Sunday, 11 October 2009
Sak Yant, Isaan Thailand.
The other day I ventured out to see a very special man I have seen once before. He is simply known as ‘Ajarn’ to me or teacher and this is his house. It is about 30klms away from the front door of my place, on the way to a place called Amnatcharoen (hwy 212).
I had only been there once before to look at some books he has of his artwork. I needed to look at his work before deciding what artwork of his to buy. So after a few months of deciding and now I have plenty of time I have decided to buy 9 works of art in total.
This is Ajarn, he is a very popular artist so I arrived pretty early before others started to arrive and there was a queue.
Ajarn is a tattooist; he does Sak Yant or a traditional form of tattooing. The 'Mai Sak' or bamboo stick is dipped into the ink and it is tapped into the skin.
Getting a Sak Yant tattoo is not just a walk in and have it done thing, or it shouldn’t be. The tattoos have special meaning or powers (meant to have) for the wearer. It took me a few months of looking at the different Sak Yants and asking many questions about them and also trying to research about them as well, which wasn’t easy.
Ajarn has rules for the wearer to follow, I will not go over these rules, some I can understand and some are a little out there, to me. I will try and follow the rules set by Ajarn.
The first of the tattoos I am having done is this, called Gao Yord. I had to have this tattoo done first as it is the Ajarns tattoo, known as ‘Yant Kruu’ (teacher’s tattoo). This tattoo lets me enter into linage if you like and allows me to receive more Sak Yant tattoos from Ajarn.
Sak Yant tattoos should not be done because they look good to the wearer. If you want an attractive tattoo just go to a normal tattoo shop and have one done. I had to really think hard and long before committing to these series of tattoos and respect their meanings and what they represent.
Ajarn wouldn’t tattoo me if I didn’t understand what I was having tattooed.
If you look at the tattoo in the largest picture it looks like a lot of squiggly lines and shapes but they are all important to the tattoo. The boxes contain a Sanskrit or Pali mantra or chant and the three round objects that sit on the top of the boxes in fact represent 9 Buddhas. The tattoo is geometrically shaped and offers protection to the wearer. Gao Yord represents the nine peaks of Mount Meru, the sacred mountain with four Continents at the center of the Universe.
The actual lines represent Buddha’s umbilical chord from what I understand, or the bones of the yant. The spirals above the Buddha images are Unaalomes and are saints who have reached the status of enlightened beings.
The Unaalomes represent the Chains of desire, and they have been untangled and discarded. These enlightened beings do not waver on their path as normal humans do. (You can see the end of the zig-zag evolves into a straight line, meaning that he has ceased to enter into diversion and is on a straight, direct path to Nirvana).
The Yant was finished with the drawing of Unaalome above the Yant - meaning that the Yant was now completed. The Yant was completed with the prayer of a Mantra in Pali sanskrit, Ajarn then blew into the yant with his breath called Phra kataa / Puug Saeg.
ThePra Kataa was finished with the Phrase "Ma A U". I was then given a chant to recite as I am a wearer of this Yant.
This is the tattoo one day after being tattooed. To be truthful, the tattoo does hurt but not that much worse than a normal tattoo. I sat in a meditation pose and went back to the days where I would meditate before training martial arts. It felt weird trying to meditate after such a long period of not doing this.
By focusing on nothing and trying to empty my mind did help me, I am sure of this.
The next tattoo is this dragon and I hope to have completed in the next few days if time permits, but will definitely be completed before the end of the week. This will be in the centre of my back.
I will write more about the two smaller Sak Yant tattoos on my shoulders and also much better pictures in the next few days. I am sorry for the quality but it is hard trying to get others to take the pictures for you.