Parallels Between Buddhism and ‘Puella Magi Madoka Magica’

I stumbled upon this post from 2011 on Listless Ink, a post entitled “Birth of a Goddess, Madoka’s Path to Nirvana – A Study of Buddhism,” which examined parallels between the hugely successful and highly popular 2011 magical girl anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Buddhist doctrine. It’s a thoughtful and convincing essay.

It contains spoilers, of course, for the anime in question.

Let us stretch the parallels one step further. Before nirvana, all consciousness are born, die, and reborn as beings in the six domains of the Desire realm: God realm, Asura realm, Human realm, Animal realm, Preta realm, and Hell realm. This is the wheel of life, the place where Samsāra occurs.

It is surprisingly neat how the characters in Madoka Magica fit into these realms. For example, the deva that occupy the blissful God realm are way more powerful than beings in all other realms. Among their powers include a sort of telepathy and illusion construction. Moreover, one particular class of deva are passionless and sexless. Indeed, this seems a bit reminiscent of Kyubey. [more…]