What Makes a Good Shrine?

What Makes a Good Shrine?

By Mike

Fantastic question!

I personally would love a shrine like this

i.e. the one in the Main Prayer Hall at Kopan Monastery – the main statue there is, I’m guessing, something like 20 m (65 ft) tall.

But my current situation has required a more refined and somewhat Donald Judd inspired approach. Living in a share house with other, well lets just say, amazing, funny, beautiful and happy people, but just a little less inclined to introspection – if you know what I mean?

I am actually loving my alter-hack. It fits (just) my few critical images, statues and texts and allows a few small offerings to be made (and like an optional extra bonus: storage for a few key items of essential Tibetan Buddhist paraphernalia). What more could you ask for really? And at the end of my session I can close (and lock if need be) my private life so that my housemates are none the wiser.

Often I fall into the trap of thinking I can do without a shrine, going to a center, and even reading dharma books or sites. I think that I can transcend the struggles and desires of the material world if I merely have a good motivation. However, reality teaches me again and again that having a positive, conducive environment does wonders for my practice. And a good shrine is at the center of our spiritual lives. The right shrine can make all the difference.


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