My next tattoo will be a red-capped robin slightly looking down as he is perched on a cherry blossom tree, located on the back of my left shoulder.
The reason I chose this bird is simple, first for its name. Then, I selected this particular type for its physique; short and stocky, like my brother Robin. Then, the color red; as I said before, if I were to associate Robin with a color, it would be red. The bird also has a unique feature of a red looking cap, hence the name red-capped robin. My brother always wore hats. Therefore, this bird will represent my brother Robin looking down watching over us.
Cherry Blossom Tree
The reason I chose a cherry blossom tree is for its Japanese symbolism and how it ties deeply with the fundamental teachings of Buddhism (read my old blog Is Buddhism for me?). Here are some clippings from various web sites paraphrased to give you an understanding of the Japanese symbolism and connection to the Buddhist teachings:
The Japanese feel that the cherry blossom represent life in that life is something of great beauty yet it is very quick and passing and in the end is full of suffering also. For the Japanese, it is a reminder to live life fully and in the now. This concept ties in very deeply with the fundamental teachings of Buddhism. According to the Buddhist tradition, the breathtaking but brief beauty of the blossoms symbolizes the transient nature of life as well. And that all life is suffering and one must simply give in to the suffering and let go. Through this letting go the suffering ends and people can achieve enlightenment.
Another symbolic representation of the cherry blossom tree that I uncovered today, is that for the Japanese, the cherry blossom is often used symbolically or idealistically to represent the true way of a Samurai. The Samurai never know when they are going to die and instead of worrying about death they have to live their life to the fullest and be fully prepared to die an early death. They felt that if you were not prepared to die then you could not fully live. So a Cherry blossom that has fallen from the tree is often symbolic of a Samurai who has died early in battle. In fact one of the saying that was common for the Samurai was today is a good day to die. It is not that they had a death wish at all it was more of a life wish. They knew their life was rough and dangerous and that it would end in a sudden death. In fact it was more honorable to end in death during a battle then to live to an old age. So like the Cherry blossom with its short yet beautiful life the Samurai lived in the same way.
Based on the Samurai story, I was thinking to add one cherry blossom flower on my lower, lower back...right under the tree branches…to represent my fallen brother. (too much? maybe.)
So anyway, as you can see, this tattoo will not only symbolize my brother Robin, but represents his lifestyle, my lessons learned from him, and a reminder for me to live life fully and in the now. Life is transient.
I will be visiting a new tattoo parlor tomorrow in hopes that they will be able to create a beautiful tattoo based on my vision. Wish me luck!