Tattooing & Art by Yoni Zilber

April 10, 2011

my meeting with a rinpoche

Filed under: Uncategorized — yonizilber @ 9:17 pm

Whilst I was in India, I had the honour to meet a very high Lama, he is a Rinpoche, 

My teacher Pema has known him from back when he lived in Germany, we got to visit his home at the Dali Lama`s temple in Dharamsala, Pema, Nick and I were there, the house is beautiful and the energy is just so good, it is right under the himalayas and the view is incredible. I could feel that there is a lot of meditation and Dharma happening in this house.

We were greeted by two monks, they made us tea and made us feel comfortable, the Rinpoche came in and sat with us, we had a great talk, he looked at my paintings and was very impressed, he has a lot of knowledge about art, it is not surprising that he and Pema are friends.

We also talked about tattoos, I asked him how he feels about me studying Tibetan art and translating it onto the skin. He told me that he likes tattoos and said how beautiful they can be, but he doesn’t think that the sacred image of Buddha and sacred mantras should be tattooed under the skin .

He said “that when you lay down in bed the sacred image is under you, were ever you lay, it will end up under your body or on the ground”.

any other sacred image is ok, but not a Buddha or a mantra” He does not want these sacred images to be disrespected.

I respect his opinion, and I understand what he is saying. I will explain this to any new clients that want to get sacred Tibetan images on their body, and every one that wants to get a Buddha on him should know that it is a very sacred image to a lot of people, they should think a lot about it before getting tattooed.

I think that getting a tattoo is the most personal thing a person can get, and if you decide to do it with integrity then it is fine with me.

Every tattoo I do I treat it with respect, and I’ll go case by case to decide if I will tattoo it or not, but always only on the upper part of the body. (above the waistline).

I would like to hear your comments on this matter , thank you.

Yoni Zilber.


  1. Hi Yoni,

    Sounds like a beautiful experience and thank you for sharing it.
    Now I’m concerned because I have a sleeping Buddha face on my left lower inner arm. I’m horrified at the thought of someone considering it disrespectful. Not my intentions at all.
    It was to honor him, thank him and have the constant reminder to breathe.

    I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Comment by Jude — April 11, 2011 @ 12:35 am | Reply

    • hi jude , i do think that tattoos are the most personal thing you can get ,
      you also did get it on an upper part of your body
      the truth it for me because it is under your skin and not displayed in a window or put on the floor some were
      it should`nt bother any body , it is art that you respected enough to put it on you

      Comment by yonizilber — April 11, 2011 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  2. great post yoni!

    Comment by j colby smith — April 11, 2011 @ 1:46 am | Reply

  3. Hey Yoni,

    Always a blessing to see your work and progress as an artist. I love it all.

    with regards to your post, I wanted to ask a few questions. I have a large calf tattoo of buddha
    and wanted to hear your reasoning for not tattooing on the lower parts of the body. Is there some taboo
    against sacred tattoos on the lower body? I do not wish to tattoo my upper body, and continue to work below
    the waist as it suits my ideas and liking more. Would be grateful to hear from you.

    Many thanks,

    Comment by Thomas — April 18, 2011 @ 12:46 am | Reply

    • Hi , i am tattooing on the lower part of the body. just not sacred images like buddha and mantras .
      thank you

      Comment by yonizilber — May 10, 2011 @ 11:11 pm | Reply

  4. Hi Yoni,

    Great blog. I met you a long time ago, when I was getting tattooed by Ami, while he was guesting at Adorned. Will you not tattoo anything below the waistline or only certain images? Would you expand on this if possible. I found this post fascinating.

    Thank you,


    Comment by Jon Tannen — April 21, 2011 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  5. Verey interesting,deff’ gonna share it

    Comment by kitcuts — April 22, 2011 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  6. I’ve been following some tattoo artists blogs for some time and I really like your style, too bad I live in the Netherlands and not in NY.
    Thank you for sharing this information on tattooing Buddha and mantras. This makes me rethink some ideas I have for future tattoo’s.
    Good to see you share the knowledge.



    Comment by Tom — July 23, 2011 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

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