50+ Buddha Tattoos Ideas Plus Some Things You Need to Know First

By Jason Hamilton / May 12, 2020
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Buddha is probably one of the famous religious symbols around the world probably because of the influence of many Asian countries. But did you know that there are nice Buddha tattoos ideas too?

Yes, you read it right. You can actually use Tibetan mantras like Buddha as a tattoo.

But before you give this symbol a go for your tattoo, there are some important things you need to know first. Let’s take a closer look at it, shall we?


Getting to Know Buddha

There are actually two Buddhas known around the world. One is a Buddha and the other is the Buddha. The former is often depicted laughing or smiling, adorned with necklaces with huge beads, and has a thick body frame. On the other hand, the latter is much simpler. He has a much thinner body frame, isn’t always dressed as grand as the former and he has different poses compared to the other one. And each pose represents his life and teachings’ different stages. Still a bit confused? Take a look at their difference below.

Hotei (also known as The Laughing Buddha, Budai, Angida, Qeici)

Hotei, The Laughing Buddha


In Buddhism, the term Buddha is also used to refer to someone who has already attained enlightenment through practice. And this Buddha, based on an eccentric monk from the Liang Dynasty, is apparently like a depiction of that enlightened person. And in many Asian cultures, particularly Chinese and Filipinos, they often associate Hotei with good fortune and luck. For that reason, you would often see small statue/s of this Buddha depiction, Hotei, being displayed in business establishments in China and in the Philippines as they believe that it can bring in more luck to their business.

Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha; also known as Gautama Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, Siddhattha Gotama)


Siddharta Gautama, The Buddha


Siddhartha Gautama was a spiritual teacher in India who lived 2,600 years ago. And his teachings became the foundation of Buddhism. And when Buddhists talk about the Buddha, this is who they are talking about. And unlike a Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama is often depicted in a number of poses that represent his teachings and life stages. However, his meditating pose is much more popular, especially to foreigners.

Buddha as a Tattoo

Now that you know the difference between the two Buddha depictions, it’s now time to talk about it as tattoos.


Apparently, like the other Tibetan mantras, you can also use Buddha as a tattoo. And true enough, it makes a nice body art because it doesn’t just show your beliefs but it can also represent you as a person, especially the Hotei tattoo. Buddha tattoos also represent peace and serenity, particularly the Siddhartha Hautama tattoo. And when paired with certain symbols, it can also get even more meaningful. Here are other symbols that you can pair with your Buddha tattoo.


Aside from its beauty, lotus tattoo designs also make a nice addition to Buddha tattoos ideas because of its meaning depending on its color. White and pink lotus flowers are known to symbolize one’s devotion, as well as the purity of the mind, speech, and body. On the other hand, red, blue, and purple ones are associated with ascension, rebirth, and/or enlightenment. Regardless of its color, it is surely a nice match with Buddha tattoos also because of its meaning. Here are some lotus and Buddha tattoos ideas.


A laughing Buddha sitting on a lotus flower


A dotwork tattoo of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha with a lotus flower

An intricately detailed Buddha with a purple lotus flower tattoo


A half-lotus half-Buddha tattoo

A tattoo of Buddha with a pink lotus

Other Flowers

You can also enhance your Buddha tattoo’s meaning by pairing it with other flowers aside from lotus. Each flower has its own meaning too that will make any Buddha tattoo unique and all the more meaningful. Here are other flowers that you can use.

Buddha adorned with different flowers


Buddha with cherry blossoms in black ink

A gorgeous tattoo of Buddha and cherry blossoms made with realistic details


A dotwork tattoo of Buddha’s face with a peony tattoo

A unique Buddha tattoo only showing his hand holding a chrysanthemum


Mandala is also one of the well-known symbols in Buddhism and Hinduism. It represents the universe and symbolizes the idea that everything is connected with each other and that life is never-ending. It also represents one’s spiritual journey which makes it a perfect pair with a religious tattoo like a Buddha. Here are some samples on how you can pair these two symbols perfectly.


A Buddha and lotus tattoos with mandala details


A dotwork Buddha tattoo with mandala-detailed backdrop

Also a dotwork tattoo of Buddha and lotus with intricate mandala details


A combination of laughing Buddha, lotus, mandala, and lace tattoos

A Buddha chest piece with intricate mandala tattoo


Temples or pagodas can also be added to Buddha tattoos. Aside from the fact that it will give an even more sacred vibe on your tattoo, it is also nice to pair it with a Buddha tattoo as it symbolizes wisdom. Plus, it is known to depict Buddha in the late years of his life. Here are some ideas on how you can combine them.

A tattoo combination of Buddha, a Japanese temple, and Japanese characters


A double exposure tattoo combination of Buddha, lotus, mandala, and pagoda

Realistic Buddha’s face with a pagoda on top


A Buddha with a temple on top of his head that looks like a hat


A combination of temple, Buddha, and lotus tattoos

True enough, Buddha and these symbols make nice combinations. However, are they acceptable, especially in the eyes of those who practice Buddhism?

Buddha Tattoos Ideas Placement and Controversy

Yes, you can really use Buddha and other Tibetan mantras as a tattoo. However, you must be careful about placing them on your body as there are certain Buddha tattoo placements that might offend others, especially Buddhists, as they believe that since the lower halves of our bodies are unclean as they connect us to the earth and they are closer to the ground. Here are some common body parts where you can place your Buddha tattoos ideas.


Buddha tattooed on the right side of the chest

Another Buddha tattoo on the right side of the chest but has a sleeve tattoo backdrop

Buddha tattooed at the center of the chest with a mandala-detailed backdrop

A huge colorful buddha tattoo covering the whole torso

Another big Buddha tattoo covering the whole torso but in black ink

A trash polka tattoo of a laughing Buddha with a compass

Upper Arm

A half-sleeve tattoo of Buddha’s face giving off some Japanese vibe

Another sleeve tattoo of Buddha looking like he’s sitting on a lotus flower

Buddha in a sitting position accentuated with mandala details placed on the upper arm

A dotwork Buddha and lotus tattoo placed on the right upper part of the arm

A different view of Buddha’s face inked on the left arm

A side view of Buddha’s face with realistic details making it look 3D


A Buddha’s head with a lotus flower tattoo in black ink looking like a painting

Another tattoo of Buddha’s face surrounded by lotus flowers in graying-brown ink

A multi-colored back piece of Buddha paired with lotus and dragon tattoo designs

A coverup tattoo of Buddha made with realistic details inked on the upper right part of the back

Another realistic tattoo of Buddha meditating as he sits on a flower

A huge realistic tattoo combination of Buddha and temples covering the whole back area


Buddha’s face tattooed in a unique style making the color look like inverted

A tattoo of Buddha meditating with added geometric details

A full-sleeve tattoo of Buddha’s face looking like 3D

An intricately detailed tattoo of Buddha in the inner part of the forearm

A tattoo of Buddha’s face on a different angle

A different take on Buddha tattoo – only his eyes were drawn and paired with a semicolon tattoo

An intricately detailed forearm tattoo of Buddha in gray ink

A unique small tattoo of Buddha’s face with splats of yellow, red, and purple ink

A mandala Buddha tattoo

A small tattoo of Buddha’s face paired with a tree tattoo

A traditional Japanese style tattoo of Buddha’s face paired with cherry blossoms

A forearm tattoo of Buddha’s face paired with a word tattoo in black ink

There are still a lot of areas in the body that you can place your Buddha tattoo like the head, neck, shoulders, or even on the face. But bear in mind that you need to have all your Buddha tattoo ideas inked above the pelvis or you might disrespect others’ beliefs and culture. Also, remember to respect your Buddha tattoos and don’t just lay on the sand at the beach or whatnot where your tattoo touches things that Buddhists consider unclean.

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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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