In our modern world where spiritual beliefs are as acceptable as religious ones, there has been an increase in demand for faith related designs, such as the Buddha tattoo. Many people – not just those who have converted to Buddhism – can relate to the philosophical beliefs of this popular far eastern faith which has been around for centuries. The images used in such designs vary slightly in style and shape depending on their country of origin but these ancient images have a great deal of history behind them as well as the obvious symbolism they represent.
Early archaeological evidence of Buddhist images date back to India around 250BC during the reign of the Hindu King, Ashoka. This particular ruler was greatly inspired by the teachings of the Lord Buddha and many of the sacred symbols used to express his devotion are still universally recognized today. These images also remain firm favourites for use in a Buddha tattoo today however the term Buddha, actually translates as one who has found enlightenment. Unlike key figures in other religions, the original Lord Buddha actually encouraged his followers to make it their life’s mission to seek this rather than encouraging them to worship him personally. He was born under the name of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, into the Hindu faith, but left his life of wealth and privilege to travel the lands in relative poverty seeking the meaning of life. He finally found it after many years, while sitting under the sacred Bodhi Tree which often accompanies the image of Buddha in body art designs of this nature. Additional images that follow a similar theme include the lotus flower and the eight spoked Dharma wheel which also symbolize similar attributes of enlightenment. Even today, this particular faith appeals to many simply because it is so open and less restrictive than many others. It does not involve the worship of any other gods or goddesses either, nor does it dismiss the beliefs of other faiths but simply inspires us to make the most of our inner selves.
As body art there are many different styles of Buddha tattoo which can be found everywhere from India and Sri Lanka, Japan and China, to Thailand and Cambodia. Some of these images depict Buddha as more symmetrical while others have him illustrated as a more rotund figure, often smiling or rubbing his belly. These can be inked on almost any body part as a simple monochrome image or a more elaborately detailed design perhaps set against a backdrop of a temple and the setting or rising sun. They also work well as small, medium and large designs in plain or multicolored version. If the idea of a vibrant coloured image of this kind appeals to you, then you may be interested to know that there are five key colours associated with Buddhism. These are white, yellow, red, blue and green, each of which individually symbolizes a state of mind, a celestial Buddha, a part of the body, a part of the mantra word, or a natural element.