My Buddhist Altar At Home

May 11, 2006

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.

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Wesak Day

May 11, 2006

Wesak dawn has paced in softly.

Tip-toed thro’ the moonlit night.

Breathed the flowers and incense smoking,

Laughed thro’ bars of purple light.

Bids you now to waken gently.

Lift your troubled eyes of sleep.

Tend’ring thoughts of homage holy.

cross Samsara’s Ocean deep.

To the One who taught the Dhamma.

Of the Noble Eightfold Way.

To the Buddha, dearest sister.

Lift your tender mind today!

-Buddhist Hymns

It’s Wesak Eve today. my aspiration and resolution for this Wesak

1) I shall strive to grow in my compassion and wisdom .

2) Live virtuously and mindfully.

3) Practice Dhamma diligently so that I will be a more spiritually cultivated person when I leave the world.

4) Do more charity work

5) Go to the temple more often to learn the Dhamma, to grow the wisdom in it and not just blindly follow.

To all the Buddhist

HAPPY WESAK

May The Blessings Of The Triple Gem Be Upon You.


Life And Death

March 30, 2006

I didn’t know if it’s the right age that I even mentioned death to JS. When we were reading stories, about step mothers, she would asked what’s step mother. We talked about her pet tortoise that had died.

JS: Mummy, why Cinderalla got step mother. What’s stepmother
ME: Cinderella mummy died already, and daddy got her a new mummy, that’s step mother.
JS: Why died
ME: Everybody will die. Sometimes people died because they grow old, some died because they were sick, some died because of accident.

Another occation, about orphans.
JS: Why they got no mummy and daddy
ME: Because their mummy left them, some because their mummy died.

3 months ago, my uncle passed away of stomach cancer. When I heard the news, I cried and JS saw me.
JS: Why mummy? What happened mummy?
ME: Mummy sad, because ku kong died already.
JS: Why die already?
ME: Because ku kong is very sick.
JS: Why Ku Kong very sick?
ME: Sick because old, because got cancer
JS: Die already go where?
ME: To heaven

Some weeks later after all these conversation. One night, we were lying side by side, chatting as our pre-bedtime routine. Suddenly she said this to me

JS: Mummy, mummy, you don’t grow old lah
ME: Everyone will grow old one day. JS will grow older and mummy will also grow older
JS: I don’t want lah. I don’t want mummy to die. I want to be with mummy. I want mummy.
ME: ….. (Speechless)

When I was six years old, there was one day I suddenly hugged my mum so tight and cried. Because I suddenly got this fear of dying. Where do we go after that? Where is heaven? Will I be with my mum again? ( I love my mum so much, I want to be forever with her, can’t bear without her) So much uncertainties, so much unknown. I believe that’s how my JS was feeling when she said she don’t want me to die. But how do I really explain to her it’s a natural thing that happens in life, maybe she’s just too young to understand.

For myself, since I embraced buddhism at the age of 10, I no longer has the fear of dying. Life after death is not really unknown and uncertain. We just have to keep cultivating our mind, so that parting with loves one will not be painful.