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Buddhism and Tattoos

Does anyone here have any tattoos, and have you ever thought that tattoos sort of "go against the grain" of Buddhist teachings, like the inevitability of change? I find it especially ironic that people sometimes get mandala tattoos. Did they not do any research and find that mandalas (at least in the Buddhist tradition) are supposed to be swept away after being made to teach that everything is temporary, no matter how beautiful or how much effort is spent making it beautiful?

Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Well I think tattoos do not last very long in the cosmic scheme of things but they do last a life time. I don't think they are against the grain as a reminder of practice but as a vanity item I'm not sure. And I've heard some people arguing not to get them below the belt or like mixture of sexual and Buddhist imagery.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    One of the monks I am tutoring has some kind of tattoo on his back, although I cannot see most of it, so I am not sure if it is related to Buddhism. I suspect it is since he has been a novice monk since age 5. It is quite common in Thailand, particularly in the region he is from (Issan).

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited June 25

    Tattoos go against lots of paths' teachings and people still get them. I think there are more important things to worry about in Buddhism.

    lobstersilverDhammaDragon
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @dhammachick said:
    Tattoos go against lots of paths' teachings and people still get them. I think there are more important things to worry about in Buddhism.

    Thank you for saying that for me. For a long time I was subtly anti-tattoo, but I now find many are beautiful, and assuming a tattoo is not "wrong speech", then it is not the measure of a man or woman.

    dhammachick
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited June 25

    I think the 'search' function has hit a brick wall. It's down. Will alert Linc, but otherwise, under normal circumstances, you could type 'Tattoo' in the search box and find a whole raft of previous discussions. None of which are condemnatory. Sure, some people like 'em, some don't. But on the whole, in general, it's whatever floats your boat.... as long as it's respectful.

    I'm a 60-year-old Moderator, and I have 9 of them.....;)

    Anyone else have a problem with the Search function?

    herberto
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    There are a lot of great things about this site. The search function has never been one of them. I actually used to find it more effective to search the site using Goggle. Such as "tattoo" + newbuddhist. Just be sure to type newbuddhist together, not as separate words.

    Bunkslobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    It seems a bit judgmental to make assumptions of people who get mandala tattoos. Many of them are not Buddhists. Many just like the nature of the designs. Nothing wrong with that. I have several tattoos, with plans for more, including a no mud, no lotus tattoo. They are personal, just like any brand of art work or creativity. For me, they are reminders and not billboards. And they are in no way permanent. Your skin sheds cells constantly, the effects of the environment and your bodily changes affect tattoos. None of mine look the same as when I got them, except the one I got 2 weeks ago, :lol:

    So as usual, my question would be, why do you worry about what others do? Not in asking the question about Buddhism and tattoos, but in questioning why others do things that you don't understand? Most of the time when we ask questions in the manner you did, it suggests that we have a view we believe is right and cannot understand why anyone else doesn't share that view. It is a manner of clinging to our own views to compare others wanting to find solid ground for our view.

    DavidNave650dhammachick
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @karasti makes a good point.
    The question is not why do people do some things, or what do others think, but "Why do I care, and what does it matter?"

    If the answer is because you're thinking of doing (or not doing) something, feel free to air your question form a personal PoV. Otherwise, it's really not relevant to either you or your practice....

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Is there such a thing as a tattoo made to look good when you get wrinkly? :lol:

    silverdhammachickherberto
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    When do we get to see 'em, @federica ? B)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    when I'm old and wrinkled. ;)

    dhammachick
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    That must be soon... we thought you woz 60 now? o:)

    vinlyn
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @federica said:
    I might be 60, but I'm deffo way off wrinkly, honey....! :lol:

    I know 60 only sounds old - I'm in your neighborhood age-wise, but I've got nary a wrinkle - (but only 'old' folks use the word 'nary' ha ha ha)!

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited June 25

    Nice ink @Bunks 👍

    Personally the only name I'd ever tattoo on myself is my daughter's. Having said that, if my partner had his ex's name tattooed on him it's something I'd have to learn to accept. Having been married to her for 17 years and having three children I could understand why. If it had been short lived I might not feel the same way though.

    Just my 0.02

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Ha ha, I think a future Mrs. Bunks would figure you wouldn't mind the pain of having it redone with her name if you really love her.
    :grin:

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @silver said:
    Ha ha, I think a future Mrs. Bunks would figure you wouldn't mind the pain of having it redone with her name if you really love her.
    :grin:

    The other alternative is that she change her name to Angela - if she loves me enough she'll be willing I'm sure! =)

    dhammachickHozansilverJeffrey
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Change the final 'a' into a heart.... and it could just be a blessing from heaven... ;)

    dhammachickHozanBunks
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited June 25

    @Bunks said:

    @silver said:
    Ha ha, I think a future Mrs. Bunks would figure you wouldn't mind the pain of having it redone with her name if you really love her.
    :grin:

    The other alternative is that she change her name to Angela - if she loves me enough she'll be willing I'm sure! =)

    Just find another with the same name or...

    Good luck with that!

    dhammachick
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited June 26

    My sister has probably 15 tattoos. I love all of them, they each tell a story that I never tire of hearing about. My favorite of hers is the stitched (like with a needle and thread) outline of a heart, indicating she wears her heart on her sleeve.

    This is my tattoo I got in Hawaii. My husband got his first tattoo as well and my sister her 15th. It probably seems a bit cliched, but the sea turtle is because that was one of our best memories of the trip, watching them swim and surf in the waves. And because despite its cliche-ness, the yin-yang symbol of balance has always been important to me. Finding balance has been something I have been working on since I was a teen.

    I have a set of bear paw prints on my forearm, a Columbine flower on my back between my shoulder blades and a tribal lizard on my neck. I also have an awful cross on my ankle, which will be part of a cover up with the Lotus tattoo that will be next on my list. I did that with a safety pin and a bottle of ink I stole from art class when I was 14. I didn't think it would work, :lol: The velveteen rabbit will also be coming up soon.

    @Kerome LOL probably not, but I guess I don't care. I know some gnarly old tattooed people and it's just more story-fodder and interesting notes to talk to them about. If I live long enough to be really wrinkled, then I will be grateful for so many stories to share about what my tattoos mean to me.

    Bunksherberto
  • Thanks for the insight everyone, especially @karasti and @federica! I'll have to think about/meditate on why I ask that question, which I know realize is pretty accusatory of me to ask. Cool to see everyone's tats too!

    BunksKannon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Nave650 indeed, I wasn't chastising, simply asking. The same way I'd ask one of my kids (not that I'd think you to be one of my kids, lol) why they made a choice to do or say something. Just in an effort to consider thinking about it, because I find it to be helpful for myself to do so.

    vinlyn
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Tattoos ...some people like to 'decorate' their skin ...some don't...

    No big deal ...None of my business..no skin off my nose...

    Hozandhammachick
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    I have tattoos. No regrets.

    Shoshindhammachick
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    Tattoos ...some people like to 'decorate' their skin ...some don't...

    No big deal ...None of my business..no skin off my nose...

    -There it is...

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    I will never forget years ago a 9th grade student of mine (so he would have been about 14) managed to get a rather large tattoo on his forearm without his parent's permission. They were furious. Nevertheless, he was quite excited about his tattoo. BUT, he kept picking at it constantly. I kept telling that although I didn't know anything about tattoos, that it seemed to me that if he kept picking at the scab, he would be picking away much of the ink. He just couldn't leave it alone. Sure enough, but the time it all did heal, while you could see there was a tattoo, it was impossible to determine what the tattoo represented.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Hozan said:
    I have tattoos. No regrets.

    I'm smiling because your comment reminds me of this ad on local TV

    Hozan
  • CedarTreeCedarTree Private Island Explorer

    I think in Thailand they actually have monks giving certain forms of tattoos?

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @CedarTree said:
    I think in Thailand they actually have monks giving certain forms of tattoos?

    Actually, yes, that is true. Personally, I've never been to such a temple, but there are some temples which are actually quite famous for it. However, those temples seem to give tattoos that are technical but (at least from what I have seen) not attractive. A good example is at https://www.google.com/search?q=buddhist+tattoos&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjVjZf3mN_UAhUL64MKHZXuApkQ_AUICigB&biw=1846&bih=1011#imgrc=kh-7PcBbmlFyKM:

  • Fede, you must show us your elephant.....

    Here's my inky skin bits.....

    Shoshindhammachick
  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    I do not believe this thread is yet dead?

    I love my icon, it is such a great image of Avalokitesvara, I think it is beautiful. I would love to look at it every day. thinking of getting it tattooed. i have always wanted tattoos but cant decide on my first one. this might be it

    Bunks
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