Tuesday, July 3, 2012

sitting on top of the world

Under the bright sun, many of us are gathered together with different languages, different styles of dress, even different faiths. However, all of us are the same in being humans, and we all uniquely have the thought of "I," and we´re all the same in wanting happiness and in wanting to avoid suffering.

  Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (b. 6 july 1935)

anticipating the dalai lama's upcoming 77th birthday,  today's tattoos share a buddhist or sacred theme.

although the top photo leaves something to desire in terms of capturing the intricacies of the tattoo,  i love the photo as it captures the joy of the moment and the beauty of the woman her smiling companion in the background.

i don't know about you, but i've been noticing a lot of buddha inspired tats lately.  it seems that some folks go with full buddhas while others prefer just a buddha head, or other parts of buddha's body.   the fellow who sports the buddha head tattoo was most interesting and i learned he had strong opinions regarding buddha imagery - he favors the the traditional buddha with the cranial bump over images of fat, happy, bald buddhas.  according to him, the latter buddha is symbolic of chinese suppression of tibet and the china's attempt to coopt buddhism.

although i don't know the veracity of  his political interpretation  regarding the fat happy 'buddha,'   he is correct when it comes to the fat, bald, happy buddha image - this buddha is not representative of siddhartha gautama-  the historical individual who is at the enlightened human core of buddhism, but is rather an enlightened monk/teacher.

to many, it is believed that all the teachings of the buddha are contained in the mantra om mani padme hum  -  tibetan buddhists believe that saying the mantra, out loud or silently,  and even viewing the mantra in written form invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion (embodiment of compassion).

directly above is a wristband with the mantra written in tibetan script - the man with this tat is jason eady; i met jason, who by the way is a very talented singer-songwriter  a couple weeks ago when he opened for one of my favorite groups, the flatlanders who were playing at the beachland ballroom  -- i was smitten by jason's tat (not to mention his singing voice), although i recognized that it was tibetan script,  i didn't realize it was the popular and powerful mantra om mani padme hum.

while today's last tat snap is not a buddhist inspired tat does fit in with today's theme.  the image is of a female deity in the hindu  pantheon of gods.   coincidentally,  this past friday while i was in metro dc visiting family and friends, i went to another concert of eady and the flatlanders at the birchmere a popular music venue in alexandria, virginia.

during a break between sets i noticed the tattoo on the arm of the fellow i was sitting next to,  we had a nice conversation about body art.  he is fairly well inked - this upper arm sleeve covers a few 'chapters' in the life of this fellow - if you look closely you will see both a tribal-ish band and a set of three highly stylized initials, which represent  the fellow's three children.  both the band and the initials predate the hindu goddess.

the flatlanders performing sitting on top of the world



Steve Reed said...

I really like the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra tattoo. That's one I could see wearing myself. As for the Buddhist imagery, I'm glad there seems to be a growing awareness of Buddhism, the Buddha and his teachings -- even if in some cases it's more aesthetically driven than theologically or philosophically, that's something!

Watson said...

Great Tatoos again dear mouse!