how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

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Alternatehistory95
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how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Alternatehistory95 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:02 pm

I'm hoping to set up an altar with pictures of the Buddha and small Buddha statues in my bedroom and need to ask, is there a proper way to set up an altar.

I cleared space on one of my drawers that has a mirror on it. That's where the hypothetical altar will be.

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kirtu
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by kirtu » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:26 am

Alternatehistory95 wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:02 pm
I'm hoping to set up an altar with pictures of the Buddha and small Buddha statues in my bedroom and need to ask, is there a proper way to set up an altar.

I cleared space on one of my drawers that has a mirror on it. That's where the hypothetical altar will be.
You can set it up almost however you wish. The central image/statue should be Shakyamuni Buddha or Amitabha Buddha but even this is not hard and fast. The central statue (if you have one) should technically be raised and in the middle rear of your altar space. You can have one, two or more lights toward the front of the altar flanking (balanced on both sides of) your central image/statue. If you feel inclined to Tibetan/Himalayan Buddhism then you can have the seven offering bowls in front.

For years I had a minimalist altar with Kwan Yin , two candles and an incense burner bowl.

We did have shrine images in a forum here. Maybe they are still there.

Here are some ideas:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

Alternatehistory95
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Alternatehistory95 » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:56 am

kirtu wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:26 am
Alternatehistory95 wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:02 pm
I'm hoping to set up an altar with pictures of the Buddha and small Buddha statues in my bedroom and need to ask, is there a proper way to set up an altar.

I cleared space on one of my drawers that has a mirror on it. That's where the hypothetical altar will be.
You can set it up almost however you wish. The central image/statue should be Shakyamuni Buddha or Amitabha Buddha but even this is not hard and fast. The central statue (if you have one) should technically be raised and in the middle rear of your altar space. You can have one, two or more lights toward the front of the altar flanking (balanced on both sides of) your central image/statue. If you feel inclined to Tibetan/Himalayan Buddhism then you can have the seven offering bowls in front.

For years I had a minimalist altar with Kwan Yin , two candles and an incense burner bowl.

We did have shrine images in a forum here. Maybe they are still there.

Here are some ideas:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Image
How about this? It's something simple. I can get those Buddha statues that you suggested, and put it between two flower vases. Is that an option?

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Miroku
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Miroku » Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:06 am

I must say I just love the last picture with the "realistic" Buddha. I'd love to have something similar at home as it is just beautiful and shows how handsome he was according to the scripture.
“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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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:23 pm

My advice...keep it simple. Central rupa. Candles, incense. Seasonal images on rotation. For example Amoghasiddhi is associated with autumn/fall. Ratnasambhava with spring. Resist the temptation to go gothic and elaborate.
“ When the demon is at your door, in the morning it won’t be there no more
Any major dude will tell you”.

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kirtu
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by kirtu » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:09 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:23 pm
My advice...keep it simple. Central rupa. Candles, incense. Seasonal images on rotation. For example Amoghasiddhi is associated with autumn/fall. Ratnasambhava with spring. Resist the temptation to go gothic and elaborate.
I had never heard of a correspondence between the Five Dhyani Buddhas and the seasons. Did Trungpa R. mention this? What is the whole list?

Thanks!

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

Simon E.
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:54 pm

He did Kirt. He presented a couple of different schematas.
In addition to the one I have described in part above there is another which he outlines in Cutting Through which places Vairochana in the centre representing Shunyata/Samsara. Then Amogasiddhi representing Summer to the north, Ratnasambhava representing Fall/Autumn to the south. Amitabha representing Spring to the east and Akshobya to the west associated with Summer. Each also are associated with a colour and an element.
“ When the demon is at your door, in the morning it won’t be there no more
Any major dude will tell you”.

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Mantrik
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Mantrik » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:04 pm

The other element is 'in my bedroom'.
Some advise against this, especially if you have sex in it etc.
Overriding all that I would echo Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's advice to 'work with circumstances' in both materials and location.
Offering bowls are a good mental discipline to get into but all can be visualised.
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:19 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:23 pm
Resist the temptation to go gothic and elaborate.
Says the Protestant.

I was brought up Greek Orthodox, so my altar is packed full of dharmapala, buddhas, bodhisattvas, rupa and thangka, kapala and implements, offering bowls and serkyem, etc... It is elaborate as hell. Glittery, shiny and colorful. :D
"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

Simon E.
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:25 pm

Each to their own Greg. :smile:
“ When the demon is at your door, in the morning it won’t be there no more
Any major dude will tell you”.

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Grigoris
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:28 pm

BTW, there is a whole sub forum here viewforum.php?f=115 dedicated to shrines.
"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

Hazel
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Hazel » Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:25 am

My altar contains only a candle and the lighter I use to light it. When I sit down to meditate, I clean the room its in (my bedroom, yes I know this is potential disrespectful, but it's the space I have) and make sure everything is aligned and neat on the alter itself (the whopping two items). I then light the candle (why not?) and go about my business.

I decided at some point awhile back that until I understood fully the meaning behind the various implements on the altar and the reason for their arrangement I wouldn't have a "real"/showy altar. What I have is helpful and suits my purpose just fine until my journey makes it clear what exactly I should have.

At some point I may decide to remove the candle and lighter ;-)

Hazel
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Hazel » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:23 pm

Hazel wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:25 am
My altar contains only a candle and the lighter I use to light it. When I sit down to meditate, I clean the room its in (my bedroom, yes I know this is potential disrespectful, but it's the space I have) and make sure everything is aligned and neat on the alter itself (the whopping two items). I then light the candle (why not?) and go about my business.

I decided at some point awhile back that until I understood fully the meaning behind the various implements on the altar and the reason for their arrangement I wouldn't have a "real"/showy altar. What I have is helpful and suits my purpose just fine until my journey makes it clear what exactly I should have.

At some point I may decide to remove the candle and lighter ;-)
I should clarify that the above is not (as far as I know) a traditional buddhist practice. I consider it my altar training wheels.

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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Jen1975 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:55 am

Is it disrespectful to use fake flowers? My budget limited and I found some very realistic ones, but may be better to have none?

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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Ayu » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:45 pm

Jen1975 wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:55 am
Is it disrespectful to use fake flowers? My budget limited and I found some very realistic ones, but may be better to have none?
I can't imagine it's disrespectful, if you place them with respect. I have a textile lotus as flower offering on my altar. I just take care it doesn't get dusty.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:25 pm

Ayu wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:45 pm
Jen1975 wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:55 am
Is it disrespectful to use fake flowers? My budget limited and I found some very realistic ones, but may be better to have none?
I can't imagine it's disrespectful, if you place them with respect. I have a textile lotus as flower offering on my altar. I just take care it doesn't get dusty.
I've seen the gaudiest, most outrageous, just cheesy altars in China Town storefront shrines.

As with anything to do with Dharma, its the thought that counts. The Buddha doesn't care if the flowers are plastic. The question is whether its an expression of devotion for the devotee. The Buddha doesn't judge the quality or material of your offering.

There's a story about two little boys who wanted to give the Buddha an offering but they had nothing, so they offered mud pies (I suspect there is something wrong with the translations and they might have been cow pies...). They were reborn as Ashoka and another prominent Buddhist... maybe Ashvaghosa. Can't remember.

Make a space and generate the consciousness that that is a sacred space where you meet the Buddha. It could just be a rubber Live Strong bracelet repurposed as symbol of Buddha.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

narhwal90
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by narhwal90 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:14 pm

I like the fake flowers, by now I have enough so I can change them around- those not on the altar are in a couple vases in the bedroom. I have seen real and fake fruit offered, sometimes cookies as well.

I keep hoping the cat hair will count as an offering but I don't think it works that way... :D

Fortyeightvows
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:04 pm

I would never offer fake food to a shrine, no way. To me that is just asking for trouble.
Fake flowers - I wouldn’t do it myself, but since it is really the appearance or look of the thing that is being offered, it may be ok.

What I’ve seen recently is the fake incense which I think is really ridiculous.

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Miroku
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Miroku » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:13 pm

Are not those offerings quite often more "symbolic" than anything? Quite often in tibetan tradition there are the 7 offerings present on the shrine constantly. And there are small musical instruments as a symbol of sound, and incense withou being burned as a symbol of the smell (then there is often some incense holder on the ground burning the incense).
“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

Fortyeightvows
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Re: how do I set up an altar for worship and prayer to the Buddha?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:42 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:13 pm
Are not those offerings quite often more "symbolic" than anything? Quite often in tibetan tradition there are the 7 offerings present on the shrine constantly. And there are small musical instruments as a symbol of sound, and incense withou being burned as a symbol of the smell (then there is often some incense holder on the ground burning the incense).
So, in that case, it is real incense.

But I get what your saying, like people who will offer a toy car or a drawing of a pretty girl or things like that. It is similar to the use of tsakali cards.
But a model of something or a picture of something is different than a fake thing.
Could you imagine offering fake money?

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