Korean home altar

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KiwiNFLFan
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Korean home altar

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm

Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?

Tenma
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by Tenma » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:49 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?
Well, depends. There's the making of a simple table and arranging out offerings(whether ancestor or not). Really, it doesn't matter, though best ask the abbot. Whenever my grandma did this on certain days, she usually would go up a mountain or high area(my grandpa ordered his ashes scattered out to save the pain of a tomb) and arrange out the offerings. There, she would then leave and not look back as is respect.
However, just remember this. When placing items like statues or offerings on the table, make sure not to make a single sound. Gently place a bowl without the tapping sound being heard. It must be absolute silence.

The word is: 제가(Jesa)

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Miroku
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by Miroku » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:50 pm

I think your best bet would be contacting Kwan um Zen groups. Maybe they would be able to answer some of your questions. :smile:
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:08 pm

Tenma wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:49 pm
KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?
Well, depends. There's the making of a simple table and arranging out offerings(whether ancestor or not). Really, it doesn't matter, though best ask the abbot. Whenever my grandma did this on certain days, she usually would go up a mountain or high area(my grandpa ordered his ashes scattered out to save the pain of a tomb) and arrange out the offerings. There, she would then leave and not look back as is respect.
However, just remember this. When placing items like statues or offerings on the table, make sure not to make a single sound. Gently place a bowl without the tapping sound being heard. It must be absolute silence.

The word is: 제가(Jesa)
Isn't Jesa more a confucian thing than Buddhist?

But I'm also curious, the closest thing I've seen resembling a buddhist home altars in Korea are the ones that are quite elaborate, but in Shamanic lodges instead of houses!
Image
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

Tenma
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by Tenma » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:35 pm

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:08 pm
Tenma wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:49 pm
KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?
Well, depends. There's the making of a simple table and arranging out offerings(whether ancestor or not). Really, it doesn't matter, though best ask the abbot. Whenever my grandma did this on certain days, she usually would go up a mountain or high area(my grandpa ordered his ashes scattered out to save the pain of a tomb) and arrange out the offerings. There, she would then leave and not look back as is respect.
However, just remember this. When placing items like statues or offerings on the table, make sure not to make a single sound. Gently place a bowl without the tapping sound being heard. It must be absolute silence.

The word is: 제가(Jesa)
Isn't Jesa more a confucian thing than Buddhist?

But I'm also curious, the closest thing I've seen resembling a buddhist home altars in Korea are the ones that are quite elaborate, but in Shamanic lodges instead of houses!
Image
The image isn't working, but remember, shamanism, Buddhism, and Confucianism have mixed in daily life. For example, red beans as a method to ward off evil is a shamanic practice, yet monks have used it in exorcism. In funerals, the shamans practice the 49 day funeral on the last day with monks believing in the Korean death deities(though it will depend on lineage).

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Adamantine
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by Adamantine » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:59 am

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:08 pm
Tenma wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:49 pm
KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?
Well, depends. There's the making of a simple table and arranging out offerings(whether ancestor or not). Really, it doesn't matter, though best ask the abbot. Whenever my grandma did this on certain days, she usually would go up a mountain or high area(my grandpa ordered his ashes scattered out to save the pain of a tomb) and arrange out the offerings. There, she would then leave and not look back as is respect.
However, just remember this. When placing items like statues or offerings on the table, make sure not to make a single sound. Gently place a bowl without the tapping sound being heard. It must be absolute silence.

The word is: 제가(Jesa)
Isn't Jesa more a confucian thing than Buddhist?

But I'm also curious, the closest thing I've seen resembling a buddhist home altars in Korea are the ones that are quite elaborate, but in Shamanic lodges instead of houses!
Image
I can’t see your image... maybe try uploading again?
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:49 pm

Adamantine wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:59 am
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:08 pm
Tenma wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:49 pm


Well, depends. There's the making of a simple table and arranging out offerings(whether ancestor or not). Really, it doesn't matter, though best ask the abbot. Whenever my grandma did this on certain days, she usually would go up a mountain or high area(my grandpa ordered his ashes scattered out to save the pain of a tomb) and arrange out the offerings. There, she would then leave and not look back as is respect.
However, just remember this. When placing items like statues or offerings on the table, make sure not to make a single sound. Gently place a bowl without the tapping sound being heard. It must be absolute silence.

The word is: 제가(Jesa)
Isn't Jesa more a confucian thing than Buddhist?

But I'm also curious, the closest thing I've seen resembling a buddhist home altars in Korea are the ones that are quite elaborate, but in Shamanic lodges instead of houses!
Image
I can’t see your image... maybe try uploading again?
Image
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

Tenma
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by Tenma » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:48 pm

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:49 pm
Adamantine wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:59 am
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:08 pm

Isn't Jesa more a confucian thing than Buddhist?

But I'm also curious, the closest thing I've seen resembling a buddhist home altars in Korea are the ones that are quite elaborate, but in Shamanic lodges instead of houses!
Image
I can’t see your image... maybe try uploading again?
Image
As I said, traditions mix. There are even mudangs that worship Jesus or Genghis Khan! Though as you see here in this shrine, it's a mixture of enlightened deities and Korean deities(you can say they serve as protectors).

However, at home, shrines can be simple. More like an ancestral shrine, but with the image of the deity or something like that(though you don't see many Koreans worshiping Korean gods like Dangun)

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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:31 pm

Image
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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KeithA
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by KeithA » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:58 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?
Check out page 50 of this document:

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... 281%29.pdf

_/|\_
Keith

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Nyedrag Yeshe
Posts: 495
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Location: Brazil

Re: Korean home altar

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:31 pm

KeithA wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:58 pm
KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?
Check out page 50 of this document:

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... 281%29.pdf

_/|\_
Keith
Hi Sunim! The doc is not opening!
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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KeithA
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by KeithA » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:57 pm

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote: [/url]1547411462 user_id=8270]
KeithA wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:58 pm
KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?
Check out page 50 of this document:

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... 281%29.pdf

_/|\_
Keith
Hi Sunim! The doc is not opening!
Thanks for the catch, Nvedrag Yeshe. I am no Sunim, for sure. In fact, I am a very lousy practitioner!!

Anyway, try this:


https://kwanumzen.org/resources-collect ... th-edition

_/|\_
Keith

jmlee369
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:22 am

Re: Korean home altar

Post by jmlee369 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:22 am

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?
Lay people do not usually set up altars in their home, this is a legacy of Buddhism being suppressed and discriminated against during the Joseon dynasty. One result of that political campaign was the widespread belief that having Buddhist altars at home causes bad luck and misfortune (a more charitable interpretation was that lay homes were not pure enough to host Buddhas and bodhisattvas).

These days, there are some slow changes but it is still not a popular practice to have a home altar. However, the basic set up would be a Buddha image, with a bowl for water and an incense burner in the centre, between a pair of candlesticks. Travelling monks often carried around a bulgam (불감) travelling altar.

KiwiNFLFan
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:15 am

Re: Korean home altar

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:38 am

jmlee369 wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:22 am
KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Hi, I'll be moving to Korea in just over a month or so, and I want to know about setting up a Buddhist altar in the Korean tradition. I haven't been able to find much information about Korean Buddhist altars online. Are they like Japanese butsudans or more like Chinese altars? Can you get the sort that can be closed (it looks like I'll be in a one-room studio apartment)? Also, what is the Korean terminology for a Buddhist altar and where can you buy them?
Lay people do not usually set up altars in their home, this is a legacy of Buddhism being suppressed and discriminated against during the Joseon dynasty. One result of that political campaign was the widespread belief that having Buddhist altars at home causes bad luck and misfortune (a more charitable interpretation was that lay homes were not pure enough to host Buddhas and bodhisattvas).

These days, there are some slow changes but it is still not a popular practice to have a home altar. However, the basic set up would be a Buddha image, with a bowl for water and an incense burner in the centre, between a pair of candlesticks. Travelling monks often carried around a bulgam (불감) travelling altar.
Thanks. I didn't know that - I just assumed it would be like Chinese and Japanese Buddhism which do have home altars.

What sort of Buddha image is normally enshrined? Shakyamuni, Amitabha, Kwan Se Eum (Avalokiteshvara)? I saw on Gmarket a set of Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta statues, so maybe I'll get those. To be honest, I know very little about Mahasthamaprapta and would prefer Ksitigarbha, but I know that the three of them are worshipped together. I'd also like to enshrine a picture of Tara (I have one here that I can bring).

Since I'll be living in a one-room studio apartment, I understand that the practice is to have an altar with doors that can be closed (at least that's what I read from Master Jun Hong Lu's site). Are these easy to come by in Korea, or will I need to improvise? If it comes to it, is there anywhere in Korea that makes Japanese butsudan?
Last edited by KiwiNFLFan on Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

KiwiNFLFan
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:15 am

Re: Korean home altar

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:40 am

KeithA wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:57 pm
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote: [/url]1547411462 user_id=8270]
KeithA wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:58 pm


Check out page 50 of this document:

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... 281%29.pdf

_/|\_
Keith
Hi Sunim! The doc is not opening!
Thanks for the catch, Nvedrag Yeshe. I am no Sunim, for sure. In fact, I am a very lousy practitioner!!

Anyway, try this:


https://kwanumzen.org/resources-collect ... th-edition

_/|\_
Keith
This looks more applicable to an altar in a temple, not in a home. Does the same etiquette apply?

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Grigoris
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Re: Korean home altar

Post by Grigoris » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:40 am

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:38 am
Since I'll be living in a one-room studio apartment, I understand that the practice is to have an altar with doors that can be closed (at least that's what I read from Master Jun Hong Lu's site). Are these easy to come by in Korea, or will I need to improvise? If it comes to it, is there anywhere in Korea that makes Japanese butsudan?
Just buy a small cupboard. ;)
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

jmlee369
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:22 am

Re: Korean home altar

Post by jmlee369 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:33 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:38 am
Thanks. I didn't know that - I just assumed it would be like Chinese and Japanese Buddhism which do have home altars.

What sort of Buddha image is normally enshrined? Shakyamuni, Amitabha, Kwan Se Eum (Avalokiteshvara)? I saw on Gmarket a set of Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta statues, so maybe I'll get those. To be honest, I know very little about Mahasthamaprapta and would prefer Ksitigarbha, but I know that the three of them are worshipped together. I'd also like to enshrine a picture of Tara (I have one here that I can bring).

Since I'll be living in a one-room studio apartment, I understand that the practice is to have an altar with doors that can be closed (at least that's what I read from Master Jun Hong Lu's site). Are these easy to come by in Korea, or will I need to improvise? If it comes to it, is there anywhere in Korea that makes Japanese butsudan?
Koreans would probably enshrine a single Buddha image, whichever Buddha they have an affinity too. The most common would be Shayamuni Buddha, Amitabha, Medicine Buddha, Avalokitesvara (very popular), Ksitigarbha. Mahasthamaprapta is an important bodhisattva in Pure Land, because he is one of Amitabha's attendant bodhisattvas (the other being Avalokitesvara), often considered to be Vajrapani bodhisattva by a different name. You can read more about him in this Shurangama Sutra chapter (link also contains commentary to the sutra), which is considered one of the five Pure Land sutra texts. In Korea it is actually quite common for Amitabha, Avalokitesvara, and Ksitigarbha to form a triad, especially on altars for the deceased and in the Amitabha hall.

Now, I would not take Jun Hong Lu's claims regarding the dharma too seriously (there is little to criticise in encouraging people to recite sutras and mantras, but some other notions such as certain mantras not being allowed to recite at certain times of the days is a bit 'superstitious'). You can just place the altar as is, but if your mind is uncomfortable with the altar being 'exposed' while you live your daily life in front of it, perhaps you might be interested in a bulgam which opens and closes, and is easily portable. The ones here and here actually feature Amitabha, Avalokitesvara, and Ksitigarbha like you were looking for. The artistic styles are actually Chinese, but the Buddha is still Buddha.

KiwiNFLFan
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:15 am

Re: Korean home altar

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:17 pm

jmlee369 wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:33 pm
KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:38 am
Thanks. I didn't know that - I just assumed it would be like Chinese and Japanese Buddhism which do have home altars.

What sort of Buddha image is normally enshrined? Shakyamuni, Amitabha, Kwan Se Eum (Avalokiteshvara)? I saw on Gmarket a set of Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta statues, so maybe I'll get those. To be honest, I know very little about Mahasthamaprapta and would prefer Ksitigarbha, but I know that the three of them are worshipped together. I'd also like to enshrine a picture of Tara (I have one here that I can bring).

Since I'll be living in a one-room studio apartment, I understand that the practice is to have an altar with doors that can be closed (at least that's what I read from Master Jun Hong Lu's site). Are these easy to come by in Korea, or will I need to improvise? If it comes to it, is there anywhere in Korea that makes Japanese butsudan?
Koreans would probably enshrine a single Buddha image, whichever Buddha they have an affinity too. The most common would be Shayamuni Buddha, Amitabha, Medicine Buddha, Avalokitesvara (very popular), Ksitigarbha. Mahasthamaprapta is an important bodhisattva in Pure Land, because he is one of Amitabha's attendant bodhisattvas (the other being Avalokitesvara), often considered to be Vajrapani bodhisattva by a different name. You can read more about him in this Shurangama Sutra chapter (link also contains commentary to the sutra), which is considered one of the five Pure Land sutra texts. In Korea it is actually quite common for Amitabha, Avalokitesvara, and Ksitigarbha to form a triad, especially on altars for the deceased and in the Amitabha hall.
Great! I'll see if I can do that then. I'll have a look in Seoul to see what shops there are available that sell Buddha images and altars.
Now, I would not take Jun Hong Lu's claims regarding the dharma too seriously (there is little to criticise in encouraging people to recite sutras and mantras, but some other notions such as certain mantras not being allowed to recite at certain times of the days is a bit 'superstitious'). You can just place the altar as is, but if your mind is uncomfortable with the altar being 'exposed' while you live your daily life in front of it, perhaps you might be interested in a bulgam which opens and closes, and is easily portable. The ones here and here actually feature Amitabha, Avalokitesvara, and Ksitigarbha like you were looking for. The artistic styles are actually Chinese, but the Buddha is still Buddha.
Oh, so that's what those fold-out image things are.

I was told that sexual activity should not take place in a room with a Buddha image, and so if an altar needs to be installed in a bedroom, it should be able to be closed off.

jmlee369
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:22 am

Re: Korean home altar

Post by jmlee369 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:34 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:17 pm
Great! I'll see if I can do that then. I'll have a look in Seoul to see what shops there are available that sell Buddha images and altars.
There are some shops that sell Buddhist paraphernalia around Jogyesa.

KiwiNFLFan
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:15 am

Re: Korean home altar

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:46 am

jmlee369 wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:34 pm
KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:17 pm
Great! I'll see if I can do that then. I'll have a look in Seoul to see what shops there are available that sell Buddha images and altars.
There are some shops that sell Buddhist paraphernalia around Jogyesa.
Good to know! Thanks!

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