Setting Up a Home Shrine.

An excellent post from a blog you *definitely* need to check out.

Rise Like A Lotus

Easily one of the most recognizable images of Buddhism to most people is a shrine, decorated with flowers and candles and, oh yes, statues. Newcomers to the practice often want to know how to set up a shrine, or if they even should. Here are some guidelines on how to set up a simple home shrine.

You will want to set up your shrine in a quiet, peaceful room. Avoid putting your shrine near hallways, kitchens, or bathrooms. Set up a small table, about two feet high, and cover it with a maroon or gold colored cloth.

On the center of the table, place a picture or image of Buddha Shakyamuni. To the right of the Buddha, place an image of Padmasambava, and to the Buddha’s left, an image of Green Tara. In front of the Buddha place a clear quartz crystal or clear crystal ball.

You’ll want to add…

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Maitrī

Maitrī is one of the Four Immeasurables in Tibetan Buddhist thought, and one of the Ten Perfections in Theravadin Buddhism. Maitrī can be defined as an active feeling of kindness and goodwill towards all other sentient beings.

In Pali, it is known as Metta, and it is usually translated into English as lovingkindness or benevolence. Meditation on maitrī is popular in many traditions of Buddhism, and has even gained popularity in the West as part of the mindfulness craze.

These meditations are simple but potent. Though they often consist of no more than repeating benevolent phrases such as “may you be happy” while visualizing family, friends, strangers, and even one’s enemies, the effect is very powerful.

Eight Symbols of Tibetan Buddhism 

Excellent post. ❤

Rise Like A Lotus

Tibetan Buddhism is rich with imagery and symbolism. I’m pretty new to it, so I’m still learning these. (Source: buddhanet.net)
Right-coiled White Conch

Right-coiled White Conch

The white conch which coils to the right symbolises the deep, far-reaching and melodious sound of the Dharma teachings, which being appropriate to different natures, predispositions and aspirations of disciples, awakens them from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own and others’ welfare.
Precious Umbrella

Precious Umbrella

The precious umbrella symbolises the wholesome activity of preserving beings from illness, harmful forces, obstacles and so forth in this life and all kinds of temporary and enduring sufferings of the three lower realms, and the realms of men and gods in future lives. It also represents the enjoyment of a feast of benefit under its cool shade.
Victory Banner

Victory Banner

The victory banner symbolises the victory of the activities of…

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Six Realms of Existence

According to traditional Buddhist cosmology, there are six realms of karmic existence; these are (in ascending order of “niceness”).

  • hell
  • ghosts
  • animals
  • humans
  • asura
  • heaven

Rebirth in hell, or as a ghost or an animal is considered “unfortunate,” not only due to the hardships one must endure in such incarnations, but also because it is very hard to escape the cycle of samsara in those realms, or even simply obtain a better rebirth in the future.

Although rebirth in heaven as one of the celestial beings is considered highly desirable for many people, it too has drawbacks. Despite living in luxury and ease, the celestial ones know when they will die, and are often overcome with anxiety and despair as their time of death approaches.

If you want to escape samsara, a human birth is ideal, though far from necessary. Buddhist writings often characterize those in the “lower realms” as too consumed with suffering to attend to their spirituality, while the celestial beings are too distracted to worry about anything much at all.

A Meditation on Equanimity

To love My Lady I must love myself
As much as I love the morning dew

To love My Lady I must love my mother
As much as I love the flowers in spring

To love My Lady I must love my sister
As much as I love the moon in autumn

To love My Lady I must love my friend
As much as I love the first silver frosts

To love My Lady I must love my neighbor
As much as I love the golden light of dawn

To love My Lady I must love my enemy
As much as I love those who love me

Buddhism Isn’t a Contest

The goal of Buddhism isn’t to see who can get to enlightenment the fastest, but you wouldn’t know that if you spent too much time online, as I do. I confess, I have been seduced (yes, I think that’s a good word for it) by the dazzle and glitter of Tantric practices, which are mostly out of my reach.

My current practice is pretty bare bones. I recite the Refuge prayer every morning, along with making offerings of water and incense, and flowers from the garden if they’re available. I don’t meditate as often as I should, but I’m doing it more than I used to. That’s pretty much it. No fancy rituals. No secret commitments. I’m fine with that. Buddhism isn’t a contest.