Ink City: OM….AUM…..UM….universal symbol of being

ooooom tare tuttare ture svaha…….ooooooom tare tuttare ture svaha……….

When you see this symbol what comes to mind?

I remember when I first wanted “Om” tattoo on the back of my right hand in Tibetan script (Photo to our left) in Pennsylvania 3 years ago across the road from a Petro Truck stop. I was driving 18 wheelers at the time. It was outside Scranton.

Then, I got another one done here in Seattle last year in sanskirt with a phrase translated, “Liberated by Faith” on my right forearm (photo below to the right).

My initial influence was to pay homage to the Buddha and to bless my reddish-brown skin with words, phrase and a phonological text of calmness and tranquility. I accomplished that. These tattoos are an awareness of my pledge to the philosphies of the Buddha and Shiva in my life. Regardless of my two decades plus long attachement to Buddha and/or Shiva, Om, Aum and/or Hum has a bit of a longated intricated history.

Now, the history of Oṃ () dates back to centuries.

OM () is a sacred phonological icon used in Hindu and Buddhist mantra. Mantra are a verbal recitation practiced during meditation and spiritual ritual of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jainism.

To our right, there is popular Buddhist mantra “Om Mani Padme Hummmmmm…….” with various interpretation; like in Tibetan Buddhism: “O, you who have the jewel and the lotus”. Or from the Kāraṇḍavyūhasūtra that interprets it as a relation to a female deity who is the vidya (wisdom) and a consort of Avalokiteshvara; hence, interpreted as: “O, she with the jewel in her lotus”.

Furthermore, I found out some interesting information on the phonetics. This is an area of mantra that I’m infatuated with. For instance, in the Aitareya Brahmana of Rig Veda an example suggests the three phonetic components of Oṃ (a + u + ) correspond to the three stages of cosmic creation, and when its recited, it celebrates creative powers of the universe.

The Brahman layer of Vedic texts states: Om () with Bhur-bhuvah-Svah; hence, the latter symbolizes “the whole Veda”. This provides panorama of interpreted phrases expressing the phonetic jewel that is Om (), as being the following:

  • The universe beyond the sun
  • Mysterious & inexhaustible
  • The infinite language
  • The infinite knowledge
  • Essence of breath, life
  • Everything that exists
  • With which one is liberated

On a progressive tone, I have another mantra tattoo on my left forearm phrased: OOOOOM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA…….OOOOOOOM TARE TUTTARE TURE SoHA……….

In Tibetan Buddhism, Tara is a name pronounced in three ways: Ārya Tārā, Shayama Tara, or Jetsun Dölma. In retrospect, Japanese Buddhism (Tara Bosatsu (多羅菩薩)) and Chinese Buddhism (Duōluó Púsà (多羅菩薩)), also have pronounciations for Tara.

Tara is an important figure in Buddhism for it appears as a female bodhisattva in Mahayana paradigm and a female Buddha in Vajrayana paradigm.

Now, the literal translation to the mantra is based off the word Tara: “Oṃ O Tārā, I pray O Tārā, O Swift One, So Be It!” In brevity, we have limpid translation, “I prostrate to the Liberator, Mother of all the Victorious Ones.” 

Everytime, I stare at these tattoos, I say to myself, “Man, life is crazy and hard. Yeah, but I recite in my head or in a low whisper “Om Tare Tuttare….. – or whatever I can fucking can remember – Ture Soha” to myself and its cool beans.

People, if you get tattoos of ancient script of any philosophy from a foreign, make certain you know what the fuck it means. Don’t walk around like some idiot with a semiological icon branded on your skin. You sort of look like an idiot pissing in the wind with you pants down. That’s quite messy.

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