Category Archives: Graphic Design

What if Wolverine attained enlightenment?

wolverine-social-1from the Lion’s Roar blog
BY SAM MOORE | JULY 22, 2015

If you’ve been a fan of Wolverine — one of Marvel’s most popular characters — for any significant period of time, you probably know that he’s had some Buddhism in his background. “I’m the best there is at what I do. But what I do isn’t very nice,” he’s famous for saying. But what if he was the best at was something nicer, cultivating compassion and non-violence? That’s the Wolverine that readers get to see in Marvel’s latest comic, Secret Wars-Battle World #3.

As we’ve written of before, Wolverine lived in Japan for a number of years. There, he learned martial arts and the way of the samurai (with a demon as his teacher), and took up his own zazen practice.

Currently, the “Marvel Universe” is undergoing a violent upheaval. In the aftermath of the destruction of all creation, arises “Battleworld,” where characters and settings from different timelines and stories from throughout Marvel’s history have been mashed up.

This new setting allows for a whole host of new stories, many of which contain different versions of the same character. One such story occurs in this month’s Battle World. Written by Ivan Brandon and drawn by Aaron Conley, “A Thousand Cuts” finds countless versions of Wolverine in an underground arena trapped in a seemingly endless battle royale. Combatants include different versions of Wolverine, from the canonical to the nonsensical. An adamantium skeleton with claws fights a Wolverine who is also Spider-Man. A pug dressed in Wolverine’s classic yellow and brown costume chases after a similarly styled cat, complete with Wolverine’s muttonchops. Amidst this glorious chaos we also find Wolverine, the Non-Violent Meditator.

wolverine-social-4 Continue reading

“Dharma Screenings: Buddhist Film and Pop Culture—Bringing Buddhism to Creative Media”

An allusion to Buddha images in the Saint Young Men manga. From

An allusion to Buddha images in the Saint Young Men manga. From

Follow the link to read “Dharma Screenings: Buddhist Film and Pop Culture—Bringing Buddhism to Creative Media,” at Buddhist Door International’s site. The article, the third in a three-part series which explores “the Buddhist presence in pop culture media,” analyzes “how the Buddha has been depicted in entertainment media such as graphic novels and manga, and the ambiguous and conflicted reactions to these trends from the Buddhist world.”


Manorama Online
Shweta Thakur Nanda
February 3, 2014

Inked inspiration: A youngster gets a Buddha tattoo done by artist Kamaldeep Sethi. Photo by Aayush Goel
Inked inspiration: A youngster gets a Buddha tattoo done by artist Kamaldeep Sethi. Photo by Aayush Goel

It is a Sunday afternoon, but Jaypee Integrated Sports Complex in Greater Noida is buzzing with activity. If swanky vehicles are vying for a spot in the parking lot, young scholars, professionals and entrepreneurs swarming the venue are jostling for the best seats. Strange as it may sound, it is not a sports event that has brought them here.

With Buddhist chants resonating in the background, the building is being decorated with flowers and flags of varied hues. Dressed in a crisp black business suit, Sneha Suman, 22, is fiddling with her smartphone as she waits for her “ideal hero” to come. Hundreds of youngsters are waiting in the indoor basketball court for the Dalai Lama’s lecture on ‘Success and Happiness’.

Sneha, an MBA student, is not religious but is hugely impressed by the Buddhist philosophy. “The Buddha’s appeal lies in the power of self-control and inner peace,” she said. “The pragmatism of his teaching and its relevance in modern times are what make him cool.” An hour later, the Dalai Lama echoed her sentiment. “Five decades back, I was handsome. Now also, people say I am handsome,” he chuckled. “It is inner peace that keeps your mind and body healthy.”

From being an emancipating religion for the marginalised and a means for them to be part of the mainstream, Buddhism has now become the ‘hip and happening religion’ of the youth. In a world of cut-throat competition, Buddhism is a way of finding peace for some, while for others it is a lifestyle statement. Continue reading

A Fractal Solution to the Universe: An Interview with “Neuro-Painter” Greg Dunn

Emma Varvaloucas
14 Nov 201

Greg Dunn

“Crab Stomatagastric Ganglion,” enamel on composition gold and copper, 18 x 24″. Greg Dunn, 2009.

If you’ve perused the current issue of Tricycle, you’ll have seen the beautiful and intricate artwork that illustrates our article about the convergence of Buddhism and neuroscience,“A Gray Matter,” by Columbia University professor of Japanese religion Bernard Faure. If these images seem hauntingly familiar, it’s for a reason. They’re of the neurons in our brains! The artist behind them, Greg Dunn, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a doctorate in neuroscience last year. Since then, he’s been focusing on painting in his easily identifiable style: a modern, science-based twist on the ancient East Asian brush painting technique ofsumi-e. Like the Buddhist monks who first practiced sumi-e, Dunn grounds the creation of his art in meditative practice—a sumi-e painting, as Dunn and many others before him have pointed out, is a reflection of the artist’s internal state.

Dunn’s artwork was like nothing the Tricycle editors had seen before, and we were curious to find out exactly how he did it. Tricycle’s Alex Caring-Lobel and Emma Varvaloucas caught up with Dunn via email last month to find out more about the neuro-painter’s creative process. Continue reading

The Illustrated Gateless Gate

From the website of Mark T Morse’s Gateless Gate:

A monk asked Seijo of Koyo and said, “Daitsu Chisho Buddha did zazen for ten kalpas in a Meditation Hall, and could neither manifest the truth, nor enter the Buddha-Way. Why was this?” Seijo said, “Your question is a very appropriate one.” The monk persisted, “Why did he not attain Buddhahood by doing zazen in the Meditation Hall?” Seijo replied, “Because he didn’t.”

The Gateless Gate is a personal pictorial reflection on the compilation of Zen cases referred to as the Mumonkan or Gateless Gate. In 2010, a series of events instigated this idea of completing a drawing for each of the Mumonkan’s 48 stories. It was a process that led me through everything from pen and ink, to paper mache figures and Daruma decorated wooden totem poles. With those initial experiments and drawings completed, it is my intention to revisit each one as a weekly post on this website, offering another opportunity to consider their meaning and continue what has evolved into a meaningful ongoing education in art making.

The Gateless Gate was complied in early 13th century China by Mumon Ekai and the stories remain a central theme to Zen training to this present day. For the purposes of my own efforts, I am making use of the translation and commentary by R.H. Blyth, from his book Zen and Zen Classics, Volume Four, Mumonkan. Although there are several other english translations available in print and online.


Wat issues Doraemon amulets

Bangkok Post
Published: 3/09/2012

Japanese cartoon character Doraemon peeking out from behind a cloud in a temple mural

SUPHAN BURI – A 700-year old temple in Suphan Buri’s Muang district has made headlines again by issuing issuing lamulets of a god holding an iPad and of a famous Japanese cartoon character wearing a Thai headdress, and distributing them to visitors as souvenirs, reports said.

Wat Sampa Siw is already famous for depicting the Japanese cartoon character Doraemon, among many others, in murals of Lord Buddha’s stories of past lives and after lives.

The murals are said to attract people to the wat to learn about Buddhism and history.

The reports said the temple has became the talk of the town again when it began issuing amulets and lockets depicting the Japanese first “Anime Ambassador” and “iPad God”.

The temple invited nine famous monks in Suphan Buri to perform religious incantations on these amulets.

A monk at Wat Sampa Siw said that the amulets and lockets are given to visitors to the temple as souvenirs, as well as to children as rewards for their showing an interest in Buddhism.


The warmth of the Sun, always on her back / Would you get a Buddhist tattoo?

Shambhala SunSpace

Buddhist tattoos are, in ways, like every other kind of tattoo: not everyone agrees that they’re a good idea, but of those who do, many get their ink out of a feeling of commitment, wanting to honor something of real value in their lives. So imagine our pleasant surprise when our art director Liza Matthews stumbled on this back piece by the great Chicago-based tattoo artist Dawn Grace. Depicted here is the “Great Eastern Sun” graphic that served as our logo back when we were the Vajradhatu Sun. We’ve of course since evolved into the Shambhala Sun, broadening our coverage (and changing the logo just a bit), but we were still thrilled to see this and wanted to share it with you. Continue reading