Buddhist tattoos are an ever growing fascination in the West. Meditation, mantra's and Eastern beliefs are becoming more and more widely accepted, which is great news! Even if you don't consider yourself a Buddhist, the ideas that permeate this philosophy can bring a great deal of peace to your life. Believe it or not, Buddhism is actually the fourth largest religion in the world with over 520 followers...and while some people think of this philosophy more as a way of life than a doctrine, the tenets found within the history of this ideology bring many people joy! These Buddhist tattoos are a great way to show your appreciation of the beauty held within this wisdom from the East.
Of course, Buddhism is known for its ideals of compassion, tolerance, patience, love, impermanence, and detachment...among a bevy of other things...but that's partly what attracts people to the philosophy. Buddhism embraces the fact that life is suffering, but upholds the idea that through a shift in perspective, that suffering doesn't have to feel too awful. Much of our suffering comes from attachment or desire...like wanting things we can't have or focusing on emotional pain. But releasing those feelings can empower you and ultimately give you more peace. Mudra tattoos are actually a perfect example of this: these are gestures of Buddha's hands that mean things like intuition, knowledge, peace or power over difficult tasks.
It's concepts like these that make many people think that all Buddhist tattoos are beautiful and delicate depictions of utopia...but that's not necessarily so.
While many tattoos of Buddha show portraits that are restful and composed, not all of the Buddhist deities are so full of grace. In this collection we have a couple pieces that expose a darker aesthetic aspect of Buddhist history, culture, and visuals. For example, the Mahakala back tattoo is an awesome depiction of a deity found not only in Buddhism, but Hinduism and Skihism as well. In Buddhism, Mahakala is known as a dharmapala, or a wrathful god protecting and defending the dharma. We also brought in some pieces that show skullcups or kapala's: another object found in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Kapalas are cups made from human skulls and are used for rituals. Many Buddhist tattoos are based on Tibetan Buddhist depictions of these powerful objects. They are most often used to hold offerings to various deities, but they can also be used in ceremonies that focus on enlightenment.
Tibetan Buddhist tattoos are, perhaps, some of the most visually striking due to their particular beliefs, rituals, and ceremonies. If you're interested in the tattoos that depict this particular sect of Buddhism, make sure to check out the Rubin Museum in New York! They have a ton of incredible artworks that will inspire you to no end. That's the wonderful thing about art, history and culture...there are always cross influences, and inspirations that will embolden your life!
That's part of what we love so much about these Buddhist tattoos...even if someone isn't a practitioner of Buddhism, doesn't mean that they can appreciate by the aesthetics and the general ideas promoted by that philosophy or religion. If more people practiced a little kindness, more love, and absolute compassion, this world could be a better place. These pieces can be a reminder of that. Because even if you try hard and do 1% better each day to make the world a better place....thats 365% over the course of a year!