Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
Fede
Posts: 1182
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: The Heart of this "Green & Pleasant Land"...
Contact:

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Fede » Sun May 03, 2009 9:53 am

Individual wrote:
Fede wrote:You do know that a swastika is an ancient Buddhist symbol?

http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/s ... astika.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yeah, but let's say it's a swastika, with the words "HEIL HITLER" or "SEIG HEIL" underneath it, hmmm?
well then it wouldn't be THE swastika, it would be A swastika.
Let's not be silly now.
You know precisely what I meant. Charles Manson being the obvious example of imbecilic stupidity.....
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Individual » Sun May 03, 2009 5:07 pm

Fede wrote:
Individual wrote:
Fede wrote:You do know that a swastika is an ancient Buddhist symbol?

http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/s ... astika.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yeah, but let's say it's a swastika, with the words "HEIL HITLER" or "SEIG HEIL" underneath it, hmmm?
well then it wouldn't be THE swastika, it would be A swastika.
Let's not be silly now.
You know precisely what I meant. Charles Manson being the obvious example of imbecilic stupidity.....
Charles Manson is actually fairly intelligent. He's simply insane and evil, like Hannibal Lecter.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

User avatar
Mexicali
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:12 pm

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Mexicali » Sun May 03, 2009 6:39 pm

puthujjana wrote:
Mexicali wrote:I understand that there's no explicit instruction not to do it in most traditions, but it seems like such an unwise use of resources, unnecessary harm to one's own body, and affected.
I thought about getting "This too will pass" (just these few words) tattooed on the back of my hand or somewhere else where I will have to see it the whole day...

That would be a good reminder.

with metta
:anjali:
Eh, that's cool, I just kind of feel that.....how to put this? It makes more sense to me to cultivate understanding before getting expensive colored scars as a reminder of anything. I've known people who get, say, a dharma wheel or Chinese characters as a 'reminder'. Unless you're the guy from Memento, being secure in practice should be a good enough reminder. If you're not secure in practice, that seems like a better use of time and resources than tattoos. I really think people only get tattoos for affective and (to a lesser extent) superstitious reasons, and neither seems to me especially useful. When temples are having trouble keeping the doors open due to finances, and most people haven't studied the core texts of Buddhism in any detail, the several hundred dollars a typical complex colored tattoo costs as a "Buddhist" statement seems to me a little misplaced. Also, in America, hand/facial tattoos are the marks of a drop out or criminal.
"We do not embrace reason at the expense of emotion. We embrace it at the expense of self-deception."
-- Herbert Muschamp

User avatar
Fede
Posts: 1182
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: The Heart of this "Green & Pleasant Land"...
Contact:

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Fede » Sun May 03, 2009 6:53 pm

Individual wrote: Charles Manson is actually fairly intelligent. He's simply insane and evil, like Hannibal Lecter.
No, I mean its imbecilic stupidity to put it where it is. :roll:
:D
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
jcsuperstar
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska
Contact:

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by jcsuperstar » Sun May 03, 2009 7:08 pm

many many things are a waste of resources, tattoos probably being the most insignifigant of all, ranked right under questioning their merit or lack there of.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

User avatar
Mexicali
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:12 pm

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Mexicali » Sun May 03, 2009 7:15 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:many many things are a waste of resources, tattoos probably being the most insignifigant of all, ranked right under questioning their merit or lack there of.
Questioning the merit of my questioning the merit seems insignificant.
"We do not embrace reason at the expense of emotion. We embrace it at the expense of self-deception."
-- Herbert Muschamp

User avatar
Demarous
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 1:44 pm
Location: Midhurst, West Sussex, UK.

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Demarous » Sun May 03, 2009 8:59 pm

Mexicali wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:many many things are a waste of resources, tattoos probably being the most insignifigant of all, ranked right under questioning their merit or lack there of.
Questioning the merit of my questioning the merit seems insignificant.
Good call Mexicali!

I am purely trying to find out whether the 'insignificant' tattoos i had as a youth may hinder my ordination if i decide that is the way i choose to take my path,
trying to make someone feel inferior because they have a question that may seem 'insignificant' to them, surely, is not of right view or right speech. "Ego is not self". Compassion and kind guidance should be the way, however insignificant someones question may be. Please do not feel you have to just speak for the sake of it!


Metta :anjali:
"Happy, at rest, may all beings be happy at heart. Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception, long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant, seen & unseen, near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart."

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16472
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by mikenz66 » Sun May 03, 2009 10:57 pm

Fede wrote:You do know that a swastika is an ancient Buddhist symbol?
I've seen a few Thai people to swastika tattoos. It's also easy to find Thai (and presumably other Asian) shirts with swastikas on them. When I've pointed out that some people in the West might mistake them for a Nazi symbol they don't have any idea what I'm talking about.

Which, in my opinion, is a good thing --- it's sad that a small group has made the swastika (in the non-Nazi context) something of a taboo to western eyes... Periodically, someone complains about the swastika symbols in our central Cathedral (which have been there since before the Nazis as part of a multi-cultural mural).

Metta
Mike

User avatar
Jechbi
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am
Contact:

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Jechbi » Sun May 03, 2009 10:59 pm

Here's a related discussion that has cropped up coincidentally.
:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

User avatar
jcsuperstar
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska
Contact:

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by jcsuperstar » Mon May 04, 2009 6:42 pm

Mexicali wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:many many things are a waste of resources, tattoos probably being the most insignifigant of all, ranked right under questioning their merit or lack there of.
Questioning the merit of my questioning the merit seems insignificant.
i didn't question the merit of your questioning, there was nothing to question. there is no merit in putting someone down for tattoos dharma or otherwise.

if one wants to have Buddhist tattoos (and i have a few even one given to me by a monk) i think one should have them. i not only get them to cover my old tats from my days singing in punk bands but just because i want them. we can find evidence in the Sigalovada Sutta that the Buddha did not intend lay people to be living some acetic life. the Buddha advises Sigala to buy gifts for his wife, this shows that he understood that some frivolity was healthy in lay people. he also advises him on how a layperson should take care of his finances:



With wealth acquired this way,
a layman fit for household life,
in portions four divides his wealth:
thus will he friendship win.

One portion for his wants he uses,
two portions on his business spends,
the fourth for times of need he keeps.



taking this into consideration i cant seem to find any reason why a tattoo, whether it be of tweety bird a dhammawheel or om mani padme hum, would be in anyway wrong.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

User avatar
Mexicali
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:12 pm

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Mexicali » Mon May 04, 2009 10:18 pm

Fair enough, I withdraw my statement.
"We do not embrace reason at the expense of emotion. We embrace it at the expense of self-deception."
-- Herbert Muschamp

kaneconeghan
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:43 pm

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by kaneconeghan » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:57 pm

I have been practising Buddhism for a six years now, I live in canada and do not know one buddhist outside of the one monastary in my city. i learn mostly from books and sutras that i have come across. I'm a big fan of tattoos as long as they are meaningful to who ever gets them. I have gotten the mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM in Tibeten on my forearm. i do not believe this will offend anyone, it is a reminder to me of what lifestyle i want to live, and a reminder of my devotion to help others.
The Canadien

Sanghamitta
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Sanghamitta » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:16 am

It might offend some Theravadins... :smile:


Going back to an earlier comment...I dont think that tattoos would represent a bar to ordination in the Bhikkhu Sangha.
I was present when a young european man was ordained who had his whole back tattooed...that was very unusual in those days.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16472
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:21 am

Sanghamitta wrote: Going back to an earlier comment...I dont think that tattoos would represent a bar to ordination in the Bhikkhu Sangha.
Several of the Thai Bhikkhus at my local Wat have tattoos, as do some of the famous monks whose paintings adorn the walls of the hall...

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
Fede
Posts: 1182
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: The Heart of this "Green & Pleasant Land"...
Contact:

Re: Tattoos in Buddhism, Acceptable or not???

Post by Fede » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:08 am

Sanghamitta wrote:It might offend some Theravadins... :smile:
:shock:
I don't see why.
I'm Theravadin and I'm certainly not offended.....

In fact, I'm given to reciting some mantras myself, sometimes....
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 87 guests