I knocked the bottle over trying to get a picture of this: Now, I here some of you wonder, what is a Buddhist doing drinking alcohol - what about that old line where one refrains from intoxicants? Well, if I ever decide to go the whole hog (soya-based of course) then I'll have to work on that one....
So, what is all the paraphernalia? The statuette is a rupa . There are lots of different ones, representing different Buddhas and Boddhisatvas . I don't know what this one is, but I like it. People will often choose a figure which has special meaning to them. The beads are prayer beads, useful when meditating or saying mantras. I use them to fiddle with when I
am trying to meditate because I find sitting very still very difficult. I have heard of various meaning s attached to the use of incense - for example, it can be representative of the fact that intentions are powerful things - look at the way a small amount of incense can perfume a whole room. However, like incense, intentions don't last very long...... Other reasons, relating to mortality, can be found
Lotus flowers have a very strong symbolism in Buddhist culture - the bud in the mud is seen as the unenlightened mind. The journey to enlightenment is represented by the rising of the bud through the mud to the surface, where it is pure and free from the attachments of everyday life. No lotus flowers in my garden, so a few busy lizzies have been utilised instead. The fading of the flowers also serves as a reminder of impermanence.
All in all, I like my little shrine. It needs a few tweaks and I am sure it fails to meet the 'accepted norm' of Buddhist shrines, but it's mine. I have seen photos of other western shrines and many people put other objects on them, ones which have a deep personal significance. So, where is the yarn........
Anyway, you no doubt realise that if you have any burning questions about western Buddhism, I am definitely not the person to ask.
Mr India and Master India are not so sure about the shrine-thingy. In fact, young MAster India told me he " Wouldn't be coming home while you have evidence of a cult in the house." Part of me wanted to laugh. However, as some of you know, I have had reservations about the FWBO, relating to a few things which happened in the 70s. Mr India remains watchful for any behaviour which is more odd than usual and I retain a healthy scepticism. Meanwhile, I haven't come across anything at the centre which has given me any cause for concern. I will remove the shrine when Master I is about. I have given this a lot of thought and while there may come a time when I feel strongly enough to retain the shrine, that time isn't yet.
Right. Off to do some studying :0(