Author Topic: Rules for shrines  (Read 313 times)

Offline dastaten

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Rules for shrines
« on: July 30, 2017, 03:50:30 pm »
I'm planning on creating a shrine, but my current living conditions aren't ideal. I know there are certain guidelines in order to ensure no disrespect to the Buddha, so I have a few questions:

1. Is it ok to have the shrine in my bedroom? I've heard 'yes' and 'no' about this. Right now my bedroom is the only place where I can have it.
2. I have zero space to introduce new furniture of any size, but I have an antique dresser that has been in my family for about a century. Would it be inappropriate to use the top of the dresser for my shrine? It would be dedicated solely to the shrine and used for nothing else.
3. Are there any objects other than the statue of the Buddha that should be included in the shrine? I've searched for this info online but only found conflicting answers.


Thanks,
D
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Offline IdleChater

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2017, 04:08:12 pm »
I'm planning on creating a shrine, but my current living conditions aren't ideal. I know there are certain guidelines in order to ensure no disrespect to the Buddha, so I have a few questions:

1. Is it ok to have the shrine in my bedroom? I've heard 'yes' and 'no' about this. Right now my bedroom is the only place where I can have it.

If that's the only space you have, then use ut.

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2. I have zero space to introduce new furniture of any size, but I have an antique dresser that has been in my family for about a century. Would it be inappropriate to use the top of the dresser for my shrine? It would be dedicated solely to the shrine and used for nothing else.

Quite acceptable.


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3. Are there any objects other than the statue of the Buddha that should be included in the shrine? I've searched for this info online but only found conflicting answers.

As a rule of thumb, a shrine should have objects that represent enlightened mind, body and speech.  The statue will serve as body.  A small stupa or a picture of one will represent mind, and a text, such as a copy of a sutra - the words of the Buddha - will serve as word.

There can also be offerings of water, light and flowers.  This can be a small container of water, a candle and fresh or artificial flowers.

And of course incense.  A small bowl filled with sand, to use as a burner to make an incense offering would be good.


Hoping that helps


Offline dastaten

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2017, 04:28:21 pm »
Great! Thanks for the info, IdleChater!
"My name will echo in glory through the halls of time for a thousand generations." ~ Anonymous

Offline Lobster

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 12:02:15 am »
Good advisement from @IdleChater

The important thing is a point of focus and clarification. So in essence the contents and associations may change with time, understanding and practice. All my shrines need a revamp ... which in itself is potentially a mindful exercise ...  :namaste: :buddha: :hug:

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 04:57:41 pm »
Good advisement from @IdleChater

The important thing is a point of focus and clarification. So in essence the contents and associations may change with time, understanding and practice. All my shrines need a revamp ... which in itself is potentially a mindful exercise ...  :namaste: :buddha: :hug:

Thanx!

Another thing to consier is that the shrine should not reflect anything of self.  This isn't any easy thing to do, as much of what we will choose for ther shrine - especially adornments - are based on likes & dislikes.  I found it best to let this develop over time.  Like you say, associations and by extention, practice changes. 

Working with your shrine is, as you say, a mindfulness excercise.

I took an Umdze class when I was in Shambhala.  For those who are unfamiliar, the Umdze (Oom - zee) is the person who leads a sitting meditation session.  One of the duties to be performed as setting up and taking down the shrine.  In the Shambhala tradition this is somewhat reitualized.  Water offering are done a certain way.  Candles lit in a certain order and way.  The incense offering has a specific form to follow.  Take-down is the same.

Now, I don't do that in my home shrine, but I remember (mindfull) my training and how/why the shrine is arranged, adorned, kept and prepared.  It's important in my practice.


Offline Lobster

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2017, 05:14:48 pm »
Another thing to consider is that the shrine should not reflect anything of self. 

Perhaps.  :pray:

That is one of the things that changes with time, tradition and understanding. For example many practitioners place personal gurus/lamas/teachers/family they are doing puja for on the shrine.

I have a wrathful dharma protector on one shrine. Which funnily enough is a lobster ...  :smack:

In one sense everything on the shrine reflects self ... might get a mirror ... another Tantric shrine object ...  :buddha2:

Offline dastaten

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 07:14:40 pm »
I have a wrathful dharma protector on one shrine. Which funnily enough is a lobster ...  :smack:


Is that something you originated or is having a 'dharma protector' on one's shrine something some people do?

I've found a supta, a copy of the Dhammapada, a water offering bowl, an incense burner, and some LED candles on Amazon that I'll be ordering soon. None of them reflect me in any particular way, other than I picked them out. I've inquired about a couple Buddha statues from http://www.statues-jewellery-nepal.com. Hopefully the prices will be within my range. Then I just need some sort of flower arrangement, and I'll have everything I need to put my shrine together.
"My name will echo in glory through the halls of time for a thousand generations." ~ Anonymous

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2017, 08:23:29 pm »
I have a wrathful dharma protector on one shrine. Which funnily enough is a lobster ...  :smack:


Is that something you originated or is having a 'dharma protector' on one's shrine something some people do?


Whether or not Lobster is "serious" cannot be known. 

A Dharma Protector, or Dharmapala, is something you find in tantric shrine rooms.  Each lineage has it's own protector or family of protectors.  They are normally enshrined seprately from the the main shrine, with very specific layouts. 

Here's an example of one such deity:



For your shrine, I wouldn't worry about it, especially if you're leaning towards Theraveda.

Offline dastaten

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2017, 08:40:02 pm »
I have a wrathful dharma protector on one shrine. Which funnily enough is a lobster ...  :smack:

Is that something you originated or is having a 'dharma protector' on one's shrine something some people do?

Whether or not Lobster is "serious" cannot be known. 

Hehe =)

Thanks for the info. Yeah, I won't worry about it right now.
"My name will echo in glory through the halls of time for a thousand generations." ~ Anonymous

Offline Rahul

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 01:06:10 am »
And this is my personal opinion:

The Buddha himself never laid any rules nor did he insist on having any 'shrine' at home. All he ever advised was to have something that reminds us of the awakened people so we get inspiration. Keeping in mind how practical he was, I think we must stick to the purpose: reminding ourselves of the practice, the dhamma. Having said that, the rituals, the objects, the contents in the shrine, etc. doesn't matter at all.

How do I remind myself of the practice? I have etched Buddha's last words on my left fore-arm in a tattoo. I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is to read his last advise.

As for your questions, I would say that it doesn't matter if it's in your bedroom. Nor does it matter if it's on a chest of drawers or a table. Anything that reminds you of the Buddha - a picture, a symbol, etc. - would be enough. Do not get into the rituals, burning incense sticks, worshiping, deities... that would be simply going against the teachings of the Buddha. An arhat is beyond the duality and doesn't care for the respect/disrespect. One may develops respect for the arhats simply because this is conducive to one's own practice.

Offline dastaten

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 02:01:14 am »
And this is my personal opinion:

The Buddha himself never laid any rules nor did he insist on having any 'shrine' at home. All he ever advised was to have something that reminds us of the awakened people so we get inspiration. Keeping in mind how practical he was, I think we must stick to the purpose: reminding ourselves of the practice, the dhamma. Having said that, the rituals, the objects, the contents in the shrine, etc. doesn't matter at all.

How do I remind myself of the practice? I have etched Buddha's last words on my left fore-arm in a tattoo. I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is to read his last advise.

As for your questions, I would say that it doesn't matter if it's in your bedroom. Nor does it matter if it's on a chest of drawers or a table. Anything that reminds you of the Buddha - a picture, a symbol, etc. - would be enough. Do not get into the rituals, burning incense sticks, worshiping, deities... that would be simply going against the teachings of the Buddha. An arhat is beyond the duality and doesn't care for the respect/disrespect. One may develops respect for the arhats simply because this is conducive to one's own practice.

Thanks for that, Rahul. Everything you said is pretty much the way I've been thinking. I'm actually an atheist, so I'm not concerned with any deity or worshiping aspects. I guess I mainly just want to stick to tradition. But even then, I'm not bent on following every tradition exactly. For example, I've seen where many use seven bowls for water offerings, and the filling of the bowls itself if a complex ritual. I'm going to have a single bowl for a water offering, and I'll change the water daily, but I'll see the act of changing the water as a simple practice of discipline, nothing more.

Maybe I shouldn't say "nothing more." I will keep the Buddha in mind, and I imagine he would appreciate that simple practice of discipline.

I'll be using my shrine simply as a quiet place to meditate and as a reminder to be mindful and practice the Dhamma.

Thanks again for your thoughts.
"My name will echo in glory through the halls of time for a thousand generations." ~ Anonymous

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2017, 05:58:38 am »
And this is my personal opinion:

The Buddha himself never laid any rules


Vinaya?

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nor did he insist on having any 'shrine' at home.

But he did instruct his disciples to build several stupas to house his remains.

Having a shrine isn't such a big deal.


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All he ever advised was to have something that reminds us of the awakened people so we get inspiration. Keeping in mind how practical he was, I think we must stick to the purpose: reminding ourselves of the practice, the dhamma. Having said that, the rituals, the objects, the contents in the shrine, etc. doesn't matter at all.

You can definitely get along without one, but they do help.

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How do I remind myself of the practice? I have etched Buddha's last words on my left fore-arm in a tattoo. I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is to read his last advise.

Really?  Post a pic!  I've entertained thoughts of having the entire heart Sutra inked on my back.  In Tibetan.  I may not serve to remind, because I'll never see it, but it will sure look cool!

Did the Buddha have anything to say about tats?  Did he have any himself?

Offline Lobster

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2017, 07:42:10 am »
Sounds like you have everything sorted  <3

Some people like a wheel :dharma: or a tree or a foot. Buddha was initially represented by a footprint and preferred to be represented by the tree under which he gained enlightenment. The Greeks introduced statues.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhism

Anyway hope it works out for you. Putting oneself or a microwave on a shrine is not presently traditional ... :splode:

... and now back to the useful info  :teehee:

Offline dastaten

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2017, 08:47:01 am »
I'd like to see a pic of your tattoo too, Rahul. I'm curious about how you chose to word it since translations vary.
"My name will echo in glory through the halls of time for a thousand generations." ~ Anonymous

Offline Rahul

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Re: Rules for shrines
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2017, 07:33:45 pm »
And this is my personal opinion:

The Buddha himself never laid any rules


Vinaya?


You didn't consider the whole sentence. I intended to say that he didn't lay any rules for shrine at home.

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Did the Buddha have anything to say about tats?  Did he have any himself?


As far as I know there is no information about whether he had any tattoos. But that doesn't really matter.

 


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