Tattoos are more than just decorative and Tibetan tattoos are as deeply spiritual as they are beautiful. The lotus flower is a powerful symbol for the Buddhists and among the most common of Buddhist art tattoos. The lotus flower is often used in a Tibetan tattoo design to show the spiritual development of the wearer or to remind the wearer of what they hope to achieve. The word mantra means mind protection and a mantra is a series of symbols that evoke a spiritual written, spoken, or sung response. There is no accurate direct translation of this mantra, it is believed to contain all of the teachings of Buddha. Om Mani Padme Hum tattoos are more than just the words or symbols, they are often part of a larger tattoo incorporating the lotus flower or broken into their individual elements. The Aum symbol, also called the Om, is used to emphasize the virtue of generosity or as a ward against the vices of pride or bliss.
Tibetan tattoos have a very different style of personalities involving deities, demons and other figures of high regard. The girl in the next picture has a beautiful back tattoo of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit), the bodhisattva of compassion. The Buddha, born on the Indian subcontinent (in Lumbini in modern-day Nepal) around 563 BCE as Siddhartha Gautama, is the founder of Buddhism. The lion is used as a symbol of strength, the strength that is needed to adhere to the teachings of Buddha. A Bodhi tree symbolizes Buddha and is held to be the place where Buddha achieved his enlightenment. That being said, the majority of people don't care what the Buddha said about worshipping because he is a central figure in a lot of Buddhist art and tattoo art.
Deep in the Buddhist faith is a belief in patterns that can be used to lead people to universal and spiritual awakenings.
This artistic design of the eternal knot (aka endless knot or mystic knot) has great symbolic meaning because there is no beginning or end to the pattern.
The Tibetan knot, similar to the Celtic knot, is a series of interconnected diamond shapes that could be enhanced with a vast array of textures, color, 3-D design or calligraphy. Tibetan skull tattoos are often combined with other Buddhist elements to show the temporary and changing nature of life.


Tibetan tattoos are a wonderfully artistic way to express the spiritual side of the wearer. Many Tibetan tattoos feature the symbol of the lotus flower and Tibetan writing of various sayings or mantra.
The lotus flower rises from the marsh and swamp to finally open its bloom at the water's surface. Tibetan grammar is based on Sanskrit grammar and the Tibetan script is based on Devanagari, the script also used by Sanskrit and Hindi.
Om Mani Padme Hum is the most common of all Buddhist mantras and is used to invoke the blessings of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara, where of the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation), the Buddhist deity that represents ultimate compassion.
When each syllable is present, the tattoo is used to focus the wearer to a specific aspect or trait the symbol would represent. Combined with the symbol of the lotus flower, this is a powerful image showing the growth of the virtue over the vices. This beginning and end use also is symbolic of the deeper symbolism of life, from birth, living, and death.
In Buddhist tattoo art, demons are often represented as frightening and chaotic forms, however, that is not to imply that they are evil. In some form of Buddhism, demons are simply polar opposites of the virtues and the corresponding deity.
These can be complex interweaving knots and scripts mingled together into a oddly ordered chaos, or a simple and relaxed geometric design that lends itself to simple understanding. Created in sand, glass, precious metals, wax, ink and stone, the mandala is another form of expressing prayer or meditation.
Used to show the universal order, balanced elements absorb the observer and are commonly used in meditation.
Some describe the effects of a mandala as hypnotic and can lead the viewer to a higher level of consciousness. The skull in Tibetan tattoos represents that changing nature, it also shows the practitioner has stopped attachment to the physical body.
This powerful symbol represents the spiritual awakening that is found once we reach past all of the distraction and temptation of the physical world. Some will focus on one part of the Om Mani Padme Hum and have it added to the lotus flower tattoo after great meditation, contemplation, and understanding of the virtue they are trying to invoke.


Tattoos that display this type of demon are used to remind the wearer of the virtues that they should aspire. The most common of these types of tattoos are the eternal knot, mandala tattoos, and Tibetan skull tattoos.
Some knots have intricate design within the knot structure adding an additional texture to the simple form. There are a variety of styles that are used in tattoo art and choosing the one that best suites the wearer is greatly a matter of aesthetic choice. The variety of symbols, the deep meaning behind them, and the never ending stories they can combine to tell make Tibetan tattoos a beautiful and powerful form of body art. One summer during middle school, my mom decided to send me to a Buddhist summer camp at a nearby temple.
One might meditate on all the aspects of life as they gaze into the rich, cultural lore within the Mandala. Although while I was there I was being a young rebellious kid pretending not to believe Buddhism but one of my general studies class, women spirituality, made me think more about my connection with religion. After learning more, I did my research and decided to have the negative karma cleansing mantra tattooed. This mantra means a lot to me and I believe is much needed for me, my family, and my friends.
Since mantras work even by seeing it, I hope those who see it on me will have their negative energy purified as well. Unfortunately, being a college student means being broke and it took some time for me to save up the money and find time to do it.
It is also perfect timing since I'm going to the Electric Daisy Carnival in Vegas right before I leave for Hong Kong. I was planning on getting the mantra done but I didn't bring enough money so I actually got another tattoo first, which is my actual real tattoo.



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