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altar above waist level

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:58 pm
by javier.espinoza.t
one sets the altar above the waist level when one is standing or sitting? is necessary? why?

Re: altar above waist level

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:03 am
by namoh
I was taught it’s waist high from standing position. It’s for respect and honoring the Buddha, etc.

Re: altar above waist level

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:07 am
by Kim O'Hara
It is a sign of respect. Putting it above us physically is like putting it above us mentally: we look up to it.
Christian churches do it, too, if you think about it.

I haven't heard of the "above waist height" rule before, but anything above our (standing) waist height will be at or above our (sitting) eye level, especially if we sit on the floor or on a cushion.

:namaste:
Kim

Re: altar above waist level

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:55 am
by javier.espinoza.t
i see, thanks!

Re: altar above waist level

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:02 am
by PadmaVonSamba
The thing is, it should be high in relation to low.
If it’s too high to really “function” that’s not too good either. As long as it’s not on the floor, high up is good.
Also, consider this photo. If you practice while sitting, then sitting level isn’t “disrespectful”.

Re: altar above waist level

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:05 pm
by tingdzin
Kim O'Hara wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:07 am It is a sign of respect. Putting it above us physically is like putting it above us mentally: we look up to it.
Christian churches do it, too, if you think about it.
namoh wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:03 am I was taught it’s waist high from standing position. It’s for respect and honoring the Buddha, etc.
There are a lot of such apparently arbitrary but actually significant things like this that are woven into the traditional presentations of the teachings. In this case,for example, it might not seem to matter how high the altar is, and one might claim that insisting on a certain height is a mark of clinging to duality or something. Actually, though, we have all kinds of habitual tendencies that traditional ways of practice are engineered to help us overcome, and until we understand at a gut level what they are all about, we should hesitate to "tweak" or "hack" or "improve" them. This may seem an obvious point to more experienced practitioners, but beginners are more apt to think, "well it doesn't really matter if I change the form, as long as I keep the right attitude", which can be a first step down a slippery slope.