The image of Buddha — or one of the many representations of him — is usually meant to express either a faith or interest in Buddhism. To many people the Buddha is an emblem for enlightenment, and a symbol of strength of will and character, and an inner peace that we all strive for. For these reasons alone, Buddha tattoos have gained a lot of popularity.
Many people prefer Buddha tattoos that feature a cartoonish appearance. These are generally highly colorful, and show the Buddha lively, dancing and laughing. This style is normally done in realistic – if rather bright – colors; however, some people show Buddha in soft hues of purple or blue, sometimes even in a sparkling golden shade. It is fairly common to also see this style depicting a statue-like Buddha appearing to come alive; in this instance, he is usually done in gold or granite shades, he may have bright green stones for eyes and may be surrounded by the elements, such as rain, fire or even the ocean.
Many Buddha tattoos feature a more pensive depiction. This version — unlike the jubilant cartoon equivalent — tends to bear a more thoughtful expression, and may appear to be in deep meditation. The eyes are generally closed, legs crossed, and he may be surrounded in soft shades reminiscent of light. This version also tends to be more colorful, but may feature hues of gray; or may even be done entirely in outline.
Some people prefer Buddha tattoos that feature symbols, rather than the figure itself; for instance, the Buddha footprint. This is said to be a symbol of the presence of Buddha and is thought to be a blessing. Frequently, the soles of these prints feature important Buddhist symbols, and are generally heavily detailed. The heart-shaped leaves of the Bodhi tree and a pair of eyes with a curled line below them are also good examples.
Although these tattoos can be deeply meaningful, the aesthetic appeal is not to be forgotten. Whether deeply cheerful in appearance, or profoundly stoic, Buddha tattoos have a habit of always being beautiful.