* * * * * * * * * * * * * * WORKING NOTES * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     The following information has been compiled in preparation for the  
writing of a Data Extract on Buddhism in Doctor Who.  Any reference 
preceded by "?" implies that I need to look more closely at the 
reference to determine what relevance, if any, it may have for the 
article.  Anyone who can think of any other references that I have 
missed, please email me at jcurtis@bw.edu.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Buddhism in Doctor Who: A Detailed Analysis

by Z1R0
10 June 1999
Revised 31 January 2000

References to Buddhism in the Series:

Doctor #1

Marco Polo 1

POLO: So, this is your caravan?

IAN: Yes, the Doctor calls it the TARDIS.

POLO: Where are the wheels?

IAN: It doesn't have any.

POLO: Then how does it move?

IAN: Through the air!

TEGANA: Did I not say they that they were evil spirits?

POLO: Are you of the Buddhist faith?

IAN: No, why?

POLO: Well, at the Khan's court in Peking, I have seen Buddhist monks 
make cups of wine fly through the air unaided and offer themselves to 
the Great Khan's lips. I do not understand it, but I have seen it!

[and later...]

IAN: What makes you so sure that the Doctor's caravan is a suitable 
present? The Doctor is the only one who can fly it!

POLO: I told you about the Buddhist monks... they will discover its 

Marco Polo 3

SUSAN: I've never seen so many temples in my life! 

PING-CHO: Tun-Huang is a famous city, Susan. 

SUSAN: Yes .. 

BARBARA: Isn't the cave of the thousand Buddhas near here? 

SUSAN: Thousand Buddhas? 

POLO: Yes.

Marco Polo 7

[The Khan has been losing at backgammon to the Doctor]

THE KHAN: What do we owe? 

[a long list ensues ...]

DOCTOR: ... and the sacred tooth of Buddha which Polo brought over from 

* * * * *

Doctor #2

Tomb of the Cybermen

Investigate the dialogue of the Indian characters.

Abominable Snowmen

This serial is set in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet.

Ice Warriors 1

?: You've got no valid proof of your qualifications."

DOCTOR: Look.  Aren't we wasting time?  If you want our help,
why not tell us all about it?

?: All about it?  All about what?!  Where have you been all 
these years.

DOCTOR: Well... Eh... As a matter of fact we've been on 
retreat in Tibet.  We are sanctifiers.

? - Oh, I see.  In Tibet?  Well, if you take a simple test
I'll see if you're up to our scientific standards.

Web of Fear

Mentions of Tibet and Duhtsun (sp?) Monastery in episodes 2-3.
[Check: What is exact dialogue.]
Mentions of Tibet in episodes 5-6.

* * * * *

Doctor #3


First (?) use, and mention in dialogue of, Venusian Aikido in 
episode 2.
[Check: What is exact quote?  Is it Aikido or Karate?]
Also used in episodes 3 and 7.

Mind of Evil

The Doctor pinches Captain Yates on the shoulder in episode 2.

DOCTOR: Hi!  Venusian Karate.  I think you'll find I'm a lot 
harder than you think, young man.

Also used in episode 5 against Barnum.
Also used in episode 6 with "hi!" against the Master.

Claws of Axos 2

The Doctor uses Venusian Karate/Aikido againt the Axon copy of 
CIA Agent Filer (sp?) without success.

Colony in Space

The Doctor uses Venusian Karate/Aikido during a spear fight 
with the primitives in episode 2.
Also used three times in episode 3: once against Morgan of the 
IMC and twice against IMC ship guards during the colonist 
Also used in episode 4 against a primitive when the Doctor was 
being held in the primitive city.
All instances make use of "hi!"

Day of the Daleks

The Doctor uses Venusian Karate/Aikido against a male time 
traveller in both episodes 1 and 2.
The Doctor uses it against an Ogron (somewhat unsuccessfully) 
in episode 3.

Curse of Peladon 3

The Doctor uses Venusian Karate/Aikido against King Peladon's
Champion (Gron) in the pit.

Sea Devils

The Doctor uses Venusian Karate/Aikido against the Master in 
episode 2.  He kicks a gun out of the Master's hands and shouts 
"aikiai!" (check spelling).
The Doctor uses it against two Sea Devils in episode 6.  He shouts

The Mutants 5

The Doctor uses a Venusian Karate/Aikido flip against a Skybase 
Overlord guard while on the surface of the planet Solos.

Time Monster 5

This serial includes the story of the hermit mentor on Gallifrey.
[This is based on the story of Buddha's silent transmission of the 
Dharma to Maha-Kashapa].  Here is a transcription:

JO: It makes it seem sort of pointless, really, doesn't it?

DOCTOR: I felt like that once when I was young.  It was the blackest 
day of my life.

JO: Why?

DOCTOR: Ah, well, that's another story.  I'll tell you about it one 
day.  The point is, that day was not only my blackest, it was also 
my best.

JO: Hmm?  Well, what do you mean?

DOCTOR: Well, when I was a little boy, I used to live in a house 
that was perched half way up the top of a mountain.  And behind our 
house, there sat under a tree an old man -- a hermit -- a monk.  He 
lived under this tree for half his lifetime, so they said, and he 
learnt the secret of life.  So, when my black day came, I went and 
asked hom to help me.

JO: And he told you the secret?  Well, what was it?

DOCTOR: Well, I'm comming to that, Jo, in my own time.  Ah, I'll 
never forget what it was like up there.  All bleak and cold it was -- 
a few bare rocks with some weeds sprouting from them, and some 
pathetic little patches of sludgy snow.  Yes, it was just gray -- 
gray, gray, gray.  Well, the tree the old man sat under was ancient 
and twisted, and the old man himself was... he was as brittle and 
dry as a leaf in the autumn.

JO: Well, what did he say?

DOCTOR: Nothing, not a word.  He just sat there silently, 
expressionless, and he listened whilst I poured out my troubles to 
him.  I was too unhappy even for tears, I remember.  And when I'd 
finished he lifted a skeletal hand and he pointed.  Do you know 
what he pointed at?

JO: No.

DOCTOR: A flower -- one of those little weeds.  Just like a daisy it 
was.  Well, I looked at it for a moment, and suddenly I saw it through 
his eyes.  It was simply glowing with life, like a perfectly cut 
jewel.  And the colours -- well, the colours were deeper and richer 
than anything you could possibly imagine.  Yes, that was the daisiest 
daisy I'd ever seen.

JO: An that was the secret of life -- a daisy?  Hmm.  Honestly Doctor.

DOCTOR:  Oh yes, I laughed too when I first heard it.  So later, I got 
up, and I ran down that mountain, and I found that the rocks weren't 
gray at all.  Well, they were red, brown, purple and gold.  And those 
pathetic little patches of sludgy snow -- they were shinning white -- 
shinning white in the sunlight.  You still frightened, Jo?

JO: No, not as much as I was.

DOCTOR:  That's good.

In relation to this story, consider the following extract from the Mumonkan

"When Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain he turned a flower in his fingers 
and held in before his listeners. Every one was silent. Only Maha-Kashapa 
smiled at this revelation, although he tried to control the lines of his 

Buddha said: `I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, 
the true aspect of non-form, and the ineffable stride of Dharma. It is not 
expressed by words, but especially transmitted beyond teaching.  This 
teaching I have given to Maha-Kashapa.' "

The Three Doctors 3

The Doctor uses Venusian Karate/Aikido in a mental battle against 
the dark side of Omega's mind.

Frontier in Space

This serial features the Draconians who are based on the Samurai.
In episode 2, Jo and the Doctor are locked in a cell of an Earth 
cargo vessel.  Jo suggests that she fake illness to lure in a 
guard and that the Doctor then use Venusian Karate/Aikido to effect 
their escape.  The Doctor declines.  Also in episode 2, the Doctor 
uses Venusian Karate/Aikido against Draconians in their embassy on 

Green Death 2

The Doctor uses Venusian Karate/Aikido against three guards from 
Global Chemicals.  

DOCTOR: Venusian Aidkio, Gentlemen.  I do hope I haven't hurt you.

The Time Warrior 4

The Doctor uses Venusian Karate/Aikido twice in this episode.  
First, he uses a ploy to stike two guards at the gate to 
Irongron's castle in the face with his fists.  Second, he 
uses it against Lynx.  In both instances the Doctor shouts "hi!".

Invasion of the Dinosaurs

In episode 1, the Doctor uses Venusian Karate/Aikido against a 
looter in a garage.  He uses a Dim-Mak type finger technique against 
a soldier at the emergency military HQ.  He uses Venusian 
Karate/Aikido against another soldier at the emergency military HQ.  

In episode 2 the Doctor is ready to use Venusian Karate/Aikido against 
the Brigidier as he walks through a door, but then realizes who it is 
and stops.  

In episode 5 the Doctor uses the Dim-Mak type finger technique on 
Benton, who voluntarily submits to it so the Doctor can escape.  
Benton had suggested the Doctor use some of his "Venusian Ooh-ja" 
on him.  Later, the Brigidier explains the event to General Finch by 
saying that "The Doctor uses a rather unique form of unarmed combat."
The Doctor uses the Dim-mak type finger technique against a technician 
in the underground complex.

Death to the Daleks 1

Pertwee uses Venusian Karate/Aikido (w/ "Hi!") against two Exillons.

Monster of Peladon

Venusian Karate/Aikido is used to disarm a miner in episode 1.  It is used 
against the Queen's guards (with 'Hi!') in episode 1.  A staff is used when 
the Doctor joins the miners to fight against the Queen's guards in the 
mine in episode 2.  A Dim-Mak type neck pinch is used against two of the 
Queen's guards to rescue Gebek in episode 2.  Venusian Karate/Aikido is used 
against Ettis during the sword fight on Mt. McKeshra (sp?) in episode 4.  
The scene is reprised in episode 5.

Planet of Spiders

This serial is set in a Tibetan Buddhist retreat in the U.K.
Cho-je (sp?)/K'anpo is identified as the Doctor's hermit mentor from Gallifrey.
This serial needs to be analyzed in detail.
In episode 3, Venusian Karate/Aikido is used against the guards of the 
Queen of the spiders of Metabelis III.  This scene was reprised in episode 4.  
Venusian Karate/Aikido is also used to slip a guard in episode 4.

* * * * *

Doctor #4

Terror of the Zygons 2

[The Doctor and Sarah are trapped in a decompression chamber.  The Doctor places 
Sarah and himself in a trance to suspend their need to breathe.]

DOCTOR: "Oh, just a trick I picked up from a Tibetan monk."

Deadly Assassin

A Samurai warrior appears in the Matrix battle.

Talons of Weng-Chiang

Investigate the dialogue of the Chinese character.

Creature from the Pit

Investigate the following scene:
The Doctor, hanging from branches in the pit, takes out a book (on 
climbing?) to read and says: "It's in Tibetan!"
The Doctor pulls out another book titled _Teach Yourself Tibetan_ 
and translates the line: "Do not be afraid."

State of Decay

This serial features the story of the hermit mentor on Gallifrey.

* * * * *

Doctor #5


This serial, written by Buddhist Christopher Bailey, features Buddhist 
themes.  Buddhist terms are used: Dukkha, Anatta, Anicca, Mara, Panna, 
Karuna, Jana (Jhana), Deva Loka.


This serial, written by Buddhist Christopher Bailey, features Buddhist 
themes.  A character is named after the founder of the Japanese Soto 
Zen school of Buddhism: Dogen (Dogen Kigen).

Five Doctors

Investigate this serial's use of the Yeti, which first appear in 
Abominable Snowmen.

Warriors of the Deep

The costumes worn by the Sea Devils are inspired by the Samurai.

* * * * *

Doctor #8

The Intruder Within (telemovie)

The creator of the atomic clock intones the mantra "Om, om."
His hands may be forming a mudra.  This could be a reference 
either to Buddhism or Hinduism.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

References to Buddhism in the Doctor Who Non-Fiction Literature:

Tulloch, John and Manuel Alvarado
The Unfolding Text
New York : St. Martin's, 1983

See pages 3-4, 10, 253-254, 256, 267, 270-279, 281-282, 295, 300.

Howe, David J.; Mark Stammers, Stephen James Walker
The Fifth Doctor
London : Doctor Who, 1995

See pages 68-70.

Howe, David J. and Stephen James Walker
The Doctor Who Handbook: The Third Doctor
London : Doctor Who, 1996

See page 167. 
[Planet of Spiders]

Gillatt, Gary
Doctor Who: From A to Z
London : BBC, 1998

See pages 45, 71, 74, 75.

Howe, David J. and Stephen James Walker
Doctor Who: The Television Companion: The Official BBC Guide to Every 
TV Story
London : BBC, 1998

See pages 134, 231 [Time Monster: mention of hermit], 265-266, 411-412, 

Pixley, Andrew, "Archive: Kinda", _Doctor Who Magazine_, Issue #226 (07 June
1995), (London: Marvel Comics UK, 1995), 25-30.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

References to Buddhism in the Doctor Who Fiction Literature:

Doctor Who Weekly
London : Marvel, 1980
Doctor Who: A Marvel Monthly
London : Marvel, 1980

"The Dragon's Claw" comic strip features the Chinese Shaolin order.

Doctor Who Magazine
London : Marvel, 1999
#278 - #279 (so far)

Scott Gray's comic strip "The Road to Hell" takes place in Japan and 
features the concepts of the Shogun, the Tea Ceremony, etc.  
In Part One (DWM #278) a peasant says "Buddha protect us!" (p. 21). 
In Part Two (DWM #279)Lord Rikushira says "Buddha has no love for the 
poor" (p. 20).

Keith, J. Andrew
The Warrior's Code
Chicago : FASA, 1986
[FASA #9207]

This module is based on the Samurai.
A specific mention is made of Buddhism on p. 21.
A specific mention of karma is made on p. 42.

Peel, John
Timewyrm: Genesis
London : Doctor Who, 1991
p. 20-21

"He was seated on the floor in a lotus position: legs crossed, hands together, 
fingertip to fingertip, his chin resting on the pinnacle thus formed.  His eyes
were screwed tightly shut, and he appeared to be fast asleep.
Reaching out a hand she grabbed one of his wrists, and shook him.  'Oi, Wake up!'
When there was no immediate response, she shook him again, harder.
     He seemed to unfold in a second, rolling backwards out of her grasp, and 
leaping to his feet in a fighting crouch, eyes bright and expression ferocious.
Then, seeing her, he visibly relaxed.
     'Didn't I tell you not to do that?'he snapped, crossly.  'You could have 
permanently damaged my psyche, breaking the trance like that.' "

Cornell, Paul
Timewyrm: Revelation
London : Doctor Who, 1991

K'napo has a cameo.

Topping, Keith and Martin Day
The Hollow Men
London : BBC, 1998
p. 30

"He turned Ace around, and there, on the left-hand side of the lane, was
a chinese restaurant.  A large sign proclaimed it to be A TASTE OF THE 
ORIENT.  Its facade resembled that of a Buddhist temple and, in the 
context of the village, it was almost an eyesore.  Ace rather liked it."

Russell, Gary
Divided Loyalties
London : BBC Worldwide, 1999

The Doctor has stormed out of class having been balled out by a female Time Lady Professor 
named Delox for not understanding how the universe works.

"Without you the universe would go on and never notice your non-existence...

He was still wearing his dark, on-piece Academy suit, its pockets packed with pens and data pad.  
He clearly had not been home.  He also looked as if he had been crying although none of them 
opted to mention this.
     Despite this he was grinning from ear to ear, holding a small flower in his hand.  'I 
understand now,' he said.  "Now it all makes sense.'
     Which was more, Rallon decided, than the Doctor was doing.
     'Delox has done me the greatest favor possible.  She has made me look inwards, discover 
the truth.  She was so right, my friends, but also so terribly wrong.'  He suddenly turned and 
looked back up the mountain, staring at a small hut where, presumably, on of the Outsiders, 
lived.  There was no one there, but the Doctor waved anyway and then carefully placed the 
flower in his pocket.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Information from Buddhist Literature:

Rowland, Benjamin, Jr.
Evolution of the Buddha Image
New York : Arno, 1976

See page 22, plate 47.
"... the Thousand Buddha Caves in Tun-huang, which, according to 
tradition, were consecrated in 366."
[Reconcile the Marco Polo 3 reference to Tun-huang's "cave of the 
thousand buddhas" with this reference to Tun-huang's "Thousand Buddha 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


Roger Delgado died on 18 June 1973 in Nevshir, Turkey.  He had been 
picked up at an airport and the driver was racing to the set of the 
new feature-length film in which he was to star.  The name of the 
film was "Bell of Tibet."

Adrian Rigelsford, _The Doctors: 30 Years of Time Travel_, 
(London: Boxtree, 1994), 94.

Examine parallels between the backgrounds of the historical Buddha and 
the Doctor.
* The Doctor was a Time Lord (Lord = aristocracy).  Buddha was a prince.
* Both from an environment which discouraged involvement with the 
  outside world.
* Both decide to leave that environment and learn of the outside world.
* Both are enlightened being who pass on their wisdom to others 
  (companions, particularly Ace)
* Both generally support a philosophy of non-violence.

(c) copyright Z1R0, 1999.

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