A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Body art

A fair number of people, and this number is growing have body art. This includes tattoos, piercings, as well as other types. Some schools of Buddhism have tattoos that are done by Monks, as blessings or wards. Society depending on the culture may or may not approve or accept these forms of art. My believe is that if they were done with good intentions and with a clear mind, then we should accept them as part of the individual, the same as their hair color. If however the person who has them regrets them, as they were done while intoxicated, and they wish to remove them, that is their choice as well. If we love all other beings as we love ourselves, a tattoo, a piecing, or other form of body art, isn’t as important, as who the person is inside. If they have a tattoo, but are the most honest, most compassionate person you ever meet, is the tattoo really an issue? If  you don’t have body art by choice, give the person who has it, the same respect by accepting theirs. Granted I might have a problem looking at the tattooed name of a former lover on my spouse, but that would pass in time. After all it is a reminder of her past, not where she is now or how would it affect our future. Unless a person has taken the precepts to avoid jewellery, perfume and other adornments, they are free to choose. If we are comfortable in our own skin, then we can accept others as they are. I will point out I currently don’t have a tattoo, however I plan on getting a sak yant tattoo in the near future. This is one done by a Buddhist monk most commonly in Thailand, however it is becoming more popular within some Mahayana schools as well.


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