery. At the monastery, there is a group of Omnic monks that believe in the spiritual enlightenment of artificial intelligence. However, unlike all the other Omnics, Zenyatta embarked on a journey of self-discovery and spirituality, advocating for peace and harmony between humans and Omnics. He travels the world healing the wounds of the injured and helping people find their inner peace.

Through his teachings and actions, Zenyatta seeks to bridge the gap between humans and Omnics, promoting unity and understanding. In the game itself, Zenyatta often speaks in proverbs and offers words of wisdom, reinforcing his role as a spiritual guide.

Auron – Final Fantasy X

Auron, along with Jecht, was a renowned Guardian who had dedicated their lives to safeguarding the High Summoner Braska. However, before assuming this role, Auron previously held the position of a warrior monk, safeguarding the Yevonite Temples. As a warrior monk, his convictions prevented him from pursuing any career aspirations, as he adamantly refused to marry the daughter of a high-ranking priest.

This decision ultimately led to Auron falling out of favour with the Yevon elite, and the position of promotion was awarded to his friend. Despite these setbacks, Auron emerged with newfound determination and embarked on a legendary journey as a Guardian with the discipline of a warrior monk.

Kung Lao – Mortal Kombat

Kung Lao is a former Shaolin monk and a prominent member of the White Lotus Society. He finds himself shadowed by the legacy of his renowned ancestor, the Great Kung Lao, yet possesses a contrasting desire to lead a life absent the pressures of pursuing championship titles. However, this aspect of his character was revised in Mortal Kombat 2011, as Lao now exhibits a renewed eagerness to prove himself equal to Liu Kang.

Liu Kang and Kung Lao are not only two renowned champions within the Mortal Kombat franchise but also Shaolin warriors who possess formidable fighting skills honed through extensive training in martial arts. Their roles extend to defending Earth from extra-dimensional invaders and monstrous entities.

Vesak Day is a time of reflection, gratitude, and celebration for Buddhists worldwide. Similarly, monks in video games offer players a chance to experience the essence of Buddhism and its teachings. The characters mentioned above embody the principles of compassion, wisdom, and enlightenment, making them some of the best representations of monks in gaming. On this Vesak Day, let us honour these inspiring characters and the lessons they teach us.

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