Tattoo

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Tattoo

Postby Craig86 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:42 am

Dear friends,

I have read the previous threads on tattoos but this specific issue was not addressed, at least from what I have seen.

I have a lotus flower tattoo on my left wrist. Whilst I intend to ordain in the West, and the tattoo would likely be mostly covered by robes, I'm just curious if it could still be potentially offensive to the Sri Lankin or Thai individuals who attend the monasteries (as I know many do here in the UK). It is a cover-up of a badly done tattoo and admittedly I don't like it but having it removed would seem like a waste of resources. That said, part of it is likely to be exposed at times and if it draws attention I'm apprehensive about offending the individuals mentioned above as I understand they tend to frown upon religious imagery on Westerners.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Kind Regards,
Craig
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Re: Tattoo

Postby James the Giant » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:20 pm

No worries. An Ajahn I know.... also named Appichato coincidentally... has a great tattoo of a tiger on his upper arm. It is on his right arm, so it is fully exposed at all times. And I mean a big fierce tiger, it's pretty cool.
There's no trouble about it from the many Thai and Sri Lankan supporters. I've never heard them mention it, and he gets exactly the same support from them as the rest of the monks.
Another monk has barbed wire tattooed around his bicep, and a female novice I know has a big 6cm blue star on her neck. None of them bother to hide it or have it removed.
Best of luck with your ordination plans!
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Tattoo

Postby James the Giant » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:27 pm

Oh, and also, there's no vinaya rue or guideline against people who have visible or even offensive tattoos ordaining, although if someone has been tattooed as a punishment, they cannot be ordained. Thanissaro suggests if a tattoo is offensive, it should be removed, but there's nothing in vinaya about that.
Thus common sense prevails, I wouldn't bother to get it removed.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Tattoo

Postby Craig86 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:48 pm

Thank you very much for your response. I was specifically concerned about the tattoo being a lotus flower because I've seen many recent examples and warnings about Westerners with Buddhist tattoos, which are apparently offensive to Sri Lankins and Thais. Although I'm aware that there is no vinaya rule that would prevent ordination with such a tattoo, my concern is that it may cause upset to those of such nationalities that I may come into contact with as a monk.
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Re: Tattoo

Postby James the Giant » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:27 pm

When you're a bhikkhu they'll not dare to criticise you to your face, if they are offended.
Anyway, in my experience laypeople often get offended at something or other, some petty thing; a monk laughing, or a monk walking too fast, or a monk who holds his bowl differently to how they have seen before. Laypeople even get offended at monks following vinaya as laid down by the buddha, instead of following distorted traditions from their home countries.
But the wonderful thing is, it's not your concern.
You just do your practise as a bhikkhu, and there will be someone to feed and house you. There wil always be sensible laypeople who will see beyond a mahayana tattoo, and instead see the earnestly practising bhikkhu.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: Tattoo

Postby Craig86 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:33 pm

Thank you, James - that has certainly given me a different perspective on the issue :smile:
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Re: Tattoo

Postby Gabriel » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:53 pm

I have seen a monk in Thailand which ad is body covered of tattoo's. There is also a monastery where monk do sacred magical tattoo's to lay's and other monks.
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Re: Tattoo

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:59 am

I know of at least two monastics with visible tattoos even in robes. it is a bit weird and off putting for me but I have no less respect for them, they are good people. So short answer is there is no issue with tattoos that I know of.
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Re: Tattoo

Postby James the Giant » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:09 pm

Sorry to restart this old thread, but a few weeks ago I saw a Thai monk at Wat Pah Nanachat who had a big full-colour buddha on his bicep. Everyone was fine with it, all good.
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you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: Tattoo

Postby binocular » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:56 am

James the Giant wrote:Thanissaro suggests if a tattoo is offensive, it should be removed, but there's nothing in vinaya about that.
Thus common sense prevails, I wouldn't bother to get it removed.

How about a tattoo of naked woman, all over the right arm ...
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Re: Tattoo

Postby James the Giant » Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:35 am

binocular wrote:How about a tattoo of naked woman, all over the right arm ...

I think you may have missed where it says "common sense prevails".
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you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: Tattoo

Postby cooran » Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:44 am

Those who wish they hadn't been tattooed can have them removed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoo_rem ... er_removal

With metta,
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Re: Tattoo

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:31 pm

binocular wrote:
James the Giant wrote:Thanissaro suggests if a tattoo is offensive, it should be removed, but there's nothing in vinaya about that.
Thus common sense prevails, I wouldn't bother to get it removed.

How about a tattoo of naked woman, all over the right arm ...


sounds like a good tattoo to use in the practice :P
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Re: Tattoo

Postby binocular » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:32 am

James the Giant wrote:I think you may have missed where it says "common sense prevails".


You said -
James the Giant wrote:
Thanissaro suggests if a tattoo is offensive, it should be removed, but there's nothing in vinaya about that.
Thus common sense prevails, I wouldn't bother to get it removed.


It's not clear what the "Thus common sense prevails" addresses; and since it is part of the same sentence as "I wouldn't bother to get it removed", it looks like it refers to that.

:thinking:
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