Today's post is about a seemingly simple but really powerful symbol with a deep and beautiful meaning behind it; the unalome.
If you're a Buddhist, you probably already know what the unalome symbol means. If you practice yoga, you're familiar with this because chances are someone in the class already has unalome tattooed.
And if you are a tattoo artist, it is likely that you already have hundreds of variations of the symbol imprinted in your mind, because everyone wants to get it tattooed, as the symbol has become more and more popular among tattoo lovers with each passing day.
But what does unalome mean? Where did it originate from, is it a Buddhist or Hindu symbol? Let's cut to the chase.
Is unalome a Buddhist symbol? Where did Unalome come from?
The unalome (also known as unaalome and sometimes misspelled unilome) is an ancient symbol that has been found in Hindu and Buddhist scriptures and artwork. It has its origin in ancient India, but it is not known exactly how and when.
Therefore, it is fair to say that the unalome is both a Buddhist and a Hindu symbol.
If you want to learn more about Buddhist symbols,check out our in-depth post on the subject here.
Unalome Meaning and Symbolism Explained - What Does the Unalome Symbol Mean?
Before we get into the meaning of unalome in Buddhism, it's crucial to provide some background information about the faith, assuming you're new to it.
In Buddhism, a person has to go through many struggles and sufferings throughout his life in order to become mature, wise and enlightened. Not just in one life, mind you, they also believe in reincarnation.
Buddhists believe that in order to reach the final state of enlightenment, called nirvana, one must go through many cycles of death and rebirth (called samsara), during which they will experience immense suffering. Only after that can they put out 'the three fires' which are greed, aversion and ignorance and become enlightened.
But how is this related to the unalome symbol?
Parallel to this basic tenet of faith, in Buddhism, the unalome represents the path a person must follow to achieve mental clarity and enlightenment.
The symbol starts with a spiral at the bottom. This spiral represents the beginning of the journey to enlightenment and the fears, doubts and weaknesses one may have at this stage. However, there is a secondary meaning behind the spiral. It also represents how we as human beings struggle to let go of our earthly desires and belongings.
After the spiral, endless curves, loops, zigzags or knots appear before the line finally unravels.
These loops, curves and zigzags represent the ups and downs, the twists and turns of a person's life and the obstacles they will encounter throughout their lives before finally reaching enlightenment.
And then there are the dots at the end of the unalome. There are different interpretations of the meaning of the dots.
While some sources suggest that they signify the end of the journey towards enlightenment, i.e. finally reaching enlightenment and clarity, others believe that the dots signify the actual death of a person, which can also be considered as "the end of somebody". trip', in a very literal sense.
According to some experts, the dot (or dots), which is drawn a little further from the main symbol, represents the uncertainty of life and that we do not perceive that last ultimate truth.
The Unalome and the Arhats, the Enlightened Saints of Buddhism
The unalome is also used to represent the arhats (also known as arahants), the saints of Buddhism and their struggle to reach nirvana.
Arhats are the people who have finally completed their journey, escaped endless cycles of rebirth, and reached the final state of enlightenment.
Some sources claim that becoming an arhat also means one attains Buddhahood, while others suggest that becoming a Buddha is much more than just becoming an arhat.
The spiral in the unalome symbol represents the part of an arhat's crown, i.e. the top of his head. The line that unfurls and finally becomes completely straight represents arhats reaching nirvana.
The Unalome in Hinduism
The meaning of unalome in Hinduism is much less complicated than what it represents in Buddhism.
In Hinduism, the unalome is considered the symbol of the third eye oflord shiva, one of the main deities of Hinduism, also known as the Auspicious One.
Through the third eye of Lord Shiva, the un
alomé represents wisdom, knowledge and, as in Buddhism, the path to perfection.
The Female and Male Versions of Unalome Tattoos: The Difference
Is there any difference between a female and male unalome tattoo?
While there is no real proof of this, there is a consensus that suggests a difference between female and male versions of unalome tattoos.
If the starting point of the spiral in unalome looks good, that's a unalome symbol for men. If you look to the left, it's for women.
The Unalome and the Lotus Flower: Meaning and Symbolism
Did you know that the lotus flower is one of the most important symbols of Buddhism?
It's not just universalsymbol of strengthand perseverance, but also a symbol of rebirth, purity and spiritual awakening in Buddhism.
Being a symbol of rebirth and reincarnation, the lotus represents the endless cycles of rebirth in the Buddhist faith, as it emerges from the muddy waters each day, blooms like the beautiful flower it becomes, and dips back into the mud.
This cycle repeats itself every day. So the lotus is a really powerful representation of a Buddhist person's struggle and journey to attain enlightenment.
The unalome, on the other hand, represents a person's journey towards enlightenment despite all the ups and downs in their lives and the obstacles they encounter.
In this context, it would be quite accurate to say that the symbol of the unalome and the lotusflower representsVery similar concepts in Buddhism.
This is why when an unalome is used in conjunction with a lotus flower in a tattoo, the symbolism of the enlightenment behind that tattoo is further reinforced, 'doubled' if you will.
Enlightenment comes with purity of soul. As the lotus is also a symbol of purity, wearing a lotus flower over the unalome (along with or instead of the dot) symbolizing the final stage of enlightenment would make a really meaningful and beautiful lotus tattoo.
If you want to read more aboutthe lotus flower, its meaning and symbolism, check out our detailed article here.
Unalome tattoo meaning and design ideas
What does an unalome tattoo mean? Well, that depends on the symbol and other complementary elements that make up the tattoo.
There is a reason why unalome tattoos are so popular with ink lovers. This intricate and visually appealingsymbol has a powerful meaningand it's something most of us can relate to.
Unalome is primarily asymbol of strengthand perseverance, represents how a person overcomes the struggles in their life to find inner peace and discover their own truth.
In that sense, an unalome tattoo would be a great choice for anyone who has been through a lot but has persevered. It's a "survival brand", if you will.
In Buddhism, unalome is the symbol of the journey to reach nirvana, the final state of enlightenment. And one cannot reach nirvana without going through all the struggles.
In fact, Buddhists even believe that one cannot attain nirvana without dying, being reborn into this world, going through all of life's struggles, and then repeating this cycle over and over again.
The zigzags, curves and ups and downs in an unalome represent a person's struggles. The dots at the end are believed to represent death, the end of the journey, or the attainment of enlightenment, the ultimate truth.
Other meanings of Unalome tattoos
Since achieving enlightenment is only possible through purification of the soul, the unalome is also a symbol of purity. It would be a great choice for a person who would like to represent the purity of their spirit.
Any path you take to follow your destiny will change you. And in order to reach your goals and your own ultimate truth, you will have to transform yourself into a new being, sometimes going through a lot of difficulties.
In that sense, an unalome tattoo is a great idea for anyone who wants to mark the transformation, spiritual evolution and change they went through to get where they are now.
Are Unalome tattoos disrespectful?
The short answer is no, not really. But like many other symbols that are considered sacred in many different cultures, it also depends on where and how you use it.
Although people are more strict and protective of some of the symbols that represent their cultures, such as Buddha images, as long as they are not used in an offensive or disrespectful way, there is no reason why a unalome tattoo should be considered offensive. However, there seems to be a consensus among tattoo artists that it would be a better idea to have unalome tattoos on the upper body rather than on or around the feet.
Unalome symbol and its meaning
And that concludes our article on the unalome, its meaning and tattoo ideas for this beautiful and powerful symbol. If you liked this post,You will probably enjoy reading our detailed article on symbols of strength and perseverance here..
you might like it tooTo read about Cho Ku Rei, a spiritual symbol used in Reiki practices, click here to read our extensive article.
Thank you for reading Symbols and Meanings.
Unalome Designs - Photos/Images for Unalome Tattoo Ideas
If you are looking for inspiration for unalome tattoo ideas, here is our gallery with even more pictures with unalome designs to choose from.
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