Being a Bodhisattva Is Like Being Batman?

Via Reverend Danny Fisher
on Sep 23, 2010
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Like many, many others, I was a big fan of Christopher Nolan’s 2008 Batman film The Dark Knight. Among other things, I gave it a rave review for The Journal of Religion and Film, and it topped my list of the ten best films of 2008 here at

As an admirer of the film — an unsettling, affecting, surprising, and masterful piece of post-9/11 art that sends the audience away mulling over important questions about values, violence, and civic responsibility — I was intrigued and delighted by Markus “Uku” Laitinen’s most recent post at Zen – The Possible Way: “Being Bodhisattva Is Like Being Batman”. Check it out.

I’d say it’s probably an open question just how heroic (or enlightened) Batman is in Christopher Nolan’s vision of Gotham City, but that’s part of the point of The Dark Knight. So Batman as Bodhisattva? Bodhisattva as Batman? Why not?

What do you think?


About Reverend Danny Fisher

Rev. Danny Fisher, M.Div., D.B.S. (Cand.), is a professor and Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West in Rosemead, CA. He was ordained as a lay Buddhist minister by the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California in 2008. In addition, he is certified as a mindfulness meditation instructor by Naropa University in association with Shambhala International. A member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, he serves on the advisory council for the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. In addition to his work for elephant journal, he is a blogger for Shambhala Sun. He has also written for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Religion Dispatches, The Journal of Buddhist Ethics, The Journal of Religion & Film, Eastern Horizon, New York Spirit, Alternet's Wiretap Magazine, and other publications. His award-winning website is


3 Responses to “Being a Bodhisattva Is Like Being Batman?”

  1. Satyavira says:

    The young Bruce Wayne makes a decision that the kind of loss and pain he went through should never be visited upon anyone else. For the sake of living beings he puts himself through a physical and mental training so he can repay the kindness (leisure and fortune) show to him.

    And like Kali or Yamantaka, he appears wrathful, but underneath it is his deep motivation (which is not revenge) which make Batman a true (selfless)

    Great Piece.

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