Right now I’m reading through the beautiful Eternal Edition of the Sailor Moon manga. I’m nearly finished with the Dream Arc and this is where Super Sailor Moon uses the attack Moon Gorgeous Meditation. It occurred to me that “meditation” was a rather odd attack name. Sure, it’s not as out there as Star Gentle Uterus, but meditation generally involves sitting still and calming your mind. That’s not exactly what I would call “attack mode.”
Sailor Moon’s attacks generally involve light, like Moon Princess Halation, the heart as in Moon Spiral Heart Attack and Rainbow Moon Heartache or healing as in Moon Healing Escalation. I was thinking it’s possible that meditation belonged in the healing category since meditation is often used to decrease stress and anxiety. Meditation has a long history so I decided to investigate a bit further–and what I found was surprising!
The earliest records we have of meditation are from India and date around 1500 BCE. From 600 BCE onwards, meditation was happening among Taoists in China and Buddhists in Japan. In the West, forms of mediation, such as prayer, were performed through the Middle Ages. However, the West became much more interested in mediation with the publication of The Tibetan Book of the Dead in 1927. The English title isn’t an exact translation of the original, Bardo Thödol. It literally translates to Liberation in the Intermediate State Through Hearing. In other words, liberation through meditation. Liberation you say? Sounds very Sailor Moon to me! In fact, the word for “liberation” also connotes words such as “awakening,” “enlightenment,” and even “extinction of illusion.” Meditation sounds like the perfect attack against the Dead Moon who utilize illusions and nightmares to inflect their damage. But that’s not all!
The goal of the Bardo Thödol is to guide the practitioner through death and rebirth. It describes various intermediate states such as the moment before death, spiritual visions, the moment before rebirth as well as waking consciousness, meditation, and dreams. Jackpot!
In this context, it’s absolutely clear why Naoko Takeuchi choose “meditation” as an attack name during the Dream Arc, or SuperS. With a villain that attacks with nightmares, Sailor Moon’s Moon Gorgeous Meditation cuts through the noise and provides clarity and liberation.