Since it’s Wesak Eve today, going to blog about something more spiritual. 🙂 Above is the simple altar at home that we offer our prayers.
I first came across Buddhism at the age of 10. I must admit I’m no longer a pious Buddhist. I was once, during my school days, after I left home for college I have not been reading up a lot of Dhamma books or attending Dhamma talks and have not frequent the temple as much as I used to, have not really done any chanting, but I try to practice Buddhism in everyday life.
Many people who do not know Buddhism will think Chinese with an altar at home are praying to “cha tou” (woodblock) without knowing the meaning, just blindly pray and maybe secretly wish for god to grand you “4 ekor”. Unlike many Chinese – they mainly pray for good healthy, for striking lottery , and for whatever reasons. But for a real Buddhist, the things on the altar, even the Buddha image has it own significance. We pray, as a homage to the Buddha, our great teacher, (just like a student paying respect to the teacher) The existence of the Buddha statue at home, reminds us about the Buddha’s teaching and thus as a Buddhist we shall be mindful to practice the Dhamma in whatever we do.
These are the things I remember vaguely about a Buddhist altar:
1) Candle, lights – To show us the right path, to guide us through the dark. To walk the noble eightfold way.
2) Water – Self reflection. Look into your own action and be more mindful with what you do and say and that it’s according to the Dhamma.
3) Flowers – Beside being giving a frangrant surrounding, a nice clean place to practice Dhamma, it also reminds us that nothing in this world is everlasting. (世事无长)
4) Incense – Beside giving a nice frangrant surrounding, as Buddhist we always burn 3 incense. The meaning of it is to burn away the 3 great evils of mankind. Namely GREED, HATRED and FOOLINESS. As a Buddhist, we shall try to cultivate our mind and try to eliminate these 3 evils in oneself. The Buddha said, with greed it will leads to hatred and with hatred we will tend to do foolish things.
5) Fruits – I cannot remember it significance ( What a bad Buddist I am)
At our altar, there are also 2 talisman (Fu 符) that my MIL gave it to my kids. I don’t really believe in that but still as a sign of respect and instead of throwing it or chucking it away, I thought it’s just best to put it at the altar.