“It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast… The first, Om [...] symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha[...]”
“The path is indicated by the next four syllables. Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method: (the) altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love.[...]”
“The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom[...]”
“Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility[...]”
“Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha[...]”
– H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, “Om Mani Padme Hum”
Spirituality and modifications have been linked together since the beginning of documented history. Be it through rites of passage, or devotional modifications, the concept of altering ones body to attain a higher form of spirituality isn’t new. As times changed, practices faded into obscurity, to the point where some are no longer even practiced at all. Thankfully the modification community has arisen to resurrect these forgotten rituals. Today these modifications are performed all over the world, and many for different reasons other than the original intentions. The practices are also much safer, as we have learned how to adapt them to the modern equipment that we have available. That isn’t to say that these rituals aren’t being performed in traditional ways as well, as they are very much alive and well all over.
One of unique abilities we have living when we do now, is that we have access to the knowledge from cultures and civilizations from around the globe. We can now blend together practices that possibly would never have encountered each other historically. Go to any Suscon and you’ll see any number of people sporting modifications from multiple cultures, while being suspended from hooks, another ritual that has carried on to modern times.
So where does that leave us now? Simply put, in a great place. We have this knowledge that has been amassed for centuries and are able to apply it to ourselves as we see fit. So while centuries ago a culture would expect its people to all have facial tattoos, and another would incorporate large lip plates, now a person can have both without even being part of the original culture. We have the freedom to do with our bodies as we see fit, for whatever reason we determine. Which brings me to the following photo from our cutting gallery.
Johnkid created this image of a lotus with the om mani padme hum mantra. While this may not be the first such scar featured on ModBlog, it is worthwhile to note that as a form of meditation, Buddhists will spend time carving mantras into stone or other objects. What the recipient as done is taken two aspects of of their beliefs and merged them into something for themselves.
Do you have any modifications that have a spiritual connection to yourself? Or is the process of getting modified a way for you to get in touch with some deeper meaning in your life?