Is a shrine important

Pictures of revered teachers, places, rupas, temples, shrine rooms etc. that bring inspiration to our members. Pilgrimage advice etc.
Malcolm
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Malcolm »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:41 pm
No offense to you guys but you are converts and so this sense of continuity is not in your flesh.
It’s not in yours either. And we are not “Buddhist converts.” There is no such thing.

Meeting the Dharma in this life is a function having met the Dharma in a past life. It’s not a genetic thing, nor is it a cultural thing. It’s a karmic thing.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Arnoud
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Arnoud »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:58 pm
Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:41 pm
No offense to you guys but you are converts and so this sense of continuity is not in your flesh.
It’s not in yours either. And we are not “Buddhist converts.” There is no such thing.

Meeting the Dharma in this life is a function having met the Dharma in a past life. It’s not a genetic thing, nor is it a cultural thing. It’s a karmic thing.
Since there are family lineages of Tertons, oracles, and ngagpa's and divinators, isn't there something to be said for some genetic, physical component? Especially since practice, in particular Dzogchen, is intimately connected to the body.
Malcolm
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Malcolm »

Arnoud wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:32 pm
Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:58 pm
Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:41 pm
No offense to you guys but you are converts and so this sense of continuity is not in your flesh.
It’s not in yours either. And we are not “Buddhist converts.” There is no such thing.

Meeting the Dharma in this life is a function having met the Dharma in a past life. It’s not a genetic thing, nor is it a cultural thing. It’s a karmic thing.
Since there are family lineages of Tertons, oracles, and ngagpa's and divinators, isn't there something to be said for some genetic, physical component? Especially since practice, in particular Dzogchen, is intimately connected to the body.
No, that’s just incidental. Karma trumps and determines all such relations.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Arnoud
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Arnoud »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:38 pm
Arnoud wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:32 pm
Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:58 pm

It’s not in yours either. And we are not “Buddhist converts.” There is no such thing.

Meeting the Dharma in this life is a function having met the Dharma in a past life. It’s not a genetic thing, nor is it a cultural thing. It’s a karmic thing.
Since there are family lineages of Tertons, oracles, and ngagpa's and divinators, isn't there something to be said for some genetic, physical component? Especially since practice, in particular Dzogchen, is intimately connected to the body.
No, that’s just incidental. Karma trumps and determines all such relations.
Okay. Grazie.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

There are many types of stupas.
There is more to constructing a stupa than just casting some kind of shell in cement.
In the Tibetan traditions alone there are many types.
Depending on whose relics are inside them, an enlightened master or a regular person, you either do or don’t want them in a place where they could be circumambulated.
Where they sit in relation to a main building matters.
It matters which mantras and dharanis are placed inside it.
I have recently been transcribing a 3-day teaching in this. It’s more complicated than buying something that looks like a pagoda at the garden store and plopping it down in your yard.
EMPTIFUL.
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Queequeg
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Queequeg »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:58 pm
Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:41 pm
No offense to you guys but you are converts and so this sense of continuity is not in your flesh.
It’s not in yours either. And we are not “Buddhist converts.” There is no such thing.

Meeting the Dharma in this life is a function having met the Dharma in a past life. It’s not a genetic thing, nor is it a cultural thing. It’s a karmic thing.
Flesh is karma embodied. Or isn't it? As are the circumstances one encounters Dharma. This is not to say that one appearance is superior or inferior. I believe we each serve unique functions according to our karma. Perhaps being born a Yankee who dabbled in occidental occult on the way to dharma serves the function that can lead and inspire others. I don't presume to know and I'm not belittling it.

This should be obvious though - being born into an environment and among others where Buddha dharma is like the air, it leads to a different outlook. It's not a superior claim to lineage, but merely a statement that it is qualitatively different. It tends to instill a different view.
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, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
Malcolm
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Malcolm »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:46 pm
You guys are so pessimistic and negative.
Not really. It is always better to err on the side of caution when embarking on building Buddhist monuments of any kind. I've seen more than one Buddhist community get into protracted legal battles over this stuff, especially when neighbors get wind of things like stupa constructions etc. Hell, your land might not even be zoned to allow such construction. Then, you have install a leach field, etc., get construction permits, etc. And that does not even take into consideration the idea of having your backyard stupa designated a landmark:

https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/cgi/vie ... ntext=pelr

For example, there is the famous New Mexico stupa that wound up being on federal land:

https://www.au.org/church-state/novembe ... park-after
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Malcolm
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Malcolm »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:25 pm
Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:58 pm
Meeting the Dharma in this life is a function having met the Dharma in a past life. It’s not a genetic thing, nor is it a cultural thing. It’s a karmic thing.
Flesh is karma embodied. Or isn't it?
That is a karma vipaka, so anyone who is a buddhist has that karma vipaka.
This should be obvious though - being born into an environment and among others where Buddha dharma is like the air, it leads to a different outlook.
You are making an argument based on a kind of cultural essentialism. The three poisons are the same everywhere and afflict everyone. The only different about the air in Buddhist countries is the smell of incense, and some of it is horrible.

One cannot convert to Buddhism. The notion of "Conversion" come from viewing things in a one-lifetime paradigm.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Queequeg
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Queequeg »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:35 pm
Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:25 pm
Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:58 pm
Meeting the Dharma in this life is a function having met the Dharma in a past life. It’s not a genetic thing, nor is it a cultural thing. It’s a karmic thing.
Flesh is karma embodied. Or isn't it?
That is a karma vipaka, so anyone who is a buddhist has that karma vipaka.
This should be obvious though - being born into an environment and among others where Buddha dharma is like the air, it leads to a different outlook.
You are making an argument based on a kind of cultural essentialism. The three poisons are the same everywhere and afflict everyone. The only different about the air in Buddhist countries is the smell of incense, and some of it is horrible.

One cannot convert to Buddhism. The notion of "Conversion" come from viewing things in a one-lifetime paradigm.
Sorry, Malcolm. You assume much about my views again. So let's just leave it at this: you wouldn't build a stupa. Your input is always appreciated until it goes too far.
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, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
Malcolm
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Malcolm »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:47 pm
Sorry, Malcolm. You assume much about my views again. So let's just leave it at this: you wouldn't build a stupa.
I didn't say that.

I said I would not build a stupa unless I was reasonably certain it would not be desecrated and that I've been advised that building stupas on private property is fraught for that reason.

As for your views, you were the person, I think, who attempted to distinguish yourself as an "ethnic" buddhist as opposed to us "converts." I object to the distinction, since I think it is invalid. You were also the person who brought in the notion of how being raised in family of Buddhists somehow imbued the air with a mysterious aroma that we converts would never know. I merely responded in kind. Most of the ethnic Buddhists I know don't know shit about Buddhism and don't behave like they do.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Archie2009
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Archie2009 »

You were also the person who brought in the notion of how being raised in family of Buddhists somehow imbued the air with a mysterious aroma that we converts would never know.
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Schwarz
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Schwarz »

Thanks for your answers.
Guys please stay on track
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Nemo
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Nemo »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:46 pm
Norwegian wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 3:23 pm I feel it's already a very heavy responsibility to have Dharma statues in ones home. For example, they are very nice, but when I die, who will take care of these statues? I don't want them to be thrown in the dumpster, or sold on eBay, because they are not just "a statue". Thus there's a level of responsibility here which is important to take care of.

With something as big as a stupa, it's even more serious. After you have passed away, maybe your relatives or someone else sells the property or takes down the stupa, how can you know? And so having a stupa on it would be very bad. Better then to sponsor the construction of a stupa on some land where it will remain respected for however long into the future, and where it would benefit many instead of few.
Not a matter of either or. There are ways to legally establish enduring landmarks protected by law. It just takes money and money is something that can be gathered with saavy and effort.

You guys are so pessimistic and negative. Fear is not conducive to endurance.
I notice people get a bit overprotective and elitist concerning stupas. Like somehow if you don't have the skills to put a life stick in one you are unqualified and unworthy of owning one. That is directly against what the sutras say. You can make one out of sand. I have had good results making tsa tsa out of colored water in the bitterly cold winters we have here some years. It's also not particularly hard to pick up a will kit and fill it out for where you want all your dharma stuff to go once you are gone.

There are some decent sized metal ones from China. Wenya makes some excellent ones every few years. They are a nice compromise and can be transported easily in a pick up.
https://www.facebook.com/feng.wenya.5

You can easily put an entire Dharma library with the Kangyur and Tengyur in a teeny tiny stupa now with a USB stick.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:28 pm
Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:46 pm
You guys are so pessimistic and negative.
Not really. It is always better to err on the side of caution when embarking on building Buddhist monuments of any kind. I've seen more than one Buddhist community get into protracted legal battles over this stuff, especially when neighbors get wind of things like stupa constructions etc. Hell, your land might not even be zoned to allow such construction. Then, you have install a leach field, etc., get construction permits, etc. And that does not even take into consideration the idea of having your backyard stupa designated a landmark:

https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/cgi/vie ... ntext=pelr

For example, there is the famous New Mexico stupa that wound up being on federal land:

https://www.au.org/church-state/novembe ... park-after
Incidentally, that is now in a dudes front yard in a little town near the bottom of the Sandia mountains. I have visited it the last two times I've been there. It's fun to circumambulate a stupa New Mexico style, a weird kind of desolate place with pit bulls barking at you, lol.
Nemo wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:39 am
I notice people get a bit overprotective and elitist concerning stupas. Like somehow if you don't have the skills to put a life stick in one you are unqualified and unworthy of owning one. That is directly against what the sutras say. You can make one out of sand. I have had good results making tsa tsa out of colored water in the bitterly cold winters we have here some years. It's also not particularly hard to pick up a will kit and fill it out for where you want all your dharma stuff to go once you are gone.

There are some decent sized metal ones from China. Wenya makes some excellent ones every few years. They are a nice compromise and can be transported easily in a pick up.
https://www.facebook.com/feng.wenya.5

You can easily put an entire Dharma library with the Kangyur and Tengyur in a teeny tiny stupa now with a USB stick.
I have never understood why people are so weird about it. Especially if one owns their own home, has people who will bless it, plans on practicing with it, etc. I think it's one of those deference to institutional ways of doing things that comes along with Vajrayana.
Schwarz wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:00 pm Thanks for your answers.
Guys please stay on track

I think the basic answer to your question is just to figure out whether or not a shrine would be important to your practice. I think the answer varies widely, but for many it would be "yes".
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Nemo wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:39 am
Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:46 pm
Norwegian wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 3:23 pm I feel it's already a very heavy responsibility to have Dharma statues in ones home. For example, they are very nice, but when I die, who will take care of these statues? I don't want them to be thrown in the dumpster, or sold on eBay, because they are not just "a statue". Thus there's a level of responsibility here which is important to take care of.

With something as big as a stupa, it's even more serious. After you have passed away, maybe your relatives or someone else sells the property or takes down the stupa, how can you know? And so having a stupa on it would be very bad. Better then to sponsor the construction of a stupa on some land where it will remain respected for however long into the future, and where it would benefit many instead of few.
Not a matter of either or. There are ways to legally establish enduring landmarks protected by law. It just takes money and money is something that can be gathered with saavy and effort.

You guys are so pessimistic and negative. Fear is not conducive to endurance.
I notice people get a bit overprotective and elitist concerning stupas. Like somehow if you don't have the skills to put a life stick in one you are unqualified and unworthy of owning one. That is directly against what the sutras say. You can make one out of sand. I have had good results making tsa tsa out of colored water in the bitterly cold winters we have here some years. It's also not particularly hard to pick up a will kit and fill it out for where you want all your dharma stuff to go once you are gone.

There are some decent sized metal ones from China. Wenya makes some excellent ones every few years. They are a nice compromise and can be transported easily in a pick up.
https://www.facebook.com/feng.wenya.5

You can easily put an entire Dharma library with the Kangyur and Tengyur in a teeny tiny stupa now with a USB stick.
Yes, you can make a stupa out of air or fire too (iffy out know how to so, properly).
The point is, it is not ‘overprotective or elitist’ to follow the teachings of realized lamas or other masters who have prescribed for specific reasons proper and exact methods for creating, filling, and consecrating stupas and statues.
That’s what the traditions preserve, so that the stupas bring benefits and not the opposite of benefits.
Did you know that with a stupa, one can bring the opposite of benefit?
If you did not know that, then consider that there may be other things to learn at well.
What is elitist is to say “oh I don’t need any of that stuff. I can just order one from China and do whatever I want with it”.
Well, yes, you certainly can do that. You can build a snowman and call it a Buddha statue if you like.
But it might not serve the function you intend it to.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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Queequeg
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Queequeg »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:00 pm
Queequeg wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:47 pm
Sorry, Malcolm. You assume much about my views again. So let's just leave it at this: you wouldn't build a stupa.
I didn't say that.

I said I would not build a stupa unless I was reasonably certain it would not be desecrated and that I've been advised that building stupas on private property is fraught for that reason.

As for your views, you were the person, I think, who attempted to distinguish yourself as an "ethnic" buddhist as opposed to us "converts." I object to the distinction, since I think it is invalid. You were also the person who brought in the notion of how being raised in family of Buddhists somehow imbued the air with a mysterious aroma that we converts would never know. I merely responded in kind. Most of the ethnic Buddhists I know don't know shit about Buddhism and don't behave like they do.
No, that's not the meaning I intended. I did not put it in terms of ethnicity, except my remark in response to JD about his suggestion of a stone pagoda, but that was a bit of cynical comment on who can authentically have a pagoda in their garden in the identity politics fraught world we have now. I don't see the controversy to say "people are different. they have different views." No judgment that one is better than another, and certainly not that one connection to Dharma is better than another. I believe that these differences are bodhisattva functions. I get that there are some Buddhists who insist there is some sort of superiority attached to being born into a Buddhist environment. That's not what I'm saying.
Nemo wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:39 am I notice people get a bit overprotective and elitist concerning stupas. Like somehow if you don't have the skills to put a life stick in one you are unqualified and unworthy of owning one. That is directly against what the sutras say. You can make one out of sand. I have had good results making tsa tsa out of colored water in the bitterly cold winters we have here some years. It's also not particularly hard to pick up a will kit and fill it out for where you want all your dharma stuff to go once you are gone.

There are some decent sized metal ones from China. Wenya makes some excellent ones every few years. They are a nice compromise and can be transported easily in a pick up.
https://www.facebook.com/feng.wenya.5

You can easily put an entire Dharma library with the Kangyur and Tengyur in a teeny tiny stupa now with a USB stick.
That's more along the lines I understand around building stupas.

I didn't realize there was a controversy around building stupas. Honestly, this is the first time I'm encountering such conservative views.

The way I see it, I go in knowing the stupa is impermanent and will be destroyed. The point is to just build this totally unfunctional structure that causes people to think about the Buddha. And that's it. If it endures, that's wonderful. If its destroyed by vandals the next day, oh, well.
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, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Queequeg
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Queequeg »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:36 am Yes, you can make a stupa out of air or fire too (iffy out know how to so, properly).
The point is, it is not ‘overprotective or elitist’ to follow the teachings of realized lamas or other masters who have prescribed for specific reasons proper and exact methods for creating, filling, and consecrating stupas and statues.
That’s what the traditions preserve, so that the stupas bring benefits and not the opposite of benefits.
Did you know that with a stupa, one can bring the opposite of benefit?
If you did not know that, then consider that there may be other things to learn at well.
What is elitist is to say “oh I don’t need any of that stuff. I can just order one from China and do whatever I want with it”.
Well, yes, you certainly can do that. You can build a snowman and call it a Buddha statue if you like.
But it might not serve the function you intend it to.
Building a stupa, even if you observe the most meticulous instructions, is not difficult. And if you're saying you need some special empowerments and stuff to build one, I'll respectfully disagree. There are degrees of formality, but I would not consider a stupa constructed with all the attention to ritual detail any more meritorious than one made of sand by someone with the most fleeting positive thought about the 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, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
Malcolm
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Malcolm »

Queequeg wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:42 pm I didn't realize there was a controversy around building stupas. Honestly, this is the first time I'm encountering such conservative views.
Stupas are descendent from the royal funerary tumulus. There are canonical requirements surrounding the construction of such memorials. There are many considerations. One of them is consideration for the negative karma earned by those who may ignorantly destroy them. Another is the consideration for constructing them correctly. I am quite sure you can find the proper procedures for constructing such a memorial in Tendai literature. You might consult the peace pagoda folks.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Queequeg wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:53 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:36 am Yes, you can make a stupa out of air or fire too (iffy out know how to so, properly).
The point is, it is not ‘overprotective or elitist’ to follow the teachings of realized lamas or other masters who have prescribed for specific reasons proper and exact methods for creating, filling, and consecrating stupas and statues.
That’s what the traditions preserve, so that the stupas bring benefits and not the opposite of benefits.
Did you know that with a stupa, one can bring the opposite of benefit?
If you did not know that, then consider that there may be other things to learn at well.
What is elitist is to say “oh I don’t need any of that stuff. I can just order one from China and do whatever I want with it”.
Well, yes, you certainly can do that. You can build a snowman and call it a Buddha statue if you like.
But it might not serve the function you intend it to.
Building a stupa, even if you observe the most meticulous instructions, is not difficult. And if you're saying you need some special empowerments and stuff to build one, I'll respectfully disagree. There are degrees of formality, but I would not consider a stupa constructed with all the attention to ritual detail any more meritorious than one made of sand by someone with the most fleeting positive thought about the Buddha.
Nobody said anything about empowerments, or level of difficulty.
Nor was there any mention of formality.
But just as with anything that serves a function,
There just happen to be specific procedures for constructing, filling, and consecrating stupas.
If all you want is a lawn ornament, then that’s different.
You can also shave your head, wrap yourself in a blanket, and call yourself a monk.
If it’s true for you, fine. Go for it.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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Nemo
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Re: Is a shrine important

Post by Nemo »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:14 pm
Queequeg wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:53 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:36 am Yes, you can make a stupa out of air or fire too (iffy out know how to so, properly).
The point is, it is not ‘overprotective or elitist’ to follow the teachings of realized lamas or other masters who have prescribed for specific reasons proper and exact methods for creating, filling, and consecrating stupas and statues.
That’s what the traditions preserve, so that the stupas bring benefits and not the opposite of benefits.
Did you know that with a stupa, one can bring the opposite of benefit?
If you did not know that, then consider that there may be other things to learn at well.
What is elitist is to say “oh I don’t need any of that stuff. I can just order one from China and do whatever I want with it”.
Well, yes, you certainly can do that. You can build a snowman and call it a Buddha statue if you like.
But it might not serve the function you intend it to.
Building a stupa, even if you observe the most meticulous instructions, is not difficult. And if you're saying you need some special empowerments and stuff to build one, I'll respectfully disagree. There are degrees of formality, but I would not consider a stupa constructed with all the attention to ritual detail any more meritorious than one made of sand by someone with the most fleeting positive thought about the Buddha.
Nobody said anything about empowerments, or level of difficulty.
Nor was there any mention of formality.
But just as with anything that serves a function,
There just happen to be specific procedures for constructing, filling, and consecrating stupas.
If all you want is a lawn ornament, then that’s different.
You can also shave your head, wrap yourself in a blanket, and call yourself a monk.
If it’s true for you, fine. Go for it.
So a stupa without a life stick is a lawn ornament?
There are 2 types of blessed stupas. Both are holy. One is traditionally consecrated the other is not. To say one only blessed with faith and good intentions does not benefit beings shows a profound poverty of mind. It is elitist nonsense.

The properly consecrated ones merely keep their charge longer using various tricks of the trade.
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