Is Tattoo a Sin in Buddhism?

Is Tattoo a Sin in Buddhism?

Is Tattoo a Sin in Buddhism?

Within the world of tattoos, we find many styles and types of designs that fit into philosophies of life, in ways of seeing things, one of these varieties is the spiritual tattoos, and if we specify even more we get to those that have to do with the buddhism, entering the most important religion in the eastern part of the planet.

But whether we are believers or not, there are many people who tattoo symbols that have to do with Buddhism.

Today we are going to know a little better, some of the Symbols most popular in this area.

We start with what is undoubtedly the best known term in Buddhism, we are talking about buda, which means, enlightened, awake and intelligent.

He is the highest figure of this religion, since he is the founder of it. In tattoo designs we find three options that stand out from the rest, the Buddha that meditates, the one who smiles and the golden one.

The first means reflection and thought, the one who seeks wisdom.

The second happiness, joy and hope and finally the golden Buddha represents the teachings of Buddhism.

Another symbol widely used to represent this religion is the wheel of dharma, one of the most important within Buddhism.

This represents the teachings, and the endless cycle of Samsara or rebirth, a cycle that can only be escaped when we find the meaning of the Buddha's teachings.

As you can see, everything revolves around spirituality, that something that goes beyond them physically.

We continue with another symbol, the mandala, totally spiritual in Buddhism, means circle in Sanskrit and represents meditation, inner peace and relaxation, something that is achieved through contemplation of it.

It is also considered that in the mandalas we can find balance, purification and healing.

As a detail, comment that painting mandalas is a healing process, so if we have it tattooed it can be very helpful.

And finally we will talk about bodhi tree, perhaps the one that goes unnoticed the most.

It is a tree that belongs to the so-called religious ficus species, a kind of sacred tree for the Buddhist religion since under one of these trees is where Buddha managed to reach Nirvana.

Tattooing this symbol transmits luck, joy, enlightenment, calm, hope, peace, patience, tranquility, perseverance, etc.

As you can see, we are in front of fully spiritual symbols, and surely if we tattoo them with faith, we will make them serve us for something, if we believe in their meaning, they may help us find inner peace.

Buddha Sculpture FAQs

What Does A Buddha Tattoo Symbolize?

The meaning of a Buddha tattoo is usually all about love and a devotion to the Buddhist practice.

Similar to someone getting a cross tattoo, or a rosary bead tattoo, a Buddha tattoo denotes that a person is serious about their faith and wants to show this on their skin.

Are Dragon Tattoos Bad Luck?

In Chinese culture, it is unlucky to fill in the eyes of a dragon tattoo until the tattoo is completed, because with the eyes being the window to the soul the dragon will feel the pain of getting tattooed once its eyes are completed and its soul intact.

Are Tattoos Allowed In Buddhism?

Because they are viewed as temporary, getting tattoos doesn't violate any Buddhist doctrines or beliefs.

Some Buddhists say that tattoos are an unhealthy attachment to the body. However, even monks can have tattoos and some sects actually encourage them as a way to remember Buddhist teachings.

What Does A Dragon Tattoo Mean To A Girl?

Depending on the art style, size, and color, a dragon tattoo can be a symbol of fearlessness, rage, passion, or wisdom.

They can also represent your favorite dragon from fiction, like Khaleesi's three dragons from Game of Thrones.

Do Buddhists Drink Alcohol?

Despite the great variety of Buddhist traditions in different countries, Buddhism has generally not allowed alcohol intake since earliest times.

The production and consumption of alcohol was known in the regions in which Buddhism arose long before the time of the Buddha.

What Does A Lotus Flower Tattoo Symbolize?

Lotus flowers symbolize a number of different things, making them unique and highly personal tattoos.

In general, the flower is believed to represent rising above temptation and becoming a better person. In Hindu belief, lotus flowers are referred to as Padma and symbolize beauty, purity, and spiritual awakening

History Of Buddhism

Buddhism originated in India in the 6th century BC, founded by Prince Siddhartha, who eventually achieved the ultimate goal of enlightenment.

After 49 days of meditating under a bodhi tree, he became Buddha, or the “Awakened One.” Buddhism later arrived in Thailand from Sri Lanka. It became the dominant religion in both Thailand and Laos in the 12th century.

Buddhism In Thailand

The official religion in Thailand is Theravada Buddhism, practiced by more than 95% of the population and by many who reside in Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Small tokens of this religion are seen in the most inconspicuous of places around the country.

Visitors will find daily reminders of Buddhism during their travels, from towering temples found along the Chao Phraya River to spirit houses protecting buildings and more across the country.

Buddhism is a key component to the identities of many Thais. Many will give daily offerings to things like spirit houses.

Others will sporadically feed the many soi (street) dogs to make merit. By making and gaining merit, many

Thais believe they will live longer and happier lives. Some people will also wear Buddhist amulets in order to protect themselves.

Monks In Thailand


There are some 300,000 monks living in the Land of Smiles. From Phuket to Bangkok, visitors are almost guaranteed to see a few of them in Thailand.

Their yellow and orange robes are very recognizable in a sea of modern-day clothing.

Many Thais will start their day off by giving offerings to monks who are collecting donations in the streets.

Every man in Thailand is required to become a monk for a period of time before the age of 20. Though the expected time length is about three months, some will stay as little as a day or two.

The majority of monks remain for at least a few weeks. Young men do this in order to receive good karma and merit.

Those Thais who are affluent or have money are considered to have very good karma.

Those who do not have money are thought to have behaved poorly in a previous life, thus, not having good karma.

How To Become A Monk

If a man does decide to become a monk, there are several rituals and processes they must go through.

For instance, they must shave their head and eyebrows as well as partake in a number of ceremonies.

They also receive daily duties in the temple they reside at, such as cleaning or receiving offerings in the mornings.

Living as a monk is no easy task. For one, there are hundreds of rules by which they must abide.

Some are pretty basic, such as monks always having to wear a robe, while others are more seemingly difficult tasks, such as not drinking alcohol or not swimming for fun.

They must also follow a long list of stipulations when going out in public. For example, monks cannot laugh or speak loudly.

Monks are normally very friendly, even to foreigners. Some temples have things like monk chats, where tourists can sit down with a monk and talk with them about their lives.

As a reminder, the majority of Thais will give up their seats on public transportation for a monk. Tourists should do this as well.

Is It Disrespectful To Get An Unalome Tattoo?

Traditional cultural symbols, like the Unalome or Om are from Buddhist and Hindu religions, respectively.

Frivolous wearing of the symbol or printing it all over is considered by some, very disrespectful.

Simply So, What Is The Meaning Of An Unalome Tattoo?

Unalome. The unalome symbol represents the path to enlightenment in Buddhist culture.

The spirals are meant to symbolize the twists and turns in life, and the straight lines the moment one reaches enlightenment or peace and harmony.

The dots at the end of the symbol represent death, or the moment we fade to nothing …

Hereof, is Unalome male or female? Other Meanings of the Unalome Symbol

Aside from their primary meaning, Unalomes embody a number of other spiritual properties.

They can be symbolic of feminine or masculine energy, depending on which direction their spirals are facing; left for female and right for male.

Also, Where Do You Put Unalome Tattoos?

A few of the main placements for Unalome tattoos are the wrist, ribs, arms, and behind the ear.

One of the most popular and unique placements for Unalome tattoos, especially for women, is the area between their breasts.

This area also represents the soul as it goes well with the meaning behind Unalome tattoos.

Is Tattooing A Sin In Buddhism?

So yes, tattoos are definitely allowed in Buddhism. However, it is important to respect the symbols, and in general, it is not advisable to ink images of the Buddha in the lower half of the body.

Sak Yant tattoos are traditionally applied by hand. Specially trailed monks in Thailand do this in Buddhist monasteries.

Famous Buddhist Symbols Meaning And Use In Tattoo World

The very famous eight auspicious symbols are commonly known as the Parasol, two Golden Fish, Conch Shell, Lotus, Banner of Victory, Vase, Dharma Wheel, and Eternal Knot.

In the Buddhist tradition, these eight symbols of good fortune represent the offerings presented by the great Vedic gods to Shakyamuni Buddha upon his attainment of enlightenment.

Brahma was the first of these gods to appear before the Buddha, and he presented a thousand-spoked golden wheel as a symbolic request for the Buddha to teach through ‘turning the wheel of the dharma’.

The great sky god Indra appeared next, and he presented his mighty white conch-shell horn as a symbolic request for the Buddha to ‘proclaim the truth of the dharma’.

The Parasol Meaning And Tattoo

The parasol is a traditional Buddhist symbol of both protection and royalty. It is believed that it will protect from negative powers but also to enjoy a fresh shadow.

Two Golden Fish Meaning And Tattoo

The golden fishes symbol is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism.

It consists of two fishes, which usually appear standing vertically with heads turned inwards towards each other.

The two golden fish Ganges and Yamuna, to swim free and cross the ocean of problems.

The Conch Shell Meaning And Tattoo

The conch shell has survived as the original horn trumpet since time immemorial.

The right turning conch represents the awakening with the sound of Dharma teachings.

Vajrayana Buddhism absorbed the conch as a symbol which fearlessly proclaimed the truth of the dharma.

In addition to Buddha’s throat, the conch also appears as an auspicious mark on the soles, palms, limbs, breast or forehead of a divinely endowed being.

The Lotus Flower Meaning And Tattoo


The lotus flower represents the purity of body, mind, and spirit.

In Buddhist art, the lotus is often depicted with 8 petals symbolizing the Eightfold Path, a core tenet of the Buddhist religion.

The lotus flower indicates that there’s beauty in every horrible place. The best lotus flower can grow in the dirtiest mud!

The Victory Banner Meaning And Tattoo

The victory banner signifies Buddha’s enlightenment through his conquering of passion, pride, lust, and the fear of death.

These four pitfalls are known as the ‘four maras’, and are considered by Buddhists to be the hindrances we face on our spiritual journey.

Liberation, or the state of nirvana, can only be realized when the battle over the four maras is won.

The victory banner reminds of when Buddha won the battle to Mara who stands for the sins.

The Vase Meaning And Tattoo

The Treasure Vase – known also as the ‘wealth vase’ – and ‘vase of inexhaustible treasure’ – became the Buddhist symbol of spiritual abundance.

As one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism, it represents not only the wealth of Buddha’s teaching but his never-diminishing generosity and compassion.

Legend attributes to it a special quality, that of always remaining full despite much being taken from it.

The pot to fill it after illumination with positive stuff only.

The Dharma Wheel Meaning And Tattoo

The wheel of Dharma, Dharmachakra represents the eightfold path. It is the most popular and one of the richest Buddhist symbols that appear in blackwork tattoos.

The Endless Knot Meaning And Tattoo

The Endless Knot is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols in Buddhism, and one of the most popular symbols in Tibetan Buddhism.

Also referred to as the ‘Mystic Dragon’, it symbolizes the infinite wisdom and compassion of the Buddha for all sentient beings.

The endless knot to show the interconnection and rebirth of everything in life.

Yantra Tattooing

Yantra tattooing is a form of tattooing originally introduced by Khmer people of the Khmer Empire which influenced much of its culture in the region during its reign.

It consists of sacred geometrical, animal and deity designs accompanied by Pali phrases that offer power, protection, fortune, charisma and other benefits for the bearer.

These days, it remains popular in Cambodia, Thailand, and also in Laos and Myanmar (Burma).

Sak means tattoo in Thai and Khmer, while yan and yoan are the Thai and Khmer pronunciation for the Sanskrit word yantra respectively, a type of mystical diagram used in Dharmic religions.

Buddhist Tattoo And Meaning

Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the world which attracts millions of followers and has a great influence over millions of people.

Buddhist tattoos give positive value to life.

The Buddhist tattoos can be directly linked to the origins of this religion and although Buddha himself discouraged any form of symbols in the religion they still came to be.

The symbol represents the path to enlightenment in Buddhist culture. The spirals are meant to symbolize the twists and turns in life, and the straight lines the moment one reaches enlightenment or peace and harmony. The dots at the end of the symbol represent death, or the moment we fade to nothing.

Buddhist Tattoo Art

Buddhist Tattoo art is a special kind of art which originated from southeast Asia. The Buddhist Tattoo Art is believed to be something holy, magical and religious.

Buddhist Tattoo brings magic, sound health, and good fortune in life.

Buddhist God Tattoo

Buddhist god tattoo includes deities like;

  • Buddha Shakyamuni – the historical Buddha
  • Buddha Maitreya – the future Buddha
  • Avalokiteshvara – Bodhisattva of compassion
  • Manjushri – Bodhisattva of wisdom
  • Mahakala – the guardian
  • Padmasambhava – Guru Rinpoche
  • Tsongkhapa –  Founder of the religion
  • Laughing Buddha – Happy Buddha

Buddhist Goddess Tattoo

There are different Buddhist goddesses whose tattoos are popular among the younger generation of tattoo lovers. The list of the Buddhist goddess is all the manifestations of 21s Taras including red tara, white tara, green tara etc.

Vajrayogini, Vajrabarahi, Vishvamata, Yeshe Tsogyal etc are other famous female Buddhist goddesses.

Buddhist Tattoo Good Luck

It is believed that the tattoo of Buddha and other deities are symbols of good luck.

Buddhism is followed by many people in the world apart from being a religion, Buddha and Buddhism have become one of the most popular subjects in tattooing.

This tattoo design shows Buddha and an Eastern dragon which signifies good fortune, fertility, and protector of life.

Buddhist Tattoos For Protection

There is a Buddhist Tattoo that is the Sacred tattoo that is very famous in Thailand sits fine on the back of this believer.


Buddhist Geometric tattoos come in many color palettes and designs. A geometric tattoo deals with several lines or geometric shapes that come together to form an even bigger shape. Geometric tattoos can come in the form of leaves, lines, stars, and a host of other patterns.

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