Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Ikkyu » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:13 pm

Is it typical to use a wall-mounted altar? I have a wooden platform I can attach to the beams in my wall behind the plaster.
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Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Ikkyu » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:05 pm

... Anyone? ^^
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Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Matylda » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:45 pm

Ikkyu wrote:... Anyone? ^^


Well that depends what do you really want to have.. an altar? A shelve? or just place to put things... like Buddha figure etc.

Altar has its meaning and also has properly organized space, levels etc. which should express so called shumidan, i.e. a universe where Buddha is placed on highest point and everything has its order. You could see already a picture of the altar in this topic. There were no explanations of the meaning etc. however there are many meanings and the altar has its deep and profound meaning. A shelve etc. is used, but only additionaly for the guardians or local dieties. Nobody in Japanese zen house or other house would put there Buddha.

I have no idea what to do with any other altar... moreover an altar needs special consecration in the begining by trianed priest, also opening eye ceremony, and daily care which is form of practice because altar is the path and reminder of the 6 paramitas, which symbols it should contain, it should also express the 3 jewels and the outer form of buddhahood... so it is source of blessing, protection, etc.

But if you put somewhere things neetly in some sort of order and clean, you may consider it to be an altar. I have seen with my western friends many different things like this, and they called it ''altars'', which is fine, but it did not have any original meaning... but maybe it works for them, I do not know.
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Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Ikkyu » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:37 am

Matylda wrote:
Ikkyu wrote:... Anyone? ^^


Well that depends what do you really want to have.. an altar? A shelve? or just place to put things... like Buddha figure etc.

Altar has its meaning and also has properly organized space, levels etc. which should express so called shumidan, i.e. a universe where Buddha is placed on highest point and everything has its order. You could see already a picture of the altar in this topic. There were no explanations of the meaning etc. however there are many meanings and the altar has its deep and profound meaning. A shelve etc. is used, but only additionaly for the guardians or local dieties. Nobody in Japanese zen house or other house would put there Buddha.

I have no idea what to do with any other altar... moreover an altar needs special consecration in the begining by trianed priest, also opening eye ceremony, and daily care which is form of practice because altar is the path and reminder of the 6 paramitas, which symbols it should contain, it should also express the 3 jewels and the outer form of buddhahood... so it is source of blessing, protection, etc.

But if you put somewhere things neetly in some sort of order and clean, you may consider it to be an altar. I have seen with my western friends many different things like this, and they called it ''altars'', which is fine, but it did not have any original meaning... but maybe it works for them, I do not know.


Image

?
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Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:07 am

I don't think wall-mounted altars are at all common, but that doesn't mean you can't have one. If you like it, make do with what you have and save yourself a purchase. My own altar right now is made of a small altar-like table (I have no idea what it was meant to be used for, but it makes a great one) on top of a small coffee table in order to get it to a reasonable height.
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Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Matylda » Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:35 pm

Ikkyu wrote:If so, how is the altar set up in Zen? Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan or altar? What rituals are performed at the altar? Etc...?


If you ask about zen buddhist altar, then what you show on the picture is clearly not that. It is some altar from Thailand I guess. But even theravada altars have their meaning. If you wish that kind of altar it is better to ask a therevadan Thera or anyone who has knowledge about this tradition. I know nothing about it... shelves in Japan are used for guardian dieties, and mostly one puts them in the kitchen or at the entrance, not directly next to buddhist altar or butsudan.

I think that it is better to know why one would like to have zen buddhist altar, and then get proper knowledge about it. Of course anything will do if one wishes. But then meaning could be different.
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Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Sara H » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:05 am

We have an alter in our home. We are Soto Zen.

It has an image of the Buddha, incense burner/bowl, flowers (artificial), a candle, and an offering (we usually put a packet of tea or a fresh fruit).

We use it primarily for offering merit, and home mediation ceremonial. As well as a household reminder of the Eternal, and a helpful place to do bows to which are helpful in our practice.

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IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

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Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Ikkyu » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:11 am

Sara H wrote:We have an alter in our home. We are Soto Zen.

It has an image of the Buddha, incense burner/bowl, flowers (artificial), a candle, and an offering (we usually put a packet of tea or a fresh fruit).

We use it primarily for offering merit, and home mediation ceremonial. As well as a household reminder of the Eternal, and a helpful place to do bows to which are helpful in our practice.

In Gasshō,
Sara H


When one meditates after offering to an altar, do they do zazen facing the altar or away from it?
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Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Matylda » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:37 pm

Six offering things should be on the altar to represent 6 paramitas. Water, food, light, incense, flowers and powdered special incense. They are also a reminder when one is in front in the morning, and it is good thought to remember them.
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Re: Do Zen Buddhists use a butsudan/altar?

Postby Matt J » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:37 pm

Depends.

I've been in Rinzai-type places that face the altar. I've been in Soto-type places that face the wall.

Ikkyu wrote:
Sara H wrote:We have an alter in our home. We are Soto Zen.

It has an image of the Buddha, incense burner/bowl, flowers (artificial), a candle, and an offering (we usually put a packet of tea or a fresh fruit).

We use it primarily for offering merit, and home mediation ceremonial. As well as a household reminder of the Eternal, and a helpful place to do bows to which are helpful in our practice.

In Gasshō,
Sara H


When one meditates after offering to an altar, do they do zazen facing the altar or away from it?
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
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