What are Vietnamese altars like?

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It'sYa1UPBoy
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What are Vietnamese altars like?

Post by It'sYa1UPBoy »

I've tried googling "Vietnamese Buddhist altars" but all that comes up for me are results for Ban Tho, ancestral altars, and one page that really only mentions having statues of Quan Am. I thought it would be nice to give my altar more of an...established layout (or at least use them for inspiration), and since I read a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese is an obvious choice (and as lovely as butsudan look, I don't have the money for a large cabinet).

In gassho,

:anjali:
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: What are Vietnamese altars like?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

It'sYa1UPBoy wrote: Sun Jan 15, 2023 12:19 am I've tried googling "Vietnamese Buddhist altars" but all that comes up for me are results for Ban Tho, ancestral altars, and one page that really only mentions having statues of Quan Am.

The way to search is to use google translate a phrase such as:
“My Buddhist altar at home”

into Vietnamese:

bàn thờ phật của tôi ở nhà

… then copy and paste that into an image search.

Also, there are inexpensive ‘build it yourself’ cabinet kits. They work just fine.
EMPTIFUL.
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It'sYa1UPBoy
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Re: What are Vietnamese altars like?

Post by It'sYa1UPBoy »

Thank you for the tip about translations. I'll do that now.

And, while I have considered DIY cabinets, my hand tremors make it unfeasible most of the time.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: What are Vietnamese altars like?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

It'sYa1UPBoy wrote: Sun Jan 15, 2023 2:21 am Thank you for the tip about translations. I'll do that now.

And, while I have considered DIY cabinets, my hand tremors make it unfeasible most of the time.
Have you thought about repurposing an old (or new) wall-mounted cabinet? You might be able to find one that needs little or no modification.

:coffee:
Kim
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It'sYa1UPBoy
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Re: What are Vietnamese altars like?

Post by It'sYa1UPBoy »

I probably could get a small cabinet at some point, just a matter of looking for one that will fit in my corner (and that I can put hanging hooks on because I have a wall hanging of a tree behind my Shakyamuni statue). I see them at Walmart sometimes and I think, "If I could reach up there with my short arms I'd feel the make of that for my altar!" But they always have them up on the higher display shelves LOL, and I don't want something made out of flimsy pressboard. If I get any birthday money next week I'll try to look then, thanks for the recommendation.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: What are Vietnamese altars like?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

It'sYa1UPBoy wrote: Sun Jan 15, 2023 4:32 am I probably could get a small cabinet at some point, just a matter of looking for one that will fit in my corner (and that I can put hanging hooks on because I have a wall hanging of a tree behind my Shakyamuni statue). I see them at Walmart sometimes and I think, "If I could reach up there with my short arms I'd feel the make of that for my altar!" But they always have them up on the higher display shelves LOL, and I don't want something made out of flimsy pressboard. If I get any birthday money next week I'll try to look then, thanks for the recommendation.
:thumbsup:
I approve 100% - no, make that 500% - of the wish to avoid pressboard, HDM, melamine, chipboard, etc, etc. I loathe the stuff. Give me real timber any time.

Which leads me to suggest that a thrift shop might be worth a look. I don't know about where you are, but charity shops here have a good collection of old furniture and that is usually solid timber. Some of it is a bit battered, but you're likely to be modifying it anyway so a bit of extra refinishing may not be a lot of extra work.

:namaste:
Kim
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It'sYa1UPBoy
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Re: What are Vietnamese altars like?

Post by It'sYa1UPBoy »

In my area they throw up a lot of hotels and apartments because collegiate sports are very popular here--- hotels for the tourists and apartments for the university students. And I promise you I've seen them making the walls of these quick builds out of pressboard and chalk. (The patterns of pressboard are easy to see even on the highway; the flecks are very distinct and large.) And as soon as I was informed as to what pressboard is (for the unaware, it's when they take the shavings from cutting boards and press them into more boards), I vowed never to go to one of those hotels/apts. or to use pressboard as any sort of display surface. Like wow, that is... It sounds really flimsy. And if you have a bunch of drunk college students and drunk sports fans goofing off in a building like that, they're gonna bust holes in the walls really quickly. I wouldn't want to put my ceramic statues or handmade ritual items on pressboard and have it all come crashing down! If I do get a small cabinet it will be real wood, whether new or used. Something to hold everything up and support it well.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: What are Vietnamese altars like?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

A Shrine (altar) just has to be clean and should be built from whatever good material one can afford. Some people spend thousands of dollars on basically what is elaborately carved furniture. There’s a lot of attachment going on there, I think.
Here is a pressed board cabinet that someone I know already had, and that’s what he used.
Anyway, I think the topic is the style of a traditional Vietnamese altar set-up.
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It'sYa1UPBoy
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Re: What are Vietnamese altars like?

Post by It'sYa1UPBoy »

It is, yes. But my point with the pressboard was more to do with the sturdiness of the wood than the quality.

In any case, something I've noticed about a lot of the altars is that they're very symmetrical, which looks very satisfying. When it comes to other styles they often aren't as evenly arranged as the Vietnamese ones, at least that I've seen.
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