General Buddhism => General Buddhism => Topic started by: Pema8 on July 22, 2018, 07:40:25 PM

Title: Nurse deported from Sri Lanka 'over Buddha tattoo' wins compensation
Post by: Pema8 on July 22, 2018, 07:40:25 PM
Nurse deported from Sri Lanka 'over Buddha tattoo' wins compensation

Buddhism is accorded the 'foremost place' in country's constitution but there is no law against tattoos

A British woman has won nearly £4,000 in compensation from a Sri Lankan court after being wrongly deported for having a Buddha tattoo on her arm.

Naomi Coleman, a mental health nurse from Coventry, made headlines in 2014 when she was detained for four days.

In a ruling the Supreme Court declared she was entitled to compensation and also ordered police involved in her arrest to pay her £246 each, the government's information department said.

Buddhism is accorded the "foremost place" in Sri Lanka's constitution and about 70 per cent of the island'??s 21 million people are Buddhist. But there is no law banning Buddha tattoos.

Ms Coleman was deported "contrary to the law governing immigration and emigration", the government said. She was not present in court.

One guard had "made several lewd, obscene and disparaging remarks of a sexually-explicit nature" towards her, the BBC reported.

Ms Coleman told the broadcaster: "Finally the court has actually seen it that I didn't do anything wrong."

She would "probably not" return to Sri Lanka, she added.

A lower court had decided to deport Ms Coleman partly because she could have been "??vulnerable"? if allowed to stay as some Sri Lankans could have been offended by the tattoo, officials said.

In 2013, Sri Lanka, a former British colony, denied entry to a British man because of his Buddha tattoo. (
Title: Re: Nurse deported from Sri Lanka 'over Buddha tattoo' wins compensation
Post by: Pema8 on July 22, 2018, 07:43:38 PM
Well, tattoos are for life in general and therefore you cannot take your tattoo off when going for holidays.

I understand that it might hurt feelings in Sri Lanka but still to put her into jail is quite harsh. I guess if you have such a tattoo, you better make sure that your holiday destination will be safe for you.
Title: Re: Nurse deported from Sri Lanka 'over Buddha tattoo' wins compensation
Post by: Alex on October 25, 2018, 09:13:21 AM
I think Sri Lanka really overreacted over the tattoo. It does not make sense to say that they are afraid that her tattoo is offensive to the locals. There are no rules and laws in Sri Lanka stating that Buddha tattoo is illegal hence they have no right to deport her. Im glad that court case so the next person that bears a Buddha tattoo will not be innocently deported.

However, the nurse should be more aware of the places that she is going to visit and the do's and dont's. Buddha images is a consider scared for Buddhist and it is not advisable to have Buddha images as tattoo unless it is for religious reasons just like Sak Yant tattoos in Thailand. From the look of the tattoo of the nurse's arm, it looks like she did it just because she liked it and not for religious purposes.

She should do more research on the country and maybe wear a long sleeve shirt to cover it up and not cause any unwanted problems. Awareness and precaution are very important when we are visiting another country because we are not familiar with the local customs and rules. It is very easy to offend people if we are being careless and we might get ourselves into troubles or even danger to our lives.
Title: Re: Nurse deported from Sri Lanka 'over Buddha tattoo' wins compensation
Post by: SabS on November 21, 2018, 03:00:56 AM
It is good that the courts upheld the laws of Sri Lanka unlike some that are based on favoritism. And I really don't see how could her Buddha tattoo be an offense to the Buddhists as it was on a respectable location. It is probably her respect and exploration into the peace that Buddhism offers. It is sad that Naomi Coleman had her impression of "gentle" Sri Lanka destroyed by the polices and one with lewd remarks too. I too had the impression that Sri Lanka would be safe, maybe lulled by the many holy places that she has, but now I know better. Because of this one incident and the impression built over the years is destroyed. Such a shame. Heavy lesson learned.

Alex had a good suggestion of covering up. Tourists should always bring a couple of long sleeves shirts so that at places of worship, they wear something respectful.
Title: Re: Nurse deported from Sri Lanka 'over Buddha tattoo' wins compensation
Post by: Tracy on February 17, 2019, 04:14:32 PM
I am not a fan of tattoos but this is a personal choice. Some people like to use their body as a canvas to paint. However, I don't agree with tattooing Buddha images on the body. To me, it seems to be a little unrespectful to the holy image.

If we want the blessings or protection from the Buddha, we can always wear a Buddhist amulet or pendant, there is no need to tattoo the holy image on our body. A holy image should be venerated with great respect, I don't think our body is very holy or good enough to show such respect to the Buddha.

I feel sorry for the nurse because she didn't know about the rule in Sri Lanka. I also didn't know there is such a rule until I read this news. The lesson learned here is, when we travel to another country, always check their local custom or rule. We really don't want to end up like the nurse.
Title: Re: Nurse deported from Sri Lanka 'over Buddha tattoo' wins compensation
Post by: Drolma on August 12, 2019, 12:29:48 PM
When we travel to another country, it is important to learn up about the custom in that country. Some people think it is ok to tattoo a sacred image on the body but some don't. To Sri Lankan, the Buddha image us too sacred to be tattooed on a body.

I don't think this lady has any ill thought when she tattooed the Buddha image on her body. Perhaps she is so attracted to it that she tattooed the image on her body out of admiration. It could be that she wants to be protected by the Buddha image.

It is a bad experience to her, but it is also a lesson for the rest of us. When we travel to a country with strong religious belief, we must learn about their custom and don't do anything that is offensive to them. After all, we are only a guest. If we don't agree with the law of the country, then we don't travel there.