Getting a Magic Sak Yant Tattoo: Being Blessed By A Monk

Get a tattoo of Shiyante in Thailand
More than 40 people quietly watched a famous Thai monk stab me repeatedly like a sewing machine. His Sak Yant needle sent waves of burning pain on my back.
The traditional Sak Yant (also known as Sak Yan, or Yantra) tattoo is hand-cut on the skin by mixing ancient geometric patterns and Buddhist prayer words.
They are believed to bring magical powers related to healing, luck, strength and prevention of evil to the wearer.
Sak Yant tattoo has a history of more than 2000 years.
Buddhist monks initially carved Sakyamuni on soldiers seeking protection and fighting power.
They often cover their whole body from head to foot with magic symbols to prevent knives and arrows from piercing their skin.
When traveling in Southeast Asia, I carried my backpack and learned about these tattoos from some of my peers. I thought it sounded like a cool experience.
Sak Yant Tattoo Buddhist Monastery
Bangpa Temple on the outskirts of Bangkok
People Waiting for Sak Yant
Wait for my turn
Sak Yants。 My first tattoo
I’ve never had a tattoo before. I decided long ago that if I accepted a tattoo one day, I hope it is special. Not some drunken challenge in the middle of the night.
Therefore, when I learned about the magic Sakayat tattoo provided by Buddhist monks in Thailand, I was very curious.
The more I know about them, the more I want to have one.
No machine was used to create the Sak Yant design. These traditional Thai tattoos are carved on the skin with a long metal nail or a sharp head cut from bamboo.
Dip the needle in ink and repeatedly pierce your body with your hand.
Monks usually choose a sacred pattern and choose your tattoo position according to your aura. This sounds perfect!
I have trouble choosing tattoos. Why not let monks choose for me?
Sak Yant Donations
Donate cigarettes, flowers and incense
Wat Bang Phra Monastery
In Thailand, the best place to accept Sakyamuni tattoos is a Buddhist temple called Wat Bang Phra.
It is about 40 minutes west of Bangkok.
For hundreds of years, the temple has been a pilgrimage site for Thai people to get magical tattoo protection, encouraging them to travel long distances.
This is also the home of Master Luang Pi Nunn, the most famous Sakyamuni monk in Thailand.
The site of Wat Bang Phra is composed of a series of exquisite and magnificent temples surrounded by colorful statues. I walked to the tattoo building at the back.
Thai Monk performing Tattoo
Master Luang Pi Nunn
Treat cigarettes as tattoo fee?
At the entrance, I spent 75 Thai baht (2.4 US dollars) to buy the temple offerings consisting of orchids, incense sticks and mint cigarettes, and then took off my shoes to go in.
Everyone should give these simple gifts to monks as a reward for Sak Yant tattoos.
These items are then recycled so that the process can be repeated, and the money sold can help maintain the temple.
Then you should make additional donations to monks for your Sak Yant.
A Thai old man led me into a dark room filled with dusty golden Buddha statues. The pictures of King Rama IX of Thailand and the elders and monks are decorated on the wall.
The ceiling fan was slowly whistling overhead, but the room was still very hot because there were 30 to 40 people in it.
Man with Full Back Tattoo
That’s a big magic!
Waiting for my Sak Yant
It seems that I am not the only one who wants tattoos today. Master Luang Pi Nunn is very popular here. He carves up to 50 Sak Yant tattoos every day. If you don’t go to the temple earlier, you may not get one.
Due to poor communication with a taxi driver that morning, I arrived an hour later than expected. I had to wait for my turn, hoping for a good result.
So I found a place on the floor and tried to make myself comfortable in the next four hours. The long wait made me see many other people accept their tattoos.
Finally, Luang Pi Nunn took a rest while the rest of us continued to sit quietly, listening to the birds and cats outside. Now that I have come to the front, I can see his tattoo work area — I have to admit, it’s a bit shocking
Tools of the Trade
Not exactly a sterile work area
Safety of Shi Yante’s tattoo
The safety of Sak Yant is debatable. It can be a risky practice. The needle itself is usually wiped with an alcohol pad after each tattoo.
Or it might be placed in a bottle of alcohol while a separate needle is used for the next person. But the same pot of ink is used with everyone, and blood can mix with the ink.
This opens up the possibility of contracting HIV or Hepatitis. There are no hard statistics though.
After getting a close look at his tools, I got a bit nervous and briefly thought about backing out. This is not the kind of thing you should do if you want to practice safe travel…
The workspace consisted of a few cushions surrounded by bloody rolled-up pieces of toilet paper, a nasty bucket of inky water, old plastic bottles full of rubbing alcohol, and grime caked onto the walls.
I’d also just watched at least 12 people get jabbed with the same couple of needles. And who knows how many went before I arrived.
But then I realized that if it was truly dangerous, there wouldn’t be so many people waiting in line to get one. Right?
Or is the whole room just full of crazy people with a death wish?
Needle Close Up
The Needle
Snake Venom Ink!
I didn’t have long to ponder though, as the monk soon returned and it was my turn to help hold the next person’s skin while he worked. This gave me an excellent view of the whole process. It was mesmerizing to watch.
Suddenly it was my turn. Pulling off my shirt, I respectfully bowed three times before turning my back on the man who was about to repeatedly poke a sharp needle into my skin.
Occasionally a monk will deem a person unfit to receive a Yant if they don’t take it seriously, refusing to work on them.
Two local guys held my skin tight as I braced for first-blood. Not knowing what image I was about to get.
Each monk concocts his own special blend of magic tattoo ink too. The recipe is secret, but is thought to contain Chinese charcoal, snake venom, palm oil, and even human remains!
Monk Tattoo in Thailand
Receiving My Sak Yant Tattoo
Taking The Pain
When the needle first punctured my skin, it felt like a bee sting. Followed quickly by a swarm of bees launching a full-scale attack.
My muscles tightened and I began to sweat. Holding a pillow on my leg, I tried to make 40 Thai people look tough and carefully observe any sign of weakness of this foreigner.
But surprisingly, it doesn’t hurt as much as I thought. At first, I was worried that my eyes would cry, or worse, I would faint in front of a room of people
However, after only 10 minutes and a thousand times of acupuncture, my new Sak Yant is almost finished
In order to complete this sacred tattoo, Luang Pi Nunn recited a Kataa (or magic spell), and then blew it onto the pattern to release its power.
My Gao Yord Tattoo
It’s done. Gao Yord (9 minarets) magic tattoo
Gaoyoude tattoo
So, which tattoo did the monk give me? It is known as “Gaoyue”, or “Nine minarets”. This is a powerful and sacred tattoo, which can protect the wearer from physical and magic attacks of violence. It is also believed to bring good luck.
The nine spires represent the nine peaks of Mount Meru, which is a legendary peak in Buddhist and Hindu mythology and is considered as the center of the universe.
There is a small Buddha sitting on the top of each mountain. The spiral line on it represents the path to enlightenment.
Inside the box is a symbol written in Khom, an ancient Cambodian alphabet, but the language itself is Pali Sanskrit. Each side is actually written with the same mantra. It is a mirror of itself. Its content is Gu Ti Gu Ya Tha Saa Wae Taa Saa Gu – Gu Gu Ti Saa Tha Ya Gu Saa Taa Wae
Obviously, there are 11 special rules that match my Sak Yant.
I can’t eat carambola, pumpkin or any other “gourd” vegetables. Can’t eat pumpkin pie anymore
I can’t have a married lover. (Sounds reasonable)
I am absolutely forbidden to slander anyone’s mother. (No problem)
I can’t eat the food at the wedding or the banquet at the funeral. (OK, this is bad)
I can’t eat leftovers. (I wonder why…)
I should not hide under the laundry line or under a suspended building. (Well, OK)
I should never hide under the Thaanii banana tree. (Harvesting bananas is not my hobby)
I can’t cross a single-headed bridge; But bridges or small bridges are not prohibited. (I don’t know what this means)
I shouldn’t sit on a ceramic urn. Especially cracked or broken. (Does toilet also count?)
I can’t let a woman lie on me or sit on it. (Damn it!)
I can’t brush it from a woman’s blouse or skirt, especially during menstruation. How can I know
Sak Yant Healed
After my tattoo healed
Will I do it again?
yes. absolute. I may buy another one. In fact, I have learned that magic needs to be supplemented every year with new blessings from monks. So anyway, I will go back one day.
Thais from all walks of life attach great importance to this practice, and many people completely cover their bodies with sacred Sak Yant tattoos.
You will often find Sakyamuni patterns on Thai soldiers, doctors, monks, actors and politicians, criminals and mafia assassins.
Women can also get them. Angelina Jolie is probably the most famous.
However, since monks are forbidden to touch women’s bodies, they will use cloth or gloves to prevent contact with women.
Some people choose to accept invisible tattoos by using palm oil instead of black ink on the needle.
I am very satisfied with my Sak Yant, which is a wild experience I will never forget. Especially with this permanent souvenir on my back!
Shi Yante tattoo details
This temple is located in Nakonchais, Thailand.
My Sak Yant tattoo cost only 75 ฿ THB (about US $2.5), plus my personal extra donation. However, a few years later, it became a backpacker’s Disneyland, and their fees are much higher than before.
I heard from others that it has completely lost its authenticity, and often real monks no longer do tattoos.

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