Understanding the Unalome Tattoo

Unalome Tattoo

Even though you might not know the name, unalome, chances are that you have seen it on a tattoo. This is a Buddhist and Hinduist sacred symbol that is swirling lines. This is often seen on tattoos and is sometimes seen with a lotus flower design.

Buddhist and Hinduist Unalome

Buddhist will use the unalome to show what kind of spiritual journey that someone has went through. This can be seen as the enlightenment. Since all the journeys are different for everyone, the unalome is one that is special for each person. When getting a tattoo of this, the person getting the tattoo will normally draw the symbol on their own so that it will be special to their journey and their life.

Most of the time, the unalome will start as a spiral that is tight and then it will get loser as it goes up and then into a straight line. Buddhist will use the curves to help them to remember how hard it was to go through their enlightenment and what the road looked like while they progressed. They know that the winding road was one that was hard, but it eventually went to a straight road that allowed them to get where they needed to go. The straight line in this tattoo should always point upwards to symbolize the enlightenment.

In Thailand, Buddhist would use the bottom swirl of the unalome to show the crown of the head or the arhat which is what they call the enlightened saints.

Hindus use the unalome to show the Shiva which means to be protected and to have wisdom. Shiva is one of the main gods that are seen in Hinduism and when the swirl is put in the tattoo, it helps to represent having the third eye opened and being protected by the universe.

These are different cultural and religious ideas that work with the unalome, and the symbols are meant to be respected and understood. If you decide that you want to get a unalome in your tattoo, make sure that you are being serious about it and that you are using the symbol as something meaningful for your life.

History of the Unalome

There are many tattoos that have unalomes on them and this was something that originated as a sacred body art. It was once called Sak Yant, and it was done in Asia and in Thailand. The word “Sak” means tattoo and the word “Yant” means the geometric diagram.

The tattoos of Sak Yant are normally done by someone that has studied the different styles of Sak Yant and this is someone called an Ajarn. It is someone that has deep knowledge and that is very spiritual. They are people that do tattoos with bamboo, and they are hand poked. Some of the designs of this kind of tattoo will have many unalomes in them.

There are people today that practice the Sak Yant tattooing, and this is still done by hand. Many people choose to go to a tattoo shop though and get their tattoo in a modern way instead of doing it traditionally.

Where to Put a Unalome Tattoo

Unalomes are lines that are very thin and so these are often put in places that are delicate. The lines are long and vertical and so the symbol normally is put where there is room to let the design go in different directions and with different designs.

Some of the most know areas are the neck, back, ankles, feet, wrist, and other places but in Buddhist culture, doing a Sak Yant on the feet is considered unclean and disrespectful.

A person can choose where they want to put their unalome because it should be based on their journey and what they are feeling at the time that they get their tattoo. Their enlightenment is a journey that only they can experience and so getting this tattoo should be special per the individual. Those that get it on the back will often choose the Solar Plexus chakra area so that they can continue on their spiritual path, and they can use the tattoo to help identify this.

Seeing a Unalome Tattoo

People will get tattoos for a variety of reasons, and this can be because they have gone through something hard or because they are on a spiritual journey. The tattoo that they choose will often mark something in their life and will show that they have overcome challenges in their life. The unalome tattoo can help someone to remember that they can keep going in their life and not to give up.

People that choose to get an unalome tattoo are often spiritual leaders or people that are on a spiritual journey. Other people such as yoga instructors, often wear a unalome tattoo because it represents the things that they believe in. If you want to have a unalome tattoo or if you see someone have one, ask them about their journey and see how it inspires you.


  1. The idea of the unalome representing one’s spiritual journey or challenges they’ve overcome is quite profound. It’s a meaningful way to carry a reminder of their experiences.

  2. The unalome is a fascinating symbol with deep spiritual significance in both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. It’s intriguing how each person’s tattoo can represent their unique spiritual journey.

  3. The article provides an insightful exploration of the unalome symbol in both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. The emphasis on personal spiritual journeys highlights the unique significance of each unalome tattoo. The historical context of Sak Yant tattoos also adds depth to the understanding of this cultural practice.

  4. The history of Sak Yant and its connection to the unalome is quite enlightening. I didn’t realize these tattoos were traditionally done by hand with bamboo.

    • Yes, it’s fascinating how these ancient practices have been preserved over time. The spiritual aspect of it adds another layer of meaning.

  5. The craftsmanship involved in traditional Sak Yant tattoos, done by Ajarns using bamboo, is fascinating. The blend of spiritual and artistic elements in the unalome symbol offers a compelling case for its continued reverence in modern tattoo practices.

  6. I appreciate the detailed explanation of the unalome’s symbolism and its variations across different cultures. The article also underscores the importance of respecting these symbols when considering them for tattoos, which is crucial for cultural appreciation rather than appropriation.

  7. The placement of the unalome tattoo seems to be very personal and symbolic. It’s good to know that in some cultures, placing it on the feet is considered disrespectful.

  8. The comparison between the Buddhist and Hindu interpretations of the unalome is well articulated. The article does a good job of explaining how this symbol can be tailored to individual experiences while maintaining its sacred connotations. This individualized approach adds significant value to the practice.

  9. It’s interesting to note how the unalome tattoo serves as a personal emblem of one’s spiritual journey. The specific cultural contexts provided for its placement and design help in understanding its deeper meanings. This makes the choice of getting a unalome tattoo a well-thought-out decision.

  10. I appreciate the detailed explanation of the unalome’s symbolism and its cultural relevance. It’s important to understand and respect the meanings behind such sacred symbols.

    • I agree. Understanding the cultural and spiritual context before getting such a tattoo is crucial to respect the traditions.


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