Many tattoos are reminders for us: moments we wish to memorialize, people that we never want to forget, quotes that inspire us, or places we've been that are close to our hearts. And these mudra tattoos are no different. An incredibly evocative and recognizable symbol of the Buddhist tradition, as well as Hinduism, mudra's are hand gestures that are supposed to elicit a particular emotion and mind state. They are sacred, and deserve the utmost respect. For this collection of mudra tattoos, we brought together pieces that we hope inspire you, and bring you feelings of joy, reverence, and peace....just like the Buddha would've wanted!
Depending on the Buddhist tradition that you follow, there are many different mudras. There are the root mudras, basic hand gestures as seen in many of these mudra tattoos, but combined with different arm positions, facial gestures, and body movements there have been over 900 mudra sets counted. Perhaps the most iconic is the basic Chin Mudra, which has the thumb and forefinger joined to create an O, with the rest of the fingers outstretched, and the hand placed on the thigh while during the meditative position of lotus. This is probably what everyone thinks of the moment someone mentions meditation or yoga!
The meanings behind these different mudra tattoos, and mudras in general, all depends on the placement of the fingers, and the direction or gesture of the hand. The Vitarka Mudra takes the basic Chin Mudra, but raises the hand to the chest so that the palm is open to the viewer. This particular mudra symbolizes teaching, discussion, and transmission of the dharma after gaining enlightenment. The Karana Mudra is much like the rock and roll horns and expels demons, sickness, or negative thoughts. Some mudras are meant to evoke compassion, forgiveness, or love....but all of them are meant to inspire and strengthen.