Case of the disappearing MMA Dharma Tattoo

March 25, 2010

March 25, 2010

Somewhere at the intersection of popular culture, Buddhism in America, mixed martial arts, anti-Tibetan Chinese sentiments, and good 'ole misunderstanding stands this story of the disappearing Dharma tattoo.

Hardly the typical locus of geo-political tension due to a faulty understanding of religion, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Dana White, had the tattoo "Om mani padme hum" airbrushed out of a poster showing welterweight contender Dan Hardy. White maintained the tattoo was of some "anti-Chinese government stuff." See more on this story here - "Mixed Martial Artist Dan Hardy's Dharma Tattoo: Where'd It Go?"

Actually the phrase in question is a mantra associated with the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokitesvara, and it is often literally translated as "Praise to the jewel in the Lotus, Hail." While there are other ways to understand the phrase, many observers argue that it is perhaps best understood as a means for appropriating some of the great power of the bodhisattva. Thru its recitation the practitioner might avail themselves of the huge repository of good karmic merit that has been generated by Avalokitesvara at which point that merit might be transferred to the betterment of all sentient beings. Not exactly "anti-Chinese government stuff." Admittedly, Avalokitesvara is especially revered by Tibetans, and China hasn't exactly been ingratiating itself to Tibet as of late... but perhaps we'll save that discussion for another time.

No comments:

Site design by Sara Miller Marketing