Dharma Ink, Buddhist Tattoos

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Re: Dharma Ink, Buddhist Tattoos

Postby Jikan » Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:21 pm

Met a fellow just a few weeks back who had his Dharma name tattooed to his right arm. He said he did this on the occasion he took the bodhisattva vows.
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Re: Dharma Ink, Buddhist Tattoos

Postby Jikan » Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:30 pm

This topic came up in conversation years ago between my teacher, Monshin sensei, and some of my sangha-mates (one of whom was considering getting some of his pre-Dharma tattoos lasered off). Monshin had an interesting perspective on this that, to me, shows just how culture-bound this question of tattooing can be.

In Japan, tattoos are regarded generally as a Yakuza thing, *still.* in North America and Europe, they're everywhere, your stepmom probably has one, but in Japan, it's still an edgy phenomenon with social connotations that Buddhists generally don't want to be associated with. Example: there was a corruption story in the news regarding one Buddhist school. The image on the screen behind the TV news reader was of a pair of tattooed arms holding Buddhist stuff (juzu beads or something). Simple message: if you want to represent corruption of the Dharma, just put some tattoo ink on it. That's one aspect.

There's another. If, say, you turned up at a Japanese temple with a mantra inked to your arm, or an image of a Buddha, what might others in the temple think? Many things, if they bother to think about it. One thought is that the practitioner is likely not serious. Why would a serious practitioner need a reminder like that? What is he or she trying to show?
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Re: Tantric Tattoos

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:37 pm

Karma Jinpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:HH Dagchen Rinpoche used to have a Swastika tatooed on the back of his left hand above his thumb. When he arrived here in the US, people freaked out so he had it covered with a bird.


Would this happen to be HH Jigdral Dagchen Rinpoche, the high lama in Sakya who consecrated the Tibet Tech prayer wheels? :mrgreen:



Yes. He still has an eternal knot on the same place on his right hand.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: Dharma Ink, Buddhist Tattoos

Postby Karma Jinpa » Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:40 pm

Jikan wrote:Met a fellow just a few weeks back who had his Dharma name tattooed to his right arm. He said he did this on the occasion he took the bodhisattva vows.


This brings up something I hadn't really considered before, but which is worth asking.

Do practitioners of the Chinese & Japanese forms of Buddhism who get tattoos choose to get their ink in the traditional Hanzi & Kanji scripts? If so, unfortunately they're running the risk of being lumped in with all those who've no idea what their ink means but picked it because "it looked cool."

Personally, I'd never get something done in a script I can't read. And unless I'm behind the times, Tibetan scripts like U-chen aren't suffering from the same misuse by people trying to be trendy. There are a few places online which are actually quite specific in where it is appropriate to place their ink, and give you both the translation and a hi-res copy of the script to be tattooed to ensure that it's inked properly.

This one happens to be run by a calligrapher and former Karma Kagyu monk, Tashi Mannox: https://www.inkessential.com/
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།


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Re: Tantric Tattoos

Postby Karma Jinpa » Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:46 pm

Any idea if he got these pre- or post-Chinese invasion, before or after going into exile? Not that it really matters, simply curious.

By the by, I've heard the eternal knot referred to as the Tibetan form of the swastika. Does anyone know if that is accurate, or is it just a bunch of hokum?
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།


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Re: Dharma Ink, Buddhist Tattoos

Postby Jikan » Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:49 pm

Karma Jinpa wrote:
Jikan wrote:Met a fellow just a few weeks back who had his Dharma name tattooed to his right arm. He said he did this on the occasion he took the bodhisattva vows.


This brings up something I hadn't really considered before, but which is worth asking.

Do practitioners of the Chinese & Japanese forms of Buddhism who get tattoos choose to get their ink in the traditional Hanzi & Kanji scripts? If so, unfortunately they're running the risk of being lumped in with all those who've no idea what their ink means but picked it because "it looked cool."

Personally, I'd never get something done in a script I can't read. And unless I'm behind the times, Tibetan scripts like U-chen aren't suffering from the same misuse by people trying to be trendy. There are a few places online which are actually quite specific in where it is appropriate to place their ink, and give you both the translation and a hi-res copy of the script to be tattooed to ensure that it's inked properly.

This one happens to be run by a calligrapher and former Karma Kagyu monk, Tashi Mannox: https://www.inkessential.com/


I don't know, because I've seen very, very few such tattoos. I've seen one person with this image tattooed to his leg (he had a big leg):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gohonzon

Meanwhile, here's what the author of the Visible Mantra page (primarily about Siddham calligraphy) has to say on the topic of tattoos... much of it entertaining (scroll down for more substantive stuff)

http://www.visiblemantra.org/labels/Tattoo.html
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Re: Tantric Tattoos

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:47 pm

Karma Jinpa wrote:Any idea if he got these pre- or post-Chinese invasion, before or after going into exile? Not that it really matters, simply curious.

By the by, I've heard the eternal knot referred to as the Tibetan form of the swastika. Does anyone know if that is accurate, or is it just a bunch of hokum?


In the fifties, I assume, when he was mainly in Derge studying with Jamyang Khentse Chokyi Lodo.

Hokum.

Swastikas are called gyung drung in Tibetan, as in gyung drung bon. Eternal knots are called dpal be'u. dPal be'u is a translation of śrivatsa.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10163
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

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