tibetan tattoos

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Hannah Pixie Snowdon’s finished artwork for a charity project that has been created by https://instagram.com/uktta/ hers and many other tattooists/artists artworks will be raffled off to raise money for the mental health charity ‘Mind’. To find out more about them, go to www.mind.org.uk. to find more about the project, go to @uktta’s instagram page. Her piece is called ‘love your bones’ and is inspired by old tibetan/Buddhist artworks of dancing skeletons. Specifically Shri Shmashana Adhipati, the protector deities.

itsdeepforhappypeople asked: Hello! I have a question about possibly being culturally appropriative. I’ve been told different things by different people, none of them Hindu. So I figured I should ask an actual Hindu believer about my question. so I want a tattoo. Specifically one of Lord Ganesh. I am not Hindu myself and haven’t done much research into the religion outside of Ganesh. I want to get the tattoo because I feel a strong connection with them? I can’t really describe it….. I’ve always been pulled towards him and when I found out that he was the remover of obstacles and the god of beginnings. It made sense. This means a lot to me personally. basically I was wondering if me not being Hindu and wanting to get that tattoo was cultural appropriation or not. Thanks!


Namaste,

Firstly I’d like to thank you for coming to a Hindu source before you made a decision! It’s truly a move of maturity and respect that you wish to hear the opinions of those who may be offended. 

It’s wonderful that you like the idea and meaning surrounding Lord Ganesha, but it’s simply not enough to like it. Unfortunately, many people falsely adorn items, symbols and images that are very sacred to certain groups or people just because they ‘like it’ without knowing what it really means to those who follow it.

Just as one question I received regarding the Hindu who wanted a Christian cross tattoo: Firstly you must put the meaning of the symbol above the fact that you just like it or find it aesthetically appealing. Secondly, you must also practice it. You wouldn’t get an ancient Tibetan symbol tattooed on you if you knew nothing about Tibet or what exactly the symbol signified, let alone never studied the Tibetan struggle or had anything to do with Tibetan spirituality or lifestyle. You wouldn’t get Arabic calligraphy of a Quranic phrase no matter how beautiful, ignorant of the fact that marking the skin is haraam (sinful) in Islam; so only get a Lord Ganeshji tattoo if you understand completely what the symbol means and practice the significance of the teachings that the symbol holds.

Getting a Lord Ganesh tattoo on your body would be the equivalent of getting this phrase: “I am a Hindu, this is my God, I practice ahimsa, niyams and yamas, vegetarianism, pancha mahayajnas, one of the three yogs and routine pujas. I have studied the leela of Lord Ganesh and know His mantrams and shlokas. He is not just a symbol to me; He is the Divine Lord.”

Permanently marking your skin with a very auspicious and defining symbol in the Dharmic way of life would be quite offensive if you didn’t identify at all with Sanatana Dharma or acted nothing like the virtues that Hinduism teaches.

Please think wisely before displaying things for their aesthetic appeal or one-sentence meaning.

Thank you for your question and I hope you can find an appealing alternative!

Jai Hari Bol!