Modern Hygiene Standards
Like many Westerners, you may be worried about standards of hygiene with this tattoo. The reality is this process is done in the traditional way by a monk with a metal needle, tissue or rag, custom magical ink, and several sets of hands without gloves. There is no hygiene as defined by Western standards. Yes, the needle will be disinfected before it is used, but the Sak Yant is a tradition dating back thousands of years. Being a tradition, not much has changed — including the adoption of modern hygiene standards.
If hygiene is a major concern that outweighs your desire to engage in the spiritual aspects of the Sak Yant ritual, use our Cambodian Mystic who employs modern hygiene standards with disinfected needles using his tattoo gun.
Etiquette Lessons for the Big Day
When you arrive at the temple, chances are you won’t be the only one there. This is a working temple, not a tourist attraction, with a monk who is busy serving the needs of his community.
Before stepping onto the platform, you will remove your shoes and sit on the floor along with others there to see the monk. While your Sak Yant is a special and unique experience for you, the locals you encounter here will be dealing with personal issues ranging from the serious to a simple good luck blessing. Some may have a serious demeanor while others beam their typical Thai smiles.
When your turn comes around, be like a local. Observe and follow the following culturally expected etiquette:
- It is both proper and polite to be the first to wai as a sign of respect to the monk or elder.
- As you greet the monk, kneel so that your body is lower than him and perform the proper “wai” technique. Bow 3 times as a show of respect to the Buddhist way; once for Buddha, once for Buddhism, and one final bow for the monk. As a general rule, do not stand above a monk as a matter of politeness and try to avoid standing while the monk is seated. This includes friends buzzing about trying to snap pictures or record video.
- Upon completion of your 3 wais, you will present your “offering to the spirits” before the Sak Yant ceremony begins. This offering shows respect to the monk (Ajaan) who is about to perform the Sak Yant for you. More important, it shows that you believe in their magic power and trust in their skills. This offering of flowers, incense, candle and the money offering should be arranged on the tray provided.
- The monk will perform a small acceptance ceremony of the offering on behalf of the spirits. After this the monk will ask what kind of Sak Yant you desire.
- The monk will then prepare for your tattoo, mixing the ink and sterilizing the needle. The monk will then sit in his chair and motion you to come over.
An Incredibly Unique Experience
When the tattoo is complete, turn to the monk and bow 3 times to show gratitude as the receiver of this spiritual gift.
Now it’s time for the final blessing. Usually, both you and the monk will hold onto your offering for a few minutes while reciting the blessing incantation. These are truly the most magical moments of the Sak Yant experience.
After the final blessing is finished you are ready to head back home to begin relishing your authentic Sak Yant tattoo and this very magical, unique experience.