Buddha's Footprint Tattoos Charleston WV
South Charleston, WV
Buddha's Footprint tattoos
Buddha's Footprint Tattoos - Images of Buddha's footprint symbolize Buddha's presence in his teachings - the dharma - and enforce the fact that he was a mortal man who walked the earth. It reminds us that the spiritual life has its feet on the ground, and that while we aspire to 'transcendence', we should never lose awareness of the material plane of existence. At the same time, a disembodied foot speaks of Buddha's absence, the absence of the human personality, and by extension, his non-attachment to this life.
Buddha's footprint, or Buddhapada is one of the aniconic symbols of Buddhism - which is to say, it doesn't attempt to be a true likeness of the master. For years after Buddha's death - in keeping with the master's instructions (according to some believers) - his disciples kept Buddha's physical incarnation out of the teaching. Images like the lion, the dharma wheel, the begging bowl and footprint served to invoke the master's presence.
The first 'footprints' were engraved in stone. Traditionally, the toes of the feet are of equal length. These carvings bear the imprint of the Dharma Wheel at the centre of the sole. Other Buddhist symbols might have been applied as well. In some more elaborate versions of the footprint, an aspect or event in the Buddha's life is displayed. Sculpted images of the Buddha's footprints appeared long before any statues and carvings depicted the human form of Buddha, which came several centuries later.
Buddha's footprint comes in another form called a 'relic'. These are naturally occurring rock formations in the shape of a footprint. One Japanese author has found 3,000 such relics throughout Asia, including 300 in Japan and 1,000 in Sri Lanka. Myths have grown up around some of the relics, including the Buddha's 'magical' visits to those countries that have perpetuated his teachings. Many of these 'natural' footprints have become places of pilgrimage for the devoted. The most famous are located in Sri Lanka, Thailand and China.
Devotees treat the footprint as something to gaze upon and to touch with reverence. Others see it as a kind of magical object that is imbued with the Buddha's energy. Sculptures of the footprint are often protected in special temple structures, to which visitors pay homage with offerings and flowers. In religions and cultures around the world, people have long shown their respect and devotion by venerating the feet of deities, gurus, and saints - indeed, anyone who is held in high esteem. The practice, very much alive today, involves bowing to the ground and, with the head or fingertips, touching the feet of 'the holy one'.
As a tattoo design, Buddha's footprint is a powerful reminder that the ideas of a single individual can transform the world, that spiritual pursuits take place in a material world, and they may act...