A Buddha Tattoo from Thailand You Could Show Your Mother

A friend in Suratthani came back from Koh Samui beaming about something recently. He had on a pale yellow long-sleeved shirt that was sticking to him and he appeared to be sweating profusely from his arm.  Everyone knew what this meant, JUSTIN HAD A NEW TATTOO!  The "Sweat" is actually "preparation H" used usually for hemmorhoids, but apparently it is good for tattoo pain also as he wore the stuff and ruined his shirts for 3 or more days.

It was obvious he wanted someone to ask to see it, but before I could even do that he was rolling up his sleeve and showing it to me.

I'm not a tattoo guy. I've never enjoyed looking at one, I've never cared one way or the other about someone's tattoos. I don't dislike them, but I sure haven't been able to see the point of getting one.  This guy has some INTERESTING tattoos though, that is for sure. The little girl on his forearm borders on cool – but it's also a bit disturbing. I think it was a symbol for some punk rock girl singer that he likes a lot.

I have read a lot a lot about Buddhism and I tried not to remember much since I don't believe in any "ism", but Buddhism has some good ideas that I think resonated with me more so than the other religions I looked at.  I even meditated for a period of almost a year (vipassana) and reached a place that was beyond words and comprehension at least all the monks I talked to and others that meditated were dumbfounded when I talked to them about it.  It was part of my reason for coming to Thailand to stay. It was the biggest reason actually.  I wanted to talk to the senior English speaking monks at Wat Pah Nanachat in the Northeast (Warin Chamrap) and find out if they knew anything of what happened with me while meditating.

They did! What they told me I had been waiting to hear for about 8-9 years.  What a cool moment… I'll write about that later sometime maybe….

Anyway, Justin's Tattoo…

So as he's rolling up his sleeve I realize that I'm INTERESTED in it… soon I start to actually LIKE it.  It had some great detail, was really symettrical – like art… It was really quite a cool tattoo and I don't know that I've ever said that except having recently seen some Sak Yant tattoos on the backs, arms and chests of Buddhist monks and the guy I wrote about in this blog a little while back…

I got some photos and this one turned out OK.

Then, a couple weeks later I was walking around Suan Mokkh Wat in Suratthani, home of the late Buddhadassa Bhikku and I saw the area where they create statues and other artwork. And I saw this piece of art in front of some bamboo.  I thought, WOW, that was the inspiration for Justin's tattoo!  My friend got a picture of it and I sent it to Justin.  No response yet, but he's busy in Korea making big bank.

Then today as I looked again at his tattoo I realized – that is not bamboo in the back of the Buddha on Justin's arm… that's a Boddhi tree.  Oops.

Anyway… it's a rather cool tattoo.  He got it in Koh Samui but I didn't ask him exactly where, and at this point it's been over a month since he got it – I'm not sure he'd know how to explain where it was if I did ask him.

I have considered getting a sak yant tattoo if I can find or create one that could be a reminder for the state I was in during that time I meditated. Problem is, as much as I try I cannot come up with something that is "it".  Trying to use words to describe the process or the state – is useless.  Trying to draw it is just as frustrating as it's so ambiguous. It's unlike anything, and yet, when in the state it is very strong… one doesn't really feel it, but is IN it, part of it… you ARE it…  How to put that state into a drawing I'm not sure.  Many pictures I could draw have part of the feeling – but the overall feeling isn't able to be drawn (so far).

Sometimes I sit for an hour and try to come up with a drawing to match the feeling… I've drawn Sine curves, Circles of various types, a dot, an expanding circle, colors… and nothing really is "it".

I've yet to meet anyone that is enlightened – or that others think is enlightened through meditation. If I do I'll ask that question… how to put into words or picture or smell or touch – that feeling…

Anyone have any Sak Yant or Buddha or Buddhist tattoos they want to send in to have published on this blog?  I'll post 'em.

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.