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Setting up a Buddhist Altar at home
All Buddhist traditions use a Buddhist shrine as a reminder and focal point for meditation. It represents the Buddha, and offerings are placed on it. Some traditions are more elaborate than others. The Tibetan shrine, for example, is more ornate than the Zen or Theravadin shrine.
The essentials in every tradition are as follows: The right space. The best is a room which is used for nothing else. Otherwise a quiet corner in a bedroom, sitting room or study is okay. The shrine itself should be higher than one’s head when seated. An image or representation of the Buddha, usually a Buddha rupa or statue of the best quality one can afford, and offerings of water, light, flowers and incense. As a leading Buddhist shop trading in dharmaware, we offer high quality Buddhist practice supplies and meditation tools, including Buddha statues, offering bowls and butterlamps.
Types of Shrine
THERAVADIN BUDDHISM: A simple Theravadin-style shrine is a single platform with a picture or image of the Buddha, flowers on either side, a set of religious statues, handcrafted statues and candles or butterlamps in front, ritual objects and a pot of Tibetan incense in front of that.
ZEN BUDDHISM: A Zen shrine has an image of the Buddha at centre back; water and food offerings placed in front; incense in front of that, a candle or butter lamps on the right, flowers, on the left.
TIBETAN BUDDHISM: An elaborate Tibetan shrine has three levels. The highest has a Buddha image or statue in the centre with an image of Guru Rinpoche the Tantric Buddha of Tibet, on the left, as you stand facing the shrine, and Chenresig, the deity of compassion on the right. A photo of one’s personal guru may be included here. The second level has dharma texts in the centre, a yidam such as Vajra Yogini on the left, a protector such as Mahakala on the right. A bell and vajra and a stupa may be included here. At the lowest level are the seven offering bowls representing water, one for washing one for drinking, flowers, light, food , music. A mandala set to represent an offering of the universe to the Buddha is often placed here.
Our on-line shop has all the items you may need for your own Buddhist shrine.