Tattoos, help or hindrance?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Tattoos, help or hindrance?

Postby uniformsquare » Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:11 am

I was wondering what you all you think about Buddhist tattoos. Do they cause attachment to the body which is not self? Do they serve as a reminder of the only truth path to ultimate freedom? What is your take on Buddhism, tattoos, and Buddhist tattoos?
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Re: Tattoos, help or hindrance?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:23 am

Greetings,

I've never really understood tattoos, nor had much interest to them.

As I understand it though, tattoos are often personal things that symbolise something of significance to the wearer.

In the context of Buddhist tattoos, there will obviously be some reaction... it is that reaction which, as you say could be a "help" (if it promotes mindstates of wisdom, lovingkindess, generosity) or a "hindrance" (if it promotes mindstates of delusion, greed or aversion).

Each person's reaction to their own tattoos will be different... if you're contemplating it, think about how you think you'll relate to it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Tattoos, help or hindrance?

Postby bodom » Sat Jul 04, 2009 4:09 am

Theres only five hindrances you need to worry about and tattoos arent one of them.

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Tattoos, help or hindrance?

Postby Demarous » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:19 pm

I remember we had a discussion on tattoo's a while ago, and as it is not a problem even if the Sangha are allowed tattoos, whatever they be, related or not, they are not a problem.

I can see the help that 'reminder' tattoo's can give, for instance if you are getting angry, a buddha reminder on you arm for instance may aid you to calm yourself and remember the lack of importance of the situation.

I think if its a not so nice tattoo that you dislike, you would be able to lose attachment to it as you progress, if it bothers you at all that is!

Metta,
Demarous.
"Happy, at rest, may all beings be happy at heart. Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception, long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant, seen & unseen, near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart."
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Re: Tattoos, help or hindrance?

Postby Guy » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:36 pm

Tattoos are neither a help nor a hinderance, they are just tattoos. However, a desire to get a tattoo would be the 1st hinderance (sensual desire) and an aversion to people who have tattoos (including yourself if you already have one) would be the 2nd hinderance (ill-will).
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Tattoos, help or hindrance?

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:44 pm

I suggest you practice dana as that will benefit your practice more than getting a tattoo.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Tattoos, help or hindrance?

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Jul 04, 2009 2:45 pm

Hello,
Tattoos might be helpful. I have been thinking about a tattoo for some time. A dhammawheel. It represents the 4 noble truths (including the 8-fold path which is shown through the 8 spokes.) The Dhamma and Samsara. The pain by "tattoing the tattoo reminds on dukkha. The tattoo will change by and by which reminds on anicca. The tattoo doesn't exist by itself. It depends on tatto artist, the one who be tattoed or rather the body which be tattoed, ink and so on which reminds on anatta.
As a matter of course these things can be seen in nature all the time but for someone it could be a helpful thing if one understands and sees the tattoo with wisdom.
I'm of the same opinion as bodom_bad_boy and Guy
bodom_bad_boy wrote:Theres only five hindrances you need to worry about and tattoos arent one of them.
:namaste:

Guy wrote:Tattoos are neither a help nor a hinderance, they are just tattoos. However, a desire to get a tattoo would be the 1st hinderance (sensual desire) and an aversion to people who have tattoos (including yourself if you already have one) would be the 2nd hinderance (ill-will).


greetings, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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