Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Happy Birthday To You, Happy Birthday Tattoo..."

So for my birthday this year I asked Phil to get me a tattoo.

Wait for it....


There. That was the sound of my mum's brains exploding onto her computer monitor.

(Actually I pre-warned her, to avoid exactly that situation, but I think there may be some thud-splatting going on anyway.)

So, with no further ado, this is it:

(please ignore the creases in my foot from sleeping with socks on!)

The writing is Tibetan dbu-can script, saying "Om Mani Padme Hum", the Buddhist mantra which invokes the attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.

The mantra has no exact translation into English, but the following explanation by Gen Rinpoche describes it's purpose and meaning:

"The mantra Om Mani Pädme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. Päd, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom. "
Source and more.

Some Buddhists say that it is inappropriate to have the mantra tattooed on the body below the waste level. However, for me personally, positioning it on my right foot has a great significance- it is with my right foot that I make the first step in any journey, big or small, and so this mantra will always lead my path in life.

So the next questions is "Did it hurt?"

I'm not going to say it didn't hurt (of course it did), but it really didn't hurt as much as I thought it would- it felt like a strong stinging, and if I concentrated on something away from my foot (I found focussing on my head helped- and I made Phil put his hand on my head to help me focus on it) it was quite bearable. On the plus side, although detailed, the actual tattoo lines are not thick, so there was no need to outline first and then fill-in with coulour,- the usual procedure- which shortened the time. Overall, I'd say that getting my nose peirced hurt more, and for more days afterwards than this did. After the actual procedure was over I just felt a general dull ache in my foot, and it was only for one day after that it felt tender to touch or was bothered by my shoes rubbing on it. About 30hours after having it done, it was fine, yet my nose hurt for a good week after having it pierced, and for several weeks after that I had to be gentle with it.

Oh, and on a final point, I can totally see how getting tattoos is addictive- I'm already thinking about my next one.



Mia said...

First of all happy belated. It is a beautiful tat I gotta say. Secondly welcome to my world. Yes they are addictive I warn you I'm getting my 6th in a few weeks. As for your mom (sigh) you can always tell her what I tell mine. At least it ain't no naked chick in a hula skirt lady.

Anonymous said...

It's a real nice tattoo indeed ! if you want to get more, you can also contact they make all kind of Tibetan tattoos and are quite unexpensive


Anonymous said...

In disrespectful to the Buddhist for you to have it on your foot.

Anonymous said...

The person above me is right.

it is very bad to get OM MANI PADME HUM tattooed anywhere below your waist..

ds06jz said...

I cam across this randomly by google, searching for foot tattoos. Yours is exactly where I want to get mine, and about the same size. A question for you: what does it look like now? Did it fade or blur a lot as I hear foot tattoos do?

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with the two people above...u kinda missed the point there by having it on your foot. in tibetan buddhism the mantra should not be anywhere lower than your waist, let alone your foot.. shows lack of respect and misunderstanding.