Monday, March 17, 2014

one of my tattoos

In my last post, one of my tattoos is visible. Someone asked what my tattoo said...

The simple answer? Ö-pa-me or od dpag med in Tibetan script. It means Infinite Light and is often used as the terminology for The Buddha of Infinite light a.k.a Amitābha a.k.a. The Red Buddha. a.k.a The Buddha of the Western Pure Land.

My tattoo story goes like this. When I was a child I'd imagine a light in me and outside of me. It was always there and I thought of it as somewhere in between an imaginary friend and the true image of my soul. I was in high school when I decided that my first tattoo would be the words "infinite light" to connect me to that side of my existence. The only problem was getting it in English seemed wrong. So I promised myself that I would get it in whatever language I happened upon that seemed appropriate.

When I saw Tibetan script as a mantra for the first time, I knew it had to be that script but at the time there wasn't a lot places I could go to make sure I didn't get the word POTATO tattooed to me. So I waited an scoured the internet.

Once day, I happened on a man named Tashi Mannox. He is an Englishman that became a monk and studied Tibetan calligraphy under a Tibetan master. At the time he wasn't very well known except with in the Tibetan Buddhist community. Now, he is quiet successful in his art. I contacted him and received a personalized calligraphy from him, with the understanding that I would have it as a tattoo.


I get a lot of comments on the tattoo. A lot of questions. Most the time people assume it's script from the Lord of the Rings. Which I find amusing. 

But, the longer I have it, it seems the deeper the meaning evolves for me. First, I'd like to say that infinite light is something I see as a part of my soul and like a conscious. A Jiminy Cricket if you will. I got the tattoo predominately on my neck to the right side because I saw it as something protective, that could whisper knowledge in my ear. That may sound esoteric but it was a vague thought. Another reason I chose it to be so visible is that it is believed that the Tibetan script is sacred and can bless anyone who sees it. One of the interesting things about the Buddha of Infinite Light is that this Buddha is said to have made a promise. That if you remember his name you will be reborn in the Pure Land, which could be compared to a kind of heaven, In theory, just by having the tattoo perhaps I am sending the gift of heaven to anyone who sees it. 

There is a lot more little things that surround the tattoo, but you get the idea.

Here is a old close up of it.

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