A traditional Buddhist altar holds symbols of enlightened body, speech and mind, represented by displaying a statue or image of Buddha Shakyamuni, a scripture, and a stupa. In this teaching, we’ll explore the function and forms of altars, sometimes called ‘shrines.’ You’ll learn how to make one, what to place on an altar (and where) and what traditionally is not placed there. You’ll learn traditional ideas about where an altar is best put in a home, and a few basic shrine-keeping tips.
As we adapt Buddhist conventions to fit our western lives, altars, too, may take different forms. Your alter is your own, so learn the design and function of altars for the practices you do, and then adapt as you see fit, to inspire and facilitate your practice. This class will also help you understand how to enjoy and relate respectfully to altars when you visit Buddhist homes and temples; and will contain the most basic knowledge for tending an altar at Dekeling.