Can I get a Sak Yant Design and do it Myself?

Can I get a Sak Yant Design and have my Tattoo Shop do it?

Can I get a Sak Yant Design and do it myself at my local Tattoo Shop? is a question we are often asked during Covid and people are having more difficulty getting to Thailand.

Sadly the answer is No ... A Real Sak Yant Tattoo have 3 components, The Design, The Khata (magical text) and the Activation Blessing

With the advent of Covid and travel restrictions many people are finding it difficult to get to Thailand and are wondering if they can get a Sak Yant Design and do it themselves.  Unfortunately the answer is no …. because genuine Sak Yant Tattoo designs are generally not made public by the Sak Yant Masters themselves. 

The Sak Yant Designs when created by a Sak Yant Master are usually kept for themselves and shared with people the Master feels has the required training and spiritual mastery to administer them.  The genuine Sak Yant Designs are kept private, and a modified and incorrect design is used for promotion and sharing online.  A Sak Yant Master with the correct training will be able to notice the Sak Yant design errors, and correct them when preforming the Sak Yant.

fake sak yant scam
There is a BIG difference between the getting a tattoo and having a Sak Yant Experience

A Genuine Sak Yant Design is just the first Part of a Real Sak Yant Tattoo

When getting the Sak Yant Tattoo, the meaning associated with the Tattoo comes in 3 parts; It is sometimes possible (It depends on the design itself) to have an Sak Yant design of what you want, but change the text and prayers and final blessing for a specific and special meaning. The 3 elements are

1) The Design 

This is the picture or design of the Sak Yant. While all Sak Yants come with their own meaning implicit to the design, if you like a certain design, it might be able to be used but changed to include the Kata and Blessing elements into the final meaning

2) The Khata

This includes the magic spells within the mind of the Sak Yant master as they create the Sak Yant. The master is reciting special prayers as they apply the design so that it becomes filled with the desired intention of the final design. The Kata also includes the text written around the Sak Yant. This text is usually presented incorrectly in drawn images you find online and are corrected by the Master. This is design to keep the knowledge so that only those qualified to give Sak Yants can give them.

3) The Blessing given

The final blessing given at the end of the Sak Yant Process. Special intentions and desires can be requested for this. For example you can get a Five Line Sak Yant and ask for financial prosperity with the blessing.

When Getting a Sak Yant tattoo from a tattoo studio and artist they are untrained in the major aspects of the Sak Yant Experience.  The untrained person is unable to correct the next point which is perhaps the most important reason you do not get a Sak Yant Tattoo from a Tattoo shop.

Can I get a Sak Yant Design and get it done at Home?

Can I get a Sak Yant Design and do it myselfThe Sak Yant Tattoo is considered part of Thailand’s Culture and tradition.  As such, like any cultural tradition both the Thai Government and the general population are both proud and protective of the Sak Yant Tattoo.  While not strictly part of Buddhism,  it is not uncommon for people to be turned away at the Airport for having Tattoos of Buddha, which the Thai Officials deem as insensitive.

While some Tattoo Shops will say that getting a fake Sak Yant Design will be received well by Thai people for attempting to replicate Thai Traditions.  We are all aware of how receptive many brands are of counterfeit products and their endless attempts to cease and destroy them.  The same contempt will be received when attempting to replicate traditions and culture with counterfeit Sak Yant Tattoos.

Further Details on Why you Can't Get a Sak Yant Design and get it done at your local tattoo shop

Avoid the Sak Yant Scam in Thailand

Authenticity of Culture

The Sak Yant Tattoo is a Spiritual and Magical representation of Thai Culture

Thailand has some very strict rules enforced by laws and fines when visitors (and Thais) visit sacred Buddhist sites or engage in Buddhist activities. For example when visiting a Temple there is a conservative dress code to gain entry, and signs everywhere suggesting that images of the Buddha should not be tattooed on the body or Buddha heads purchased and taken from the country. Many tourists have actually been arrested and deported for displaying Tattoos of the Buddha in many Asian countries including Thailand.

While it is a nice thought to have a Traditional Thai Tattoo as an expression of respect for the Thai Culture.  Having a counterfeit Traditional Thai Tattoo is not the best way of representing this desire 🙁

Exporting Buddha News Report

Spirituality

The Spiritual Qualification of the Sak Yant Master to qualify to give Thai tattoos

It stands to reason that if you are wanting a Magical and Spiritual Traditional Thai Tattoo – the person giving the tattoo should be spiritual qualified to administer it correctly. The Sak Yant Ajarn is similar to a Shaman of many cultures; in that they provide a range of Spiritual services – the Sak Yant just being one aspect of their magical skills.  In fact the power of the magic of the Sak Yant comes from the personal power of the Sak Yant Master.  It remains charged by following the Sak Yant Rules of Conduct, after receiving one. Without the training, knowledge and spiritual purity to be able to charge the Sak Yant, it is not a Sak Yant.

Training to become a Sak Yant Master usually includes first becoming a Buddhist Monk, and years of training in the Buddhist traditions and associated magical arts. Sak Yant Masters (like any craft) require a long time of specialist training until their teachers decide they are purified enough to qualify to represent the art of Sak Yant. The Sak Yant Master, has to follow a long list of rules for living a Spiritual life very similar to Buddhist Monks, as part of their chosen career.

Tattoo artist tend to not follow this strict and disciplined lifestyle. While they are skilled artists – they tend to be at the edge of social change and ideals, and not so much into the traditions of the culture.  It would be fair to say that Tattoo artists tend to be at the modern fringe of society cultures.  This is especially true in such a tradition country like Thailand

confused buddhist monk
Very confusing why anyone would get a fake when the real thing is easy to find
Fake Sak Yant 5 Line
The most common image of the 5 Line Sak Yant Available online has many purposely designed mistakes in the text. Tattoo artists are not able to correct these and those with knowledge can spot a fake very easily

Authenticity of Design

The Sak Yant Tattoo design is purposely drawn incorrectly

Almost every image on the Sak Yant that you will find online or in a design book catalogue are drawn incorrectly. This was originally done by Sak Yant Masters to protect their designs from being used by those who do not understand the meaning. The purpose was intended to prevent those not qualified to create a Sak Yant from doing so.

This did not work our so well. The popularity of the Sak Yant has increased along with the availability of the images online, this approach has not been a great success. A tattoo Artist will not know how to correct the design. Nor will they care much, as they are already justified to themselves that they are providing designs that sacred, so what does it matter if those designs are wrong?

And to be fair many tattoo business and Tattoo artists will be completely honest about this.  Many tattoo shops will tell you, that what they offer is a replica that looks better than the real thing. While many tattoo shops are honest and open about this, some keep it quiet unless asked and many will outright lie about it.

The fake Sak Yant is easily identified by the trained Sak Yant Master and even a great many westerners with an interest in the tradition. If you just want the tattoo this is usually no problem.  However if you are wanting to get it blessed later – it can not be done.  You can not recharge and re-blessed something that holds only a decorative function.  Some will even refuse to apply a real Sak Yant to the skin of someone who already has a fake one.

Sak Yant Meaning
Most common question in Sak Yant forums are people asking what their fake Sak Yant says....

Knowledge of the Sak Yant Design

You get to know what your Sak Yant means from a real Sak Yant Master

Look at any Sak Yant forum or Facebook page of a Sak Yant Ajarn and you will see a great majority of the posts are people asking what their Sak Yant means. This can happen for many reasons including the person going to a Sak Yant Master who does not speak English without taking a translator. But more often than not it is because they got the tattoo from a tattoo shop who can not explain the meaning of the Sak Yant design.

When you get a Sak Yant from a Sak Yant Master (so long as you can communicate with them) they will ask you why you want a Sak Yant, discuss the various design options and any modifications they will make. When you use a guide, translator or Sak Yant Service they will usually ensure that you understand the procedure and the meaning of your Sak Yant Tattoo.

Many Tattoo shops will tell you what the Sak Yant should mean based on the design, if they were actually giving you a authentic Sak Yant. But not too many of them point out that this does not really apply, since they just did a incorrect copy of a design, that you liked, but it does not have any meaning since it is not authentic.

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What if I don’t care the Sak Yant is Real? I just want a nice Tattoo!

At the end of the day, not everyone is concerned with the authenticity of the Sak Yant Design.  For those who want the real thing, there is absolutely no reason to seek it in a tattoo parlor. There are plenty of resources online to find a real Sak Yant. Since November 2021, Thailand is open for tourists who have been vaccinated.  Even those without the vaccine can come so long as they have medical insurance and spend a week in a quarantine hotel 

If you are going to get a Sak Yant Design because you like the design, there is no reason why you should not get a tattoo of your choice from a tattoo studio.  A tattoo shop copy will probably looks better than the real thing, and if you have no interest or concern for the spiritual meaning it makes no difference.

However it will not be a Sak Yant, it will be a nice looking tattoo with significance to the person who has it.  If this is enough for you, you will be able to find replica designs online to take to your local tattoo shop.  But no Sak Yant Master, or provider of real Sak Yant tattoo designs will provide a genuine Sak Yant Design to you.  At the end of the day, no matter how pure your desire and intentions, Real Sak Yant Masters will not participate in providing replica designs to protect the power of the magic and the traditions of the Sak Yant