When it comes to the way of the Jedi, Yoda has always been the ultimate source for understanding the Force.
In the years following his debut in 1980’s The Empire Strikes BackStar Wars has continued to highlight his presence, wisdom, and influence throughout his 800-year teaching career and beyond.
For Star Wars fans looking to learn the ways of the Force and how to apply its lessons, here are 12 quotes (in no particular order) from Yoda himself to bring out your inner Jedi.
12 Famous Yoda Quotes from Star Wars
1. “The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” – The Last Jedi
Regardless of how fans feel about Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedifew can deny the significance of Luke and Yoda’s reunion on Ahch-To.
Not only did their exchange offer modern-day audiences new timeless wisdom from the iconic character; but it acknowledged that masters, not just padawans, are also learners and that failure is never the end.
2. “You must unlearn what you have learned. Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – The Empire Strikes Back
No doubt the bulk of Yoda’s greatest hits come from The Empire Strikes Backand his instruction of “Do. Or do not” just may be his most quoted line.
In terms of applying this Jedi wisdom, perhaps Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars Rebels said it best when he explained it to Ezra Bridger, saying, “If all I do is try, that means I don’t truly believe I can succeed.”
3. “That is why you fail.” – The Empire Strikes Back
After Yoda uses the Force to free an X-Wing from the Dagobah bog, he delivers this simple yet powerful mic drop of a lesson after Luke says, “I don’t, I don’t believe it.”
Much like “Do. Or do not,” faith is required to use the Force. One can’t do the unbelievable if they don’t believe in it in the first place.
4. “Smaller in number are we, but larger in mind.” – The Clone Wars
The Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series provided more opportunities for Yoda to share his Jedi wisdom, not only with fellow Force users but clone troopers as well.
Yoda’s quote here is a reminder that power and force aren’t the only weapons of warfare, nor are they the most effective or representative of true strength.
5. “Remember, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” – Return of the Jedi
Not only does Yoda’s warning define the Dark Side but it explains how even well-intentioned Jedi can be tempted and fall.
Despite what the Sith say, fear and hate aren’t a means but a master; and it’s not what you do that defines you but rather how and why you’re doing it.
6. “Wars not make one great.” – The Empire Strikes Back
When Luke arrives on Dagobah to find Yoda, he’s expecting a war hero.
Not only does Yoda’s small and elderly appearance completely shatter Luke’s preconceived notion, but so does this reply from the Jedi Master.
Violence doesn’t make one strong and it always comes at a cost. It’s a lesson Yoda witnessed firsthand throughout The Clone Wars.
7. “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, NEVER for attack.” – Empire Strikes Back
It’s true that Jedi have lightsabers and are skilled fighters. However, it’s why they fight that separates them from the Sith, not the fact they do.
Fighting for defense is a means of protecting. Fighting for any other reason is a means of taking or destroying.
One of the best illustrations of this truth is when Luke Skywalker tosses away his lightsaber in Return of the Jedi and refuses to kill his father. This act is what truly saves Anakin, and it’s also what makes Luke a true Jedi.
8. “The right path, no. The only path, yes. Designed by the Dark Lord of the Sith, this web is. For now, play his game we must.” – The Clone Wars
While not exactly an encouraging quote, Yoda’s words from The Clone Wars are an important admission of honesty. Jedi don’t know everything and they don’t always know what to do.
In the case of the Clone Wars, Yoda knows war isn’t the right path for the Jedi or the galaxy; but since it’s his only option, he’s going to commit while also trying to set things right.
9. “Faith in your new apprentice, misplaced may be. As is your faith in the dark side of the Force.” – Revenge of the Sith
This line was Yoda’s response in Revenge of the Sith to Darth Sidious’s claim “You will not stop me! Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us!”
Yoda knows the Dark Side corrupts and that power belongs to the Force, not a person. And, even though the Dark Side is a slippery slope, it’s not immune to the light.
10. “No longer certain that one ever does win a war, I am.” – The Clone Wars
Another powerful confession from the Jedi Master, here Yoda is saying that victory in war rarely outweighs its costs.
In reality, both sides in a war lose through the toll of suffering, violence, and the effect wartime has on those who survive. In a sense, no one comes out stronger, only weaker.
11. “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” – Empire Strikes Back
Yoda packs several Jedi lessons into this iconic line, the first being that appearance has nothing to do with strength, skill, or ability. Those stem from the Force, not the Force user.
The second is an explanation of where the Force comes from and what it does, and the third is that living beings are far more than “crude matter.” Who they are – their character, morals, love for others, their spirit – is eternal.
This is why Obi-Wan Kenobi sacrificed himself in A New Hope because, unlike Vader, he knows death isn’t the end of him.
12. “To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not. In this war, a danger there is of losing who we are.” – The Clone Wars
Even though it’s too late to stop the war and the Jedi’s involvement within it, Yoda warns the Jedi against compromising who they are and what they stand for.
In the heat of battle and dire circumstances, it would be tempting for the Jedi to justify actions that aren’t “the Jedi way.” Basically, the end doesn’t justify the means, and doing so would come at a high cost to the Jedi Order and the galaxy.