The term 'Buddha' means the one who has attained enlightenment. Buddhist tattoos are based mainly on the teachings of Buddha or the things related to him.
Though Buddhism is a lot associated with Hinduism as Gautama Buddha was born in the Hindu religion, it does not contain images of god and goddesses. However, they are based on the Hindu religion. Here are some of the major designs:
The Dharma Wheel
The Dharma wheel, actually known as Dharmachakra, is one of the most important symbol of Buddhism. The Dharmachakra, which is also known as the Wheel of Truth and law, represents some of the major teachings of Buddha. The wheel has eight spokes and each spoke stands for a major teaching, which are collectively known as the 'Eightfold Path'. Each of the teaching of the eightfold path is inter-related to each other, divided into three basic divisions, viz. wisdom, ethical conduct, and mental development. Following are the eight spokes of the Dharmachakra.
- Right View
- Right Intention
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
Lotus flower tattoos are one of the most popular. They generally symbolize growth and beauty in spite of unfavorable and drastic conditions. However, Buddhist ones have different meanings. In fact, different colored lotuses have unique meanings. For example, the very famous pink lotus represents Buddha. In most of the pictures, he is shown seated on a pink lotus, so it is regarded as the symbol of Buddha itself. Red lotus symbolizes the purity of heart, it represents a heart which does not indulge in cheating and betraying. On the other hand, white lotus symbolizes purity of body and mind. This is also one of the four noble truths of Buddhism. Last but not the least, the blue lotus symbolizes victory over physical longing and wisdom. When getting one for yourself, you can also depict a blend of two-three lotuses together.
Mandalas are one of the most important symbols of Buddhism. Like the Dharma wheel, mandala are also wheels, however they do not have eight spokes. Mandalas are intricate geometrical figures. These beautiful wheels represent the universe. The rings are used to represent the layers of the universe. Mandalas are often used during meditations and for increasing focus. So, if you believe in the essence of the universe and meditation, you can get this one done.
Chattra, i.e. the parasol is one of the Buddhist tattoos for protection. Chattra which is basically a form of huge umbrella, protects one from the scorching sun, basically from all the extreme changes. The Chattra was generally held on the top of dignitaries and so it is also regarded as a symbol of honor and royalty. In Tibet, parasols were entitled to dignitaries according to their position and status. Secular rulers were entitled with embroidered peacock feathers and religious heads with silk ones.
If you wish to have something different from the typical patterns, then you can consider the aforementioned ideas and depending on the meaning, choose one for yourself.