Why Luna Lovegood Would Make an Excellent Student of Buddhism
Although Luna isn’t one of the main characters in the Harry Potter series, she is one of my favorites. What I love about Luna is her kindness, loyalty to her friends, and her happy personality. In fact, Luna has a lot of the same beliefs and personality traits as someone who believes in and/or studies Buddhism, such as myself. For example, Buddhism is a belief system based on compassion, patience, and understanding. Luna is one of the most compassionate characters in the Harry Potter books since she always chooses to help others.
1. Luna believes in impermanence.
One of Luna’s most iconic quotes is when she talks about lost things returning to their owners. Another word for this is impermanence, which happens to be at the heart of Buddhism. Impermanence, called anitya in Sanskrit (a language used in some original Buddhist texts), is a Buddhist doctrine connected to suffering. Generally, Buddhists believe that acknowledging impermanence allows us to avoid suffering. Impermanence is based on the world always changing and nothing in life ever staying the same. So in theory, by acknowledging the passage of time, a person will be under no delusions as to how life works. Luna certainly seems to be a grounded and optimistic person, and maybe it’s because she uses this belief to let go of suffering.
2. Luna has strong emotional intelligence.
I think why Buddhism feels so natural to me is because I’ve never struggled with getting in touch with my emotions, specifically through meditation. While I don’t know if Luna meditates, it is clear from her character that she possesses an astonishing amount of emotional maturity. Unlike her young peers, Luna regards everything with a level head. She seems almost impossibly aware of everything around her. It is the goal of Buddhists to become aware of their surroundings and of their emotions, and I think it’s safe to say Luna has this covered.
3. Luna prefers to practice nonviolent magic.
Buddhism is one of the most pacifist belief systems. There are some exceptions to this in extreme situations, but overall, the first five precepts are all about doing no harm. This fits with Luna, who avoids violent spellwork whenever she can. Even when Luna and her friends were being chased by Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Luna used only defensive spells to fight back. Luna admits to only ever using the Stunning Spell in that situation. Instead, Luna prefers to practice her Patronus Charm and spend time with the peaceful Thestrals.
4. Luna has alluded to the existence of karma.
While Luna never specifically calls it karma, one of her most famous quotes alludes to it. Luna tells Harry that she believes what goes around comes around, which is a more modern way to describe the Buddhist belief of karma. In Buddhism, karma is either negative or positive consequences brought on by your actions in life. However, karma doesn’t happen instantaneously. Sometimes the reward for a person’s kindness in life is them being reborn into a life of plenty after they die. Karma can also affect a person years after an event takes place. I bring this up because when Luna is talking to Harry, she is comforting him about Sirius’s death. Luna then talks about her mother, who has also passed on.
5. Luna loves her friends and family, but she’s also pretty independent.
In order to reach enlightenment in Buddhism, there is an important belief of non-attachment. This is essentially being able to separate yourself a healthy amount from people and things. Buddhists believe that the less attached someone is, the less suffering they will experience. Non-attachment is about not sweating the small stuff and not relying on being a materialistic person. While this belief may seem difficult to comprehend, some people are more capable of it than others. For example, Luna is introverted and only has a few close friends in her life. While Luna is very loyal to these friends, she also doesn’t mind spending time alone. Instead of being entirely dependent on friends or a romantic partner, Luna prefers to spend time in solitude.
6. Luna has a spiritual connection to the veil at the Ministry of Magic.
The most obvious scene in the Harry Potter series that alludes to Luna’s strong spiritual connections is when she and Harry hear people’s voices beyond the veil. The mysterious veil in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic has an unclear purpose, but fans have surmised that the veil holds great power, particularly with death. When Sirius dies, he appears to pass into the veil, and Luna swears she heard people speaking to her from the great beyond. If that doesn’t show how spiritually aware Luna is, I don’t know what does!