Christian themes and symbolism in The Matrix have been discussed at length, but having a number of acquaintances that subscribe to Theravada Buddhism (which is the oldest and generally the closest to the original version), I was struck by a number of parallels between its teachings and concepts in the Matrix:
- There were six versions of Neo. The present eon has six Buddhas. Number six is due to arrive.
- The Matrix is an illusion. This version of Buddhism says that our current way of life (called Samsara) is an illusion.
- Neo sees beyond the Matrix and help others escape. The Buddha pretty much does the same thing.
- Those who are aware of the Matrix have varying degrees of powers. Those on the path to enlightenment gain various powers such as levitation.
- Once he sees the Matrix fully, Neo has the ability to fly, see people in code, see the future etc. The Theravada version of Buddha too, has these abilities (he cannot see code, but he apparently sees 'auras' of people).
- The Matrix is cyclic. "Samsara" is cyclic.
The things that don't add up:
- The use of violence
The question is, were these coincidences or did the Wachowskis select some elements from this religion when they were writing the sequels?