The Yantra designs that already existed in Hindu India were adapted by the Khmer as Buddhism arrived from neighbouring India.Records have shown that the tattoo dates back to Angkor times. Different masters have added to these designs through visions received in their meditations. Some Yant have been adapted from pre-Buddhist Shamanism and the belief in Animal Spirits that was to be found in the Southeast Asian sub-Continent and incorporated into the Thai Buddhist tradition.
The script used for Yant designs is ancient Khmer and Pali.
In Cambodia, the tattoo is used for self-protection. Cambodians believe a yantra has magical powers that ward off evil and hardship. The tattoo is particularly popular amongst military personnel. The tattoo supposedly guarantees that the person cannot receive any physical harm as long as they follow certain conditions. A person is supposed not supposed to talk to anyone for three days and three nights after receiving a yantra. Another alternative is to follow the five Buddhist precepts which are you cannot kill, steal, cheat, be intoxicated by alcohol or lust over women.
Yant designs are also applied to many other mediums, such as cloth or metal, and placed in one's house, place of worship, or vehicle as a means of protection from all kinds of dangers, or against illness, to increase wealth or attract lovers etc.