One City

One City


Help Choose My Next Tattoo!

posted by Ethan Nichtern

Fun weekend. A little birthday party (guess my age), a little rearranging of my apartment, and a lot of mindful dancing that shook the building to its centuries-old foundations.

The activism meeting today was great, and the Back To the Sack Initiative is full steam ahead. Everyone should get involved with the project. We are seriously making moves. Let’s not talk about what’s wrong with the world y’all. I do that too often. You do that too often. Spiritual people do that way too often. There were 17 or 18 people at today’s meeting. Next month’s meeting should have at least 50 (Sunday July 27 @ high noon), what with all the griping we all do about our ecological problems.

This post won’t be majorly substantive in any spiritual or political way, but if you need a little fix, check out this inspiring blog about all the great sustainability initiatives going on around the world. My favorite is the “organoponico,” the Cuban urban garden and market phenomenom which is revolutionizing Havana and vastly altering Cuba’s food and sustainability landscape for the better. We need to get more organoponicos rolling in this One City. Anyone know of anything like this going on stateside? I heard Detroit has a lot of urban gardens.

So anyway, back to the non-substantive. On Friday evening, fellow blogger Eva and I finished our neighborhood petitioning and are hoping to actually serve on the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee come fall (graft, anyone?). To celebrate our successful participation in democracy, we rolled over to Mighty Diamond, a Williamsburg vegetarian Jamaican style joint. In the kitchen, the I.D. Project’s own multimedia czar Patrick Groneman can be found cooking – as well as serving up – some Jerk Tofu and Seitan curried “goat” to perfection. Now that’s right livelihood, Pat.

Eva and I talked tattoos and sipped Tecates. Eva has some good tattoos, fyi. In celebration of my birthday, I’m about to get another one, my second piece. I have two ideas floating in my head, but I thought the IDP/One City community could help me choose the next inky image implanted under the skin, only to be slowly eroded by impermanence. Eva didn’t love my main tattoo idea, btw. That made me nervous, combined with the fact that I have the most open-minded mother on Earth and she hated that I got a tattoo in the first place, even though the subject matter was quite near and dear to her heart.

Here is my existing tattoo, on my left arm. Extra points to anyone who can tell me what it is and what it represents (GZA, Ellen Scordato and others with insider knowledge are excluded from commenting on this mystery symbol).

Put on yer thinking caps and tell me what the theme of my next tat should be. I’ll share my two ideas once about 7 or 8 comments and ideas are down below.

As alway, an honor blogging with you all.

Organoponicamente,

E.N.



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damaris

posted June 30, 2008 at 10:12 am


HB 30 Ethan, (it’s in your book)
I’ve seen the symbol before and I asked three different people and here’s what they shared.
What’s on your arm is an ASHE.
It is the pith instruction of the Prajnaparamita.
It represents the energetic life force.
Funny, I read over it last week when I was researching something. Let me see if I can find it again.



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Stillman Brown

posted June 30, 2008 at 10:40 am


Get a big broad in panties and a bomber jacket with the text “Nukes 4 Life” underneath in rainbow colors.
Spice it up, man.



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Stillman Brown

posted June 30, 2008 at 10:41 am

Eva

posted June 30, 2008 at 11:17 am


But there’s so much good tattoo material in Tibetan art! Like this:
http://www.iomny.com/innercontinental/21307_mara.jpg
Also: tattoo removal really, really hurts, people. So choose wisely. If I’m still in pain on Friday, I’ll have to whine about it further on this blog.



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dorothy

posted June 30, 2008 at 11:19 am


Regarding your question about urban gardening, I just read about Public Farm 1. Will have to go check out P.S. 1
http://www.publicfarm1.org/



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GZA

posted June 30, 2008 at 11:30 am


I was going to chime in with a joke, but after google image surfing “worst tattoos” i’m more disturbed than amused.



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damaris

posted June 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm


lol.
okay, I couldn’t find it but I believe the Ashe comes in two colors black & white.
I don’t know what that means.
Also, a master teacher told me that in West Africa you can here people saying ashe, ashe at events out loud. (this was to the teacher’s surprise).
It turns out (i looked it up after the teacher mentioned it) that Ashe is also the name of a male diety in the ancient spirtiual tradition of Yoruba.
Santeria, the Afro-Caribbean religion, has it’s basis in Yoruba. As well as some other religions including one practiced (I don’t know the name and I don’t know if these people still practice) in the small islands off the coast of South Carolina.
Well, after hearing that the Puerto Rican in me said “GET OUTTA HERE – FOR REAL”.
And if that minor connection wasn’t enough. On Friday I spoke to my aunt from the “American” side of my family to learn more about my granddad Sparrow. (I wasn’t raised by them). Turns out that Little Sparrow (great-grandma) has some family from where? Those small islands of the coast of South Carolina.
The world is a small, small place.
All the effort put by some of my Puerto Rican family to dissuade me from learning and I ran right into it anyway.
Now let me go find a cushion and humble myself.
see ya later.



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damaris

posted June 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm


oh, let me clarify.
I don’t know if the Ashe in Tibet is the same as the Ashe in Afica but it’s wonderful to know that a word can travel so far.



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Ethan Nichtern

posted June 30, 2008 at 12:22 pm


I need at least four more suggestions before i reveal my two ideas…



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Davee

posted June 30, 2008 at 12:42 pm


i’m partial to some sort of pithy tibetan meditation instructions wrapped around a bicep. i might do that too sometime, like a list ala:
- appearance is emptiness
- emptiness is coalescence
- coalescence is lack of elaboration
- lack of elaboration is equality
that one is from ju mipham. so many ways to slice and dice it, maybe the four yogas of mahamudra or something similar would wrap around the arm well. not sure where to find the tibetan source for any of these though…



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Al Billings

posted June 30, 2008 at 12:43 pm


One assumes it is the infamous “Black Ashe” from Trungpa’s terma text.



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Eva

posted June 30, 2008 at 1:27 pm


OK, I know you already aren’t gonna do this one, but:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/crazyshin/194052662/



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GZA

posted June 30, 2008 at 1:28 pm


Davee, you might want to let a couple more post-Mipham Academy days pass before you run with that one, just in case!



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jmay

posted June 30, 2008 at 3:13 pm


My suggestions:
1. MOM
2. Battlestar Gallactica icon
3. Naked Sophia Lauren
4. Snake eating raspberry.
5. You dad’s glasses



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Jennifer Kass

posted June 30, 2008 at 7:31 pm


The tattoo on your arm is an ashe.
The meaning of it is esoteric, which is why I can’t tell you exactly what it means – that knowledge belongs to those who have reached a certain level in the Buddhist teachings. (That is my understanding, correct me if I’m wrong)
I was also surprised to see it on your arm because I don’t think you can even paint the ashe until you have accomplished the specific level of teaching.
(The word ashe is also in the chant “KI KI SO SO ASHE LHA GYEL LO” which is used as a mantra and is part of a Buddhist practice.)



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Jennifer Kass

posted June 30, 2008 at 7:42 pm


My two picks for the theme of your next tattoo are Love or being Present.



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Patrick

posted June 30, 2008 at 9:56 pm


wu-tang



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shara

posted June 30, 2008 at 10:33 pm


You know Boy, you can’t be buried in a Jewish graveyard now.
Ten years ago I once wanted Hebrew letters on my wrist that read PAIN AND IMPERMANENCE. This was, of course, supposed to be some kind response to both the Jewish cemetery thing – Jews with tattoos can not be buried in Jewish cemeteries – and a tribute to Holocaust victims, as there were numbers inscribed on Holocaust victims’ wrists.
I’m due to get a turquoise square on back real soon. No story. Just a simple beautiful square — with the added bonus that its simplicity makes it cheap.
BTW, as fodder for discussion, what do you all think about Japanese characters as tattoos on people who don’t totally understand them? Who pick them out to match some other kind of aesthetic? Does this exoticise The East for purposes of Western hipness?
Oh and Ethan, as per tonight’s discussion, two minutes ago I experienced intense SELF-ANGER, stemming from my own lack of spatial AWARENESS…to remember my activist folder at yesterday’s meeting. So yeah, I think it was mine. Where is it now?



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shara

posted July 1, 2008 at 6:42 am


Really, we should all get ID Project tattoos on our necks. What’s our logo exactly?
(Oh and I just reread my last post EXOTICISE should be EXOTICIZE.)



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Ethan Nichtern

posted July 1, 2008 at 7:37 am


Okay, JMay, getting my Dad’s glasses would be the best tattoo EVER. I vow now that I will, as a memorial to him, once he departs this plane of existence.
Idea number one: Barack Obama, naked in lotus posture across my back, surrounded by his retinue of community organizers. In his right hand he holds a microphone to subdue the legions of cynics and in his left hand he twirls an American flag.
What do you think?



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Stillman Brown

posted July 1, 2008 at 8:56 am


YES.



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menagerist

posted July 1, 2008 at 12:30 pm


seriously?!



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Ethan Nichtern

posted July 1, 2008 at 12:33 pm


The Wu Tang symbol would also be pretty hot though. Or just a portrait of Old Dirty Bastard on my inner thigh.



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menagerist

posted July 1, 2008 at 12:48 pm


Well, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a guy with a tattoo of another guy… but I’m not sure that I would find that very hot. Perhaps it depends on each of the men involved.
The most important thing of course is not what we think but what you think, since you’re the one who would be wearing it forever.



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menagerist

posted July 1, 2008 at 1:06 pm


p.s. The above post was not meant to imply anything about the hotness factor of you or Obama. Having never met either of you, I am in no position to gauge such things.
I love the dad’s glasses suggestion.



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menagerist

posted July 1, 2008 at 2:13 pm


Okay, now I know that you were only joking. Whew. Your real idea is very good.



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Eva

posted July 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm

GZA

posted July 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm


Ah geez, I saw that one. It’s amazing how many different animals have been rendered with the bellybutton-asshole motif. It’s a hopeless world we live in.



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Elisabeth Hazell

posted July 3, 2008 at 12:54 pm


Okay,
I have the most exciting news about the ashe and its meaning as the symbol of unconditional confidence connected with genuine action. I’ve discovered that there is also a RED ashe…to be calligraphed by the bride at a Shambhala wedding. (Daring, unusual and totally sexy.)
Save that one for your girl’s tat. My suggestion is to stick with the blackwork…or maybe now I’m getting excited by that image of calligraphy in red. Either way, I find that one color is the most elegant, and I love stuff that works with the body:
http://flickr.com/photos/whatbettertime/102238465/



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robert birkenes

posted July 4, 2008 at 9:34 pm


Ethan,
There is a tattoo artist in the NYC area who goes by the name DenizenCitizen on flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9141785@N07/
The main website is here, with some different pics:
http://www.chicksdigtattoos.com/
I think some of the best ones are here:
http://www.chicksdigtattoos.com/Greyscale.html
Can you believe someone is able to do a tattoo of the enso sign, and actually show the ‘brushstrokes’ and ‘ink splatter’? Amazing.
Good luck with your decision. As for me–I have no tattoos, my friend and I made a pact ten years ago to be radical and not tattoo ourselves, but I am so tempted to fly to NYC and look up Denise de la Cerda. Some amazing work.
Best wishes, Bob



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jennie

posted July 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm


Ashe, yes the black ashe, Shambhala Buddhist term taught by Trungpa Rinpoche
Ashe also term used by Yoruba Religion and
diaspora. Means life force. To my knowledge the word is Yoruba, not Tibetan or Sanskrit. I would appreciate hearing clarification from someone who knows anthropology. My research says all roads lead to Yoruba as the root from which the word comes. Think that Rinpoche picked up the word while studying world religons at Oxford. The teachings came to be in 1974 long after Yoruba……



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Ethan Nichtern

posted July 24, 2008 at 8:34 pm


It is a word both in Yoruba, and I believe it is a combination of two forms of seed syllable used in Tibetan. Although he may’ve made up the “She” aspect of seed syllable, I’m not sure. She means consciousness in Tibetan in a different meaning (though about seven words mean some form of consciousness)
He made the Ashe first in the summer of 1976. My Dad was there. Good story.



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theworsthorse

posted September 7, 2008 at 2:49 pm


why not the actual One City tree?



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Hines24Martha

posted January 6, 2011 at 10:02 am


I would like to propose not to wait until you get enough amount of cash to order different goods! You can get the loan or sba loan and feel yourself comfortable



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