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I've always been greatly fascinated by Tibetan Buddhist art; the Tibetan depictions of the Bodhisattva Vajrapani in particular (literally, 'diamond in the hand'), of which a few examples can be found here, have always been of special appeal to me for some reason. (In Buddhism a Bodhisattva is a being who seeks to attain full spiritual enlightenment so s/he may deliver all other sentient beings from suffering.) Maybe it's his striking appearance, with the aura of fire, the alarming yet captivating expression on his face and the dark blue coloring of his body ― all of which are supposed to have special symbolic meanings. One thing I did not like about Tibetan Buddhist art, though: the characters traditionally depicted in this idiom are nearly always found adopting the same few poses, the same features, the same expressions, the same angle of view. It's just too static; there just seems too little room for creative expression. (I know, Tibetan Buddhist art isn't supposed to be about creative individual expression, but...) Take our Bodhisattva, for example; why not let him sometimes strike a different pose, and why not give him a tall, athletic figure with a six-pack rather than that short, fat look? In other words, why not make him look like a superhero? :) Well, I decided to try my hand at that, and now a new hero is born: THE DIAMOND BEARER!

The idea of a more 'modern' depiction of this Bodhisattva had in fact been on my mind for a few years, but it was only in September or October 2012 that I finally conceived of a pose for him which I considered aesthetically appealing. This piece took only a few weeks to complete with the help of Paint Shop Pro 9, my trusty Canon CanoScan Lide110 flatbed scanner, and a Genius graphic tablet (MousePen 86). Didn't think it would be appropriate to endow a being of this nature with overtly homoerotic features, which I've therefore played down somewhat!

I don't consider it disrespectful to depict a Bodhisattva as a modern comic-style superhero; after all, the superhero is supposed to share the same noble purpose as the Bodhisattva: to serve humanity. Hey, a modern Tibetan artist actually depicted several Marvel and DC heroes as Bodhisattvas in paintings done in the traditional Tibetan style! So if modern superheroes can be turned into Bodhisattvas, why can't Bodhisattvas likewise be made into modern superheroes? :D

Perhaps in future I'll elaborate on what I imagine to be this hero's secret identity, origins and powers, even create an e-comic for him. For now, if he appeals to you, you may get him on a ring binder, poster or organizer here!

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