Buddhist Yant Tattoos in Thailand

Yant (Yantra) tattoos in Thailand
I’ve never had the urge to get a tattoo. I’m 51 now and the possibility to get a cool tattoo came up recently when I stumbled on this website that I borrowed this photo from. Buddhist YANT tattoos are tattoos that are done by venerable monks with some artistic aptitude. Some people travel from all over the world to get these tattoos. They are quite unique and pretty cool looking compared to the usual generic stuff that most people have.

Tattoos to me are supposed to be unique. If your design looks like everyone else’s I think it’s the opposite of unique, it makes you a clone that is doing what everyone else is doing.

Take a look at this guy’s back – he’s completely done his whole back. I’d have stopped at one, but he wanted to cover his entire back – and he really did. I have to admit, that while I don’t usually like tattoos at all, this guy’s back looks like a piece of art! I’m starting to think Thai Sak YANT tattoos are cool. Somehow. Maybe.

Unlike other tattoos – these tattoos actually have a purpose other than shocking your students (if you teach). The Buddhist YANT tattoos are unique for each type of spirit they are warding away – or for the type of good luck that you will have. Some are for protection from certain evil spirits. They are said to stop the penetration of weapons through the skin… They are said to make the skin slippery in battle…

Some old Sak Yak masters make the black ink from the sap of a rare tree found in the northeast of Thailand – Isaan, near Cambodia and Laos. Some may even mix SNAKE VENOM into the ink!

Here is a link to the site where I first learned about Sak Yant Tattoos
Here is a gallery of Yant designs

Here is a page of youtube videos to look through if you’re interested in seeing it done: Yant videos

There are 108 sacred Yant designs at this site and an explanation of each. The idea comes from “Animism” which was here in Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia before Buddhism started. Animism has something to do with animals as gods… that’ s as far as I’ve read.

I think a tattoo should be for ME… not for others to see or care about or ask me about. If I get a tattoo it will be for one reason – to keep me mindful of something. What would I want to be mindful of? That’s the question and that would need to be answered before I get a tattoo! I’m not sure what I need to be mindful of though… my son – yes. Giving rather than getting? – yes. seeing reactions before I let them happen – yes.

Maybe one tattoo to remind me of all this? Tough call – and it’s been for a quite a while – hence, no tattoo yet.

Anybody already HAVE one of these Sakyant tattoos? Send in a photo if you have so I can post it here.

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+.