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Saying Tattoo: Wise Phrases from Philosophy, Bible, Buddhism

Updated on June 29, 2011

Sayings tattoo is catching on quickly like a whirlwind. Today, many tattoo lovers look for inspirational quotes, wise phrases, cultural proverbs, or ancient scriptures. In particular, they likewise sayings from around the world. In my opinion, the best saying tattoo ideas come from philosophy, bible and Buddhism.

Sayings Tattoo in Chinese

Sayings Tattoos - Chinese Philosophy

Chinese sayings tattoo has grown significantly in recent years. As China opens itself up, people are becoming interested in Chinese products and culture. Already 5,000 years in civilization, Chinese sayings are wise, meaningful yet subtle. Ancient phrases reveal truth, knowledge, life, courage, and despair. They cleverly explain why things go the way they do. Chinese phrases are consoling and calming.

If you are tempted to get a Chinese phrases tattoo, look for Chinese sayings / quotes / proverbs. There are tonnes of choices on the internet. Also look for Chinese philosophers like Confucius, Lao Tze for inspiration. Use Asian sayings tattoo to cherish your joyful events in life, heal emotional wound, remember tragic loss, or overcome addiction or relationship despair. Chinese quotes inspire zen feelings and invigorates your spirit.

Chinese Saying Tattoos

  • Deliberate inaction is better than blind action
  • Knowing the world without leaving one's own home
  • Build your character through training and discipline

Saying Tattoo in Old English Lettering

Phrase Tattoo in Modern English Handwriting Ashley R. Ashley R.

Sayings Tattoo - Greek Philosophy

Many sayings tattoos have Hellenistic influences. Greek philosophy is the foundation of western civilization. I am sure you know that. Some argue that philosophy as we understand it is but Greek creation. If you are interested in tattoos with classic phrases, look for Aristotle / Socrates / Plato sayings / quotes. However, these philosophers focus on issues that are hard to understand, e.g. ethics, metaphysics. Their sayings are long and may not suitable for tattooing. To get around this, you should look for phrases that are wise, short yet simple. Choose something that tells your life, experience or hardship.

Greek Sayings Tattoo

  • Change in all things is sweet
  • Beware the barrenness of a busy life
  • Be as you wish to seem

Sayings Tattoo on Side


Sayings Tattoo - Indian Philosophy

Some tattoo lovers like Asian sayings. Indian wisdom is definitely a great choice. Why not try some inspirational sayings from Indian philosophy. Indian wisdom is characterized by Dharma – attainment of emancipation. I think this idea of emancipation makes so much sense. Indian philosophers aren’t as well as their western counterparts. So if you are interested in wise phrase tattoos, look for indian quotes, indian proverbs, Gandhi quotes / sayings. Breakup, death, or financial setbacks can be devastating for anyone. Keep your composure and be strong with wise Asian sayings.

Indian Saying Tattoo

  • Action expresses priorities
  • Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit
  • Citizenship consists in the service of the country

Phrases Tattoo in Hebrew

Bible, Christian Saying Tattoos

Sayings Tattoo - Bible, Christianity

Bible sayings remain a popular tattoo choice for many people. The Bible is without any doubt, one of the most authoritative books in the history of mankind. It has sold more copies than all other books. Christianity and Christian beliefs have shaped Western societies and spiritual life. Well, if you are a Christian, you should definitely consider a bible saying tattoo. This will show your belief, pride and individuality.

Look for biblical sayings, bible / biblical quotes / sayings, Christian quotes. The 10 commandments, e.g. "Thou shall not kill" may sound somewhat uninteresting or old fashioned for tattoo designs. Think of something inspirational, down to earth yet meaningful. There are many wise phrases relating to life, encouragement, forgiveness, faith, endurance, and failure.

Bible Sayings, Christian Phrases for Tattoos

  • Absent in body, but present in spirit
  • There is no fear in love; but perfect love cast out fear
  • We walk by faith, not by sight

Sayings Tattoo in Arabic, Farsi

Phrase Tattoo in Tibetan

Sayings Tattoo - Buddhism

Buddhist beliefs are powerful, penetrating, and mystical. The same is true for Buddhist saying tattoo. The principal values of Buddha include generosity, forgiveness, compassion, and liberation of the body and the mind. Do you know that even some Hollywood celebrities are loyal Buddhist. They include Tina Turner, Richard Gere and Steven Seagal. Buddhist sayings are wise, compassionate and forgiving. In fact, Buddhist sayings tattoo can speak enormous about you and your inner self. Choose something that expresses your personality.

Look for Buddhist quotes. There are tonnes of wise Asian phrases for you. Everyone can appreciate Buddhism and its wisdom.

Buddhist Sayings, Wise Phrases for Tattoo

  • He is able who thinks he is able
  • Death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely
  • Every human being is the author of his own health or disease

Tattoo Saying - Romantic Phrase


Saying Tattoo - Hope, Courage

Saying Tattoo - My Best Tips For You

People have asked me questions on sayings tattoo, e.g. what phrases to have, where to get them, how to get sayings tattoo in other languages….etc. As I dig into this topic more, I have discovered these useful tips.

1) Language

The majority of sayings tattoos is in English. True, English is an international language so it is natural to see why English phrases are so popular. Your expression can be easily understood by others. However, there is no reason why you should limit your choice. In today’s trendy world we all love diversity, rarity and novelty. Don’t we? It is fun to have your sayings tattoos in another language. Consider these exciting possibilities:

  • Asian languages: Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Thai.
  • Western Language: Latin, Italian, German, French, Spanish, Greek.
  • Other languages: Hebrew, Hindi, Yiddish, Arabic.
  • Indigenous languages of Australia
  • Aboriginal language of America or Canada

2) Your Expression

The common concern for tattoo lovers is to find the right saying for themselves. Many people ask the eternal question “Can you please find me a suitable phrase for tattoo?” I answer is “you need to do some work yourself first”. After all, it is your ink, your expression, no one understand this better than yourself. I have two suggestions that can help.

  • Culture / countries: focus on quotes from different cultures around the world, just like what I have done here, e.g. Indian, Chinese, Greek, Buddhist quotes or phrases.
  • Purpose / desire: look for quotes classified under different categories, e.g. faith, action, wisdom, forgiveness, anger, friendship, funny, love, nature, time, etc.

Spine Tattoo, Grass Style, Blossom Flower, Tattoo Quotes Video


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    • BarrelRoll profile image


      5 years ago

      Christian, Catholic, and Jewish tattoos are so ironic, considering the Bible CLEARLY condemns them....

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      too bad the the tattoo in Hebrew has some misspellings...

    • Vega Vallari profile image

      Nicole Paschal 

      7 years ago from Saint Petersburg, Florida

      Great collection! I like this hub.

    • dobo700 profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for sharing this is an interesting hub.

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      i really want a tatto down my side although more on my thigh/hip. i like arabic writing although im struggling for a phrase. I want something which means to me therefore, i was thinking of something relating to my granda who passed away last year. Has anyone got any suggestions of nice phrases etc?


    • Dreaver Endus profile image

      Dreaver Endus 

      7 years ago from Coos Bay, Oregon

      Great Article!

      I've always used symbolism in my designs, somewhat like my own language that reminds me of something I should never forget. And I also prefer the use of Latin, I just feel there is a beauty and connection to the language. Some sayings of mine:

      "Senserit, et erit" - Perceive it, and it shall be

      "Nostra tempus est inlusio" - Our time is the illusion

      Looking forward to seeing more!

      "In vit nos tenemur,

      In liberi sumus mortem"

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I want to get the name Jose in Chinese or Arabic writing how do I kno if It's the right symbols???? Help anyone

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have always wanted to get song lyrics, but i don't know...

      it's hard to find something and think 'yep, i'm going to love that forever'. i'd hate to get a tattoo and then five to ten years later begin to hate it :/

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      hey guys. any ideas on a meaning full saying/phrase for a buddhist related tattoo. a word and or a very short saying in english. It will be going down my side rib cage. thank u

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      am loving the hub,personally hav over 25 tats,but with only afew on show. lov them.but it a personal thing.but after seeing sum of the pics am gonna get another one.lov the "to love and be loved" am booked up to hav done. good work.xxxx

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The tattoo above on the rib cage of the girl is beautiful but is the meaning or saying?

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Great idea to use quotes from well known/respected individuals. You'll be looked upon with admiration. Latin is charming looking, nice tattoo idea!

    • nicnac profile image


      9 years ago from Ireland

      Martin luther king has some great sayings from speeches and they can be used to cover loads of different aspects that people are looking for, i got mine in latin and everyone compliments it, and also i know it came from an iconic figure but that i related it to me.. some great ideas here :)

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Hi Paula, good point, I am not very familiar with western calligraphy. Hence, I wrote what I think. In fact, I am Chinese so more familiar with asian writing and styles. Maybe western writing tattoo can be the next hub! thanks for your comment.

    • Paula Jean McGrew profile image

      Paula Jean McGrew 

      9 years ago from North Florida

      I liked the article, but have to comment on the first example. That font resembles Blackadder, Edwardian, or Palace Script, but I would not call that Old English.

      That said, I do like tats of sayings--I have one myself. "The heart has its reasons that reason cannot know." (Blaise Pascal)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      hello, can anyone help me please? i would like a tattoo on my arm of a quote, for how much i love and will protect my 2 sons. i cant find anything that suits...thank you

    • butterfly Tattoo profile image

      butterfly Tattoo 

      9 years ago from Dallas Texas

      Thank you for this wonderful hub, Its contains so much stuff of intertest to me, Looking forward to more hubs from you

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Glad to know you like symbol tattoos, nice thought.

    • profile image

      Noah C 

      9 years ago

      Right on! I would get a phrase in English simply because I am American and anyone who sees the tat will inevitably think "does it REALLY say that?" and be skeptical no matter what. I know it is lame but it is something to think about. I personally go with the symbol tattoos :) thanks!

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Hey friend, I agree that both the meaning & writing are important. However, I realize that some people choose a particular language bec' of deep emotions, e.g. I spent some years in Taiwan, that's why I want a chinese tattoo quote; or my dad is Jewish so I want a quote in Hebrew. Tattoo reflects personal conviction, experience, very powerful yet spiritual ways.....agree?

    • ahostagesituation profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Connie, for a tattoo--I think the meaning, and the look of the writing are equally important. The Farsi tattoo stood out to me because of the writing...but I were going to wear writing, what it said would be extremely important to me. And absolutely, some languages are just visually more beautiful in writing than others...what do you think?

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Interesting, some people love the Farsi but some hate it. Do you think the tattoo writing matters more than the meaning? Do you feel that some languages naturally look better than other languages as tattoo quotes?

    • ahostagesituation profile image


      9 years ago

      The Farsi one is sick! Really, really well done. I like the Chinese proverb one also.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      hi,am considering my tattoo quote,rite now am having quite a rough ride with life and everything and thought this quote which have thought long and hard about sums everything up for me now....."above the law,only god can judge me"....wondering what anybodys thoughts on this are would be appricieated...thanks

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Thanks all, I think that tattoo is becoming more spiritual now than before. Many people use writing/ sayings to tell their personal experience/life/hardship. Some use it for motivation so they achieve to become what they aspire to.....thanks everyone for your thought, sorry for the arabic tattoo error, you know, I love different languages but am arabic illiterate! forgive me now god......

    • strutzas profile image


      9 years ago from Kualapuu, Hawaii

      I liked it, I really loved reading bible phrases.

    • FredIndy profile image


      9 years ago from Queensland

      My tattoo represents a mixture of personal values; some aesthetic, some philosophical. I am a fan meaningful saying tattoos, as much as I am of purely visual and meaningless ones. I use mine as a reminder of personal mantra and history. It's as much a part of me as a scar or a memory. Great hub!

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Actually I find the opposite. People who get tattoos generally have high esteem for themselves. It is very much a personal expression. They flaunt their individuality and pride.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I always felt that getting a tatto was a sign of low self-esteem, a need to mutilate one's self to try to gain the approval of others.

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Thanks, Arabic writing looks very mystical. But I don't see many people with that. what I see a lot is English sayings tattoo, latin, chinese. Alien look, well recently I read something about alien abduction. Did you know the effect can be devastating? After the abduction, you become like a zombie?.......

    • Shadesbreath profile image


      9 years ago from California

      Wow, these are really cool. I'm not typically a fan of tatoos, but some of these work. In particular, the Arabic up the spine. That's very, sort of exotic, almost alien look. Nice hub.

    • profile image


      9 years ago


      I am thinking about getting a tattoo in remembrance of my grandma who passsed away when I was five.

      I want it to have some Christian meaning to it, and her intials K.J.D.

      I was thinking something along the lines of "With God all things are possible." and then "K.J.D" centered below it or "With Hope comes Faith." with "K.J.D." centered below it. I want it in a French Script text. Do you have any ideas?

      Thank you!

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Thanks renee, sharing new insights are great. Hope this gives people some practical tattoo ideas so they don't stick to the ordinary styles. Cheers.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Connie, this is an awesome hub! Thanks so much for sharing it with everyone :)

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Hi, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you. The tattoo must be meaningful to you, something very unique. However, I realize that some people don't really take the time to research so they got the wrong tattoo-meaning/symbols. They think the only important is the work of the tattoo artist. In fact, getting the right meaning of the first thing, cheers.

    • SweetiePerson profile image


      9 years ago from redditch

      i love tattoo's i can't wait to think of one that is suitable for me and will be a reminder of something valuble in my life im not just going to have a tattoo for no reason it has to mean something otherwise it is just a scar that is always going to be seen and never will go away

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Thanks a lot

    • Jeanne610 profile image


      9 years ago

      Love it. thanks

    • Connie Ho profile imageAUTHOR

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Hi, although I have no tattoo on me, wise phrases always thrill me. Those block of scripture on chest / side is called "script tattoo'. Phrase tattoo is short whereas script tattoo is long like text. Tattoo trend will be east & west, I like it, I love diversity....ha...ha.

    • mussmuss profile image


      9 years ago

      Interesting. I always liked phrase tattoos. I really like seeing an entire block of bible scripture on the side or chest.


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