Re: Alter instruction


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Posted by Sergio (200.33.56.4) on March 30, 2000 at 12:02:33:

In Reply to: Alter instruction posted by Michael Pollard on March 30, 2000 at 11:16:37:

: Hello, I have a few questions conecerning alters.
: First, what are alters for? How are offers made,
: they aren't toward a god type being right? Second,
: what should someone have for a very basic alter?
: Just describe a basic alter setup; perhaps detail
: some ideas you have on design.


: Thank you. Michael.


Dear Michael:

I think you are talking about an altar, right?.

Well, first, a Buddhist altar is NOT devotional. The idea of a Buddhist altar is to reinforce your refugee in the 3 jewels: The Buddhahood, the dharma and the sangha. When you set up an altar, you are setting up respect to your main objective in life: Buddhahood. So a Buddhist altar is an offering to your own nature, to your Buddha nature, and you make offerings in that sense, because you want to become a Buddha. You can also make offerings to the Buddhas, not as gods, but as beings that inspire you, beings that are models of the kind of being you are trying to become. But donít make offerings to the Buddhas like trying to get good fortune or to find solutions to your problems, because it doesnít work that way. Remember that your karma is your best or worst friend, and any Buddha can help you in that sense.

So in an altar you must put a statue of sakyamuni Buddha (siddharta gautama) in the center, as the biggest statue, because he represents all Buddhas. This statue is the most important part of the altar, and it most be bigger and higher than anything else. Of course you MUST NOT put in the altar no-buddhist things, as the statue of christ or a picture of your car or girlfriend.

You can put pictures of your masters around and a picture of your root master or lama in the center. You can put raise and water in special ornaments, and other kind of statues and pictures. You can also put candles. If you want a specific instruction about this, please let me know. I have the instructions from lama geshe sopa rimpoche, and he gave me the meaning of each part of the altar. Itís important to know how to set up an altar right, otherwise you do not create positive karma.

Hope this be useful.

Sergio





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