Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have visited him to get inked.

They are but just two of the many celebrities who have journeyed to Bangkok, Thailand to see Ajarn Noo Kanpai.

You see, Noo is not your ordinary tattoo artist.

One must seek Noo’s blessings before you get inked by him with ancient Sak Yant or Yantra tattoos.

Sak Yant tattoos are believed to offer protection to the wearer.

“I looked for holy spells, and sacred objects, focusing on holy spells to protect me while traveling,” he tells National Geographic Travel. “These spells and sacred objects can help save our lives. Our bodies are made stronger. I studied with many people in different places and combined what I’ve learned to become an expert.”

The tattoo master uses geometric designs inscribed with Buddhist psalms and prayers.

Tattoos are made using the traditional way — with a sharpened bamboo stick dipped in ink.

“For tattoos that I do, you need to respect and have faith for your parents. Before you honor others, you must honor your parents. Your mind has to be moral. It is not like being in the mafia or a villain, no spirits will protect bad people,” Noo emphasizes.

His most popular tattoo is the Ha Taew, a design of five vertical rows. Each row represents a line of sacred scripture.

“These yantras originated from the horoscope of the Lord Buddha calculated from the date and the time he was born to when he attained total enlightenment. We decrypt his date of birth and arrange it into the Five Lines Yantra,” he explains.

Jolie and Pitt both got Ha Taew tattoos. But having it has a corresponding obligation.

“When we have his (Buddha’s) good morals, bad things are afraid to hurt us and any other spirits who hold the Buddha highly, hey will come to protect us because we share his enlightenment,” Noo stresses.

Travelers continue to flock to Noo’s place. But he doesn’t mind. For the tattoo master, it is his way of spreading the teachings of Buddha.

“Like the Buddha himself, I am a student of Buddhist teachings which are different from others. I bring his teachings of enlightenment and translate it into tattoos for others,” Noo says. “This way, as we follow his footsteps, we bring with us his good teachings.”

Travelers come from near and far to seek this artist's modern spiritual tattoos, known as sak yants.

Posted by National Geographic Travel on Tuesday, 18 December 2018



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