How Do Buddhists Feel About Tattoos?

How Do Buddhists Feel About Tattoos?

How Do Buddhists Feel About Tattoos?

Buddhism has been practiced since at least the sixth century and for good reason; it is often referred to as the religion of peace.

The four noble truths continue to serve as the cornerstones of all branches of Buddhism, notwithstanding how much the religion has changed and diversified into other sub-beliefs.

Buddhism and tattoos have generated debate for as long as the question has existed.

While some Christians consider it to be blasphemy, others embrace it as a sign of devotion.

Another school of thought holds that while evaluating the morality of obtaining a tattoo in Buddhism, the intentions of the heart should be given the most weight.

We would examine all points of view, as well as the legal situation and cultural applicability, and also make an effort to resolve any difficulties surrounding this subject.


We're making the following assumptions about you, the reader, as we continue with this post. You may fit into one or more of these categories, including:

  • You are curious about whether having a tattoo is permitted because you are new to practicing Buddhism.
  • You want to practice Buddhism and already have a tattoo of Buddha on your body.
  • If you don't practice Buddhism, you might be thinking if getting a tattoo of Buddha is inappropriate or acceptable.
  • You have a tattoo or plan to acquire one when you arrive in a country with a majority of Buddhists, and you're wondering if there will be repercussions or if it will just be downright insulting.
  • You're simply a curious fella, that's all.

Buddha Sculpture FAQs

What Is The Buddhist Holy Book?

The sacred writings generally referred to as the Tripitaka include the teachings of Buddhism, the Buddha's words, and the foundation for the monks' teachings.

What Does The Buddha Necklace Mean?

For instance, Buddha pendants are viewed as denoting luck, calm, and a long life. Buddha jewelry will draw the uplifting power of the ultimate. It can help us combat bad energy, generate more positive energy, and get through life's challenges.

What Does The Buddha Head Represent?

The enlightenment mysteries kept inside the Buddha head symbolize the Buddha's wisdom and knowledge. The Buddha head resembles a charming young Buddha who exudes serenity and poise in a contemplative silence. Looking into the Buddha's face allows one to enter a state of meditation with him.

Can A Buddhist Read The Bible?

Although there are many different Buddhist scriptures, only a select few are recognized by all schools of Buddhism as being authentic and authoritative. The absence of the Buddhist Bible is due to another factor. Many religions see their holy books as the divine or divines' revealed word.

Is It Offensive To Get A Lotus Flower Tattoo?

Is a tattoo of a lotus flower offensive? No! Although a wearer can more clearly identify the cause for his lotus flower tattoo, the majority of them are undoubtedly religious. Since ancient times, lotuses have been revered as sacred flowers, and their many hues have various symbolic meanings.

Are Tattoos Allowed In Buddhism?

Buddhism has spread far beyond its Indian roots, in part due to the availability of resources and simplicity of starting a practice, but also because the founding father, Buddha, lived and preached in a way that is extremely relatable to the average man.

Buddhist tattoos are a permanent way for practitioners to display their dedication to the religion's beautiful and inclusive tenets on their bodies.

One way to express your love and commitment to the faith is to get a tattoo of the Buddha. It is comparable to a passionate Christian getting a tattoo of a cross because they believe it demonstrates their commitment to their faith.

The quick response to the question, "Are tattoos permissible in Buddhism?" is YES. However, particular cultures, heart's intent, and use would considerably affect the acceptance of the tattoos, whether permanent or not.

Since the ninth century, Yantra tattooing, also known as Sak Yant, has been a common practice in several Buddhist communities throughout Southeast Asia, from Indonesia and the Phillipines to mainland Southeast Asia.

A Buddhist monk, ruesi, and wicha (magic) practitioner inscribe Indian yantra designs on the skin using a pointed metal rod. Animal, deity, or religious symbols and words are frequently used in the artwork. These are claimed to provide the practitioner with advantages like as strength, riches, protection, and other things.

It is completely fine and even recommended to do Sak Yant as long as they are done by trained specialists.

Tattoos of "Buddha" are uncommon to nonexistent, even in nations where Sak Yant is practiced, as people hold Buddha in too high of regard to turn him into an ornament for decorative purposes.

This is where motive matters, even in settings where it is socially acceptable, because obtaining a Buddhist tattoo—or one from any other faith, for that matter—just to flaunt it undermines Buddhism's core principles and nature.

In general, there is no reason not to correctly brand yourself with a symbol of Buddhism if it means something to you personally as long as you understand the concept of impermanence, which is one of the essential doctrines of Buddhism and "asserts that all of conditioned existence without exception, is transient, evanescent and inconstant."

Is It Bad To Get Buddhist Tattoos?


Buddhist tattoos have become more common among non-practitioners, particularly the Western population, in recent years. As a result, it is simple for people who are a part of the cultures that created the images to interpret their use by outsiders as negative cultural appropriation.

And that these designs wouldn't effectively convey Buddhist principles when employed by other communities, making them less important than they are intended to be.

Buddhist tattoos have become more popular, drawing both supportive and unfavorable comments. When the Thai Culture Ministry moved to forbid visitors from obtaining religious tattoos, there were a number of pertinent incidents of unfavorable comments that came to light in 2011.

More recently, in 2015, after pictures of Canadian tourist Jason Polley's Buddhist tattoos went viral, local officials detained Polley and his girlfriend, Margaret Lam, at their hostel in Myanmar.

There were underlying assumptions that the foreigners were blaspheming in these circumstances.

But in reality, these were the end result of symbols being changed without taking into account their cultural background.

In some Buddhist countries, there is also a growing awareness of the drawings, which is a response to the rising tide of appropriation.

Although getting a tattoo of a Buddha is not strictly illegal, it can be considered disrespectful and is strongly discouraged by the locals in Thailand and even Sri Lanka.

They view tattoos of Buddha on visitors as cultural appropriation as well as a grave disrespect for their religious traditions, symbols, and history.

Additionally, these patterns, lines of writing, geometric shapes, and animal shapes are intricately woven with Buddhist and animist imagery that some Thais worry Westerners won't understand.

So, depending on the school of thought you follow, getting a tattoo of a Buddha could be viewed as both good and terrible. If it isn't done with respect and sincerity, it is bad in that sense.

According to one school of thinking, the imagery doesn't really matter because Buddhism is a worldwide religion that emphasizes nonattachment, impermanence, and the transience of all things.

Whatever your philosophical stance, having a tattoo may violate Buddhist principles if it causes people any kind of emotional suffering.

Simply put, you can reverse a piece that you intended to be beautiful if your decision to have a Buddha tattoo is motivated by ego or you are aware that it might hurt others.

Are Buddha Tattoos Illegal In Thailand And Other Buddhist Countries?

Actually, no. Both Thailand and Sri Lanka allow Buddha tattoos. However, they are strongly disapproved of, and bans have been requested by Sri Lanka and Thailand.

In Myanmar, sometimes referred to as Burma, these tattoos are not permitted. In addition to being cultural appropriation, they view tattoos of Buddha as deeply disrespectful of their religious beliefs, emblems, and history.

Can You Be A Buddhist Monk With Tattoos?

You can, in fact, have tattoos and be a Buddhist monk. This is supported by the fact that not only are the Sak Yant drawn by and on monks, but also by the fact that this is considered to be the only proper manner to receive Yantra tattoos.

Every year, tens of thousands of international devotees travel to Thailand to get their Sak Yant from skilled monks.

These monks can be found all around Southeast Asia, but are most prevalent in Thailand where there are the greatest concentrations of pious people. The most well-known temple for Sak Yant in the modern age is Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Chai Si District, Nakhon Pathom Province, Thailand. One of Thailand's most well-known Sak Yant practitioners, Ajaan Noo Kanpai, received his training at Wat Band Phra.

Does The Body Part Bearing The Tattoo Affect Its Acceptability?

According to a specialist in Tibetan art tattoos, "Buddhist images and Tibetan mantras are extremely sacred and should be honored. It is traditional to treat images of Buddha with reverence and hang them on the highest point of your home. Anything might be quite rude to place it on your body, especially the bottom part.

You use this body part to sit on the toilet and to lay on the beach's sand. The Buddha is not supposed to appear in such unsuitable locations.

The head is regarded as the most important bodily part in Southeast Asian culture, and the lower down on the body, the less sacred it is.

Devout religious practitioners have expressed displeasure at seeing foreigners with these geometric patterns and decorations on their legs.

Should You Cover A Buddha Tattoo When Traveling To A Buddhist Country?


While getting a Buddha tattoo is perfectly acceptable, you should think about hiding it when you're out in public.

Exposure to the public is disrespectful and could be interpreted as reducing Buddha and other deities to decoration. Additionally, you stay away from sensitive practitioners' unneeded problems.

Are Buddha Tattoos Offensive?

Different cultures, especially those that maintain Buddhism at the center of their religion or value system, may find a Buddha tattoo insulting.

Buddha's teachings and artistic representations of him are highly revered and holy. They deserve attention in particular because they are not intended to be merely ornamental or decorative.

Is It Disrespectful To Get A Tattoo Of Buddha?

Everything is transient, according to Buddhism, with the exception of tattoos. After getting the tattoo, as long as you don't go to the bathroom or have sex, you're fine.

In front of a Buddha image, having sex or using the restroom is rude.

Is Tattooing A Sin In Buddhism?

So, yes, Buddhism does allow for tattoos. But it's crucial to respect the symbols, and it's generally not a good idea to tattoo images of the Buddha on the lower body.

Traditional Sak Yant tattoos are applied by hand. This is carried out in Buddhist monasteries in Thailand by specially trailed monks.

What Are The Most Acceptable Body Parts To Get A Buddha Tattoo?

Anywhere above the waist is the best place to get a Buddha tattoo.

Should I Cover My Buddha Tattoo While Traveling In Buddhist Countries?

When visiting Buddhist nations, you should undoubtedly cover your Buddha tattoo. It is a gesture of respect and will help to prevent any unwarranted problems during your stay.

Can A Buddhist Smoke?

91% of respondents who were asked whether they believed the Buddha's teachings had anything to say about smoking responded that they did not, but 71% of respondents stated there should be a Buddhist legislation that forbade monks from smoking.

What Are The 3 Beliefs Of Buddhism?

The primary purpose of the Buddha's teachings is to free sentient beings from suffering. The Three Universal Truths, The Four Noble Truths, and The Noble Eightfold Path are the fundamental teachings of Buddha that form the basis of Buddhism.

Can You Be A Buddhist And Still Believe In God?

Following the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who set out on a journey for Enlightenment around the sixth century BC, Buddhists want to achieve nirvana. There is no faith in an individual god. Buddhists hold that nothing is set in stone or unchangeable and that anything can happen.

What Is The Law Of Impermanence?

All relationships will come to an end by death or separation, according to the Law of Impermanence. Thus, the law of impermanence can help us cope with difficult times and grief.

According to what the Buddha taught, what feeling causes suffering?

The Four Noble Truths are the cornerstone of Buddhism. The First Truth is that life is filled with suffering, anguish, and unhappiness.

The second truth is that this misery is brought on by personal desire and egotistical longing. The third truth is that you can get over this self-centered yearning.

What Are The Three Types Of Karma?

The 3 Types Of Karma Explained

  • Sanchitta. This is accumulated karma from the past that is yet unfulfilled.
  • Parabda. What you are doing right now, during this lifetime, and its outcome are the current activity.
  • Agami. Agami karma is the term used to describe future deeds that follow from your present deeds.

What Did Buddha See During His Enlightenment?

He realized that he had previously passed away countless times and had always been reincarnated. He was able to see all of his previous incarnations.

He observed all he had done during his life, both good and bad.

What Four Things Did The Buddha See That Troubled Him?

According to folklore, at the age of 29, the "Four Signs"—an elderly man, a sick person, a body being transported for cremation, and a monk meditating under a tree—shook him out of his complacency.

As he started to consider old age, illness, and death, he made the decision to adopt the monk's lifestyle.

What Are The 3 Jewels In Buddhism?

Triratna, or "Three Jewels" in Sanskrit The Buddha, the dharma (doctrine, or teaching), and the sangha are the three components of the Triratna in Buddhism, also known as Pali Ti-ratana or Threefold Refuge (the monastic order, or community).

Properly Placed Buddha Tattoo Design Ideas

Buddha Tattoo Sleeve

A Buddha tattoo sleeve covers the entire arm and is a wonderful method to demonstrate to others your sincere devotion to your path. Additionally, this is a fantastic opportunity to incorporate a wide variety of Buddhist symbols.

Buddha Back Tattoo

Consider a Buddha back tattoo as a way to keep him close to you always in a very special spot, even if you can't see it yourself.

Buddha Tattoo Forearm

Similar to a Buddha tattoo sleeve, a Buddha tattoo on the forearm is ideal because he will always be there to help you if you wish to use it as a constant reminder to follow the Buddhist path.

Buddha Tattoo Arm

In general, the torso is the best location for a Buddha tattoo, especially since you can quickly conceal it if you're among people you don't want to offend! Although the upper arm is ideal, any part of your body is suitable.

Buddha Chest Tattoo

Because a Buddha tattoo on the breast is the most intimate, many individuals opt for this design. Along with the other people you decide to exhibit your art to, you will see him every day.


The general agreement on whether tattoos are acceptable in Buddhism is neither absolute or unanimity.

Given the mother religion's universality, some consider it as a right, while others see it as an attempt by foreigners, particularly those in the West, to snatch up a culture they know very nothing about.

In general, there is nothing wrong with obtaining a tattoo of Buddha as long as it is done by a skilled expert, worn on the appropriate portions of the body, and carried out in a reverent and somber way.

And if you find that you cannot adhere to all of these requirements, you should rethink your choice and think about finding an alternative.

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