Khmer Tattoos, Buddhist Sak yant Temple tattoo

Sak Yant - ѡѹ  - Buddhist Temple Tattoos

five Buddha mantra

Sak Yant; Sak - meaning "to tap" or, "to tattoo", and Yant, meaning "Yantra".
Originally derived from the Sanskrit word "YANTRA", the Ta and Ra letters are not pronunced in Thai Language, rather spelled as "yantr", including a symbol to silence the last consonant (called "Gaaran"). Whatever the case, Sacred Yant, Yantra, or Yan, however you prefer to call them, have existed since long before the Buddhist Era, dating back to pre Hindu times.


Wat Bang Pra Temple

  1. ѡѹ Ԫ Ҥ (Thai)
  2. ѡѹ video Ի (Thai)
  3. ٺҨ (Thai)
  4. Ҷ㨵ҧ (Thai)
  5. Yant Kong Grapan

  1. 108 Sacred Na section
  2. Bot Wai Kroo ba Ajarn
  3. Wai Kroo Ceremony
  4. Piti Rap Khant 5
  5. ѹ줧оѹ

  1. Na Maetthaa -
  2. Yant Grong Tong(Golden Cage)
  3. Ahosigam 3 pob - ԡ
  4. Nirote - the end of Suffering
  5. Yant Prajao Khao Nirote - ѹҹø

ѹ ˹ҳ Yant hanuman tattoo
Spencer and HP pant at Wat bang Pra
Yant Jorakhae - ѡѹ Sak yant tattoo Master - unknown master
Tiger Yant tattoo - by Hlwong Pi Pant - wat ko poon
Ajarn Noo Ganpai - Kroo gai tattoos
ѡѹ Sak Yant by Ajarn Noo Ganpai
HP Pant Backpiece Yant tattoo ѡ ǧѹ ҧͧ
Suan Lum Night Plaza - yant tattoo

Sak Yant/Sakyan

is the Thai name for the Tattooing of Sacred geometrical designs on the skin. Yant (or Yantra, as we call them in the west), are normally tattooed by Buddhist monks, or Brahmin Holy men . The Yant tattoos have developed over the centuries under the influence of several different things

  1. The Yantra designs that already existed in Hindu India were adapted by the Thais as Buddhism arrived from neighbouring India.
  2. The wars of the Kingdom in the past - especially during times of King Somdej Pranaresworn maharaj the warriors relied on yant magic for protection in Battle.
  3. The Khmers influenced the lettering of the Yant, their form of Sanskrit being famous for its magical powers - the Khmer were extremely feared by the Thais for their powerful magic spells.
  4. Local beliefs and customs causing adaptations for local necessities.

What is a Yant

A Yant is a Sacred Geometrical design.Sacred Geometry has existed in countles forms, and is to be found to have been used in most Advanced Ancient Cultures of Human History.

Buddhist yantra tattoos

108 Sacred Na designs The whole  pantheon of yant on one cloth
Buddha Yant - forbid suffering
Yant Prajao Khao Nirote

A "Sakyant" tattoo is the general way that a "Farang" (westerners are referred to as such in Thailand), uses when referring to one of these Sacred Buddhist Yantra tattoos: this is actually wrong, because the tattoo simply called a "Yant (ѹ)" in Thai. So, when going for Sak Yant from one's master, one should not say "I'm going to get another sakyan tattoo"!. One should say; "I am going to recieve another Yant.

Inspired by the Great Master Hlwong Por Phern and the Tattooist Monks of Wat bang Pra temple in Thailand.

Sak-Yant is designed to be viewed using FIREFOX - click on banner above to download!

Ajahn Noo Ganpai patum Thani

How did the Yant come to exist?

  • Legend has it, that the Father of Yant magic were the 'Ruesi'; a kind of hermit/sorceror, living in the depths of the forest,Studying spells and practising their magic. These Ruesi existed a long time before Buddhism existed. They are often mentioned in the Thai Ramakiarn (a version of the Hindu Ramayana Epic Myth), and are usually depicted holding a black slate and chalk, with a Yant design inscribed on the slate. The Ruesii wore long hats; and normally had long wispy beards.There are so many Ruesi stories, such as the ones told in the 'Hnang Thalung' shadow puppet theatre in Southern Thailand.Kings, Emperors and Political leaders normally had a Ruesi as their advisor, rather like the Court magician in Mediaeval times here in the Western world The Ruesii was also responsible for creating the Magic Book of power so treasured by the Hindu Gods, known as Thrai Paet, or Thrai Waet; meaning Three Sciences, or Three Magics. This book was the theme for several stories in the Ramakiarn Epic.
  • Neighbouring Khmer (Cambodia), has always had a reputation for its Shamanistic magic and Sorcery. The use of Magic Yantras, and Sacred Alphabet to write them with (Known as Khom Agkara) has been common with the Khmer race for thousands of years.
  • Local belief in Nature Spirits, Animism and other sub-belief systems have been also incorporated into the Pantheon of yant designs that exist in the Thai Tradition to date.
  • The Tradition in Ancient Thailand that Warriors be tattooed in order to make their bodies slippery and hard to grab in battle has caused many Yant tattoo designs to be developed that are intended to protect against penetrative weapons (such as guns, knives etc). Thais believed that if you are covered with yant tattoos, it will make your skin slippery and hard to penetrate with a sharp weapon.

8 directional yantra - itibisoe thai temple tattoos ѹ suea paen - tiger tattoo

Sak Yant Tattoos - Khmer Tattoos
ѹྪ - diamond armour yantra ѹྪ Sak Yant tattoo temple - wat bang pra

Who wears Yant tattoos?

The Yant tattoos are worn by people from all levels of Thai society, from Thieves, Asassins and highwaymen, right up to the level of Important Politicians, Police commissioners, Judges and Civil servants.
Currently the Ancient Art of Sak Yant is in danger of disappearing, despite a revival in the Youth Culture, due to a Yant related film released a couple of years ago (Maha Ud), which caused a whole class of schoolboys to travel to a Temple, where they received the Yant tattoo called Maha Ud (renowned to be able to stop a bullet),from a Monk there.

Transformational Sessions by Raven Williams

This caused an outrage from the parents of the schoolboys in mention, and has resulted in the Thai Government putting pressure on the Buddhist organisms responsible to try to do away with this Ancient Art.
It seems that one crazy monk has caused a big problem for all Temples in Thailand that perform the service of Sak Yant.

There are many Samnak Ajarn Sak Yant ӹѡѡѹ (Yant Tattooist/Masters offices) in Thailand still, but the most famous of these as far as Foreigners are concerned, is the Tample of Wat Bang Pra in Thambon Bang Gaew Fa on the outskirts of Nakorn Chaysri town, Nakorn Phatom Province, near Bangkok.

This is where Spencer approached the monk Hlwong Pi Pant, tattooist Monk, apprenticed to the most famous Yantmaster of all time (deceased 2004), Hlwong Por Phern Tittakunoe (Officially known as Pra Udom Prachaanaat.

Spencer is a Buddhist and Tattooist who has made Thailand his home, and has been visiting Wat Bang Pra Temple as a disciple of Buddhism , but also with extreme interest from the Tattooists point of view.I stumbled upon this Temple in a time of great sadness in my life, I approached my teacher Hlwong Pi Pant at first as a disciple of Buddhism, but was surprised to see that this monk was applying a tattoo to another monk as I arrived there! What were these strange designs, and the strange script that was tattooed around the main designs, that were so harmoniously arranged in a strictly defined compositionall elements of these extremely simple, but overwhelmingly powerful symbols flowing together with Supreme harmony?

I received one of the Yant tattoos from my Master ; This first tattoo I recieved was Yant Gao Yord (see foto).
Gao Yord means Nine Peaks, and represents the Nine Peaks Mount Meru; sacred mountain in the centre of the Universe, with the four Continents around it.

Before the Yant was applied I paid my respects (Hwai Kru gaeji Ajarn) by bowing to the floor 3 times, palms placed before my forehead between each bow. Then all present grab each other around the waist and I offer the silver tray with all our offerings of ; Orchids, Incense, cigarettes, money in envelopes, and anything else you may wish to offer. Hlwong Pi Pant proceeded to chant a Kataa (Mantra) in Pali Sanskrit (the language the Buddha used to teach his Dharma).

After this, he prepares to take one of the many Mai Sak(tattooing sticks), from a bottle of alcohol which served as disinfection for the 20 or so instruments in bottles at his side. I have counted an average of between 30 and 70 tattoos in one day done by the Master!!!, so this would mean maybe an hour at the most for an instrument to be in the alcohol bottle.

Pocket Songs

Then I was told to sit in front of the Hlwong Pi Pant, with my back to him. The Master takes his Mai Sak and places a color cap between his little finger and ring finger. He then proceeds to draw a grid on my neck, with squares inside it, and nine buddhas on top of each box. Each box contains a letter in Ancient Khom. Khom is the alphabet used to write the Holy Buddhist Prayers in the skin as a tattoo. The language is not Thai, it is Pali Sanskrit; But the Lettering is Ancient Khmer, or Khom, as the Thais call it. The Yant I received is called Gao Yord, and means Nine Peaks (gipfel) meaning the peaks of Mount Meru (sacred mountain in the centre of Buddha Realm).

On completion of the Tattoo, Hlwong Pi Pant chants a Kataa, and blows it into my Yant, the room is silent, and a feeling of well-being and peace rises inside me. The mantra says Gu Ti Gu Ya Tha Saa Wae Taa Saa Gu, and is not a phrase as such, rather use of syllables to represent certain elements involved with Buddha magic. I became so involved with this Topic, that I finally asked Hlwong Pi Pant if I could learn about this, being a Buddhist and also Tattooist had given me the idea that this may be something I could learn about.

Hlwong Pi Pant was ok on this, but seemed sceptical that I could do it, my Thai was not so good back then, and so he said I should ask again when my Thai was better. In the meantime, I managed to find an extremely rare book, called Yant 108, written by a former Head of the Thailand Brahmin Order; Pra Ratchakru Taepawamuni.

Ratchakroo - Yant 108 Pitsadarn author

Pra Ratchakru Taepawamunii
Author of 108 Yant Pitsadarn
Please support spencer's new informational web project about Koh lanta island in Thailand's andaman Sea by visiting the site.
It's still growing as Spencer edits and adds new content, so please be patient as the site grows

Whilst studying Thai reading and writing, and learning about how to draw, and invoke the 108 Yant designs from this gem of a Literary work, I was introduced into the methods for reading Khom letters too, as the Yant 108 book teaches it as the first necessary step to be able to make yant designs according to the traditional methods.

Each yant has its own particular Mantra Prayer, and there are strict rules about ?the way you draw each Yant. For example, when inscribing a Yant on Parchment, or Cloth, you may not lift the writing instrument from the surface whilst drawing the must all be done with a continuous line!

How is this possible? Well most of the yant make this possible through the use of knot work like loops for directional changes in the outline.So it is possible to draw the whole design in one throw, ending where you began, without having lifted your pen from the paper.

As for the Hand Tattooing of Yant in Thai Temples ; The Tattooing method does not permit the continuous tattooing without lifting the instrument of course, so this rule is obviously not applied as far as Tattooing of Yant is concerned.

After long months locked in the back of my tattoo studio on the island of Koh Lanta studying the Khom script and practising drawing the Yant, I returned to the Temple to let Hlwong Pi Pant check up on me, I was afraid of getting something important wrong, so I needed his he"He was extremely pleased with my studies, and said I should go ahead and practise Sak Yant ..So I did!..Both with machine, and with the Hand Instrument he gave me (put through the autoclave of course). After trying a few with the hand instrument, I returned quickly to the Temple, to pay even greater respect to Hlwong Pi Pant. I say even greater respect, because , although it is common knowledge that Thais like to take the difficult approach to doing something, well I never knew their choice of method for hand tattooing is the HARDEST I have ever encountered.!!!"

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I really had to take my hat off to the Master when I think of writing Pali Sanskrit in tiny letters that wind round in circles upside down, backwards , every direction! And you have this pole with two spike filed off the split end . The pole is nearly a meter long, and you are supposed to hold it between ?the thumb and forefinger of your outstretched, palm upwards hand.!

Till now I have managed to decipher the secrets of many many Yant designs, and can design most of them myself. As far as the hand tattooing methods of Yant Tattoo, I must say I am still progressing, you dont get a tattoo like this every day Before I ever made a Yant, I went to The Abbot of Wat bang Pra, to ask permission to do this; He was kind enough to say yes, if not I should not have considered doing it.

Koh Lanta website
Kohlanta Kolanta dot com is a non-commercial, not tourism related informational website about the real face of local life on Koh Lanta island in Krabi Province, Thailand. Informational articles on all aspects of real life on Lanta will be presented.Local cookery, flora and fauna, local terminology, a brief history and documentation of every sub-district along with a cultural study of Lanta's folk history and traditions.A special feature will be the blogsheet "Baw's Diary" which will document the daily activities of a local fisherman named Baw, who still hunts and gathers with no need to buy food for his family, just as his forefathers did. Local sports and pastimes will also be documented. Galleries and forums will be added soon. Created by the author of, Spencer Littlewood.

More About Yant

Basic info About Yant Designs.

The lines drawn in the Yant represent the Umbilical Cord of the Buddha, and are traditionally known as the
 ' Bones of the Yant'.

There are many varied forms of Yantra, it appears, such as; Round Yant, Triangular Yant, Four - Sided Yant, and even Pictorial ones.

Each Yant Variety has it's own particular meaning; Round Yant - represents the Face of the Buddha (Pra Pakt Khong Pra Putta Jao) in Brahmin Tradition Brahma is applied as the meaning

Triangular Yant - represents theTriple Gem of the Buddha Dharma and Sangha (Pra Put, Pra Tamma, Pra Songk) in Brahmin Tradition the three Lords of Heaven are applied as the meaning (Shiva Brahma, Vishnu)

Four sided Yant - represents the Four Elements / Continents (Earth, Water, Air and Fire) Pictorial Yant (Animalistic) - represents various Angels, People, and Mythical Animals (Sathw Himapant)

The Himapant Animals, and the Phenomenon of Khong Khuen

Himapant animals are Mythical animals from the Himapant forest of India (an ancient Legend). The Animals consist of a whole Pantheon of amazing creatures, such as the 'Kinnari' and 'Kinnorn' (Half man, half bird - those of you who have visited a Thai Temple may have seen some of these figures guarding the Temple grounds, along with the 'Yak' (Green and red Giants with big teeth).

There are so many different Himapant animals, most of them are mixed together from 2 or 3 different animal types, such as 'Macchaanu'; Hanuman's son, born of hanuman the monkey General, and 'Nang Suwanna Macchaa', a kind of mermaid. Macchaanu has a monkeys body and face, but posesses the tail of a fish! The Himapant animals represent elemental powers and Boddhisattwas (Compassionate protectors), and thus are considered very powerful as tattoo Magic.

One phenomenon that is apparently unexplainable about Yant tattoo is 'Khong Khuen', a kind of posession, where the tattooee recieves the tattoo of the Himapant animal and upon receiving the 'Kataa' (Mantra) blown into his tattoo from the Monk, he then becomes taken over by the spirit of the Himapant animal he recieved as a tattoo.

I have seen this phenomenon many times, and find it to be unexplainable.Some people may fake it i am sure, but some of the cases i have seen are undoubtably authentic. The subject is completely innocent to what happened when he was in trance.

Thais believe that the Himapant animals can rise to protect you in times of danger..but i also believ that they can rise up if you behave wrongly and do not respect the rules of wearing a Yant tattoo.

Anyone wishing to see this phenomenon should visit the Temple on 'Master Day' where thousands of disciples throng to pay respects to the deceased Master, Hlwong Por Phern. As to the rules of wearing a yant tattoo, there are many. A few of the more common ones are listed below;

Rules of Abstention

  1. Do not eat Star fruit, Pumpkin, or any other 'Gourd' type Vegetable.
  2. Do not Be anybodys Lover who is already married
  3. FORBIDDEN in Extreme, to slander anybody's Mother (this means most women, if you think about it).
  4. Do not eat food from a Wedding, or Funeral banquet.
  5. Do not Eat left-Overs.
  6. Do not Duck under a Washing Line, or an overhanging building.
  7. Do not Duck under a Banana Tree of the type Thaanii (classed as important to avoid).
  8. Do not cross a single head bridge; Large or Small bridges are not Forbidden.
  9. Do not sit on a Ceramic Urn (Common in Thailand).Especially a Cracked, or Broken one.
  10. Do not let a Woman Lie on Top of You, or Sit on Top either.
  11. Do not permit a Man to be Brushed by the blouse or skirt of a Woman, or crossed in Front of; Especially during the Menstruative Period.

Yant Tattoo Design Composition

Most Backpiece tattoos are composed in a similar manner, as far as the composition is concerned; A typical composition would be;

Gao Yord on the Neck, Jii sip Yord on the shoulder tops, Yant Ngop Nam Oy on each shoulder blade, Yant Nok Sariga  Ku (pair of paradise birds).On the spine between those.

Below that is Yant Paed Tidt, then Hongs (Swans), under each of the shoulder blades, Yant Suea Maha Amnaaj (Imperial Tiger) in climbing posture below the Hongs, one on each side.

In the lower middle of the back, one may see the image of Hanuman, the monkey General of Rama's army in the Hindu Ramayana Epic.

Hanuman is tattooed here more often than Dam Due (image coming soon). There are many different Hanuman designs which one can tattoo, but the one used generally is 'Hanuman 4 Gorn' (four armed hanuman) or 'Hanuman Haw pen Daw pen Duean' (Hanuman Yawning at the moon).

Underneath this, normally, is the famous Suea Paen (Leaping Tiger) Leaping Tiger was often also tattooed on the chest by highwaymen and Bandits to ward off bullets, and give them power in times of self defence.Each Animal, or Yant tattoo, has it's own heart Mantra, which is said to be the cause of the Khong Khuen (animal Spirit posession).

If you read the Agkara Lettering within the boxes, it says;

Gu Ti Gu Ya Tha Saa Wae Taa Saa Gu:- From top to bottom and left to right;

Once in the Left hand half, and once in mirror script on the right hand side. Kaataa (Agkara) within the two back-cover Yant (the magic squares)read as follows;

(Left Square)

Na Ma Na ANor Gor Na GaGor Or Nor ANa A Ga Ang

(Right Square)

Gu Ru Su GuRu Su Gu GuSu Gu Gu RuGu Gu Ru Su


The nine Spikes in the middle on the nape of his neck, are called Yant Gao Yord ( Nine Spires Yanthra), Yanthra, or Yant, in Thai language, means a geometrical design with magical Powers to protect it's wearer.The Nine Spires are actually Nine Buddhas with Nine sacred "Unaloem" (the squiggly spiral that shoots straight upwards above the Buddhas head. The buddha representation (of three oval shapes , one above the other), is called "Ongk Pra" (Monk Body). The Mantra, or Kaataa, in Thai for this Onk Pra image has it's own particular mantra; Siisa Puttaa Pha Na Chaayathae Ongka Puttaa Pha Na Chaayathae, Phaata Puttaa Pha Na Chaayathae. (although contained within the general Yant design, it is also a stand alone Yant in itself, and can be tattooed on its own).The Nine Buddhas are located above a four-storied Tiered Box design.The Box design contains Twenty Boxes.There is an arrow pointing upwards to the sky, with the ninth, topmost Buddha above it. This arrow splits the yant into two mirroed halves.Each half contains the same mantra, one forwards, and one backwards. The mantra reads; Gu Ti Gu Ya Tha Saa Wae Taa Saa Gu - Gu Gu Ti Saa Tha Ya Gu Saa Taa Wae. Or even Gu Gu Ti Gu Gu TiYa Tha Saa Saa Tha Ya - Wae Taa Saa Gu Gu Saa Taa Wae. The mantra is composed in Khom (a version of Pali sanskrit in ancient cambodia, conbsidered to be sacred by Buddhist monks in Thailand).The main undertone is Buddhist but the roots of this ancient Craft has recieved influences from many other Folk religions and spirit worshippers, sorcery and Buddhism mixed together. This Craft of sacred Buddhist tattooing is chiefly practised in Thailand and ambodia, but is also to be found on a lesser scale in Burma (Myanmar) and laos. The twenty spires often seen added on the left and right shoulders are an extension to increase the protection. Called Jii Sib Yord ( twenty spires).

Gao Yord (Nine peaks tattoo)
Made by Hlwong Pi Pant
Wad Bang Pra Temple.
gao yord from wat bang pra tattoo temple

sak yant backpiece by HP pant wat Ko Poon Singhburi
Way bang pra sak yant tattoos

Master Day

On Master day, you can observe this phenomenon occur in great numbers of people. When the Master chants the heart Mantra of Crocodile, for example.. many people will start writhing around on the floor like a crocodile does, and making growling noises.

The Leaping Tiger Mantra will cause people to rear up on their hind legs, hands outstretched before them, clawing at the air and roaring like a tiger! Each animal has it's own way of appearing, and if you are familiar with the different actions a person in trance performs when posessed by an animal, it is possible to recognize which animal he is posessed with. What makes this phenomenon hard to explain, is the fact that when the master chants the heart mantra of each animal Yant, it is not in Thai language, rather Pali Sanskrit! This means that the disciples in the crowd have no way of knowing which Mantra of which animal the Master is chanting. Nevertheless when 10 people hear the heart mantra and turn into a Tiger , you will be able to see afterwards that all ten of them have the tiger tattooed on them. A devotee with a crocodile will not turn into a tiger, and vice versa.

The different tattoing instruments used in Sak Yant are ;

  1. In Ancient times, one would use a very hard, sharp pointed Rattan tree thorn, which are very long upto three feet in length.
  2. Some monks would use the spoke of an umbrella, filed down to a sharp point. In days of old, coffin nails were taken from a cremation and fitted to the tattooing instrument and sharpened. Monks would chant magic spells and blow them into the tattooing instrument; this kind of instrument is considered to be extremely powerful.
  3. The preparation of the inks are different in every Temple, and with every Master. Some Masters stick to the old methods, and may make the black pigment from the sap of a rare tree that is found in the North east, close to Laos and Cambodia.
  4. Old masters may mix snake venom in the Ink.
  5. Others take the Common Chinese ink, mixed with whisky and aromatic oils.
  6. Some traditions mixed in ash from the cremation of a High Master / Monk.All sorts of variations were possible, and there seems to be no real fixed method.
  7. The kind of instrument used currently at Wat Bang Pra is a plain stainless steel Javelin like spike, split at the tip into two sharp points. This kind of double point instrument is called Bpag Chalaam, meaning sharks mouth. It looks kind of like the nib of a fountain pen, and has the two points bend together to almost touch each other. This causes the tip to hold a bubble of ink in its mouth, thus superior to a single point spike.
Nine Buddhas Yant Gao Yord
Sak Yant design 16 Buddhas - ѹʹ
Yant Ongk Pra - Buddha yant version 2
Wheel of Vishnu Yant
Gao Yord Yant
16 Buddhas Yant
Yant Ongk Pra
Wheel of Vishnu Yant

Yant are not only applied as tattoos, but also on many other kinds of medium, such as cloth, inscribed on the back of metal templates to be used as protective amulets in the home, temple, car etc. Another popular form of wearing Yant Magic, is to use 'Thagrud', meaning the Yant is applied onto a parchment, rolled up into a scroll, and then fed into a metal tube, or sometimes wrapped in the skin taken from the forehead of a Tiger. The Thagrud is then ties to a cord and wrapped around the waist.

Visitors to Thai Temples may have seen men wearing a whole chain of these Thagrud wrapped around the waist. Some people wear a whole chain of Phallic (Penis) images tied around them too _ this is similar to the 'Shiva Lingam' representing the Phallic masculine force.There is also a Yant tattoo that includes a Penis and testicles, with drops of semen ejecting; this design is not particularly Buddhist, but as i said already, the Yant Tattoo tradition is an amalgamation of many beliefs and superstitions.

Also the Yant are maybe to be seen most often on the back of Thai Monk amulets, something which many of us who have been to Thailand have either bought as a memento, or recieved as a gift. I recieve much mail from visitors to my website and forum;, asking me to translate and explain the yant on their monk coins..also to analyze their Yant tattoos.

At first i did this eagerly, but as the website grew, i started recieving too many requests, and it became a full time job. I still design Yant tattoos for people who want a special yant making for them for a small donation.

All Yant have their own particular design methods and meanings; Each yant has a Prayer (Kataa) which should accompany it, and a 'Heart Mantra'. Yant Tattoos have a strict application method, which must be learned, it is not enough to just tattoo the design on AND THAT'S IT'!

The tattooist must concentrate extremely to make the tattoo, due to the fact he must write in Khom (ancient Khmer sanskrit) whilst he is silently saying a mantra, which changes whith each new element of the design (Bones, Knots, Letters, Buddhas etc).

buddha image

Onk Pra represents The Buddha Himself.

The Half Moon Symbol to be seen above 'Onk Pra' so often represents the Moon Illuminating the way for us in the Dark Hours.

The small Circle (Sun Symbol) to be seen above many Yant means the Sun lighting our way in the daytime; and that all Humans and Living beings exist under the influences of the stars and Planets, and that these forces enable us to develop and brings Changes. The Zig - Zag spiral line on the top of eaxh Yant is called Unaalome.

Unaalome represents the Saints who have attained the status of Enlightened beings.The Fetters of desire have been disentangled and discarded.... These beings do not waver on their path as normal Humans do (Note the end of the zig zag evolves into a straight line, meaning that he has ceased to enter into diversion and is on a straight, direct path to Nirvana. The spiral in the middle represents the Crown of the Head of the Buddha.

The Line of the Unaalome is straigh and unwavering - Perfect and complete. Following this thought, when you have finished the drawing the 'Bones' (outlines) of the Yant and finished all Khom letterings; The Yant should be Finished with the drawing of Unaalome above the Yant - meaning that the Yant is now Complete.

All Yant are usually completed with the invocation of a Mantra (Pra Kataa) in Pali sanskrit, which is subsequently blown into the yant with your breath (Called Phao kataa / Puug Saeg). Most Pra Kataa finish with the Phrase / Spell; 'Ma A U'.

There are also Yantra that use Numbers instead of Symbols to indicate the meaning. Sometimes in order to shorten the length of the Agkara (khom lettering), the Yantmaster may prefer to use Numbers to represent the PhraKataa (Mantra).

For example, if you want to write the mantra 'Nowahorakun' (A Sang Wi Su Loe Bu Sa Pu Pa - Nine Syllables), you can write the number 9 instead (Thai Numeral). One should intone the Kataa as one inscribes or tattoos the number onto the surface one is working on .

The Following Sutras are Kataa to be intoned whilst applying the Yant;

Round Yant Sutra

Yanthang Santhang Wigring Kyarae

Rectangular/Square Yant Sutra

Jatthu Yanthang Santhang Wigring Kyarae

Knots of the Yant Sutra

Jatthu Goenjaa Mahaa Yanthang Proma Pagsamahae Surang Yanthang Wigring Kyarahae

Bones of the Yant Sutra ٵŧд١ѹ

(The Bones of the Yant means the outline; the basic skeleton, so to speak).

Adti Yanthang Santhang Wigring Kyarae

Harmonising Sutra


Santi Yanthang Santhang Wigring Kyarae

Animal Yant Sutra

Gaesaa Loemaa Nagkhaa Tanthaa Thajoe mangsang Nahaaruu (etc.)
(32 state mantra)

Thailand topics

Rules of behaviour when going to recieve a Yant tattoo from a Buddhist Monk/Brahmin shaman;

When one approaches the shrine where the Yant are tattooed, one must leave one's shoes on the steps leading up to the room. You should obtain offerings for the Master before entering the salon; Incense sticks, Flower garlands, money in an envelope, and maybe a packet of krong tip cigarettes if you whish (plus a can of birdy ice coffee! - it gets hot in the room, and the monks like to drink this stuff).

Upon entering, you should go to your knees, place your hands in a praying position in front of your forehead and then bow forward , placing the palms of your hands on the floor. This you should repeat three times.

After this you can sit around in the queue, and watch the devotees recieve their Yant tattoos, while you wait to be called your turn (if you are lucky, you may get to see Khong Khuen occur!). When you are called for your tattoo, you should present the offerings outstretched on a silver tray before you, and the Monk will take hold of the tray, and say a Kataa to bless you and the offerings before the tattoo.

After this he will perform 'Piti Hwai Kru gaeji Ajarn' (Call of respect to the Ruesii), and ask you to get into position for the tattoo. After the tattoo, you should place your hands together again, and the Monk will perform 'Tong kataa Bpuug Saeg' (Invoke a Mantra), and blow it into the Yant tattoo with his breath.

You should then bow 3 times again and the ritual is finished.

About the popular rumor that the Temple is overrun by Criminals seeking Yant tattoos;

It is true, that hired killers like to wear Sacred yant tattoos, but i have to say that all levels of Society has people who wear a Yant. Even if it is 'Sak Nam Man' (using oil instead of ink).

Soldiers, policemen, Politicians, Doctors lawyers etc...and Criminals too. No exceptions are made about who a monk allows to have a Yant, except if you come drunk or in an unacceptable state.

Extra information about Sak Yant tattooing.

The Thais believe that the Yant tattoo will have the power to charm a desired lover, protect one from one's enemy, or even stop a bullet!

Strange phenomenae have occured throughought the ages in connection with the Yant - such as a famous Thai Air Force Pilot being shot repeatedly with an M16 and only having bruises! Or guns being repeatedly shot at someone with a Yant, and the gun not going off. I thought i would explain about 'Master Day' before we take a look at some of the Yant Tattoos and look at their meaning.

Master day is the day where all Disciples attend the Temple to pay respects to the Master of Yant.

On this occasion up to 10,000 believers bestow the temple with their presence, and recieve the blessings and hear the Master of the Wad (Temple) chant the 'Kataa Hua Jai' (Heart Mantra) of each of the 108 Yant. Gur Ru Su Gu Na Ma Pa Ta, Ma A U...the chant of leaping Tiger Yant; made popular by the 'Suea' (Highwaymen/Villians) of the past, and the 'Nak Laeng' (Asassins/Mafia)of the present.

Leaping Tiger yant is one of the Yant that made Bang Pra famous, supposedly having the power to awaken the spirit of the Tiger when one is in danger.This is what the Thais call 'Khong Khuen' (thing rises). Khong Khuen is the strange occurence of the Tattooee losing awareness and becoming absorbed by the spirit of the animal has been tattooed with. I have seen this Phenomenon on many occasions at the Wad.
Sak Yant is an Ancient Tradition and should not be taken lightly when considering recieving a Sak Yant Tattoo.
The rules of wearing the Yant, and the implications of breaching the vows of Buddhism require a certain levelm of serieousness when recieving yant tattoos from a Monk, and the effects of recieving Sak yant will reverberate throughout the rest of your life, once having recieved a sacred yant.
So please be respectful, meek and unfrivolous when visiting the Temple/office of a sak yant Master, and dont forget to be a little generous when making the donation for the yant tattoo.

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